C64 Mini review: cute computing nostalgia with a catastrophic flaw

c64-mini-review

There are two things a miniaturised version of gaming-centric 80s home computer the Commodore 64 needs to do above all else: 1) have a working keyboard 2) have a really good joystick.

Uh-oh.

TheC64 Mini is, clearly, following the Nintendo-led recent trend of recreating vintage gaming hardware at a smaller scale, with more universal connections and a load of on-board software instead of all that messy cartridge/disc swapping business, plus quality of life improvements to the likes of load times and savegames. Basically, the approaching middle-aged can hang onto treasured relics of their childhoods without taking up quite so much cupboard space or requiring quite so many cable adapters in the process.

In this case, we’re looking at a pint-sized remake of the Commodore 64, a huge deal in personal computers between 1982 and 1994, both as a games and productivity machine, and as a home programming machine. Though what we now call the PC was one of several computing devices that eventually killed off the C64, Commodore’s 8-bit machine comprises several key pages in the history of PC gaming.

c64-mini-review-2

The Mini’s cute to look at, its brown tones are highly 80s-evocative if you’re of a certain age, but on the other hand, as a physical object it’s just a hollow-feeling plastic brick. In terms of function, it apes the key ideas used by Nintendo’s hugely popular NES and SNES Mini Classics. As well as the size reduction, housed along the edges of its 8-inch plastic frame are HDMI and USB ports, meaning the C64 Mini is effectively plug’n’play on any modern TV or monitor. It ‘only’ outputs at 720p – already a far cry from the original C64 maximum resolution of 320×200 pixels – but this upscales perfectly well even on a 4K screen.

Beyond that, Nintendo has it a tad easier, and not just because it has an infinite fortune to call upon for R&D. A NES or SNES never had to do anything more than run games, while their controllers share many of the design fundamentals still used by today’s gamepads.

c64-mini-review-4

The C64, by contrast, was/is a whole computer, with an operating system, an enormous and barely-regulated software library that sprawls far beyond the forms and functions of a console, and a chunky joystick that is iconic but built around very different principles to a 21st century game controller. Also, yeah, the C64 famously had a keyboard mounted into its top. Requires a few more micro-switches than a six-button gamepad does, that.

Which is probably why the C64 Mini’s keyboard is a single piece of moulded, immovable brown plastic which, tragically, is purely decorative. If you want to type – be it something as simple as entering your name in one of the many games which require it before you can play, or something as complex as writing your own code in BASIC – you’ll either need to hook up an external keyboard via USB, or use the reliably slow and frustrating on-screen virtual keyboard. Boo! Boo!

The official line is that a teeny-tiny keyboard is unfeasible on a beige brick that’s only 20cm wide, though that never stopped Blackberry or Psion. I’m not pretending a full board with keys the size of half a Tic-Tac would have been terribly usable, but the first thing anyone I’ve shown this gizmo to has done is start tapping at them, followed immediately by a disappointed frown. There are some things you’ve just gotta play to the crowd on, no matter how silly, and this was very much one of them.

c64-mini-joystick

Redemption could have come in the form of a perfect joystick, but this turns out to be an even more critical stumble on the part of C64 Mini firm Retro Games Ltd. The black square/red shaft/two giant buttons form factor certainly looks the part in terms of evoking one of the most beloved gaming peripherals of the 1980s, while fuzzy memory may cause you to initially presume that a C64 joystick was as horrible to use in 1985 as it is in 2018.

It wasn’t. Sure, ergonomics weren’t exactly a key concern back then, so you were forced to either grip the cuboid base uncomfortably or try to pin it to the desk with whichever hand was operating the handily gigantic buttons. These are unnatural postures that do make a hand ache in a way the curves and tapers of, say, an Xbox pad, do not. However, the original sticks were at least precise, which cannot be said of the C64 Mini’s bundled black’n’red controller, which sadly eschews micro-switches in favour of a cheaper approach.

I’ll say a bit more about the included games in a minute, but something many of them share – as did so many games of the era – is that they don’t suffer fools gladly. Any failure is often met with instant ‘Game Over’ punishment, and as such a controller with true precision is vital. You need to know that your character will move up when you pull the stick up, you need to be able to find a diagonal without thinking about it, you need to not have to try to jump three times before your character actually jumps. In other words, playing the games is far more miserable than was ever intended.

c64-mini-review-3

I have read some commentary that the C64 Mini additionally suffers from software-based input lag that could be addressed by a later firmware update, but while that might mitigate matters, it’s not going to solve the root problem that the joystick is trash. It’s overly stiff and poor to respond, it feels like it came from a pound shop, and any nostalgic pleasure in holding it swiftly melts into exasperation. Even selecting a game from the roster on the main menu is a slog.

My initial thought upon opening the box was dismay that the C64 Mini only ships with one controller, as opposed to the Ninty Minis’ sensibly couch multiplayer-friendly two, but I suspect two pieces of barely-usable garbage would have been even more insulting. The C64 Mini’s USB ports do mean it can theoretically support an array of better controllers, including USB adaptors for vintage C64 kit, but in practice it’s a mixed bag.

Neither an Xbone controller or Switch Pro would work at all, while a PS4 pad did but the button-mapping was all over the place, to the point of unplayability. I don’t doubt that there’s stuff out there which will work, and I’m sure firmware updates can increase the range of ’em, but it’s sad to be in a situation where finding something else is pretty much essential.

c64-mini-size

Onto the games. It seems desperately unlikely that anyone interested in this isn’t already versed in the ways of 80s home computer gaming, but I guess it’s worth saying that certain expectations should be left at the door. Don’t expect even the polish or scale of a somewhat contemporaneous NES game – the 64 scene was one of gaming’s first Wild Wests, with few fixed ideas of what a videogame should be, and that’s reflected in the breadth and scrappiness of of the 64 game roms pre-installed on the Mini.

You can sideload more games – of which there are tens of thousands – via USB, but right now the Mini can only recognise one ROM at once, requiring dreary file-pasting and renaming on a PC every time you want to try something else. Like the keyboard and joystick howlers, this is a remarkable failure to read the room, but the makers at least claim that a future firmware update will address it.

c64-mini-size

64 games is plenty to be getting along with, at least, and there are a fair few classics of the scene in there, such as Paradroid, Speedball 2, School Daze, California Games and Boulder Dash. The absence of legendary fare including Turrican, The Great Giana Sisters, The Last Ninja, International Karate + and Bubble Bobble is a real shame, though rights issues are at least easier to understand for big-publisher offerings such as Maniac Mansion, Wasteland, Ultima, Elite and Pirates! It’s all out there somewhere, of course, but you’ll want a USB keyboard and that promised multi-ROM firmware update if you want to play it all in earnest.

Of what’s there, the highlight for me has been the likes of California Games, Winter Games and Summer Games, a loose collective of unofficial Olympics titles that fall into their own strange but characterful space in between simulation and rhythm action, while also being nothing at all like either. They’re so unlike today’s sports games, but their relative simplicity, mechanical nature and total lack of forgiveness somehow makes them feel more apt than does the excess and fluidity of a modern offering.

c64-mini-review-5

Take the surfing in California Games, a side-on affair which tells you absolutely nothing about how to play and which has no hesitation in basically drowning you within two seconds of the game starting. Throw yourself against those rocks a few times and you’ll start to pick up on its rhythms. Do it a few times more and you might even start to be half decent at it. It feels like mastering something, gradually, not like the indulgence we are now so used to from games, and there’s a true thrill to that, despite the pain.

This is not to say that I necessarily feel anything on the C64 is better than what we get today – if anything, most of it now feels too crude to enjoy, unless you’re a mega-fan – but it’s definitely fascinating to revisit a time and place before genre lines were laid down, and before the glossy standards of Nintendo and Sega.

Still, they, together with the poor joystick and missing keyboard, play into a general unease that the C64 Mini is a novelty item in the way that the highly playable SNES Mini is not. These are games I’ll nose at briefly, from curiosity and nostalgia, but there’s almost nothing I’d ever see through, if I’m being honest. The brown brick certainly charms the part of me that spent happy time with the original C64 in the late-80s, but, due to the horror-joystick, need for a keyboard and fussy ROM sideloading, if I really wanted to fall down a retro-hole, I’d have a much better time running an emulator on my PC. By contrast, the inclusion of BASIC for DIY programming is a lovely (and necessary) touch, but it’s just not the same on an external keyboard.

c64-snes-mini

When I placed the TheC64 Mini alongside my SNES Mini to take photos for this piece, an itch I know all too well began at the back of my skull – the terrible urge of the collector. “I’ve got two of these cute little guys, I’ve got to get the rest now, or…” I was able to stamp that down, but those with more shelf space than me will likely indulge in creating their own quarter-size retro museum. Though its ease and speed of use is breathtaking to anyone who suffered through the CRTs and tapes of yesteryear, really that’s what the C64 Mini is for – display rather than play.

TheC64 Mini is available now in Europe, for £70/€80, with a US release to follow.

58 Comments

  1. leeder krenon says:

    Speccy rules, C64 drools.

    • phendrena says:

      Totally does, the Speccy was the best home computer in the UK. Bloody loved mine. C64 owners cite the lack of colour clash and the SID chip as features that made the C64 better but I would disagree. The C64 had a significantly lower screen resolution than the Speccy in order to get the higher amount of colours. As for the SID, yes it produce some stunning music but all C64 music blends into one as the Tone across all tunes was the same, the AY in the 128k models produced some stunning music as did the beeper – look at Trantor or Chronos to hear what that single channel beeper could do. For the AY, wow, Thudercats was jaw dropping and Chase HQ using the AY AND the beeper to produce SIX channel sound was mind blowing. Speccy Rules.

      • Premium User Badge

        Risingson says:

        Guys, get over it, you are over 40 now. When we laughed at the c64 guys it’s because there was a huge catalog on Spectrum and the colour limitation ended being quite appealing, but you don’t have a Wasteland on the Spectrum to begin with.

      • Alexander Chatziioannou says:

        Sorry guys, no – it’s not the (debatable) graphics or the (unquestionably better) sound, it’s the library. The scope of games the C64 had to offer cannot compare with the Speccy’s. We had Ultima VI ffs

        • briangw says:

          Umm. I had Ultima VI on my Commodore 64. The game was big iirc. At least 3 disks.

          • Alexander Chatziioannou says:

            I think we’re batting for the same team, friend (and the C64 was the only 8-bit machine Ultima VI was ported to)

      • Renegrade says:

        Really? The Speccy has significantly lower-resolution graphics than the C64, and also lacked hardware sprites and hardware scrolling. They both used that color/text cell 8-bit nonsense, but the C64 could put two to four colors into a cell, and it’s cells were 8×8 or 4×8, whereas the Speccy could only put two colors into an 8×8 cell. Plus the C64 had an additional color — 16 vs 15… on a higher base resolution (320×200 vs 256×192). Sure, multicolor mode (4×8 cells/4 colors per cell) was limited to 160×200, but you’re still talking about the same size range…and the 320×200 modes are at least as good as the Speccy’s mode…without attribute clash.

        It took a lot of skill to program these frumpy little machines’ graphics modes, and that had a lot more to do with the graphics quality than the underlying hardware in most cases. You’re probably comparing some C64 games written by less-than-stellar programmers vs. games written by the best Speccy programmers.

        I’d also point out that the same 320×200/two color mode is also used in the C64’s text display, giving it 40×25 text (in NTSC models at least, possibly higher in PAL?), instead of 32×24.

        The Speccy 128 was released around the same time as the Amiga, so it would be more fair to match it against the MOS/CSG 8364 Paula than the SID (although I doubt the SID compares poorly vs the AY)….

        • Addie says:

          All true without a doubt. However, a quick check of the historical prices suggests that the C64 sold for about three times as much as a spectrum did. As a consequence, I had a spectrum, as did several of my friends, and we could swap tapes once we were finished with the games we’d bought. I didn’t know anyone who had a C64.

    • TheBuff1 says:

      Er I hate to correct you but you will find that the Amstrad CPC was in fact the ultimate 8 bit Micro Computer, especially the 6128. 128K ram, built in disk drive, great build quality, lovely colour palette (more than brown and beige) and came bundled with its own monitor! Plus the Oliver Twins used to code their early games so no Amstrad, no Dizzy. So there.

      • Spacewalk says:

        With the Spacktrum, Bommodore and Amscab to choose from I’m going to get an Apple II mainly because I can’t think of an awful enough nickname for it.

    • UncleLou says:

      When we made a pupil exchange to the UK in the 1980s, we were all shocked, horrified and full of sympathy when we saw the home computers you guys had to put up with. It felt like a third world country to us C64 owners.

    • kebabish says:

      The C64 was way above the Speccy in terms of graphics, games and especially sound. I’ll take the sweet tones of the SID chip over the Spectrums beeper anyday.

    • pauleyc says:

      As a former 8-bit Atari owner, I’ll be here in the corner, crying.

      • Alexander Chatziioannou says:

        Here’s a little known fact to console you, as I owned both machines (Atari 800 & C64) and was shocked to find out first hand: the excellent Pitfall 2 on the Atari has basically double the content compared to the C64 (and, I think, all other versions). I loved my Commie but it was an an absolute bummer to make that long way to the monkey creature and just see the game end, no magical dimension door opening up to a whole new world.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      All these old guys with their measly eight bits.
      The Amiga was the best home computer, FACT.

      • Sandepande says:

        I do detect a slight home turf preference when claiming Spectrum was better than C64.

        It wasn’t. Fuck that keyboard.

    • PostieDoc says:

      My Commodore Plus/4 beats all of your computers!
      Ok, maybe it doesn’t.

  2. Sleepery says:

    Memories! Mostly of getting blisters from playing Gridrunner with an Atari joystick.

  3. Lawsoneer says:

    Though I suppose it’s not surprising to find that it’s not included, who could forget that perennial C64 classic “The Farmer’s Daughter”.

  4. Cederic says:

    They’ve stolen the design and look of the Competition Pro 5000 but not used high quality microswitches? That unergonomic lump of plastic was desirable entirely and only because it was precise, responsive and rock solid.

    I still regret selling my translucent green one :(

    The rest of the device is a big fat loss too. It really doesn’t seem to offer anything you can’t get from just downloading an emulator – or playing through one on a website.

  5. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    The official line is that a teeny-tiny keyboard is unfeasible on a beige brick that’s only 20cm wide

    So make it bigger! Where is it written that it has to be 20cm wide? Why is keeping it small a higher priority than actually making it compatible with C64 software, which was all written with the expectation that a keyboard would be attached?

    If you don’t care about compatibility, why not just sell postcards with a picture of a C64 on them? Hard to get thinner and lighter than that!

    Sigh.

  6. Werthead says:

    Hopefully they fix these problems before the inevitable arrival of the Amiga Mini.

  7. W@yt00muchAcid says:

    link to vice-emu.sourceforge.net does everything I want. Massive amount of games available all over the place.

  8. Kefren says:

    I love the revival aspect, but I’ll stick with my C64 emulator. I have a nice USB microswitched joystick that looks like the one in the pics. Strangely, I never used one of those on my real C64, and associated the red-knob joysticks with Spectrum Kempstons. For my C64 I used a Quickshot 2, a Quickshot 2 Turbo, or a Konix Speedking (if I didn’t need to use the spacebar for looping in 1942 or flaming in Green Beret). I consider those as being more C64-related joysticks.

    I regularly replay my C64 games. I love Wizball, Antiriad, Paradroid, IK+, Boulderdash and others as much today as I ever did. Hey, I even completed Ghosts ‘N Goblins once without cheats (and Antiriad twice).

  9. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Ah, if only it came with a Cheetah Bug or Konix Speedking.

    The “the approaching middle-aged” thing is a tad generous. I bought my 64 the year I left school at sixteen, 1982, on interest free tick from Woolworths in Stretford Precinct.
    I’d taught myself Motorola 6502 assembler within six months and am still making a living at it well past middle aged.

    • GomezTheChimp says:

      I was 21 when I bought my first computer: a ZX81, so I`m just moving past middle-age and into the death zone.
      I bought it from WH Smiths for £75. Once I got it going, I quickly realised that 1k of memory wasn`t quite enough and upgraded to the infamous 16k RAM pack.
      The best game for that particular computer was Kevin Tom`s Football Manager…
      After that it was Spectrum, Amiga (all iterations except the 1500) and then of course, a PC (in 1998).
      I can`t be the only one that`s embraced computing technology for so long, and yet received wisdom is that anyone over about 30 is a technological dunce. Remember those adverts where `Dad` (overweight, bald, stupid) has to be shown how to use a computer by his patronising whizz-kids, while `Mum` (attractive, 30 years younger than Dad, not bald, not stupid) just rolls her eyes and gets on with cooking the perfect dinner?

      • MiniMatt says:

        Oooh the ram pack wobble! Had the same issue with joystick adaptors and modems (yes, people – modems) on the Speccy 48. Floorboard creaking in the next room would be enough vibration to crash them.

  10. rustybroomhandle says:

    You can just plug in a USB keyboard, I believe. No?

    • Shinard says:

      Well, yes, but you can also just run an emulator and not buy the replica in the first place. If you’re buying a functional replica C64, it’s reasonable to assume that that would come with a functional replica C64 keyboard.

  11. DrMcCoy says:

    An actual tear-down would have been interesting.

    I.e. what’s in it? Is it an ASIC based on Jeri Ellsworth’s reverse engineering of the C64 for the “C64 Direct-to-TV” device? Or is it just, say, a Raspberry Pi with a software emulator?

    • Amstrad says:

      The 8-bit Guy does a good review and disassembly. He even sideloads his own Homebrew game on it.

    • Addie says:

      A raspberry pi wouldn’t be twenty centimetres wide; also, retropie supports a huge range of joysticks and emulates a C64 without any of the software issues mentioned above. Also, it would not cost seventy quid (assuming you can scavenge the SD card and cables), and you’d be able to emulate a much, much larger range of systems once you’d assembled it. And it would be useful for a range of tasks just by swapping out the SD card.

  12. dr.mabuse71 says:

    Just on the C-64 vs. Spectrum and other inferior consoles:

    The C-64 was a computer, get it? You could programm and have endless (ok, at least a few) possibilities making your own games. The other were cheap things for the brain-numb proletarians of gaming – just as it is w. the playstation and xbox misguided masses. If you dont have intellectual room to spare, then by all means buy a console so you can punch those buttons’ like a test-ape.

    Otherwise, if intelligence has even the slightest grip on you: Go computer – or even better: C-64. But get the original, not this laughable and sad excuse.

    /Dr. Mabuse, angry gamer since the C-64

    • Tuidjy says:

      Did you just call the ZX Spectrum 48 a gaming console? I still have mine somewhere, and it was running last time I moved, in 2008… 24 years after I got my father to drive over the Rhine so I could buy it with the money I’d been saving for two years.

      It had Basic, it had a graphic mode, it had easy to access Assembly, it had enough memory for anything I could imagine doing at the time, and could save and reload reliably, which my Vic 20 could not.

      It was not as good as the Commodore 64, but it sat very nicely between the Vic20 and the Commie Apple IIe clone I got next. Around ’88 I used mine as a proof of concept for early ‘automated lessons’ in geometry. In ’91-’92, it was a freshmen orientation tool for my university in Bulgaria. In ’94, it was uploading CNC programs into FANUC lathes in California. When the Rs232 card died, there was no chance to find a replacement in the US, so I replaced it with a PS2 PC (money was tight at the time) wiped off half a kilo of grease and metal chips from it, and put it away. As I said, ten years later, it was still running.

      It was a computer, buddy. An early one, a basic one, but a computer, not a gaming console.

      And now I feel like seeing whether it still works.

      • dr.mabuse71 says:

        Sir!! (honorable mr. Tuidjy) allow me to quote: “It was not as good as the Commodore 64”! – but that is my point exactly dear friend.

        I did however own the Vic-20 before the C-64, and what a nastly little maschine that was: Spending hours after dinner in my small room, avoding the pleasant and cool Scandinavian summer-evenings, just to learn basic and ‘code-away’ – then for 5-10brief moments play ‘spaceship lands on the moon’ (one green dot decending all too rapidly and then crashing on a green line).

        Then “Its bedtime, you rascal” – > swich off computer – > Game gone for good. Repeat the rest of that summer w. various selfmade games.

        Oh, the joy! ;- ]

        /Dr. Mabuse, angry gamer since the C-64

        • wxid says:

          Didn’t you have the tape cassette deck that went with it?

          The VIC-20 was my first computer and it was great for what it was (and what it cost…)

          • dr.mabuse71 says:

            – No, I prefered the tough version: “code & cry” ;- )

            By the time I had the C-64 and later Amiga w. their ‘drink tea while the disk loads’ the Vic-20 had given me many lessons in patience..

    • Sandepande says:

      My GTX 970 blew up, so now I can use my humongous spare intellect to play the Xbox One X I got in its stead. Win-win!

      • dr.mabuse71 says:

        – Sandepan’ – a-what-do-you-zay?

        Dont [d.o.n.t.] mention those brainnumb ms.bs.maschines.

        /Dr. Mabuse to you.

  13. Renegrade says:

    Ugh input latency? I’m sick and tired of input latency.

    Funny how original C64s and Amigas had no issues with input latencies while running in the 1-7mhz range, and a modern 4ghz PC can end up five to ten frames behind. Overweight, bloated USB stacks are no match for move.w $dff00a,d0 eh?

    They really should have put in some dedicated hardware joystick ports, even if it had to use some sort of weird mini-connector. The C64/Atari/Amiga joysticks were LITERALLY just momentarily-closed switches wired to individual pins, which were mapped as bits in the machine’s memory and could be accessed at any time with a single instruction/memory cycle. The c64-mini people couldn’t find a small enough 8-pin port (the 9th pin is unused with standard C64-era digital joysticks) I guess?

    Also…did anybody else use the Epyx 500XJ joystick? That thing was awesome!

    • Addie says:

      I suspect the input latency is because whoever’s programmed this has used a horrible, home-brewed stack that they’ve written themselves, as opposed to a modern stack that Windows / MacOS / Linux would use – they all take much less than a display frame to read input. Hence why it hardly supports any joysticks. But most of the other latency-inducing things would require compromises that most people wouldn’t find acceptable anymore:

      – old computers /consoles didn’t have display latency, because they used a CRT rather than a flat panel, and the graphics output ran in complete lock-step with the raster moving across the screen. Some TVs really induce a lot of latency while they do image processing; using a monitor instead helps here. But no-one realistically wants huge, heavy CRTs back when the usual biggest drawback with LCDs is the sound getting out of sync.

      – old computers / consoles didn’t have issues with pre-rendered frames, because the CPUs were single-core and ran in lock-step with the graphics hardware chips. But they had to stop whatever calculations they were doing when the raster was moving across the display, so that they could update it. Now we’ve moved to multi-core CPUs and external graphics cards, this would absolutely wreck performance; few would want to pay a fortune for a graphics card with sub-standard performance, just because it was low latency.

      I do appreciate how easy it is just to do some bit-twiddling to manipulate inputs; the PLCs I work with still work like that. But they have less computing power than a modern calculator, and are not particularly versatile when it comes to swapping out parts, so they can get away with that.

      • BadCatWillum says:

        I doubt they’ve replaced the entire Linux USB stack. What I suspect is going on is that they have their proprietary UI layer receiving all input events, filtering things that would trigger the UI or emulation management functions, and then passing the rest on to the embedded C64 emulator.

    • kavika says:

      > Also…did anybody else use the Epyx 500XJ joystick? That thing was awesome!

      Yup! No other joystick was acceptable on the C64. Might be other decent options now, but I wouldn’t want to pay *that* much for the nostalgia.

  14. badmothergamer says:

    Well, this at least made me want to try surfing in California Games again for the first time in 30 years. Absolutely loved it on NES.

  15. Banana2000 says:

    M.U.L.E.

  16. Catterbatter says:

    It looks like Skyfire is trying to move the cursor up or left! Almost there, buddy.

  17. geldonyetich says:

    Yet another thing from my childhood ends up being a lot smaller than I remember.

    Seems like it’s a bit of a gimmick considering if I had a real interest in playing old C64 games I can always hunt down an emulator. But these days I don’t even make the time to play enough game from the present, let alone the past!

    I wonder how we could make this more approachable or marketable in the present day? Perhaps some kind of portable emulator that makes it playable on a smart watch. Just have to figure out how to get the control scheme to work.

  18. fabrulana says:

    True that, emulation… no keyboard … bad joystick. What were they thinking? I’ll just stick to emulators on PC thank you very much.

  19. StAUG says:

    At least that joystick has a cord. I got one of those retro Atari mini consoles a few years back and while the joysticks were wireless, they worked off an IR sensor like a TV remote. If the ‘front’ of the joystick body wasn’t kept directly pointed at the console itself they stopped working. I ended up binning it because of how hopeless it was to use.

  20. Bugste81 says:

    Fanstoy’s Jetfire. Very Cool.

  21. phlebas says:

    That looks a pretty decent lot of games it comes with – but no Jeff Minter?

  22. JaseyMitch says:

    Amstrad CPC 464 for me. Good times… between all the bullying and neglect that created an anxious mess of a 42 year old. Anyway! My love of computers and gaming was formed with the Amstrad and it’s a passion that’s stayed with me since. I remember buying all sorts of weird and random peripherals for it from DK Tronics, I think they were called. Speech synthesis, a very erratic ‘light pen’ for drawing direct to screen, some kind of blocky thing you plugged in to hack/cheat games. I’d have a stab at programming too, though never got beyond typing in stuff from magazines and not knowing how to debug. A wonderful refuge for child me.

  23. thekelvingreen says:

    I propose that all reviews on this site feature at least one gratuitous Transformer.

  24. DevDante says:

    “The official line is that a teeny-tiny keyboard is unfeasible on a beige brick that’s only 20cm wide, though that never stopped Blackberry or Psion.”

    Or ASUS, which made the 21cm wide laptop I’m comfortably using to write this comment.

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>