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The 64 is a Modern Take on the Classic Commodore 64

The world's best-selling computer is looking to make a comeback in a new Indiegogo campaign.

News by Jaz Rignall, .

In an Indiegogo campaign launched today, British hardware developer Retro Games Ltd is looking to bring back the venerable Commodore 64 computer as both a desktop system and a handheld console.

According to the $150,000 campaign's notes, "The 64 is an exciting and respectful re-imagining of the original home computer, the Commodore C64. Developed using the latest (old) technology, the highly passionate team behind The 64 is excited to bring you not only a classic desktop version of The 64 but also a brand new handheld version, meaning classic gaming on the go."

What's being offered is a newly-designed micro that's a smaller and more compact version of the world's best-selling computer. Looking at the scale model, there are many similarities in terms of the original design. The basic shape echoes the lines of the classic computer, and the keyboard and function buttons look like they could have well been lifted from an original machine. It's only when you compare The 64 next to an actual Commodore 64 that the major differences can be seen – mostly in the size and shape of the system.

Under the hood of The 64 is where there are major changes, however. Retro Games Ltd says, "The 64 consoles feature all new core technology based around the classic 64 architecture and is being designed and developed by a team of expert developers, many of whom have already created the technology behind several other classic retro consoles."

This new PCB essentially delivers original Commodore 64 functionality, such as a cartridge slot, with modern niceties like an HDMI out, a pair of USB ports, audio jack, and an SD card slot. The latter ensures that players will be able to download Commodore 64 games from the web and use them on the machine – something that Retro Games Ltd says will be very simple to do.

While The 64 console is visually very reminiscent of the original machine, the companion The 64 SX hand-held system is all-new. The concept renders are quite elegant, and show a system with a Micro-HDMI out and a Micro-USB external port. No other details have been released, however, so the size and resolution of the screen, battery life, and indeed the actual dimensions of the hand-held remain a mystery.

Both The 64 console and hand-held will come preloaded with "a selection of classic games and also some brand new content which will be exclusive to this launch version of The 64 computer console." I'm definitely interested in knowing what those games are, but no details have been announced as of yet. However, considering that The 64 project is being headed up by Darren Melbourne, who brought the popular C64DTV C64-in-a-joystick to market, I'm hoping that a similar selection of games that were featured in that novel system – including many classics from Epyx and Hewson – will also be included in The 64.

The cost of the machines is $150 for The 64 console, and $170 for the hand-held, with a variety of different packages available for those who might be interested in giving a system a try. If you want more information, all the details can be found here.

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Comments 23

  • Avatar for Lane #1 Lane A year ago
    Hopefully the sound will be improved this time around... the SID emulation on the C64DTV sounded like crap.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #2 mobichan A year ago
    I'm a bit confused here. Is this just a repackaging of C64 guts with outputs for modern displays? A new micro computer with the spirit of the C64 in terms of limitations and fostering creative communities? Or something else?

    If it is simply giving people a C64 on the go or in a smaller box, then I don't see how it can succeed when you can pretty much emulate a C64 in any handheld device.

    If it is trying to make a new platform for hobbyists to make older style games, count me in.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #3 Captain-Gonru A year ago
    @Lane Some of these retro consoles have had mixed results in the sound department, too. The Colecovision one is okay, but the Genesis one is a bit, off. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's like a half note, or maybe half key, too low or something. I suppose this would be closer to the Colecovision, technologically speaking, so that may bode well.
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  • Avatar for paul_haine #4 paul_haine A year ago
    The Spectrum was better.
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #5 Monkey-Tamer A year ago
    Good on them but I don't see a huge market for this machine.
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  • Avatar for VWYFromAnothaPlanet #6 VWYFromAnothaPlanet A year ago
    Is this on HeadTalker? I think I saw it there earlier. I am going to get this keyboard even if I have to eat top ramen for the next week! This is sick.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #7 SuperShinobi A year ago
    It's another emulator. I think a truly modern take on the C64 would be if someone made the effort of faithfully remaking some of the best C64 games in HD.Edited April 2016 by SuperShinobi
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  • Avatar for Uncompetative #8 Uncompetative A year ago


    I don't know about that price. I can buy one from eBay with original packaging.Edited April 2016 by Uncompetative
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #9 WiIIyTheAntelope A year ago
    $150/$170 is way too much to be charging for a single machine emulator box.

    Other than looking somewhat similar to the C64, there's no benefits to buying this vs. picking up a PSP for $25 and emulating a load of old systems.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #10 VotesForCows A year ago
    Sounds pricey. Will check it out though - curious to see if they're just tacitly encouraging videogame piracy, or if they have some other solution.

    Bit dodgy just having renders of the handheld at this stage. They should have at least one working prototype if they want people to have faith in them.
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  • Avatar for bullet656 #11 bullet656 A year ago
    Very interesting. I'll keep my expectations in check, but I'm very curious.

    Even if it turns out well, I doubt they'll have all the games I would want. I'd give almost anything to play well-emulated, portable versions of Space Taxi, Archon, Jumpman, M.U.L.E, Impossible Mission, Boulder Dash, Beach-Head, Summer Games, California Games, Winter Games, Commando, Ghostbusters, and the several dozen of other games that we used to have.
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  • Avatar for Bobbus74 #12 Bobbus74 A year ago
    I want it..
    But I want if for free!!!
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