New Commodore 64 Priced Wait What?

This is what a cheat code used to look like.

Younger readers won’t remember the C64. That’s why I hate them. They won’t remember games only loading if the volume was correct on your tape cassette player. They won’t remember waiting 20 minutes through grinding noises and mad screens for the game to crash the moment it tried to start. Instead they’ll complain because the company logo splash screen takes too long to fade. (I mean, I do too – I like to keep my complaining as up-to-date as possible.) But for those of us crooked of back enough to remember that beige-brown box, the news is that the remake we’ve previously mentioned now has a price and is taking pre-orders. You can buy a Commodore 64 again, this time with a current-day PC in their tummies.

What’s happened is a company has secured the rights to the names of the old machines, and called themselves Commodore USA, LLC. It’s a clever piece of nostalgia-led marketing, really.

My brain is sort of fizz-popping in my attempts to comprehend sentences like this:

“The new Commodore 64 also features a slot or tray load DVD R/W(Bluray optional) on the left side of the unit. The base Commodore 64 comes with 2 GB of DDR3 memory and is expandable to 4 GB.”

It’s like time is collapsing. A Commodore 64 has, well, 64K of memory. Not 2,097,152K. That would be a Commodore 2097152.

They also have a Commodore VIC-Pro, which doesn’t quite look like a VIC-20, and a Vic-Slim, which looks like a modern keyboard. The magic somewhat lost in those two.

The C64 model is lower spec than the VIC-Pro, offering an Intel Atom D525 1.8GHz, the ION2 graphics chip that should soon be revolutionising netbooks, 2GB of RAM (upgradable to 4), a Realtek sound card, and all the ports and wifi you would imagine. It’s basically a next-spec netbook, but somewhat awkwardly shaped like a Commodore 64, and without a screen. Um.

The VIC-Pro can have a Quad core 2 1066MHz chip, up to 4GB RAM, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 GFX, standard sound and all the rest. The Slim is far simpler, with a 1.8GHZ Dual Core, 2GB RAM, a 250GB HD, and the Intel GMA3150 graphics chip. And there are plans for a VIC-Plus and a VIC-Touch.

The versions currently available for pre-order don’t yet have the C64 emulator installed – they say that’s coming soon. Instead they’ll come with an Ubuntu disc, and the option to install Windows “if you really feel the need.”

But the news today is the price. And even that is retro. The C64 model will cost you $595, which is the exact price the machine cost when it was originally released in 1982. Back then this was a radically lower price than IBM and Apple were offering, Commodore boasting that they were bringing computers to the people.

The VIC-Pro with its beefier spec is a pretty high $895, and the streamlined Slim is the lowest at $395. These two are available three weeks after order, while the C64 should be sent out some time in late May.

But would you want one? They really do look like a very clunky way of buying a non-portable netbook, and you can just as easily plug your netbook into a TV or larger monitor if you’re after that. Is the nostalgia enough for anyone?


  1. Love Albatross says:

    Not the same company which made those horrible Commodore gaming PCs is it? Those were a bag ‘o’ balls.

    • Navagon says:

      I think it is. But they’ve pretty much discontinued those to focus on these more retro ventures.

    • J Arcane says:

      Nope. That’s Commodore Gaming that made the C-Skin machines, and they’re still around. They’re based in the Netherlands, and still actually don’t officially sell to the US, though you can still order one through their UK site. It’s just heinously expensive.

      The specs on this thing seem to kind of miss the point. The C64 was one of the premier gaming devices of it’s era, but this is basically a glorified netbook, which is odd considering that off their current line of micro-PCs it’s the one with the most space for them to have fit something better in there.

      What I DID find intriguing though, was that they sell the keyboard case in a barebones configuration without the guts, which would be a great casemod project if ever there was one.

      I also think their “Commodore OS” thing sounds pretty cool, though I’m more than skeptical as to whether it’ll ever actually exist. Their site is full of pie-in-the-sky nonsense, and even the “pictures” of their supposedly existing hardware are all renders.

      I’m not sure I’d expect to actually get this thing if I ordered it.

  2. ZIGS says:

    Their site is offline :(

  3. dadioflex says:

    The speccy was a pain in the bum to get to work but I remember the C64 being pretty reliable at loading off cassette.

    • Antsy says:

      Spectrum tape loading was like some kind of cold war cypher breaking operation. Nudging the volume and tone dials on old tape recorders this way and that, searching for that perfect setting. C64 tape loading was indeed much, much better.

      I don’t remember my c64 having a volume dial, and I can’t be bothered to go up to the attic to check.

    • vandinz says:

      Getting the alt-azimuth right on the cassette player for the Spectrum was like a game in itself! The C64 was a lot better at that. A pain in the arse but the best days of my life. I’ve got 2 C64s and 2 Commodore Amigas upstairs, after a ZX Spectrum and ZX81 to get my collection going.

    • Urael says:

      ZX Tape loading was certainly a black art. Most tape players had a ‘sweet spot’ that worked for 90% of games but the rest did need some fine finger work…

      C64’s were beastly things. And I thought Vic was something you shoved up your nose to clear blockages?

    • terry says:

      Vol a whisker down from 10, tone as high as it will go. Worked for everything except Gremlin Graphics games and their pesky custom loaders.

    • thestjohn says:

      I remember discovering that the screwdriver I had for my glasses was the right length and size to fit the tiny hole in the tape player’s casing for the azimuth screw. It was honestly like finding the Holy Grail.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Do I remember SAVING games to tape too? So you ‘d have a number of save games in sequence on a blank cassette. Or is my memory deceiving me? I suppose it must have worked like that?! – no other option.

    • Teph says:

      Yeah. I remember having a tape with all my Elite saves on it, along with a list of the number of seconds into the tape each save started. That was a fun one…

    • Chris D says:

      I remember having a tape of Elite saves too. Wish I’d thought of writing down times, that would have made more sense than randomly fast forwarding and rewinding to find the right place.

    • Schmung says:

      I’m still traumatised by the dread words read error a/b on the old amstrad and the horror of knocking the sliders on dads cassette player so that we’d have to go through and recalibrate the bloody thing again.

  4. Navagon says:

    Ah the good old Commodore 64. So many memories. But to be somewhat blasphemous, I won’t miss those loading times. :D

    • Antsy says:

      But without them we’d never have been able to chill to the strains of the likes of the Ocean Loader tunes while being mesmorized by the yellow and blue lines. I still think those lines were subliminally programming me to become a super spy!

    • vandinz says:

      Martin Galway and Rob Hubbard are GODS!

    • Navagon says:

      Even back in the day I was worried about what would happen if you stared into those lines while listening to their associated screeching noises for too long.

      If there ever did turn out to be evidence of games programming kids to become serial killers then it would be found in those loading screens, I’m sure of it.

    • Mutak says:

      Did anyone ever make a horror movie out of that? Kids who listen too long to the hisses and screeches of the tape loader open themselves to demonic possession – that would be awesome.

    • pipman3000 says:

      its a demonic tape that takes an entire week to load and once it does it does guess what it kills you if it doesn’t crash because you forgot to set the right settings or the room was one degree above the right temperature or it was loaded on a day whose name ends with y or the tv was on.

    • yhancik says:

      As a kid, I actually had a couple of nightmares related to the lines/noise of tapes loading.

      I don’t remember the details (it certainly was some time ago), but one was about being like “trapped/possessed” by a game loading, and the “game” itself was part of the trap and a scary glimpse on some kind of threat (I don’t really remember if it was supposed to be a single entity, or a whole world).
      There was something about being almost hypnotised, and unable to even stop the computer/game/tape, and the inability to stop was making things worse.

      (I certainly was fascinated when, years later, I saw stuff like Videodrome and Ringu)
      (although I think the closest match would be link to, that I still haven’t seen)

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      1st game I ever played, I think EVER, was either ghostbusters (by activision, my how they have changed) or Manic Miner. MM took years to load … but then played that cool music once it did. C64 tape deck was solid, never had any trouble with it.

    • Urthman says:

      The best thing was playing Zork games with an external 5 1/4 ” floppy disc drive.

      You’d be stuck on a puzzle and type various commands only to be met with the same canned responses (“You don’t see any monkey here” “I don’t know the word defenestrate” “You can’t get ye flask”) until you’d finally hit on something that worked and the first indication would be the whir of the disc drive as it spent five seconds loading a new paragraph of text.

      A whirring disc drive. The very sound of victory.

    • matte_k says:

      Anyone else remember Invade-A-Load? Being able to play Space Invaders whilst your game loaded? Madness.

    • MadMatty says:

      Yeah i remember playing Space Invaders while loading, the music was from Rob Hubbard

  5. Bilbo says:

    I think I want to have one of these just to say that I do. It’s a bit like the wankers who have their ipads, only much, much better.

    Time to get some work done and raise some funds, I suppose :/

  6. bwion says:

    I’m not the sort of person, living the sort of life, to pay that sort of money for that sort of machine.

    But I really, really wish I were.

  7. WMain00 says:

    “Younger readers won’t remember the C64. That’s why I hate them. They won’t remember games only loading if the volume was correct on your tape cassette player. They won’t remember waiting 20 minutes through grinding noises and mad screens for the game to crash the moment it tried to start.”

    Frighteningly, I do remember that.


    • bob_d says:

      Young pup. I remember punch-cards . I got a bunch as a youth when some institution’s computers were being upgraded to the newfangled tape devices. It was a number of years after that when the C64 to come into being.

    • patricij says:

      I remember my Amstrad CPC….the loadings were decent, but several years later, it got worse – it took HOURS before the floppy-drive was operational, good times

    • Dozer says:

      Not only that, I HAVE an Amstrad CPC, sat in a storage cupboard in the living room. Along with the last thirty-odd issues of Amstrad Action, and all their covertapes. I fondly remember the issue where they discuss what is needed to connect a CPC to the Internet, in about 1994…

    • Ravenger says:

      My first computer program at school was written on optical cards.
      Each card represented one line of program. They had 80 colums of ‘holes’ (actually ovals you filled in with a soft pencil), each column representing 1 byte.
      You’d write your BASIC program longhand, then work out the binary ASCI code for each character and fill in the appropriate holes in each column for each character. Then the cards would be sent off to a university for batch processing. A week later you’d get a dot-matrix printout saying ‘syntax error in line 30’.

    • billyphuz says:

      Ravenger, I actually Lol’d at the comment. ?SYNTAX ERROR indeed.

  8. Kaira- says:

    In a way I could see that as a media-computer to use for playing DVDs and stuff, but on the other hand, 600$ for a keyboard with a touch-pad and dvd-player is quite pricey.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yes, I was thinking something similar.

      Replace that Dvd Drive with a Blu Ray drive at that price, and it could be a nifty little machine to stick under the TV.

    • Targaff says:

      I gutted an old 1541 box to use as an external CD and hard drive caddy a while back, since the 5.25″ drive bay is pretty much exactly the right size for a modern CD drive. I think that might actually be a cheaper compromise than paying extra for the internals, and somehow cooler.

      I also bought a Keyrah with a view to converting my broken C64C into something very similar to what this company’s putting out now, but even though C64C is clearly > breadbox, it’s a bit lacking in internal space and I haven’t found an ITX board that works right yet. Boo.

  9. Joof says:

    64k of memory? How delightfully quaint!

    • Urthman says:

      You whipper-snappers with your 500 MB office suites.

      I wrote all my high-school papers on a word processor the source code of which I had typed by hand out of a magazine.


    • Wulf says:

      Considering how much code was printed in magazines of the era, you just might have!

    • Urthman says:

      I think it took me about a week of after-school data entry sessions.

    • Archonsod says:

      I started with a Commodore +4, which was basically the Commodore 16 with two joystick ports. A whole 16kb of memory to play with …

  10. chiroho says:

    My first computer was a VIC-20, even older and slower than the C-64. I skipped the C-64 and went to an Amiga 500 though. Definitely a much better system with much better games – Arctic Fox anyone?

    • Quinnbeast says:

      Oh how I loved my Amiga 500. The Chaos Engine, Speedball 2, Stunt Car Racer, Sensi Soccer… that machine absorbed a considerable amount of time as a young-un.

  11. V. Profane says:

    I’m holding out for a smartphone shaped like a BBC Micro.

  12. bob_d says:

    So it’s actually a “Commodore 64 x 2^15” then?

  13. Nero says:

    DVD burner in my C64? What is this bs. No, I remember the days of waiting like 20 minutes for Mario Bros to load from the tunes of Mozart (I think) and then if it didn’t work we had to screw that little screw in the cassette tape player just a tiny bit and try again. Those were the days.

  14. wcaypahwat says:

    I completely missed out on these. Our giant old TV had a built in pong game though.

  15. dangermouse76 says:

    I still have an Amiga 1200 around the house somewhere. 14 MHz of speed. Wind your windows up guys.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Mine has some 40 Hz. But the most radical increase of speed I remember was after installing HDD, not the accelerator card. And the most often dying part of the machine was PSU. I wonder what brand of PSU Commodore used on that replica.

    • dangermouse76 says:

      40 MHz , I get even imagine that kind of speed. Like running Zool at 120fps. Woah !!!

  16. pc_bravado says:


  17. ninjapirate says:

    Anybody else thinking Shadowrun (3rd Ed)? Everything is slowly falling into place, all we need now are datajacks in our temples.

    • Harlander says:

      With AR coming in on smartphones and wireless everywhere, we’re creeping up on 4th edition too..

  18. Fitzmogwai says:

    There was a fantastic screensaver called SCREEN$ that seems to have disappeared which would serve up Spectrum loading screens, complete with deeeee-dip chhhhhhhhhhhhhh loading noises.

  19. KilgoreTrout_XL says:

    I’m holding out for the Commodore 128 remake, which will have WAY more functionality.

    • mashakos says:

      Always Holding Out For The Amiga(c)

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Aww yeah loved my Amiga 500. Except the game ‘Corporation’ which scared me so much I couldnt play it.

    • mod the world says:

      I had one of those as kid. The first command i learned: GO64.

    • Oozo says:

      Same here: “Go64” was not only the first command I learned on the C128, but the only one I ever used.

  20. ptitHom says:

    The power of 64K memory.
    link to

  21. mashakos says:

    This would have been awesome as an office PC if it had the right specs. Would induce massive nerd envy in the kind of companies I’m usually hired at.

  22. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Now, if someone did the same for the ZX Spectrum… swoon!

  23. dogsolitude_uk says:

    The original Spectrum was the worst for loading games: no onboard tape deck, and you had to keep the tape cables away from the TV to avoid interference. As many of us seem to remember, a slight jog of the vol or tone controls and it was ‘R: Tape Loading Error’ for you matey (or a reset if it was a Speedlocked game).

    The +2 had the built in tape deck and the azimuth alignment thing, but did anyone else find that some games wouldn’t work if you used the ” key, you had to load in 48k mode and use Symbol-shift+p instead?

    I never had too many problems with the C64, apart from the load times…

    Don’t think I’ll be buying this unit though… A Spectrum would be a different matter :)

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      If that’s your memory, you had some sort of defective machine. In fact, the integrated cassette player of the Amstrad models was a frequent source of issues. Admittedly some worked well, but by far they were the least desired models. It’s by no chance that the vast majority of the remaining ZX Spectrum models sold on ebay and the preference of the vast majority of us who purchase these machines are the Sinclair models. Particularly the ZX Spectrum 48k and plus models. Known for their reliability. Some of these machines are still operating under top condition >20 years later.

      The sound issues were in fact rarely solved by setting volume, tone or pitch settings on these machines. Once the integrated cassette player started misbehaving, there was little that could be done. In fact many of the external cassette players were known for having much finer pitch/tone tuning settings via the infamous “screwdriver technique”. It wouldn’t take long for a owner of an Amstrad ZX Spectrum to eventually be forced to go back to traditional tape players. And this is true also of the commodore 64. It’s also by no accident that a faulty cassette player is the top 1 “warning” on ebay when selling these machines.

      As for the cable issues, that’s obviously an electrical issue to do with most probably your TV set at the time which didn’t conform to manufacturing standards. The ZX Spectrum was very low emission and the cables well insulated. It conformed to all the rules concerning electrical devices. I never experienced such issues as you did. But can certainly expect that a poorly built TV set of the time could indeed suffer from issues.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      In short; one of the major selling points of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum — one of its most valued advantages by users — was exactly the fact it didn’t try to integrate anything. Not to mention its input device (the cassette tape) is still pretty much widely available today, allowing for ease sharing and distribution of games that… are still being produced to this date!

  24. Teddy Leach says:

    Now Commodores are more powerful than my computer.

  25. Caleb367 says:

    Ok, I have to come out of the closet.
    Back then, when I first had an Internet connection (12 years ago, presently) I accidentally found out about the SID project.
    Got the whole collection.
    Spent the whole night listening to the awesome music from C64 games.
    I cried.

    Mock me if you like, I don’t give a damn and pump up the volume on the Last Ninja 2 theme.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      It is honourable to cry a man-tear over lost childhood computer gaming experiences. May you feel no shame :D

    • MyPoorFeet says:

      That’s a crowded cupboard.
      Listening to Rob Hubbard’s and Marting Galway’s tunes always leaves me misty eyed at memories of yesteryear. Having my first game published on the front of ‘Your Computer’. Looking forward to reading C&VGs sailing simulator column. Thinking Scott Adams was the coolest man alive. Receiving a handwritten letter from Keith Campbell. Or laughing at my friends claim that he could load games quicker by pressing fast forward and play at the same time on his TRS-80. They don’t make memories like they used too. (Although this may be the onset of dementia)
      I feel an urge to listen to Parallax now.

    • sk2k says:

      You are not alone! I’m still listen to SID “Mucke”. :)

      HVSC SID Collection

  26. bascule42 says:

    10 PRINT “Younger readers won’t remember the C64. That’s why I hate them.”
    20 PRINT “You Sir are AMAZING”
    30 GOTO 10

  27. leeder krenon says:

    the c64 sucks. speccys for ever!

    • Ravenger says:

      I’ve met many a retro-gaming enthusiast, but the speccy owners seem to be the most anti-Commodore bunch ever. Whenever I meet them and tell them I used to work on the C64 as an artist they tend to be very dismissive of the C64. They seem to harbour 30 year old grudges!

      The thing is, even though I was an enthusiastic C64 owner at the time, I have a lot of nostalgia and respect for the ZX81 and Speccy (mainly because I owned a ZX81, and I used my school friend’s speccys a lot). Clive Sinclair is a hero of mine because without him I’d not be doing the work I do today.

      Personally I’m interested in all retro machines, especially the C64, ZX81 and Spectrum, and I don’t understand how people are still fighting the platform wars of 30 years ago. I guess old grudges die hard.

    • TeraTelnet says:

      In some ways it brings us together. Why, I actually said “Hello” to an ST owner the other day without following it up with ultra-violence!

    • Caleb367 says:

      what? speccy? That thing with rubber keys and monochrome? You mean that wasn’t a computer replica toy for children under 3?

      (Yay for decade-long nerd feuds.)

  28. Chopper says:

    Whoa, very weird. I had a dream about this very machine last night. I remember waking up and thinking, I have to get one. Can’t remember why though. I think I was playing Gauntlet.

    Used to have a ZX81 and an MSX here.

  29. Moonracer says:

    I can’t believe they chose to call one model “Vic-Slim” instead of “Vic-Trim”.

  30. itsallcrap says:

    It, um… it doesn’t look anything like the original. Surely the only justification for buying one of these would be to make people go, “Hey, you’ve got a C64!” at which point you’d go, “Ahhhh, but look!” and they would be amazed to discover it was actually a modern PC and then swoon and agree to have sex with you.

    But if you showed someone that thing they’d just ask how you managed to break the screen of your laptop.

    Also, the Speccy was best any anyone who attempts to disagree is wrong and stupid and no returns.

  31. LionsPhil says:

    I’m sure this has been done before.

    It’s been done before, right? I’m sure I remember “lol crappy Atom low-power spec in a C64 case, that’ll get the mugs buying it”.

    Maybe I heard about this at the planning stages. :/

    Anyway it’s got sod-all to do with the original machines so if you buy one of these you are basically advertising just how much of a gigantic tool you are. Go find a real one on eBum to get your retro fix.

    • Stitched says:

      I guess I am wondering the obvious, as well:

      Why didn’t they put all the original chips on a PCI card or rom board and sell those, instead? It’s nice having a PC, but nicer having access to all the original chip functions, without emulation.

  32. laddyman says:

    This sounds incredibly ijjit.

  33. ananachaphobiac says:

    My first computer was a Dragon 32.

    It was the 80s we were all drunk…

    People make mistakes.

    • Spacewalk says:

      My first computer was the Microbee. It was about as good as a Dragon 32.

      Hardly anyone outside of Australia has heard of it.

    • ananachaphobiac says:

      The Dragon apparantly failed because it was graphically inferior to the ZX Spectrum.

      It makes me laugh. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! See, told you.

  34. Gabe McGrath says:

    What a missed opportunity.

    What they should have done, which would have been much cooler…

    1. Hire Jeri Elsworth, who made the internals of that C64 TVjoystick.
    2. Release a C64 case, built around an updated version of the TVjoystick chip.
    3. Have an SD card reader, so you can load ‘whatever games you want’ onto it.
    4. Add a mixture of old and new inputs/outputs
    eg USB ports for new joysticks, 9pins for original C64 joysticks.
    HDMI for modern monitors, RF for old TVs.
    That would give you a ‘new’ C64 with the things you loved back then (instant bootup, the games themselves) and things we like now (games on SD, modern I/O devices)

  35. arioch says:

    I had a 5 1/4″ drive for my c64… I was so privileged.

    I wonder how many hours of my youth I spent playing spy vs spy and bards tale… looking back a the photos I didnt have much of a tan. :]

  36. Grey_Ghost says:

    I never owned one of these, but I did have a MS-DOS based program that emulated C64 graphics for connecting to C64 BBS’s over a modem. Those C64 BBS’s had a lot of kick ass games to play way back when. Though I cannot remember any of their names… I clearly remember games like Trade Wars & Land of Devastation on the MS-DOS based BBS’s, but I just cannot vividly recall the C64 ones.

  37. Ravenger says:

    I tend to go all gooey and sentimental when I think of the 8-bit era. Such an exciting time with technology progressing so rapidly with so many different machines out there.
    As I’ve said before I was mainly into the C64, but it’s the ZX81 and Speccy that give me the most nostalgia, mainly because they were the first home computers I properly used when I was a schoolkid, and there’s a certain feel to the Sinclair machines that really takes me back to those days, sitting in my friends living room (I was too poor to own my own Speccy) in front of their tellies, playing games on their machines, and typing in listings from magazines. The whine and screeches of the tape loading system is an immensely nostalgic noise to me.
    I had a Sinclair ZX Spectrum+ until recently, but I sold it to a friend because it just didn’t feel the same or give me the same sense of nostalgia as the original rubber keyed version. I plan to get hold of an original Speccy one day.
    I still have a working (if battered) ZX81, and my C64 still works, though it has a couple of dodgy connections. Sadly the 1541 disk drive doesn’t read disks any more, though the tape drive works fine.

  38. Mr_Hands says:

    I’m holding out for Commodore 64 Extremes.

  39. Jezebeau says:

    Who do they think they are? Apple? You can get a better PC for half that price, and you won’t have half a dozen cables running to your clunky keyboard.

  40. Silver says:

    darn, if remember all those things described in first few sentences = I’m not young anymore? :/
    seriously, being 25 isn’t quite a youngster anymore… action, adventure, [s]exploration, free boose, free women, ah I hope I’d be 19 again!

  41. princec says:

    As someone else mentioned, this does seem to be slightly missing the point of the C64 – what we wanted was one machine spec, so that they were all the same hardware, and that hardware needed to be state of the art.

    What OS is on the thing? I can’t think that any of the current crop of OSes available are any good. And does it come with BASIC :)?

  42. GameOverMan says:

    Awwww, my first computer. Well, it was a C-128 but in C-64 mode 99% of the time. GO64 (“Go! 64” more like :P)

  43. joecassara says:

    1. No, this is not the same company that produced the “Commodore Gaming” brand PCs. This nightmare is the creation of the new, new, new, new Commodore IP holder: Barry Altman, the Bathroom Fixtures Wizard of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (See more at my blog,

    2. Commodore tape drives used a unique DAC/ADC mechanism that did not require volume adjustments.