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Author Topic: Commodore 64 Mini  (Read 1633 times)

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Grasshopper

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Commodore 64 Mini
« on: October 13, 2017, 03:41:43 pm »
I accidentally stumbled across this item whilst looking for stock of the SNES Classic.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Koch-International-RGL001-UK-HW-THEC64-Mini/dp/B0764BK6L1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507923172&sr=8-1&keywords=c64+mini

I have to say, from the pictures it does look very promising. I think there would definitely be strong demand for a C64 replica based on modern components, if they get the software right.

Admittedly the ad does have a whiff of vapourware about it, but the fact that they're advertising on Amazon does give me some confidence that this might actually be a real item.

I do however have some misgivings about the form factor they've chosen. In my opinion, they should either have built a full sized replica with a working keyboard (which I'd be all over), or just built the whole thing into a Jakks Pacific style joystick, and provided a few USB ports for users to add a keyboard and/or second joystick.
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Howard_Casto

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 05:41:44 pm »
You don't listen to the CU Podcast do you?  This thing is crap, you shouldn't buy one out of sheer principal.  Remember the full-sized "the C64" that was supposed to be released over a year ago?  It's the same guys.  They took the 100k they got via the indie gogo campaign and used it to make these instead of the full sized versions that their patrons wanted.  If and only if they make enough money off of these do they claim they will fulfill their obligations and actually make the full sized one... which, I might add, is better. 

Grasshopper

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2017, 02:42:50 pm »
Ah, OK. I didn't realise it was crowd funded.

I've just had a look on their indiegogo page and my level of scepticism has increased considerably. I'm seeing a lot of pretty CAD mockups, but not much of substance. That's a shame. I really like the concept but I'm not convinced these guys have the resources to do it justice.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." - Samuel Johnson

Grasshopper

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2018, 02:47:41 pm »
Well, to my surprise, they've actually pulled it off, and started selling the C64 Mini through online retailers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXXCj5kqPcM

I'm still waiting for some more genuine reviews before reaching a final judgement (most of the “reviews” I've seen so far are thinly disguised press releases). But from what I've seen so far, it does appear to be surprisingly good, particularly the front end. The units have a level of polish you wouldn't normally expect from a crown-funded product.

I still think they made a massive mistake with the form factor. But I hope they get away with it, because I'm really keen on getting a full sized version with a working keyboard.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." - Samuel Johnson

Howard_Casto

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 04:57:43 pm »
From what I've heard anyway (I'm not a huge c64 guy so I couldn't tell you) the main problem is the game selection.  According to the 8bit guy, only a small hand full of the games are games that he has heard of and among them only two or three are actually fun to play.  Also the whole deal with the keyboard being fake is ridiculous. 

That being said, this was dropped into my inbox the other day. 

https://hackaday.com/2018/03/28/emulating-a-complete-commodore-64/

It's an interesting project because the emulation takes advantage of the teensy's similar chipset.  For my money I say build one of these, get a cheap mechanical keyboard off of ebay/amazon and make a better c64 replica. Keep in mind that the pi also uses a similar chipset and it's a bit beefier (so it can handle other systems).  I'm not one to suggest that the diy route is necessarily better than the ready made product though, so your mileage will vary. 

knave

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2018, 01:30:59 pm »
I'd buy one. I have enough fond memories of my c64 that I'd have a lot of fun with it.

My favorites:
The Bards Tale (all three)
Ultima (series)
Spy Hunter
Mail Order Monsters
Legacy of the ancients
FA/18
Bootleg defender clone

I'm sure there was more...I have a box of c64 software in the garage but my computer fried after about 10 years and I don't know what happened to it. I might have the drive around somewhere.

My uncle has a fully working c64 that is gathering dust. I might ask for it someday.


Howard_Casto

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2018, 02:54:33 pm »
Well unless hacking has progressed further on the system you'll have a heck of a hard time playing those.  The way it's setup, you can load one, count-em one external game via sd card.  If you want to change games you'll have to go back to your pc and add another image, overwriting the new one.  I mean if you are a hardcore fan and yet somehow don't have a real c64 I guess I can see it. 

Vigo

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2018, 06:44:32 pm »
According to the 8bit guy, only a small hand full of the games are games that he has heard of and among them only two or three are actually fun to play.  Also the whole deal with the keyboard being fake is ridiculous. 


C64 is the one system I am dead serious about, and I agree with your assessment. But we are talking about a system with thousands of titles from hundreds of different manufacturers. There is no way to get a good mix to make it a satisfying system. I'd say there are at least 15 solid titles here, but it is also dipping into the Epyx pool for a number of them. They have been a standard on the past C64 machines.

Give it a real keyboard, get a satisfying SID chip substitute so it sounds great, Make it intentionally easy to dump roms onto like those sega handhelds, allow BT controllers, but also ports for original controllers, put some settings behind screen aspect ratios, make sure it can easily disk swap and controller port swap and you got yourself a winning system. I'd pay the price for the extra features and would use it as a go-to, even though I have a real c64 with a c64 monitor.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 06:46:12 pm by Vigo »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2018, 07:51:29 pm »
You know I hate those "Just use a Pi" people but in this case that might be the best option.  Get a decent mechanical keyboard and the Pi can probably fit inside it with room for some USB and 9 pin ports... then you'd have a really nice update in the spirit of the original system and wouldn't have to jump through hoops to add new games and do some of the trickier stuff you mentioned. 

Grasshopper

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2018, 09:14:05 pm »
Well unless hacking has progressed further on the system you'll have a heck of a hard time playing those.  The way it's setup, you can load one, count-em one external game via sd card.  If you want to change games you'll have to go back to your pc and add another image, overwriting the new one.  I mean if you are a hardcore fan and yet somehow don't have a real c64 I guess I can see it.

Well apparently, you can actually load 4 extra games onto the system by utilising the save states. But yes, it's pretty clunky at the moment.

But I'm not bothered about that. The developers have promised to provide the facility to add new games to the main menu along with artwork, etc. with a future firmware update. And even if they don't deliver, it should be trivial to hack the device.
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nitrogen_widget

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2018, 09:56:56 pm »
I'd buy one. I have enough fond memories of my c64 that I'd have a lot of fun with it.

My favorites:
The Bards Tale (all three)
Ultima (series)
Spy Hunter
Mail Order Monsters
Legacy of the ancients
FA/18
Bootleg defender clone

I'm sure there was more...I have a box of c64 software in the garage but my computer fried after about 10 years and I don't know what happened to it. I might have the drive around somewhere.

My uncle has a fully working c64 that is gathering dust. I might ask for it someday.

in addition,
Archon!
Pirates!
Bruce lee
M.U.L.E.
Boulder Dash
Heart of Africa
Seven Cities of gold
Load Runner

Vigo

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2018, 10:14:31 pm »
Nice list. So you like strategy and/or games with really tiny characters.

nitrogen_widget

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2018, 11:11:50 pm »
Nice list. So you like strategy and/or games with really tiny characters.

Other than Pirates! which had amazing graphics for a game at the time I can say game play and sound were so immersive I do not remember noticing.
Also I sat really close to the tv. :)

JudgeRob

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 12:08:06 am »
The only one I keep coming back to it MULE.  And the only one I find myself teaching my 8 year old daughter how to play against her uncles.   :)

nitrogen_widget

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 10:03:27 am »
The only one I keep coming back to it MULE.  And the only one I find myself teaching my 8 year old daughter how to play against her uncles.   :)

There are a few remakes of mule but I havn't played them yet.

Vigo

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2018, 02:35:20 pm »
OK, here is a quick list of mine. Not definitive.

Cosmic Relief (Terramex)
Kikstart I & II
Maniac Mansion
Castle Wolfenstein (2D)
Forbidden Forest
Wizball
Usagi Yojimbo


Drnick

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2018, 03:50:48 am »
Only 2 games for me when it comes to the C64,  Elite and Forbidden Forest. :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

XSFDriver

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Re: Commodore 64 Mini
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2018, 02:48:32 am »
Hi all, just thought I'd chuck in my 2 cents worth... for a quick C64 fix (if you've
got a Nintendo DS with an R4 card lying around, it's amazing how many do)... have any of
ya's toyed with this?...

https://www.zophar.net/consoles/nds/c64/frodods.html

...I know it's not the real thing... but it's good for a bit of a play if you're going away
somewhere.

By the way, it's great to hear others still getting enjoyment from the classics. Me and my
16 Y.O. son were getting stuck into some old paddle game's about 3 weeks ago... got a C64
settup on a small, 2 level coffee table on wheels... rolled it into the lounge and hooked
it up to the projector and stereo (looked so overkill, but cool)... spent nearly an hour
just on "Sea Wolf" alone, I know most of the paddle games are "shovel-ware, but there are
a few OK one's. It usually lives under the HO AFX slot car track (4 lane), hooked up as a
lap timer (times to 0.001sec, wrote it in basic years ago, hooks up to the joystick port)...
...gotta love the 64.

... and Grasshopper... love the Marvin Avatar man... had any "doors" that enjoy opening for
you lately? :lol

Also, damn you Vigo... now I wanna play "Wizball" again, now that you've mentioned it...
...you can spend hours on that game, especially in 2 player co-op mode... (yep, me and my son
again, I'm really lucky that he gets into retro games just as much as the modern one's).

Anyway, looking forward to your future posts on this topic,

Cheers. :cheers:

  
 

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