Issue 39, April 2010
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image



This is an issue about Nostalgia, I have a feeling about 90% of people will hate this issue, but here goes nothing as they say.

Being Nostalgic is something Commodore users especially seem good at. Although I am not saying things were better when I was a young lad, I do still remember my first Commodore Machines as if it was yesterday. I know some will be reading and thinking that xyz systems were far better but this issue is a Nostalgic look at Commodore and Commodore machines and not other systems.

My first Vic 20 and then My First Commodore 64 and My First Amiga 500, for some reason these events have stuck in my mind more vividly then any other event I care to remember or even can remember! Was it because it marked a landmark in computing history, or was it just as a child of a certain age things seem to get embedded and stay with you as you grow to adulthood. I know when I meet new people at parties or work, they will see the C= logo or here someone say “ahhh Commodore I had one of those, what’s the game where you have to .....” But for me I couldn’t let those memories Fade, I kept my Vic20 and my Commodore 64 and still played games on them as my systems progressed through the Commodore Amiga range. I even purchased a Commodore 64 emulator for the Amiga that had a hardware device. The device plugged into the Parallel port of the Amiga and on the other end was a serial connector for a Commodore disk drive or printer. Sadly the Emulation was never as good as the real hardware. I used to secretly have my Commodore machines set up and sneak into the spare room to play on them. I had no idea that a strong internet community and indeed a network of Commodore clubs still existed, all carrying on with the Commodore hardware all “keeping the faith”

Was Commodore better than any other manufacturer of 8-bit computer systems?


was the Commodore marketing department just too good?

My thoughts are that it was a real historic and monumental event, to own a computer and talk about it at school was something only the elite kids could do. Most kids at school had never seen a computer, and to play real arcade quality games at home was an event in itself. Typing in the programmes from the back of magazine and books was a battle, I am sure the magazines deliberately messed up the listings just so you had to buy the next 2 issues for the amendments and bug fix routines. Some magazines though started carrying tapes on the front so you could load and play demos and even full games, without the typing.

My head as a school kid was awash with the names of Tony Crowther, Jeff minter, Ben Daglish, Rob Hubbard, etc. insert you favourite here

Of course something else was beginning to take shape at this time, BBS or bulletin boards these let user chat and even upload and download files, sadly most contained cracked versions of commercial software. Although I was a big fan of some of the demos, and how the heck could you run a program while loading another from tape or disk while not interrupting the execution of the currently running one!

As a child programming the Commodore became obsessive, although sadly I did find I wasn’t entirely any good at it. I was however gaining skills I could later use, and being a “computer user” or “expert” opened many Job interviews and openings, mainly because most people had never used a computer and were scared of blowing the thing up or looking too stupid.

Psychedelia (Jeff Minter)

As my Commodore machines were upgraded new things came along to excite me, the C64 with its SID synthesiser chip and amazing music demos and then the GEOS operating system, the Amiga with its Workbench and Sound tracker applications just blew me away. I heard a Soundtracker version of a chart song and was speechless for hours while I dissected every sample to see how this thing could be put together and of course the colour bars as samples played was amazing. Something else that is a pure favourite of mine is Jeff minters Psychedelia, turning off the lights and the brightness of the TV up, the putting on some headphones and playing on this superb piece of software, I had many dreams of these coloured shapes floating in space (still do) absolutely superb software, I suspect no one else could have created such a product or let alone market something that was so unique.

Maybe I am just a romantic but I still like to load games from tape, the suspense of the loading (and of course thinking will it actually work) then the screen flickers into life and a picture is formed, the SID chip sparks up with digital tones and after around 3 minutes the game is loaded, (sometimes its 20 with just a blank screen to watch). I think after waiting so long and filled with anticipation, this makes you play the game more, of course we can load from SD cards and hard disks now almost in the blink of an eye. However I still bring out the datasette and load games from tape. (I know you are sat there with head in hand saying NO NO what an idiot, load it from disk) My answer is NO NO back at you buddy!

I still remember the purchase from Boots (chemist) in the UK. an FM expander keyboard, taking the device home and plugging it all in then loading the Telstar demo, even now listening to the Telstar demo takes me back to my childhood, I suppose at the time the FM synthesis was something of an amazement and the slot machine was an interesting way of randomly programming FM sounds without getting your hands dirty. In childhood everything is possible, everything is exciting, Nothing is too strange to be realised. At that time to a young child everything was new and inventive.

Will the youth of today look back on there console with nostalgia (possibly) but I don’t think it will be the same fondness we have for Commodore or the truly imaginative hardware and software from the time. Lets not also forget the countless individuals keeping the Commodore torch burning and alive with new games, demos that cause you to stare at the screen thinking “how the heck is this possible” demos that seem to overcome limitations of the hardware, and of course the breed of hardware hackers making new devices for Commodore machines to use IDE hard disk and load applications from SD cards, and way too many other hardware add-ons, who would have thought it was possible to load Tape games from an SD card, gone are the errors because it’s a digital copy and loads first time, with the other plus points of tape, I am a lover of these devices. The countless individuals who will help out a fellow user, and not forgetting the elite users who mock everyone else; for trying and keeping the dream alive. Remember some people are indeed “perfect” in every way.

I realise that there are nostalgic Spectrum user and Atari users and that is fine, we all have preferences whether that’s our first machine or the machine we first wrote hello world on or because our parents bought it for Christmas, I don’t think Mine is better than yours as every machine has strengths and weaknesses but “I Adore my 64!”

"I Adore My 64" American TV Advert

I remember my fist ever hands on at a console an Atari 2600 my first use of a machine a zx81 these are but minor memories to the greatest feeling of Nostalgia for me that is Commodore! Even now when I see the C= logo or the Commodore name I am drawn into see what is there in the hope of some truly initiative and creative hardware.

I fully respect other systems and while I am interested in developments of other hardware and software, really the only thing that interests me is Commodore. I know there have bee some exciting developments on other platforms and I am sure they are as passionate about there machines as I am about Commodore.

Computing is history and Memories are made from history (something like that anyway, sound almost like some form of quote, if it isn’t I am copyrighting it for my own use)

Comments suggestions all are welcome please email me.

So here is another issue of Commodore Free remember to print it out and put it under the budgie cage to catch the droppings on.


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Readers Comments

Subject: Commodore 16 programming Book
Sender: John Fielding

Hi Nigel,

I am just checking if the new issue Of Commodore Free magazine was out, when I had an idea you might like.

I'm looking for an old programming book for the Commodore16. The book is called “An Introduction to BASIC Part 2 (two)” by Prof. Andrew Colin, Commodore, I deduce as part1 says 1984 that part2 will be the same or soon after.

part one came with the machine, though this got thrown out when the machine bust. I I managed to get another copy through eBay, and have been searching ever since. I got part2 for the C64 (published: 1983), and have been looking for p1 in the same way.

I always wanted the sequel, but was too young to be taken seriously by the attendant who would've had to order it.

Please help with the book if you can, I'm getting tired of looking.

Best Wishes

Well I don’t have a copy. Anyone else help out

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Nostalgic About Commodore

Commodore USA, LLC

Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo, Intel® CoreTM 2 Quad @ 1333MHz FSB LGA775 up to 95W. Intel® Pentium® D Processors with Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel® Celeron® D processor, support from 1.3GHz ~ 3.4GHz 1333MHz System Bus. Supporting 9x, 5x & 6x series processors with EM64T.

Intel G31 Express Chipset

2xDDR2 SDRAM sockets, populated up to 4GB. Supports PC2-5300 667MHz & PC2- 6400 800MHz.

Integrated Serial ATA controller facilitates high-speed transfers at up to 3Gbps for each of the four ports. Allows easier hard drive upgrades and expansion for new SATA optical drives. 2x SATA2 ports.

Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3100. 3D enhancements enable greater flexibility and scalability and improved realism with support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 2.0, OpenGL 1.4. Intel® Graphics also support the highest levels of the Windows 7 Aero experience. Stunning media, incredible visuals and new 3D capabilities. For business users, Intel validates the chipset, processor, graphics and software stack to provide a well-tested platform with support for Microsoft* Windows 7,Vista, Windows* XP, Linux (top distributions) and OS/2 (SciTech). Dynamic Video Memory Technology (DVMT) 3.0 supports up to 289MB of Shared Video Memory;
system memory is allocated where it is needed dynamically. Supports built-in Dual/Multi-Monitor windows displays using LCD monitor & DVI external display.

1 Gigabit (GbE) Fast Ethernet, using Realtek RTL 8168B/8111C.

Optional removable 2.5" hard disk drive.

Realtek AL888 High Definition Audio enables premium Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and six channels of enhanced sound quality and delivers advanced features such as multiple audio streams and jack re-tasking. Audio is fully compliant with Azalia 1.0 spec. Two built-in 2.5watt stereo speakers with three audio jacks for Audio Out, Line-in, and Microphone.

4 USB 2.0 Ports with transfer rate up to 480Mbps, 2 RS-232 Serial Ports, 1 Parallel Port supporting SPP/EPP/ECP, 1 PS/2 mouse port, 1 POS or PS/2keyboard port, 1 dual link DVI.

Built-in Synaptic two-button touch-pad with vertical and horizontal scroll function.

One slim type Optical Drive, CDRW-DVD, or DVD+/-RW.

One Mini PCI
One Mini PCI-e

AMI Flash BIOS supports ACPI, API, DMI, Plug & Play, and security password. Supports booting from HDD, PXE, LAN, CD-ROM, and ANY USB device.

EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) is a revolutionary standard to manage the booting process of next-generation PCs in a modular, interactive way. EFI standards allow the user to boot multiple operating systems, with a fully graphical interface and instant recognition of the peripherals.

Full-Size Enhanced Windows keyboard, detachable keytop matrix.

Commodore USA, LLC
954-344-6000 voice
954-493-8058 fax
954-667-3344 GV


I tried contacting the company via email to request a reprint of the material but never received a reply. Not really Commodore related apart from the use of the name Commodore USA, so someone in the company must be nostalgic

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New Version: D64Lister 1.7

A new Version of the D64Lister is available. The most important changes since 16.06.08 are:

The D64Lister is a Windows Tool with the following features:

If you find some bugs or something else don’t hesitate to mail me.

The D64Lister can be found at:

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CCS64 Updated

CCS64 - A Commodore 64 Emulator - By Per Håkan Sundell

CCS64 emulates briefly the following things of an old C64 system:

The main Commodore 64 console, with the keyboard and peripherals like joysticks, paddles and mouse. It emulates both the different systems sold in Europe as well as the USA.

Up to four 1541 disk-drives are emulated (which means that you use special files on your PC, as a replacement for the old 5 1/4 inch floppy disks)

The C2N cassette recorder is also emulated (which means the you use special files on your PC, as a replacement for the old magnetic tapes)

Many of the old cartridges (that means special hardware expansions for the C64, which were plugged in at the back of the computer) are also emulated.

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BASIC Game Competition

What: A game in BASIC V2, no assembler, doing system calls is OK, though.

Whereby: Has to run on a normal C64 with a normal 1541 and a joystick.

How big: One File, save games and user supplied levels are OK. (I.e. you don’t need to save games inside your program. )

What as to accompany: One screenshot, a PRG of the game, the source code and a simple manual as a normal text file.


The game mustn’t be entered with the screen editor, you can use the full line range. Here again the command line parameters for pet cat:

petcat -w2 -o tokenizedprogram.prg theprogram.bas
petcat tokenizedprogram.prg > theprogram.bas

If you use artificial editing (self-made BASIC compactor) of the source code you have to give the tool chain with your entry, or at least give a download location. (Creative using of cross assemblers, etc...)

No compilers, no crunchers, the game must be LIST-able. Of course bugs in the LIST routine with clever string usage are taken heed of.

With sending an entry you give me the right to post your entire on Forum64, CSDb and other places where it can be obtained freely.

Judges: The users of this board.

Give me a day to sort trough the entries, I will post them here with a forum based vote. One vote per user.

Deadline: 1st of June 2010 - 11 o clock pm

Please send your games to me before the deadline, best would be some hours before.

I wont take complaints about your energy provider, your granny/hamster/whoever or your ISP who just now cuts your line while uploading.

Prizes: Just fame unless someone wants to donate something ;-)

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Amiga Zorro RAMBoard is pleased to announce ZorRAM, a new modern memory card for Zorro 3 Amiga computers.

The new card will be supplied with 128MB of SDRAM memory as standard. It features a low profile Zorro card and has full Autoconfig support.

It will be available exclusively from the AmigaKit webstores within the next 6-8 weeks. Pricing will be announced shortly.

Project Development

During 2009, it became apparent that old Zorro 3 memory boards were scarce and consequently selling for over-inflated high prices in the second-user market. We approached our hardware partners E3B and Individual Computers with a brief to produce a modern day memory card for the A3000 / A4000 (T). After encountering many problems and employing E3B's expertise in the area of Zorro expansion development, the ZorRAM card was developed.

We would like to thank our hardware partners for the many months of development work put into this project. Amiga Computer Store

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Digital Talk 90

German language D64 Disk magazine

Computer Scene, Discussion, Hall of Fame, Games-corner, Out of C64 and the Musicbox

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TAP Clean

TAPClean is a Commodore tape preservation / restoration tool. It will check, repair, and remaster Commodore 64 and VIC 20 TAP or DC2N DMP files (tape images). Tap Clean can be used on a Windows, BSD, Mac OS X and Linux computers.

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Competition Pro Now in Clear Option

Which home computer-veteran does not remember still this striking joystick? Of the Competition Per essential accessories were in the 80s for the Commodore calculators popular at that time C64 and Amiga. Now there is a new edition.

From house Jöllenbeck comes the speed link Competition per USB which is connected as the name already indicates via USB port to PCs. Externally the joystick has barely changed. Indeed, was the clear version in which the device seems now new, at that time a rarity the standard design was black-red.

Two big ones as well as two smaller buttons exist, in addition, there is a long-term fire-badge. The fitted with springs metal kink itself registers movements in eight directions. Links and Rechtshänder can use the joystick equally. In addition, big robustness is promised.

A CD-ROM with 99 C64 plays is also provided,

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Commodore Plus/4 Spreadsheet

The Plus4 spreadsheet, SVS-Calc, has now been improved to V1.5 with many new improvements and bugfixes. To read more about it and to download it, go to

Released by: Fantastic Italian Research Enterprise (FIRE)
Created by: Z., Valentino (SVS)

Notes: Spreadsheet with intuitive interface, powerful calculation engine, graphics generator, colour themes, and much more

There is even a video of it on YouTube; go to

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I have also been pointed to this Commodore 64 spreadsheet by a user


The C64 is a very nice computer for solving trivial problems concerning calculation by yourself. Simply turn on the machine and write a little BASIC program for your needs. But if you want to provide some comfortable data editing options, the programming effort will grow considerably, and C64 BASIC does not support such a task very well. This was, why I started thinking about a program written in machine language for data management, in combination with free programmable BASIC functions for data processing. I searched for existing solutions, but couldn't find anything of this kind.

As a hobby programmer, I write programs mainly for my own use. But this one could be useful for other C64 users too. Well, there are not much around, and few of them will have a field of application for such a program. Anyway, it is here, it is free, and if you see a benefit, then download and use it!

C64 Datatool is proper for inputting, editing and printing any kind of data in tabular form. In the simplest way of use, the program will store lists of words or numbers. Data processing (e.g. spreadsheet analysis, statistics or data conversion) can be programmed in BASIC. In the most advanced way of use, Datatool is nothing but a particular environment for your own BASIC programs.

For manuals and other docs concerning C64 BASIC please consult Project 64 Home page or iDOC=

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Return Issue 2

Issue 2 of the 8-bit German magazine Return is available to download

Return magazine is filled with 8-bit news Atari, Sinclair, Commodore, Amstrad, Nintendo etc. 52 pages of packed 8-bit literature the magazine is published 4 times a year

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VIC20 Twitter Client

Utilising TweetVER (short for Tweeting from a Vintage ComputER), the people at the PC Museum will be accessing Twitter from this VIC-20

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New Version of SD2IEC Released

New release, available at

To purchase the SD2IEC card drive for the Commodore, go to

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PET Alive! - April 24th to May 2nd, 2010!-April-24th-to-May-2nd-2010

Where: on the Vintage Computer Forums in the Commodore Forum.

When: April 24th to May 2nd, 2010

Who: ALL Commodore PET owners (and everyone else!)

What?: A 10-day event to celebrate the Commodore PET, in particular OUR Commodore PETs. It will be all about showing off funky PETs to one another....and you don't need to be a PET owner to join in the fun!

Here’s how it will work. During the period listed above, a special events thread will be created. In that thread, Commodore PET owners will be encouraged to upload pictures or video of their PETS for comment, and to generally show them off. You can dress them up, show them doing something, or just let others see what you have! It will be the perfect excuse to drag that old PET out of the garage, clean it up and see if it goes!

Even dead or sick PETS can be shown. If your PET falls into this category, our PET Vets (resident PET experts) may be able to suggest what the problem could be in a special PET Hospital thread associated with the event week!

There is more. veteran vintage enthusiast Earl Evans, who many will know from his Retrobits Podcast, will be checking the uploads. At the end of the event Earl will announce awards for the best photos or videos in the following categories:

1. Best DRESSED PET (adorned with props, perhaps showing a theme)

2. Best BEHAVED PET (A PET doing something...perhaps running a program, showing some graphics, operating some equipment etc.)

3. Best GROOMED PET (The cleanest PET which is in tip-top shape externally)

4. Most NEGLECTED PET (Something we should call the Pet protection agencies about!)

These categories are not necessarily exclusive and one display could collect several of the awards. Earl is even likely to show off his own machine (removed from the competition of course).

Anything that is a PET qualifies. This means models from the original 2001 to the SuperPET or their CBM equivalents.

Don't own a PET? No worries!...enjoy the show and partipate with comments and feedback on the images and videos.

A few other details...

It should be lots of fun! Any questions please ask them in this events thread.

All PETs need exercise now and again, so wake yours up, clean it up and get it ready for the show!

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Commodore Nostalgia

By Commodore Free

I can’t remember the exact year I became interested in Computers, but remember it was via the local newsagent and of course sci-fi on TV I would often browse the shelves of the local news establishment and pick out magazine that looked interesting, mainly based on the pictures and strange incantations otherwise known as “listings”.

Meanwhile a school friend was given a zx81 for his birthday along with a thermal printer and later upgraded to a 16k ram pack. (I am sure he didn’t really want this as he seems to have little interest in the machine or playing with it when I called) I remember I wasn’t very impressed with the system especially the Ram pack that kept falling off and crashing the machine, also the keyboard and entry system did nothing for me. I managed to get the hang of some rudimentary Basic Commands and managed some sort of text adventure game and of course to print my name all over the screen “HELLO WORLD”. I cant tell you any games we played but I do remember one trying to get a budgie into a cage and a maze game looked very interesting but I don’t think it was Monster maze.

Meanwhile back in school

The School had purchased 2 computers, some form of Commodore PETS, they locked them up in “the computer room” and I remember you could only use the machines if you were in set 1 for maths. I presume everyone else was deemed too thick to operate them. My zx81 owning fried was by some strange coincidence in “set one” for maths and so had access to the machines, however I was in set 3 (for thick people) so couldn’t use the machines. My friend showed me homework about computers and although I found the questions and indeed the answers easy he struggled. So we traded, I did his assignments and homework he did my Technical drawing homework. (oh don’t tell anyone about that) for some reason as soon as I was given a piece of paper for Technical drawing it would become horribly marked without me even putting pen to paper anyway.....

My friend was very reluctant to play on his zx81 I presume he felt I was more clever, didn’t like being shown up. I looked through various magazines and found an article about the “Vic20” produced by the typewriter firm Commodore, this was a Colour machine with sound! The pictures in the magazine looked amazing. So; I asked my Father and mother for a machine to improve my maths and English (cough splutter....). I presume everyone used this ploy to con parents into thinking there children would loose out of they didn’t have a computer, however due to the cost my plan failed.


I had a type writer and I typed in one or more of the basic listings each and every day, I did this for months, my father watched this and soon we were going to a friends who owned a mythical “VIC20”. When we arrived the machine was playing Blitz Bomber, we played this for some time, everyone was excited especially when the little man cam out the plane to wave! when you landed the plane. my dads friend said he had the game for a week and couldn’t land so I must be good at it. Then we looked at music and a text writer program. Loading games from tape was slow but do you know I didn’t really notice, what with the excitement about the VIC and the BUZZING in my head. Sound Colour graphics heck this is far superior to the ZX81.

I know my Father tried to palm me off with some form of games console, and I remember about this time looking at the amazing Atari 200 at another friend’s houses, but it didn’t have a keyboard and you couldn’t connect a printer so although the games were good it was dismissed by me. I also remember my Father was ready to part with money for an intelivison console, but I finally talked him out of this in the shop (much to the disgust of the salesman).


Christmas came to our house and I had just one present that year a VIC 20 and a cassette player. I remember loading “Blue meaniez from outer space” as if it was yesterday, it confused me why the meaniez stopped when the lasers zapped. I tried my hand at some of the Basic listings in the book on Christmas day and managed to get HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a rudimentary tune (something like jingle bells) playing (this took me all day. I know my Mother and Father were impressed and seemed glad the system was purchased.

The Vic stayed with me for a few years until the pull of the Commodore 64 was too much. One of my friends had a BBC micro and we played Elite and defender both looked amazing; but something still pulled me towards the Commodore 64. The BBC micro was used in an introductory look at computing by the BBC, so my parents were sort of pushing this unit. I refused and wanted a C64, again at Christmas some years later I received a C64 and another dataset drive. A moth later for my birthday I received a Floppy disk drive and I saved up my pennies for a 1084 colour monitor. Although the Vic was amazing the Sound from the Commodore 64 just blew me away. I remember visiting many shops and watching demos on the Commodore 64, something about the sound from this machine was special.


My Father started to see potential in the Commodore 64 especially with the various word processors and spreadsheet packages I was using. He bought me a dot matrix printer and we went to a Computer show in London to see what was new. It took a good 5 hours drive from our house to get to the exhibition centre. The exhibition was amazing, mainly because it was the first I had attended and we became fixed on the GEOS stand a full GUI system for the Commodore 64! you could change fonts and font size make corrections absolutely amazing, my father bought the package after a 10 minute demo. it was Geos version 1, and we used this for some months then went to version 2. Geos did irk me somewhat that the main boot disk couldn’t be copied. The system as a whole was amazing though (but slow with just one drive) it didn’t seem to matter how long documents took to create I was in a world of my own, although spellchecking things wasn’t such a thrill (still isn’t really).


I remember seeing an advert for the amazing Amiga so it was a natural progression to this machine. I had the Commodore 64 hooked up to a couple of MIDI sound devices and could create music using various music packages of the time. I also had a sound sampler and a drum machine for the Commodore 64 hence the immediate acceptance into a local band to do electronic drum and synthesiser programming; the group also had a Rolland Juno keyboard, and I fell in love with this. As you can imagine we were quite poor, although the experience was fun, we did a few gigs then split up after arguments about money and the usual (I do more work than you).


I decided I wanted to work with computers somehow but didn’t know what, the school I attended suggested I think of another job as I was too poor at maths. Because I had no formal computer training no one would take me on as a programmer (probably a wise decision) or computer sales person. I was always good at joinery/carpentry so reluctantly I went into this line of work doing a 4 year apprenticeship and then working for a local company.

Now back to the Amiga

this was a 21st birthday present and my introduction to sound trackers, you could recreate a full record with just sampling a few drum breaks and hooks and vocals. Also with me working I purchased yet another floppy drive and a commodore 64 emulator for the Amiga! Yes I was still using the Commodore 64 with the Amiga. I could trigger samples from the C64 using software on the Amiga, this I figured was pretty cool. And so did some members of a local band.

Fast forward and the Amiga 4000 appeared I had done some music work on a tape for friends mainly experimental music, I thought it was a fair attempt but they insisted me to commercially produce the tapes and to sell them. I had 500 copies manufactured by a professionally duplication agency. The tapes appeared on local radio and within a month had sold out! I produced another 500 and most of these sold within the next month. This gave me enough funds with some savings to purchase an Amiga 4000 outright. I contacted a local PC specialist; as no one else could help me, he said he had tracked down a machine and or company, and could deliver it (at the time I didn’t realise it was SDL or Silica who distributed Commodore in the UK.) he wanted to see why it was so expensive and so special, so he delivered the machine by hand.

I set the machine up and we played some games, he seemed to be suitably impressed; I suggested he invest in an Amiga 1200 if it was just for games. That year I was made redundant from the factory I worked at having served over 7 years as a joiner for a fabricated building manufacturer. I saw an advert for Silica shops so applied along with pushing into various other pc related shops in the hope I could get a job by blagging as I realised this could be my last chance into the pc and games industry.

To my credit I had successfully set up a 286 for my father with a laser printer and upgraded it to a 386 then later a 486 and finally self built a Pentium. I did have some skills and it seemed this was enough for most shops! I was given a job as a PC technician at a local shop. I also went for an assessment in Manchester for Silica Shops they seemed impressed I knew so much about the Amiga machines and Commodore in general, I sat for an hour talking about Zorro slots, poor guy I didn’t give him a chance. I was told I would get the job! but formality meant a second interview and again bored the HR director with my verbal Commodore evangelisms. I was thinking about the pc technicians’ job should I accept this as a stopgap; but just as I was thinking it all over: the phone rang it was Silica’s HR “you have the job and start on xyz day at 9am.” Cool no brainer then

After working at silica for a few months I was promoted to assistant manager, later as the manager left I was employed as a stand in manager. My Midi equipment grew as I worked on PC machines fixing windows problems and freeing enough base memory to play games for friends! I later produced a boot disk we gave away in the Shop for pc user to help them play games, with options for No ems Ems memory etc. Windows 95 arrived and that meant more friends needed help upgrading etc, aren’t PCs great as a source of income. Some news arrived about Commodore being in trouble and they then produced the Amiga 600 but we couldn’t work out why the machine was released.


During Christmas periods the amount of Amiga 1200 we sold was unreal, I remember some guy coming in and asking for 6 machines. Silica were as I said THE importer of Commodore for the UK, they would re-bundling machines and create the various packs in house to ship out to other shops. Then the cd32 arrived, an interesting concept and I remember that Commodore; who were again ahead of time had released the CDTV that no one under-stood. I think changing the name of the CDTV to MEDIA Centre would have been a better move (with hindsight) My problem with the Amiga 4000 was it was a bodge, all the promises of better chipset then the 1200 and a DSP for sound were of course cut. As it turned out these were down to lack of funds from a now failing Commodore. I ended up with a 1200 in a big box with zorro cards and a faster processor that caused many games problems, ah well that’s progress.

Dr. T's KCS Amiga: Level II V3.5
Quality music software for the Commodore Amiga has been thin on the ground, but now there's at least one sequencer that can stand comparison to leading ST software. Paul Overaa checks out version 3.5 of Dr. T's KCS level II.

I used Drt`s KCS level 3.5 to compose music, and still think this is the best piece of software I have ever seen (although it did have some bugs and the screen size was fixed arghhhhhh) I went on a one day course to learn how to use Drt`s and was disappointed the programming language part of the software was only described briefly. The gent taking the course said it was covered in another course costing over 1 thousand pounds! I declined attending this due to money problems (like finding or justifying the price) this was the most powerful part of the program. I never got on with Music X as many others seemed to, If it was me or if it was just not intuitive I am unsure so it got dumped maybe it was too intuitive! Around this time I took part in a COBOL programming course, this taught me one important thing, that is “I am not a natural programmer” The cd32 was interesting especially if sold with the FMV module allowing Full screen feature films to be viewed, again this could be done on the pc with a realmagic add-on card but the results were blurry and VERY expensive.

I talked in the Silica shop to a cable TV guy he looked at the pc and said we cant use that! then I showed him the cd32 and he was hooked; we can use this to play a looping adverts when we are off air its cheep and the quality is excellent. I sold 32 units in one sale! Although finding the FMV carts proved impossible, I managed to sell only 3 and had to have him look elsewhere for people with stock! Later as the machines sales dwindled Silica created the Critical Zone pack for the CD32, Silica had an in-house competition to think of the packs name. Meanwhile in the shops we had to assemble the poly boxes and games before selling them to customers, it was a great deal for the customer though.

Silica lasted for some years until Commodore went bust to everyone’s shock! we had a crisis meeting and were told of a manager buy out from David Trammel it didn’t happen! and Escom purchased the rights to the Amiga, didn’t know what it was or how to market it then went bust. Later Gateway bought the rights and didn’t know what they had so the machine slowly disappeared, and as this was our main selling item contact so Silica was in trouble, they dabbled with PCs and own brand systems but Commodore was THE main seller for Silica.

I left and went to work as a manager at various shops, later moving back to construction for my current employer I was employed as a pc technician and after some traumatic exams passed as an MCSE (Microsoft certified Systems Engineer) in windows 2000 having missed NT4 because the exams retired before I passed them all DOH! I passed an upgrade exam to Windows 2003 and am still studying windows 2008.

My Commodore Amiga is now sadly sat on a desk never powered up, the Commodore 64 still is used but I lost the way with the Amiga, after it fragmented into various operating systems and hardware it became for me too complex to follow. I always thought I was on my own with the Commodore 64! but sat on a works training course during lunch and I used a web browser and in some inspired twitching of hands typed “commodore 64” I don’t know why but I did! Of course he number of hits received was unbelievable this was around 1999, people are still using the machines! I found and met Allan Bairstow and Andrew Fisher then Shaun Bebbington, and the brilliant Jason Kelk (TMR) amongst others like Robert Bernardo and I joined the Fresno users group amazingly the machine was still alive, as Commodore scene magazine faded I carried on with Commodore Free and helped setup the with the first meeting at my house.

Commodore for me has many memories, its not just nostalgia, these machines hadn’t been available before so our generation were sort of pioneers. We were doing things no one else had done before. I know everyone loves there childhood but this is different somehow. Now I have 2 Pristine Commodore 64 units boxed with games 1 has NEVER opened! sat in the attic waiting for my son to ask about Commodore and computers, I would love him to become a Commodore user but who knows, he owns a DTV unit and plays pole position so there is a chance.

I remember Chris Snowden of demoing the plus4 at a recent meeting, I had dismissed the c=16 and plus4 units but to be honest now I have to have a plus4 the machine can do some amazing things, pity it was overpriced and incorrectly advertised by Commodore.

Commodore Dead? What do you mean!

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First Computer Nostalgia

Why I Like The Commodore

By John Fielden

I remember I was 8 or 9. Leading up to Christmas 1982/3. Before that I hadn't really noticed computers much. Apart from The Junior school proudly showing off it's BBC Micro. I say showing off as it seemed rare, if ever that any-one besides the teachers got to use it. In fact if memory serves it seemed to spend its life flashed in front of students without being used but moved out for others use, or moved in for storage only. Nice school!

To that point I didn't think much of computers, not much hope of getting one so I never bothered to dream about it, or in fact understand what they were; except glorified calculators and a means to play games that could be educational as the headmaster was keen to point out. (I genuinely hope he learned a lot from his experiences!) One of the class mates used to talk enthusiastically of his commodore 64. One thing I remember was a cousin, whom one day I visited had Frogger on his C64. I was rubbish by his practised standard, but instantly smitten. He soon turned it off to talk and be sociable. And there was this lingering wish to keep playing. I don't remember much else of the visit apart from some experiment with 3D glasses that had no effect on me due to astigmatism (A spatial impediment of the eye.)

It was a rare treat, a one off due to the families other commitments etc. A chain of events occurred that helped me to forget all about that impossible dream. Well almost. An aunt had holdings where we lived. And threatened to come home for good one day. Meantime being something of a curious kid, and perhaps out of boredom saw fit to sneak open some of the holdings once home alone. From a background philosophy of If you have nothing then nothing can be stolen. To a new material paradise world of treat yourself whether you can use it or not. I unwrapped a ghetto-blaster and spent hours of fun listening to the radio. Until inevitably found out when said aunt came home and noticed things out of place. Of course I was the first and last and only to be suspected. And of course was chided & derided heavily -and constantly thereafter. Branded bad for life and with no hope of reprieve! (there are undercurrents to this very day!) I was to live out my days waiting for any opportunity to listen to the radio in glorious stereo FM! To make things worse a friend of my mum's helping with her cubs project, unwittingly decided to be kind and pass on to me her son's cast offs. I got tapes of all the favourite Saturday night viewing of the time, with little books to read as you heard. And was the ancient little mono tape player with its crackly volume control enough?...Nope! So more trouble. And they say 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned'. It might in this case be true for the fury of a woman taking out all her anger at 'misspent' adventures with men projected where it's safe to at any given opportunity though must be far worse. After all had the woman in question been more nurturing she might've encouraged a child to explore the emerging technological world. No there was a deeper motive to the midwives hatred. I won't dwell on it or try to analyse it here. Suffice to say that in the build up to that Yule tide. When my Dad asked "What do you want for Christmas, son?"

A "tape recorder, please" was pretty soon out of my lips. Only to be drowned out by those who seemed to take it upon themselves to talk for me completely uninvited, only to hear "He wants a radio alarm" like my mum had which was on the list. The question was asked "Which?"
I asked Dad for the tape recorder, thinking of the ghetto-blaster.

Well Christmas finally came full of days and weeks of Grandma's "Isn't it exciting!". When I woke up Christmas morning, ushered downstairs to the living room where I saw a present in the shape of a ghettoblaster, and opened my own Commodore 16 computer. I was amazed, awestruck. And I don't remember much else except wanting to try the tapes that came with it. And was encouraged to read the books that came with it by Dad who since said that he wasn't going to let me be left behind as all the other kids had computers. Thank You Dad, very much!

We were later upset that the C16 games weren't compatible with C64 machines and vice-versa. But this didn't prevent the beginnings of learning programming from happening, in fact it enabled it for longer. And while by the time I got to the end of part 1 of An Introduction to BASIC, the recommended part 2 was out of print (I still haven't tracked it down, though I found one for the C64). The love of computer programming lives on and has been exercised by the excellent commodore-free magazine. My skills so far progressing with each new topic covered. And providing its own rewarding challenges. As I hope is also true for every-one following the articles. Even my comprehension of the intro part1 has greatly improved. Expect to see an odd program based on themes from these.

Challenges along the way included; initially only having one television and no monitor. A headmaster who seemed vindicated that my computer had been confiscated after he'd hit me for being unable to stop giggling with a mate in class. And throwing the parental notification letter away forgetting it was parents evening that night. My mum fussed that she'd been unprepared. But I look back thinking maybe better that than her stressing what she might say all night before going. Also games, as they took away budget for books. Although I had no idea where to get these or their importance in advancing learning. Growing up; football took precedence.

At school, even on the rare occasion in the final year when I got a go on the Beeb. And with some excitement as the educational games looked interesting. The conflicting keyboard always brought my usage to a premature end. The Beeb's break key or Reset, being where the Ins Del or Delete key was on my C16. With very unsympathetic teachers whom having to rely on the head to reload the program. Having been put with some-one not skilled in appropriate typing, my turn was lost while the Headmaster was called to fix it, but the so and so whose mistake I'd been eager to correct got another go! Needless to say no cross reference in programming commands is given to that box of rusty old bolts!

When things progressed to senior. The BBC seemed to die somewhat and Spectrum owners seemed to wage war with mainly the C64. Obviously seeing no threat from the C16, some-one half heartedly tried to compare it to the old ZX. But the real contest was with the 128's (x2 or x3). I was almost part of the Commodore club but of no use in the raging arguments about the new game for which platform provided the best playability, sound and graphics capabilities. In all those years, I only saw the commodore rivalled once in graphics by an "Amstrad", which was heavily suspected to be one of the new 16 bit models like an Atari ST. I forget the game in question.

Having nearly been part of a club (albeit unofficial & unregistered). The draw of peer pressure had me wishing to be a fully fledged member. By the time another cousin was ready to sell on his C64. It was because he was ready to upgrade; To an ST., as it happens. And of course, so was every-one else! ...That is an ST.: Or an Amiga, of course! And by the time I got my Amiga these peers had pretty much left the picture. Now it seems more of a case of which brand is the best with PCs and Macs covering, for the most part, different things, as far as I can tell.

Commodore 16

The first games I played were from the complimentary pack included in the box. A tape of four games, as well as two tapes to try to demonstrate the programming capabilities. These would've been better had they included a write up to show the user what was going on. I found my mind boggling at the site of the long listings scrolling up the screen. Full of numbers, POKES & PEEKS and DATA statements that I had no chance of understanding. (I'm still exploring the PEEKS & POKES).

Back to the games then.

In no particular order. A Chess game for beginners which we couldn't beat without backtracking. And then it took some doing. We surpassed it eventually learning that it gave up on losing "his" Queen!

Rolf Harris Picture Builder with two examples of what could be achieved if you happen to be Leonardo Divinchi! None of us were artistic but still, for a time it had a nice novelty value for playing around, and what must've looked like "toddler-art" or something.

Moving on we looked at a rather complicated and strange looking game to the newcomer called XZAP. A shoot em up, as the name suggests, with strange patterns loosely resembling maze like caverns. With all sorts of alien creatures that you had to use all your cunning and sharp reflexes to keep away from while trying to clear the screen of other said aliens. These were mainly shapes from the keyset, but often the shape or its density changed and bullets would pass through or bounce off depending on the alien. My Dad and I had much fun teaming up. With him concentrating on firing and myself controlling the movements of the little cannon shaped ship. It was hilarious when I expected him to fire on something and he didn't, or when he fired expecting me to attack something when I went a different way to avoid something else.

The final game in the set was Punchy. A Platform type, based on The sea side Punch and Judy shows. The way to do it was to get across the screen as the policeman to try to save Judy from Mr. Punch. The so and so would throw custard pies and such that you either had to jump over, or avoid jumping into and not get hit. Despite such things as navigating over a fortress, or trying to land on a magic carpet to get across a canyon. Very Arabian Knights. It took many hours, over many days and weeks to complete this game. But I did it, with my Dad's encouragement. Unfortunately, the anti-climax was realising you just go back to the beginning. We wanted theme Music, A victory tune with a note of congratulations on screen, fireworks. The Policeman maybe handcuffing Mr. Punch and putting him in a vehicle to be taken away. At least before starting again. "That's the way to do it!". I since found the game is also on the C64. I played it through an emulator as with the C16 version. And believe it or not, found The C16 version to be better! Although it did come out after the C64, so the programmers, I think, would have opportunity to improve the design. The sound is better too despite the glories of SID.

When the four games became played. And the BASIC manuals were a bit tedious for a youngster with no-one to go to when Dad was away, and things became too hard to understand -even for him, a maths expert (common speak). Grandma, Mum would say "Hey! It's no good asking me." And we'd never heard of clubs. In fact no-one understood that it was important to buy more programming books to progress with it. So programming was to take a back seat for awhile having limited comprehension.. Though there were some achievements along the way. I remember feeling chuffed to bits when my Dad was impressed that I'd programmed a rendition of The Z-cars theme by ear. From a tape that had movie themes on. Though saved to tape, it is long gone. Probably part of some-ones second hand collection. And the music tapes? Some idiot put them on a windowsill, and the rain got in so they warped. But I'll never forget the look of sheer delight on my Dad's face when I showed him my achievement. The program itself wouldn't go anywhere as that's all it did. Rigid to that one task of producing sound.

Another special memory comes to mind of being helped along by a visitor. He engineered for a rental company where my uncle was a sales rep. The Uncle having kindly forgone commission on the sale to give us a good TV deal. So on occasion when it broke, Roy was sent round. And as there was nothing on TV in the day time.(So, what's new?) the sixteen would be set up with said telly being used to destruction by it.

We had actually met before at a church bazaar where he was helping to raise funds. Having set up his computer, he was charging for it's use. I remember playing Space Invaders. At which point I seemed to lose any interest for what the rest of the family were doing. Or for what else was there for that matter. I remember, we had a discussion about SOUND. And that the chip for sound in the C64 is more advanced than the C16. And the Amiga was therefore further advanced still. Even though these were still in their infancy!

Do you know how it feels to put something down, like a book. Only to come back later to find it has vanished? I had been trying to learn Random Numbers. I was particularly stuck because I had little idea of the DIMension statement to store the numbers in. I'd given up to play Pacmania. Which is still the hardest version of PacMan that I've ever played. The red Ghost is faster than you and comes straight for you, while the others work to block you in.

Well, the TV broke, D.E.R. were called and The Master appeared! I say this because it was almost like The Karate Kid film where the old Master sees the boy in trouble and decides to try to help him. Having a memory like a sieve, I needed reminding that we'd met before. This set me off about my current plight. He kindly taught me how to generate a list of random numbers for the pools. The list produced 11 numbers. His demonstration continued. Now those numbers didn't repeat but he said if you go on long enough they will. Several attempts, still no repeated number. Pointing out that the ratio of 'chosen numbers' to 'pool to choose from' meant the odds of a repeat happening are quite remote. So we tinkered with the program and it proved true. Changing the program allowed me to see it in more detail. If memory serves, Having shown me how to, he deleted it and left me to work out how to stop the repeat numbers. Needless to say I forgot. Oddly enough the TV soon broke again. And thankfully The Master showed up again.

I told him, I'd got nowhere. Once the TV. was fixed he asked me to demonstrate what I'd tried. Announced he liked my thinking. And was kind enough to show me the right answer. I think at this point my mum got cross that he wasn't working on the TV. like he was paid to do. I wish she'd have seen that he was earning more than wages could give him by imparting his computer knowledge. He vanished after that. But I must Thank him, his generous, and gently enthusiastic manner and his ability to communicate the joy that computer programming can bring. Not least in keeping me off the streets a bit longer with something productive to show at the end.

Roy, if you're reading this. I Thank You very much for the kindness you showed me in that short time. And so besides a special mention for my Dad whose saving up and going without his beloved beer meant I actually got a computer, this article, including much of the programming series for The C16 is dedicated to you.


The Commodore 64 looked like it had been repaired along its way to me. And did well to last as long as it did. Still it didn't quite reach my 18th where I was to receive a life assurance maturity payout. Programming had long since gone by the by as the POKE numbers in the manual were printed wrong. And it still hadn't been twigged that many books make light work-or is it hands? In this case it is the same thing! I remember giving up and playing Ghostbusters, The Double on being introduced by one of my no good lay about "mates" of the time. Became addictive once I showed my Dad one Sunday. At one point he bought a new C64 from Sale of The Century in the local paper. Just to play The Double!!! He later sold it without warning to his workmate. I wish he'd given it to me as mine didn't last much longer. I do remember having to write to Summit Software for a copy. I asked if the copy protection could be removed as the characters were too small to read, detracting from the actual game. It was sent along with a nice letter thanking me for my interest and feedback. Clearly a fellow football fan. Well, Dad took it. I didn't get much say, he and Mum being divorced, but allowed round Sundays to visit the computer! He gave it back announcing he'd sold his computer. words come to mind that I can't print!)

The Amiga

Having gauged the market, researching "heavily"' that is listening to a schoolmate babble on about his, and his older bothers experiences, as well as wanting to keep things commodore. On maturity of policy I soon became a proud owner of a brand new A1200 from the local store. The attendants face changed from dubious suspicion to shock when I produced the £300 asking price in cash. Getting it home much to my dismay no BASIC package!

I found Mansell, racing game OK. but limited. I was disappointed when the driving tutor didn't actually speak. Finding it impossible to read the instructions and follow the track at the same time. Trolls, which I barely played. I still had a b/w telly. Having long since been prevented from using the main one -so as to stop having to call out the repair man. So, the next investment was colour, with teletext which was a first for that house. Add-ons stopped after that. It is a shame but piracy reared its ugly head. I now think that had I been successful in my search to find a programming program that worked, and lets not forget the books to with it! I wouldn't be looking back to a misspent youth. I decided to buy those games deemed worthy. And my rare couple of visits to said pirates was spent being discouraged from programming by their club going friend. Though I was given their copy from an A500 which didn't work on my set up. Nor did I have the books. I got magazines which managed to help put me off the alternatives out there. Along with people saying "It's not proper BASIC". Such as Blitz, and AMOS. There did exist a proper BASIC with a much wished for Compiler but that didn't come to my attention until recently. Where the internet proved its value for getting those otherwise impossible to find items.

I still have The1200, a bit old now, and warn with a cheap 3.5ins drive. I remember being shouted at by the pirate club goer, who said "You'll never need that amount of disk space" -some 500mb+ He was right about that one. Though I heard that he kept having to delete things, and was upgrading his 40megs. He soon went his separate way. The mail order firm was a mixed bag. Having to buy at least one item of a certain price per issue meant I would go to the store less. I did buy magazines such as Amiga Format, CU Amiga etc. Even getting a short letter published in one of them. Oddly, about piracy. We'd complained to each other that the cost of these things is quite high, when you don't know what you're getting, and try before you buy with demos might be a way forward. But I've long since lost my appetite for games, and regard them a waste of my time! Having tried one or two and finding the whole experience even more off putting than it used to be. I hate buying something only to find that I will have to keep forking out to make the thing work. so I just don't have anything to do with any of it now.

...Except the internet, where I've bought books on programming, found emulators for all of the above! As far as programming goes I had got Devpac assembler through mail order, even got the odd book!, still didn't understand it though. and it got shelved. Back to BASIC and I first found GFA, though a stockist pointed out the compiler is only available to download, which being of limited abilities I found too much messing about, couldn't do it. Thankfully, recently I found a very good second hand BASIC package with much wished for compiler. "HiSoft BASIC", (probably also available on the net!), is everything I ever wanted! My dream came true, or true-ish at long last.

Games most remembered:

Star Trader, Berks trilogy, Petals of doom, Spectipede, Pacmania, Big Mac, The Last Ninja

The Double, Ghostbusters, loads of Football management games, Outrun

Civilization, UFO Enemy Unknown, Cannon Fodder, Railroad Tycoon (P, *later found on eBay), Frontier Elite2 (reached Captain, became Elite, no criminal records, Much cheating! Realised there were no new missions so gave up on it), More management games like SWOS, & Championship Manager93/4, Premier Manager2, Pinball Fantasies.


I hope you enjoyed reading how my love of the Commodore came about. And hope you are enjoying the programming and nostalgia.

Happy Programming
John Fielden.

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8-Bit Memory Lane

By Peter (Badders) Badrick


An 11 year old boy, who goes by the name of Peter is pretending to be asleep. It’s a little after 1am, December 25th 1984. His parents went to bed about half an hour ago, and he’s just letting them get to sleep before the foraging begins.

We pan the camera around his dark bedroom, switch on the night vision light and watch as Peter reaches down to the bottom of the bed. His hand closes over a lump. Peter is grinning.

Jump forwards an hour. Peter has decided it’s late enough to get up. He’s been through his stocking, right down to the fruit and nuts that are always at the bottom. He’s read his new book as best he could in the dim light coming through the gap in the curtains. The snoring has started from across the hall, so now is the time.

He slips out of bed and winces as something falls to the floor. The snoring continues. He lets out a breath and creeps to the bedroom door, slowly turns the handle and peeps out onto the landing. There’s his Dad, waiting for him. Sprung! His Dad smiles and tells him to have fun, but keep quiet. Peter’s gone before he can finish!!

Downstairs, we can see the small lamp in the corner of the room has been left on, and there is something on the coffee table. Peter gasps as he realises what it is. Oh boy, a Commodore 64! Not a Spectrum, but a REAL computer. Real keys too, not rubber blobs. This is the best Christmas EVER! (Well, this year at least). He sits on the couch in front of the computer. There’s the computer, a joystick, 6 games and a tape deck. There’s a note on the top of the tape deck. He gets up to read the note.

Good morning Peter, happy Christmas. I bet it’s not even 3am! Turn on the TV, then the computer. When it says READY, press SHIFT RUN/STOP and wait.

He follows the instructions to the letter. PRESS PLAY ON TAPE appears on the screen. Cool. He presses play and after a short while FOUND “XMAS MESSAGE” is displayed. A short time later, the READY prompt is showing again and the flashing cursor is waiting for input. He types RUN and presses return.


WOW, this is great!

After watching this for a few minutes, Peter turns the computer off and changes the tape for a 64 Supersoft game called Xerons. SHIFT RUN/STOP, PRESS PLAY ON TAPE.

Peter (Badders) Badrick.

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Nostalgic Computer Past

By Chris Syntichakis

From the childhood I had mania about electronics, my dad is marine engineer and was involved with electronics projects. Around 80s I started to read about computers on various electronics magazines, I found them interested as there were a lot of projects that 'married' electronics and computers.

That time I got a used ZX81 (had a faulty PSU, but I managed to fix it..), but later stopped working. Then I decided to upgrade from the ZX81 to a better system...

I got a Plus/4 from Italy, my biggest mistake that time, there was no software (I was living in Greece) except some educational programs, some text adventures (mainly for C16) and some crappy games like 'Street Olympics'. The only good thing about this machine was the BASIC, I liked type-ins from magazines and I started to make my own, like mathematics-related (e.g. matrix solvers) or electronics related (like resistor codes).. sometimes, I tried to convert BASIC programs from type-ins for other machines (but in vain...)

After around one year I upgraded to a C64, as this has more software (and warez) heh good ol' times we had nice copy parties there.

But my C64 did not last so long, as I fell in love with the Amiga... A friend of mine received an Amiga 1000. I remember I went back to home, after visited my friend and saw the 'boing demo', the poor C64 was like a piece of crap in comparison to the Amiga.. That was my last time with 8bit C='s. Amiga was expensive, so I got an Atari ST.

Some years passed, without my C64... I changed a lot of machines, an 286 running Xenix, Archimedes 3000/5000, Amiga 500/600/1200, Sun SPARCstation, SGI O2, but I always had the 'nostalgia' of the 8bit machines esp. the C64.

Every time I got a new system/pda/mobile I was wondering if there is a C64 emulator for this, If there was C64 emulator I was trying to find the sources of the emulators (vice or frodo).

I still remember I got a copy of the Solaris developing package from my work and had to hack the system ID of my Sun, in order to 'cheat' the 'licence manager', as I wanted to compile the *latest* version of Vice C64 for my Sun LX.

I only managed to buy a real C64, after I got the c-one. I though that machine would provide me with real C= dose, but that time was under heavy development and a big disappointment for me.

I got 'stuck' with the Commodore machines, I cannot say I don't enjoy my other systems too (including my Spectrums), perhaps because they were my first advanced computer.

For the story, the zx81 is still alive! It was for years into a cupboard, as I though it was completely dead. The problem was the RF modulator, the signal is too weak to be handled with 'modern' TV sets.

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By Commodore Free

I suppose we should raise the question why are we nostalgic to Commodore, why do some of us get so angry when someone says my XYZ is better then your Commodore because it has ZZZZZ

I question myself many times why it is I preferred Commodore to the Spectrum, the Dragon 32, the Oric or any other number of 8-bit systems. I suppose I was subconsciously drugged by the marketing department of Commodore, although the press seemed to be all over the Vic20 and the colour graphics and real typewriter look and feel meant to me it was a winner over the Spectrum.

The Commodore 64 won me over firstly because I already had a Vic20 and it looked the same (physically) but the sound processor and hardware sprites seemed to be something special, I wasn’t technically aware why this was; only that it sounded better then any other 8-bit system and some of the games looked bright and colourful!

Would I have made the same choice now if these machines were lined up side by side and I had the benefit of hindsight; I have asked this myself a number of times, I know some spectrum games were better and never released on the Commodore 64 same for the Amstrad and Oric etc. The BBC micro had a superb version of defender and I am still wowed when playing this version. Even tanks on the Atari 2600 seemed better than the Commodore version, however I would have still picked the C64. I am not saying mine is better than yours but the SID sound to me is special, the colour pallet of the C64 while not perfect is well thought out and immediately noticeable when you see a screen shot you realise it’s a C64

Nostalgia can mean a number of things to a number of people, it’s a childhood look back with rose tinted glasses for me, and I have no shame admitting that, yes some games on other systems were better some coin op conversions were poor on the C64 and yes it had problems with the slow tape drive (not to mention the expense) and a proprietary tape unit and slowwwww loading times, (well until speed loaders came out.) I played Elite on the BBC and never liked any other version! the C64`s conversion was slow and flickery and quite poor.

Sitting with the family for tea, nights over at grandparents getting away with murder and stopping up all night, these are all nostalgic memories, fondness, my only problem with Commodore was the Amiga 4000 this machine should have been so much more, and I wish now I purchased my friends 3000 instead of a new 4000, or had at least re read some of the reviews of the launch.

Did Commodore get it right all the time

NO! many times they failed and fudged systems due to time restraints or expense, that’s down to the management of the company, but when I see the Commodore logo I am drawn to whatever it is to find out more.

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I Don't Often Feel Nostalgia

Okay Nigel,

I don't often feel nostalgia about Commodore computers; it's difficult to do when you use them so regularly, however I'll answer those questions for you:

My first machine...

was actually a Texas TI99/4a, although I don't have many solid memories of it. This would have been around 1982 I suppose. A few years down the line, we got a Commodore 64, with datasette, joysticks and a load of games. I was amazed that a game could be loaded whilst playing music, and that games could speak without any hardware add-ons. The first game I remember playing was Park Patrol, which was great we also had SOS, Delta, Alf in the Colour Caves, Arcade Classics and Beech Head II to start with. I suppose the cries of "Medic" might make me feel nostalgic every now and then. Superb

Why I use Commodore...

This is simple: because they're true personal computers. I find modern-days PCs rather more impersonal to be honest, with the world seemingly obsessed by how fast this processor is, or how many cores it has, or how much data the thing can throw around the screen. Impressive yes, but very impersonal.

As for what Commodore means to me...



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8 Bit Memory

By Charles J. Gutman

It was the summer of 1985 and it was a “kickin’ summer!” The girls were all out in the pool in their bikini’s, the dudes were drinking their cokes and all of us were eating our ice creams. I was in between 10th and 11th grades so I really had to make this summer good as it was for all intents and purposes, my last as I knew summer school was looming for the rest of the way in order for me to graduate.

Now during this time I met this guy that lived a few houses down the street through another guy and you know how strange it is when you meet someone through someone else and you establish a friendship with the new person but somehow never see the other person again for whatever reason? Life is funny that way.

Anyways, we played his Atari throughout most of the summer months; and near the end he pulled out this blue box that he had slid underneath his bed that said “COMMODORE 64” on it. It was the coolest thing that I’d had seen up to that point; because although I’ve seen computers on TV, and have read and heard things about many of them, THIS ONE PLUGGED DIRECTLY INTO THE BACK OF HIS TV SET!!!! It was awesome! So he plugged and prodded away at the keyboard and showed me some neat tricks that you could do by changing colours and fooling around with the sprites and making different sounds like cannons and machine guns, and lasers. It was the coolest thing I’d ever witnessed up to that point. I had to have one!

So I went home and told my mother about it and she wasn’t impressed. In fact, she showed no concern whatsoever for it to my dismay! So when Christmas rolled around and they asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told them that I wanted a Commodore 64 Computer! Naturally I DID GET a computer (if that’s what they like to call it), but it was only 4 inches wide, a notepad looking thing with soft press buttons on it, and it said “TIMEX SINCLAIR 1000” on it and it also came with a RAM expansion kit.

Unfortunately since

A) I knew nothing about how to use this thing,
B) I saw little to no potential in it’s uses, and
C) it looked LIKE A DOORSTOP, I just threw it in the closet and never even bothered to even open it up to fool around with the hunk of junk!

My Commodore dream was still left unfulfilled <SIGH>.

In 1987 I joined the U.S. Navy and served for 8 years as a sailor with an honourable discharge and in my second year in 1989 we went off sailing the south Pacific on a thing called “WESTPAC 89.” I was on the U.S.S. Ranger and I had a supervisor named BM2 Nedefski and we were talking one night in his office while he was on his Commodore 128D and I told him about how I wanted one of those, but that my parents were too cheap and didn’t care what I wanted so I never got it; and to my shock and surprise his response was, “ Funny thing that we are talking about this now as I was just getting ready to put it up for sale because I’m planning on purchasing a new Amiga 500 anyways so why don’t I just save myself the time and money of putting it in the paper for sale and just sell it to you directly?”

Boy Oh Boy was I thrilled! At last my love has come along. I bought the 128D and did eventually lose it due to a divorce, but was able to regain it again in the future and now I got a “SUPER128D (Metal Casing)!” So my encouragement to each one of you today is to stay hopeful as just because a dream is delayed does not mean that it will not eventually come to pass if your patience endures.

Remain Blessed,
Charles J. Gutman
*** 8-Bit Designs***

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