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Commodore 64 Computer at 38. A History.

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Commodore 64 from the front

Created by Robert Yannes and team, the Commodore 64 was a game changer in the home computer market.

History of Commodore

Commodore had started in 1958 as a typewriter repair company. After adding digital calculators and watches to their output, they began creating home computers in 1977. In January 1981, after the success of their VIC-20 computer Commodore began research and development into a next generation games console.

Aggressive Marketing

In its early days, the Commodore 64 managed to see off a wide range of competition with an aggressive marketing campaign. One tactic was advertising itself at around half the price of its main competitors. Due to aggressive pricing in its early days, Commodore was considered to have contributed to the North American video game crash of 1983. Commodore offered a deal to consumers whereby they could get a $100 rebate if they traded in an old computer system when buying a C64. Consequently, Timex and Texas instruments withdrew from the market by the end of the year due to this tactic.

Commodore 64 Side views
View of the Commodore 64 ports

With its competitors all but gone and the price of hardware falling, the Commodore 64 became even more popular. Software producers began creating even more ambitious games and packages, citing its highly advanced SID soundchip and colour palette as reasons for it being a primary market.

Games Galore

One beauty of the Commodore 64 was due to the reason that it could plug into an RF TV signal. Consquently, allowing it to compete with both home computers and games consoles. As such, it attacked two major markets with one machine. By bringing in arcade hits such as Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid and Pac Man alongside more home made efforts from fresh developers, the C64 developed a vast catalogue with games ranging from bargain basement to top of the range movie tie ins.

Runaway Success

In fact, Commodore itself could not even halt its success. More expensive, newer systems such as the Commodore 128 were introduced. However consumers stuck with the 64. By 1988 the growth of the Commodore 64 computer had declined, though games and software would still be produced. In fact, it would not be until 1995 that the production of the C64 would cease when Commodore filed for bankruptcy.

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Commodore 64 load screen

It still holds the record as the best selling computer of all time with over 15 million units sold globally. At one point it was reportedly selling as many as 25,000 units a month.

It’s popularity was recently reignited with the release of the C64 mini, a scaled down version of the system featuring classic games which you can view here.

Happy Birthday C64! What were your C64 memories? Let us know in the comments below


This article could not have been written without the following…

https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/C64 – For the images

https://www.c64.com/

https://pcmuseum.ca/Brochures/WOCProgram.pdf

https://web.archive.org/web/20120227063845/http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Commodore/Commodore.Commodore64.1982.102646264.pdf

https://books.google.hu/books?id=itUDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA141&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

https://archive.org/stream/AmigaFormatIssue059199405FuturePublishingGB300dpi/Amiga_Format_Issue_059__1994_05__Future_Publishing__GB__300dpi_#page/n21/mode/2up

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