The Dinosaurs episode of This Developer’s Life struck a chord with me. Not because of Fortran or Dataflex although hearing about developers dealing with small memory constraints or attempts to convert an archaic piece of code into something shiny did make me grin stupidly.
No, there’s a bit about the Commodore 64 in there and some great SID chip music throughout the podcast. That sealed the deal for me! 🙂
The Commodore 65 was a prototype computer produced by Commodore between 1990 and 1991 to be an improved Commodore 64. I’ve hardly ever come across it online and never heard of it back in the day, but when Commodore was liquidated they sold the prototype machines. If you have one and are willing to part with it you could be in for a nice surprise!
This one on Ebay went for €17,827 last month. It’s not as if much can be done with it as it was never official released but I guess you can run it in C64 mode.
It’s a C64 version of Pong, developed on a real C64 with only a C2N datasette to save code. Back in the day I was lucky enough to have a 1541-II disk drive. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been working with a slow and unreliable cassette.
In the end he couldn’t transfer his game to a PC so he had to take screenshots of his game and OCR them, hand checking every byte. I did something similar about 20 years ago when I was tinkering with a C64 to Amiga cable and needed to somehow transfer a C64 programme from the Amiga to the C64 to do the transfer .. Painful.
That means there is now a gigantic collection of retro computing history on archive.org. There’s lots of stuff from the C64 to the Speccy, from the Apple Lisa to the TRS 80 there. I’m bowled over by the huge Commodore 64 collection and even found some tunes ex-Ozone member Merman created in the late 90’s. None of our demos there yet though.
Earlier this evening while listening to “I am the Walrus” by The Beatles my wife asked how I knew that song. She wasn’t familiar with it you see. I replied that I had heard it used in a Commodore 64 demo and then spent the next few minutes wracking my brains for the name of that demo.
Triad created Red Storm in 1992, it’s not the most technically sophisticated demo but it’s one of my favourite C64 demos ever. It has some nice effects but I really loved the Zoo TV inspired visuals and poetry. The music was great too, but I didn’t realise it was covers of Beatles music. Granted, it was done on a C64 SID chip so it has that 8 bit sound but it still sounds great. ‘Course, that might just be my nostalgic ears playing tricks on me.
Super Crate Box on the C64 is called Super Bread Box and looks impressively like the original game! The author of the remake, Paul Koller, was also responsible for a C64 version of VVVVVV I played a few years ago. In fact, after playing that version I went and bought the PC one!
Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” as played on a real Commodore 64. The song was digitized on an Amiga, downsampled to 4 bit audio and copied onto a 3.5″ inch disk that the Commodore 1581 drive could read from. The song data was streamed in realtime from the drive to the tiny 64Kb of memory in the computer and fed to the SID chip for our aural delight. I presume the screen has been blanked to save processing power, or the data for the sample gets dumped into screen memory.
This did require an Amiga with the Perfect Sound digitizer. I hooked up the CD player to the digitizer and then using a custom routine on the Amiga, my brother would convert the data to a 4 bit sample. Then we used a null modem cable and Novaterm with a cartridge port adapter to transfer the data to a 1581 floppy. Quite a bit of work went into this.
20 years ago I recorded my own voice onto a cassette saying the word “Ozone” (the name of my demogroup) and I figured out how to sample my voice using the Commodore cassette deck hooked up to the C64. I can’t remember now what memory register it used, I’ll have to search my disk images or examine a C64 memory map one of these days. The quality was terrible but if you knew what was being said you could make it out. It had to be kept short because I’d ran out of memory! I think I used it in the last part of my demo “Awareness of Reality”. (via)
The Commodore 64 is 30 years old this year and it went on sale in August 1982 so I think it’s about time I wished it a happy birthday. Back then I was messing on a Commodore Vic 20 (or more likely it was 1984 or so), then I had a Speccy and I didn’t get my hands on a C64 until 1989. It was already declining somewhat but it still had a few years of life left in it. Issue 50 of Zzap! 64 was the first issue of that famous magazine I owned. My brother and I bought it in Paul’s Street Shopping Centre! The newsagent is long gone but I have that issue around here somewhere ..
Matt Allen visited a primary school and a secondary school and asked kids there what they thought of the Commodore 64. I don’t think they were impressed by loading errors and long loading times. He probably should have brought a 1541 disk drive and an Action Replay cartridge!