The Commodore 64 turns 30

Commodore 64 photo courtesy Bill Bertram, Wikimedia.

FIle under “this makes me feel REALLY old”

The Commodore 64, one of the first affordable home computers, turned 30 this week. ¬†With a whopping 64 kilobytes of RAM, 16 – count ’em, 16 – colors, and a disk drive that was slower than Christmas, it was nevertheless a minor revolution in home computing.

Launching at the relatively low price of $595, which dropped to $200 in under two years, it sold between 12 and 17.5 million units, making it the best-selling single personal computer model of all time.

Besides being a great programming machine, it allowed you to do your home finances, write letters to Grandma, and… wait, nevermind. Who am I kidding?

Everyone who had a Commodore 64 knew it was first and foremost an awesome game console.

With several thousand games published over the course of a decade, it blew away everything that came before, and gave later consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System a run for ¬†their money with the ability to provide deeper gaming experiences due to it’s keyboard, greater storage capacity, and superior sound (thanks to the Sound Interface Device, or SID).

But time marches on, and today’s dumbest smartphone has far more computing power than the Commodore 64. BBC’s Mat Allen showed a working C64 to some schoolchildren to get their impressions of this classic bit of technology: