102. 40 years of Commmodore 64 – Flashback, tracks from the past

Written by on 2022-08-21


What a computer! The legendary C64. In August of 2022, it celebrates 40 years of being the one computer we all remember fondly. That’s right, Commodore launched it in August of 1982. The same year as the war in the Falklands and Michael Jackson’s thriller.

DJ Daemon talks about the C64. The music is mostly fantastic remakes of old C64 game tunes.

The show:

00:00 ericade.radio – Time for Flashback, tracks from the past – today with another demo party top list
00:08 DJ Daemon speaks.
00:43 Liam the Lemming – Auf Wiedersehen Monty theme

07:04 DJ Daemon speaks: I got my C64 late in the game. The year was 1989 and I had a busload of cool games for it. But, those stories, we talked about. So let’s pick the machine apart without becoming too technical about it. But first, the history. 1982, the market was dominated by BBC Micro, Sinclair Spectrum ZX1 and the Dragon 32. Commodore had the fairly successful VIC-20. IBM rode high on the first PC, the IBM 5150. August 1982, Commodore launch the C64. The market would never look the same.
08:04 Galaxy of Amaze – Zamzara

13:31 DJ Daemon speaks: The brains of the C64 was the 6502 microprocessor. It was created by Commodore’s own chip company, MOS Technology. Clocked around 1 MHz, it may not have shone too bright compared to the competition. But it was efficient. So much, that in certain scenarios, it would be able to do the same work with less clock cycles than later competitors like Motorola. And Basic. It was just Basic, but still good enough to give you an included language to program the C64 – up front. Not unusual, but helpful.
14:18 Mark’t.d.k’knight – Spellbound

18:10 DJ Daemon speaks: A funny little note from a book about the C64, it noted that the names SID and VIC sounded like they belong to some gangsters from the 30s. SID was the sound chip and VIC handled all the graphics. About the graphics: you got 16 preset colors and resolutions up to 320 times 200. The memory was limited, so, it was not possible to map a color to every pixel in multicolor mode. I don’t have time to get technical, but the limitations where a challenge to the developers. One they knew how to master. So the graphics was stellar due to the inspired design of the VIC chip.
19:10 Ajax lemon – Monty on the run (Highgscore)

22:32 DJ Daemon speaks: Good CPU and nice graphics. What about the sound? Ok, this was 1982, so you could not record audio. Actually later on, the C64 could be taught to play 4 bit samples. But for intents and purposes, it was a true ADSR generator. Three voices could bring different preset waveforms like triangle, sawtooth and pulse and white noise. But one major thing set it apart: it could also switch waveforms on any and all channels on the fly. This is the big magic power of the SID chip. It made it play in its own division.
23:29 2t2m The M – Turbo Outrun 2018

26:17 DJ Daemon speaks: Commodore’s big success among many mistakes. But Commodore almost lost the game, because they only thought the C64 would be for businesses and companies. When the later C-model came out in 1986, the marketing was different. And I remember the Swedish ads that had gaming themes and relied on Epyx Summer, Winter, World and California games. But Commodore had launched the Amiga in 1985 and in 1987 the new Amiga 500 stole the show. At this time, the 8bit computer era was over.
27:12 Alex Menchi – Loopz Remix Credits

30:42 DJ Daemon speaks: This old classic computer, with its peculiar boxy design, which is the one we all remember. Yeah, it was meant to be shape the world. And it did! The demo scene sprung to life around it, to show the world what it could do. A good C64 demo must make you think “no, this can’t be. This is not possible to do on a C64”. The C64 composers, demo programmers and gamers grew up with one of the most interesting machines ever created.
31:26 Dreamfish – Ocean loader

35:34 DJ Daemon speaks: As we look back at the era, we must smile over how primitive the C64 really was. 64 kB of RAM. The machine broadcasting this show has 32 GB. That’s half a million more bytes. I’m just saying. 16 colors that you could choose, but not change. But still. And then there is the weird Commodore character sets, today known as “Petsci”. It was the emoji-maker of its day. With building blocks and hearts and what have you. Think of it like this: emojis express feelings. Petscii graphics can draw anything you like! But, it still mattered then and for many of us, it still does.
36:28 Makke – Ghosts ‘n Thrillers

39:44 DJ Daemon speaks.
40:21 ORiON – Spellbound (4.32)

44:52 DJ Daemon speaks.
45:28 SaxxonPike – After the War

48:47 DJ Daemon speaks.
49:13 Sixtus – One man

52:21 DJ Daemon speaks.
52:48 Steven iInnell – R-type

56:25 ericade.radio – With Swedish host and Retro-geek-quite-ordinaire Daemon behind the mike
56:34 The Hustler – One Man and His Droid

Credits:
Frida Katarina made the awesome SX-64 Petscii image.
Alex Handy from Oakland, Nmibia made the Jack Tramiel photo.


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