Since the DeLorean from Back to the Future is not readily available for us to take a trip back in time, it is good to know that some companies are bringing us a chance to experience what 80s families enjoyed way back when.
Welcome back the good old faithful, not as popular as the NES, the Commodore 64. When I grow up, I had many systems, starting with good old Atari 2600, which I experienced such games as PONG, Space Invaders, PAC-Man, Asteroids, Adventure, the abysmal E.T, Frogger and many more classics. Through the years we had many other systems, which includes the following in no chronological order:
- Atari 2600
- Commodore 16 & 64
- ZX Spectrum
- Commodore Amiga
- BBC Acorn
- NES & SNES, N64, CUBE, Wii, Wii U, Switch
- Sega Master System, Mega Drive, Saturn, Dreamcast,
- Gameboys – Classic, Colour, Advance, 3DS
- Sega – Gamegear
I have turned away from being a pure console gamer, to a PC gamer, with a Nintendo Switch on the side for games when I am away from the PC, or out and about. As you can see from the list, there is no Sony or Xbox, as it was around 2002 I purchased my first PC, and ever since then, I have only ever purchased a Nintendo Console, just for their First Party titles and a few randoms which I feel like grabbing from time to time.
Going back to my childhood to play the games that entertained me back then, is pure nostalgia, seeing the graphics, hearing the sounds, now I get this chance, as the Commodore 64 is back in a mini form for around £65 RRP. The system comes pre-loaded with 64 games, and like it did back then, its plug-n-play, power on, connect to a TV (HDMI) done.
So let us have a look at the system’s box;
‘THE WORLD BEST SELLING HOME COMPUTER – REBORN’
Is what is on the front, with a pic of the system and control pad. The control pad is slightly different to what I remember, did not have the four button on the back or the two side buttons on both sides of the control stick. But the Mini looks like an exact replica of the original.
On the back, they showcase a few of the games which include the following;
- Boulder Dash
- California Games
- Impossible Mission II
- Nodes of Yesod
- Robin of the Wood
- Speedball 2
For the full list including instruction and controls head on over here
So its now out of the box and plugged into the TV, the last thing I want to do is turn on the cinema surround sound speaker system, with that chip sound playing, NO THANK YOU, TV speakers are good enough back in the 80s they will be good enough now. But where is the mains adapter, there is none, if I actually read the box instead of taking a picture and looking at the what I thought was the priority, I would have noticed something.
There is a red strip, on the left hand side and in yellow, just under the red strip, it says AC Adapter not included, calling the connector an AC is a bit wrong, as the system requires a Micro USB connection, so make sure you have one in the house, many mobile phones still use the Micro connection to charge, so you should be fine, otherwise they are relatively cheap online, DO NOT BUY IN STORE, they will rip you off, cough CURRYS, rip off merchants.
So its up and running I have the games viewable on the screen through a carousel menu system, each and every game has a short description, just like games of today, along with some images of the games. The music, so old school, its seems to go through you after a while, makes you wonder, how you could stand to listen to it for so long.
You also have Basic, C64 BASIC O/S, allows you to go back to your roots, and start creating software through the programming code of Basic, of coarse. In the 80s there where magazines that had code in them, this code would be entered into basic and create games and software, you could also create your own as you leaned the code over time. If did take some time, but it was rather rewarding when you have done something yourself.
As the C64 Mini is just a representation of the original machine the keyboard on it, is non-functional, so you will need to plugin in a USB keyboard to start typing, the speed is no where near as what we expect these days from our interfaces and you might experience your whole system freezing up.
Now my nostalgia was filled up, I had to bring around some kids, they looked at the screen, looked at me and walked out, one said what is that god awful sound. But I persisted and chucked on two of my favourite games, Speedball 2, and Boulder Dash. They seemed to warm up to the games, even to the point where they where fighting for use of the control stick to play next, something I would do with my little brother when I was growing up, little shit. They wanted to experience more games, so I let them control everything, they hated the sports games, but loved every other game, and they where good at them. If you are wondering about there ages, they were five and eight.
The two kids do not own a console or PC, so this is the first time they have experienced gaming, other than on a mobile phone, so I am unsure how a person would react if they have played games, with the level of detail we come to expect now. Saying that though, indie developers are still creating games around 8bit, 16bit formulas and they do sell really well.
So what do I think of the new C64 Mini, its a nostalgia blast, if you had and played the Commodore 64 growing up as a 80s you should not miss out on getting one. The mini system reflects the original perfectly, of coarse the size is noticeably different, the sound, games are all there, reproduced perfectly. The USB ports allow you to connect up other peripherals if you wanted to mess around with Basic, and maybe a way to expand the games library in the future.
There is a issue, the price is OK, do not get me wrong there, its me, going back to being a kid is all well and good, but I could not see myself playing the games for ages like I did growing up, I would rather play something more relevant, but the two kids, they have not stopped playing games, so they keep coming over when mom and dad allows them to, might pass the system over to the to play until they get bored themselves, but they better give it back at some point in good condition.