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Retro Friday: The Commodore 64


I'm sure you guys have heard this old fogey get all misty-eyed as he rattled on and on about the good old days of the Commodore 64 enough times that you're sick of it. Gosh golly, but those were some swell times. The comfortable caress of the joysticks, the texture of the cassettes, the whirring tones of games loading... all those wonderful memories.

I'm not really sure how the C64 actually ended up in our house, but my earliest memory of it is my dad, older brother and me setting it up with an old security monitor my dad salvaged from his job. The first game we ever got to run on it was Manic Miner, a game which would be credited as one of the starting points of the platform genre. Even though the game was god-awful, it set me on the long path of gamerhood. A week or so after that Sunday morning my brother and I would begin our tradition of pooling together all of our Eid money and making the pilgrimage to the Dion store in Maynard Mall, Wynberg to buy games. It was fantastic

It's not lost on me, that a good portion of those memories are rose-tinted with nostalgia, but ask anyone that was there and they will confirm that the C64 was the PS4 of its day. the best graphics, the best sound and obviously the best games. In it's day, it even had a rival system in the form of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, to fuel fanboy flamewars. We didn't call them that, of course, but I do remember having heated arguments on the school playground with some idiots claiming their Spectrum was better than my C64.


As much fun as I had with the C64, there's no denying that it hasn't aged all that well. Loading games via cassette remains one of the few things about the C64 that I not upset to see the back of. It's seems ludicrous now to think that, back in the day, if you wanted to play a game there was a literal 10-30 minute wait from when you actually switched on the C64 to when you could actually start playing. Think of if it like having to install a PC game every time you wanted to play. And to add insult to injury, read/write errors weren't that uncommon, so it wasn't that unusual to find a game freeze up during a loading screen.

There's not way to really share what it was like to be a C64 owner, but fortunately, I found this excellent insert from the BBC, that was put together for the C64's 30th Anniversary. If you were a C64 owner, then it's likely that the following video with be a bit of nostalgia trip for you. If features Commodore enthusiast, Mat Allen,  as he takes his mostly functional C64 to some local UK schools to see what today's modern kids make of the classic micro-computer. The results are, unsurprising, to say the least. Check it out.

Oh, and as a Retro Friday bonus in celebration of Cape Town's massive victory in the North and South Inter-regionals, here's Black Ops II as if it was made in the 16-bit era, but we had today's internet infrastructure. Go Cape Town!


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