Commodore Comes Back


*Tappity tappity tappity* Hear that noise? It’s me doing the happy dance. Ever since I heard that the Commodore 64 was making a comeback, I’ve been getting jiggy with it doing the 8-bit boogie. Like many elder (but not old!) geeks my age, this is where it all began, and I’m elated to see the Commodore branding hitting the headlines again, even if only by name.

Do you think they'll use the same marketing shots from the 80s?

You’re thinking, ‘By name, you say?’ Yep. The beige contraption from the early 80s isn’t really coming soon to a desktop near you, but instead being re-launched with a facelift and outfitted in modern componentry decadence. Their top tier model will carry a quad-core 2.66GHz QX6700 processor with a pair of nVidia 8800GTX videocards and 4GB of RAM, eons ahead of the 1MHz processor (no joke) and 64KB memory found on the original C64. I can hear the double-click generation snickering, but those anemic specs of yesteryear gave birth to what remains the best selling PC ever, with estimates ranging from 20 to 30 million units sold. If the new Commodore can reach out to just one tenth of one percent of those original owners, that would account for 3000 PCs right off the bat. To help appeal to these nostalgia buffs, they’re including a C64 emulator with over 50 ROMs, so you can legally relive those glory days in 16-color splendor, and wonder why the hell you used to find them so entertaining. And of course there will be the obligatory custom case designs, a process they’re dubbing C-kin, which ranges from modern art to retro graphics.

But alas, it’s a crowded field in the OEM boutique market, with the likes of VoodooPC, Falcon Northwest, OverdrivePC, and many others to contend with. The landscape has changed since Commodore was a household name, and this new generation of Windowed gamers has no idea what’s so special about a command line displaying Load“*”,8,1, let alone why anyone would wear a shirt with that emblazoned across their chest. Still, I don’t think I’m the only one rooting for them, and may even pick up a lower end model for my 9 year old kid. How cool would it be for him to also say he got his start on a Commodore?

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