30th Anniversary of the Commodore 64!

Happy Birthday C64! Introduced 30 years ago this month at the 1982 Consumer Electronics Show! From HLNTV:

Would you pay $1,400 for a computer with less than one megabyte of memory?

Oh yes, you would.

In fact, in 1982 more than 300,000 people did just that, dropping $595 (or, $1,400 in 2012 dollars) to snap up the awesome, brand new, super-powerful Commdore 64 — and all of its 36 useable kilobytes of memory.

The classic machine is celebrating its 30th birthday this week. It was first introduced at the 1982 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

And while those quaint specs seem flimsy now — those 36 kb are the equivalent of 1/10th of a typical MP3, so basically the whole machine could store the first 40 seconds of the 1982 Survivor smash hit “Eye of the Tiger” — they were revolutionary and a relative bargain back in ’82. And the Commodore 64 even displayed color graphics!

During its mid-1980s peak, the PC sold 2.5 million units a year and generated a lifetime of passion and loyalty from many of its users, many of whom are now dropping nostalgic tweets.

Awesome on-board hardware like the VIC-II graphics chip and the SID audio synthesis chip ensured that the C64 would remain a popular platform in the demoscene. The list of C64 demos is enormous, and it grows regularly.

If you ever meet somebody who worked at Commodore (or MOS Technology) in the 1970’s-80’s, give them a hug or a high-five! 🙂

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  1. If it wasn’t for the C64 when I was a kid I wouldn’t have the interest in computers and electronics I have now. I just remember my brother and I taking turns typing hours of code from a Games for Basic book and saving it to a cassette tape. It was also cool because a lot of the 5.25″ floppy disk games I bought had a Apple II version on the other side so I could take them to school and play them on the few Apple II computers they had in the library.

  2. My first computer was a Vic 20. My second a C64. Good memories.

  3. 1/10 of an MP3? 40 seconds? Surely not.

    (checks the original article)

    Oh, they fixed it.

  4. My first job was programming the C-64; in fact, at a series of small local companies, it was my primary platform for nearly three years (after which, I moved on up to DEC PDP-11s and VAXen, leaving 8-bitters behind).

    Terrific machine!

  5. I was never a C64 user, but I did work the Summer of ’79 at a local Radio Shack as I was preparing to go off to my freshman year of college. Weekday evenings were usually slow, so I’d noodle around with the TRS-80 machines that were on display. They also used the old Kansas City cassette tape standard for data storage. The happiest moment there was when the new TRS-90 Voice Synthesizer module came in, a crude, but surprisingly intelligible, phoneme interpreter.

    One evening, the host of the “Post Serial” radio show (WCWP) came into the store. After some banter, I made an audio recording of the synth “speaking” a radio show ID that I crafted on the spot for him. It was a hoot hearing it on the radio every week!

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