The Commodore 64 Turns 30

Games GeekMom

The Commodore 64 turns 30 this month! In January 1982, a state-of-the-art home computer made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show – the Commodore 64. The C64 housed less than a megabyte of memory, but boasted color graphics, perfect for little kids making their first journeys into computer gaming.

My twin sister and I were two such budding gamers. My father purchased the C64 to give himself a worthy chess opponent and teacher; after a lot of begging, my sister and I were allowed to have our turn as well.

We quickly learned how to navigate through the start-up screen and discovered the joys of computer gaming.

I remember loving games like Little Computer People, Archon, Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory — the list goes on and on. Although color graphics were newfangled technology at the time, our favorite games were the text-based adventure games Zork and Enchanter. Infocom was a pioneer of interactive fiction and these two games provided many hours of happiness as well as banging keys on the keyboard in frustration.

>go west
>You have been eaten by a grue.

Like GeekMom Sarah, I also have fond memories of playing Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the Commodore 64. I never did get off the Heart of Gold, though. Luckily many Commodore 64 games, including some of Infocom’s classics, are available online through emulators as well as iPhone apps. (I recommend the Frotz app if you’re a fan of interactive fiction.) It’s been almost 30 years, but I may give Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy another go…

My sister and I also learned beginner computer programming with BASIC on the C64, and she’s now a programmer by profession. I eventually turned my gaming into a career. The Commodore 64 may have started as a simple home computer, but it ended up playing a significant role in our lives. Happy 30th Birthday, C64!

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6 thoughts on “The Commodore 64 Turns 30

  1. I remember playing Zork on the Commodore 64 at my friend’s house. I thought it was the greatest game ever.

    Our first home computer was a Panasonic JR-200u that hooked up to the tv. You could program in Basic but the only way to save it was by tape. We had one game for it called “Joe Junkman” that was on tape. It took up to 45 minutes just to load it before playing and would often crash at the 40 minute load mark requiring us to start over.

  2. We had a commodore 64 all the way up until 1998 when my dad broke down and bought a Gateway 2000 for the family for Christmas.

    I had Ducktales: The Quest for Gold, and I loved that game… except, we didn’t have a color card, so everything was green and black, so I always lost the mini game against the mummy because I couldn’t figure out which dot was me and which was the mummy (it was supposed to be color coded)

  3. I remember those first Electronic Arts games…
    Seven Cities of Gold
    Racing Destruction Set, and

    Plus the first first person “shooter”…
    Ballblazer by Parker Brothers

    Good Times.

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