Happy 35th, Commodore 64!

No Archon? No M.U.L.E.? No sale. (I still think the C64 version of M.U.L.E. is the superior version.) I did log a ridiculous number of hours of Jumpman back in the day, though.

Who needs Lode Runner when you have Jumpman? :)

So, you can load any of those other games if you can find a .d64 file. Unfortunately, there’s not a menu system to let you select between .d64 files, so you just have to rename them. Easy enough to do (just put 'em all on USB stick and copy the game you want to run with the autoload filename), but requires you to drop the stick into your PC to switch games which is irritating. (Or devote a USB stick to each of your favorite games. Finally, something to do with those old 256MB sticks lying in your drawer!)

The emulation is solid – game speed feels just right, and I wrote a program to impress the kid by printing his name while flashing the border (poke 53280,rnd(0)*255 FTW!) and the scanline refresh artifacts in the border flash felt just like on a real C64. The games I tried were all solid.

The joystick’s extra buttons act as navigation controls, and there’s an onscreen keyboard if you don’t have a USB keyboard to plug in. (As with all onscreen keyboards, unpleasant.) The stick’s nice. Unfortunately, the USB Atari joystick replica I plugged in didn’t work, so looks like you have to buy your second stick from these guys.

It will emulate PAL and NTSC refresh, 4x3 or a pixel perfect mode that’s a bit wider but somehow doesn’t feel stretched, and scanlines or not. The menu system is simple, nice, and feels period-appropriate.

Honestly, it’s awesome for what it is. But I IndieGogo funded the originally promised version, which had a keyboard and was geared toward being a retro computer rather than just a canned game console. They claim they’re still working on that, and that those of us who funded that or the LCD handheld will still get those, and the C64 mini was sent to us a bonus to apologize for the delay. (Original slated ship date was 12/2016.) So this thing is great at what it is, but I still hope the computer version is completed. Especially since I funded at about 2.5x the cost of the mini.

I’ll probably sell this one as I’m more interested in futzing around with BASIC and assembly programming than playing the old games.

I think that’s a stellar collection of games tbh. It’s obviously weighted toward the European market more than the US one, which is fine. There’s no US seller yet, so maybe they’re working on a different lineup of games for a US release?

Ah man, Lode Runner is so much better :)

It’s a UK-esque library. Only a few true classics in there IMO (though plenty more with classic tunes attached). Paradroid, Impossible Mission, Speedball I/II. Maybe Winter Games or Temple of Apshai Trilogy. Interesting the Epyx library is so well-represented. I assume there are rights issues?

So many of the best C64 games (IMO) were concurrently released on Apple II, Atari 400/800, and sometimes Tandy. Lode Runner, Ultima II-V, Archon, M.U.L.E., etc., were obviously not platform specific in any way. Of course many of the UK classics were also released on Speccy and/or BBC Micro… it turns out the '80s were an extremely non-exclusive gaming age!

Anyway, does that tiny little keyboard actually function?

Nah, keyboard is one piece. You have to plug in a USB keyboard if you don’t want to use the on-screen version.

I looooved my C64 back when. And thought I played a number of games on it. Seeing the list with the mini (plus all the mentions of what isn’t there) makes me realize just how few I actually played. What was I doing!

Oh yeah, typing most of my games in from Compute! Gazette.

Man, that brings back some mixed memories. All those hex digits, with checksums to avoid typos…ugh. But once you had it done correctly and could actually play the (terrible) little game, it felt like such an accomplishment!

Holy fuck, I did not know about this and it is in stock at a local retailer!!!

Now, can I use a Wico with this? There is a USB adapter for those right?

JB hifi!

Just for you: ;)

And then, because you didn’t have a storage device yet, turning it off and losing it all.

If you had a cassette player, you could get an adapter pretty cheap to read and write programs to tape! Took forever to load stuff up though, even compared to 1541 speeds.

Oh, we had the tape drive. And later the 1541. Which just meant that you could save your work, and then lose it because you misplaced the tape/disk, or spilled pop on it, or put it too close to a magnet.

I had a 1541. But I had entered a typo in the crude hex (actually, decimal then) entry program Gazette provided… the editor would crash when I tried to save. And, instead of fixing it, I would manually save the ML program to disk, which worked just as well. Why didn’t I fix the entry program instead? Who knows. I was a weird kid.

While a lot of the magazine games were drek, there were some good ones. An early one I remember was a Joust-clone with genies. I religiously typed them all in anyway because the only time I got new games was for Christmas.

My brother had a C64, and I remember a few games such as Airwolf, Spy Hunter, F16 Falcon, some game in a castle where you need to find keys to open doors, and strip poker with some 80s pop star with giant boobs I can’t recall.

Samantha Fox is the name you are looking for.


That’s a nicely Britcentric list of C64 games. Gremlin, Thalamus and Hewson had some good stuff didnt they. Shame most of my other faves reside on other publishers.

Ah, that brings back memories. I had a Timex 1000, which was essentially the North American version of the ZX81. i remember typing in a program that poked a lot of stuff into memory. It was machine code being entered by the program. As a result of curiosity about what that program was really all about, I ended up teaching myself Zilog Z80 assembler, the first assembly language I learned.

I remember thinking this was a godsend:


I still remember when I bought my Fast Load cartridge. That thing was amazing.

That’s one area where TheC64 mini falls down in recreating the full Commodore 64 experience. The games load in just a few seconds. (Probably especially disconcerting to UK gamers, who used Datasettes long after everyone in America had a 1541.)