Commodore 64 Collectors Guide for Retro Junkies
Why Collect for the Commodore 64?
Because in my mind, it was the best 8-bit computer created, bar none.
The C64 was released to an eager public in 1982. It was, for its time, a powerful bit of kit, with arguably better graphics and sound than any other system available. Commodore went on to sell an estimated 12.5 to 17 million units, which does kind of make you wonder why they ended up bankrupt.
Somewhere in the region of 10,000 commercially available pieces of commercial software were released during its life-cycle, and even today there are some die hard famatics still supporting the format.
The hardware side is a whole other ballgame, so where does the budding retro gamer start his collection?
Lets start with the Hardware your will need. Obviously a C64 is going to be top of the list. I have a preference to the old beige bread bin style to be honest, as it's what I grew up with, but the newer Amiga lookalike may be a better bet for those who like more modern aesthetics!
First on your list for peripherals has to be a disc drive. Many great games were released in this format to avoid the long tape loading times (that's right kids, games also arrived on tapes back then). There are several options still available today,
- The original 1541, heavy and bulky, not a great choice due to temperamental latching .
- 1571 Best if going for a C128 due to extra features.
- 1541-II is reliable and easy to open up for a quick de-dust.
- Evesham Micro's Excelerator + Just as good as the factory items
Action Replay Cartidge
Loads of features, you can look around for cheat codes, copy files, use it as a fast loader, go for the latest version, number 6
A more hardcore choice where you can actually delve into the machine code. Awesome ability to backup just about any game.
Datel Sound Sampler
No better way to cheaply muck around with the sound output of your C64, capture sound then manipulate it however you wanted, just no way to save the output unfortunately.
Lets start with a shot list of easy to find games, that are also some of the most playable games ever divised.
- IK+ Sequel to International Karate, this introduced a third combatant.Amazingly fluid animation and combat with no slowdown, this is a masterpiece of the genre.
- Paradriod A ship filled with psychotic robots, and you, one little droid that cantemporarily take over other droids. Smooth scrolling, ad tense engaginggameplay make this a classic that deserves a remake!
- Bubble Bobble Bub and Bob in this amazing arcade game conversion. Great music and fanatically playable. Two player mode is a must!
- The Last Ninja Any of them! Play em all in order is my advice. Pseudo 3d isometric game play that was not all about the combat. Perhaps the 2nd had slightly better graphics and music, but they were all great.
- Impossible Mission "Another visitor. Stay a while, stay forever!" Speech in a game show just how advanced the C64 was. Fiendish puzzles and pixel perfect platforming fun.
- The Sentinel 10,000 levels! Kind of an early energy management game in 3d, and exceptionally hard to explain! Your character cannot actually move, but can absorb things in the levels to gain energy and gain access to places, then send an inert empty husk to a location, and transfer its consciousness to it.
- Anything by Jeff Minter 'Nuff said!
The best thing about collection anything is that warm feeling you get when you hit the mother lode, when you finally track down that elusive hard to find special that none of your mates have!
Ebay of course it great for this, so here are a few to look out for.
- The Great Giana sisters. A great Super Mario Bros clone that got itself pulled from the shelves under legal threat, not that hard to find, but a great start to a collection and it plays great.
- Double Dragon. The cartridge version was never sold in the shops, and to be honest does not have rave reviews by those who have it, it is however very collectible.
- Gauntlet 3. Rave reviews, but never released, which is a shame.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much to collect here, so what are you waiting for, get going !
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