When I was around the age of three I was introduced by my brother and sister to a so-called ‘micro computer’ known as the Commodore 64. We’d spend hours trying to outdo each other on the amazing (at the time) on-screen version of Hang Man which also helped me to grasp the language known as English just that much better. I guess video games really can be educational.
Anyway, I’d spend hours on there playing games and generally just enjoying myself. A few years later my brother purchased a Sega Master System which introduced me to console gaming, and a Personal Computer which introduced me to DOS games and the like, but the humble C64 would always be my initial first leap into video games.
Now jump forward in time to when I was about 12 and my sister found the old system in her house and decided to give it to me. I played around with it for a while but quickly moved back to the Game Boy I had been bought as a present shortly before. If only I knew back then that a decade later I’d constantly snub the new fangled high definition generation of video games to retreat to a time when things were much simpler.
For the few of you who may have no idea what a ‘C64’ is I recommend that you visit this link and take a few minutes to read up on this Grandaddy of PC gaming.
Now, in celebration of the systems modern re-release I decided to dig out the old system to voice my quaint little memories into word form, which is what you’ve been reading for the past five paragraphs. I hadn’t seen the system for around ten years so it was like a coming home of sorts.
I don’t mean to sound lame but this moment was awesome. Opening the box to this thing was like the introduction to Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones reaches out for the Golden Idol…only I wasn’t then pursued by a giant round boulder of impending death shortly after.
As you can see I have the system itself with its handy little joysticks as well as the tape deck and a bunch of documentation. I’ll take a look at the tape deck in a later post (if it works that is, I remember it being hard to get along with last time I tried it) but for now lets focus on those wads of paper sitting there. The instruction manual isn’t very interesting but this one is:
Even as a superseded language, I still love Basic. I remember programming an animation of a colourful bouncing ball on screen as a child and I was thrilled. I’ll be giving the language another crack in a later post so I can surpass the basics of well, Basic!
As you can see, the package came with two data cassettes (which I’ll hopefully take a look at as I mentioned before) and what looks like a course book with included units and activities, much like what you’d find in a Tafe or University course and the like.
So here ends what has been my first in a planned three or four entries in this series on my memories of the Commodore 64. The next exciting ‘episode’ will be about the games so it’s bound to be much more interesting. I don’t quite know when I’ll write up the next one, but expect it in the coming months. I hope it brought back many of your own memories and maybe even given you the initiative to go dig out your own sacred first system to tinker around with and get those warm fuzzy nostalgia blasts.
This has been Michael Towns from Planet Retrospekt, happy gaming!