I make no secret of this. I play videogames. I have played videogames since sometime after my sixth birthday. One day whilst I was on my way home from school with my still very young mother, she told me cryptically that my male parent had something at home that I would like to see. That something turned out to be a Commodore VIC-20, the first of what is now many, many computers that have passed through the households I collective have and continue to reside in. Being that this was 1984, the price of a VIC-20 was likely quite cheap, and the machine turned out to be a source of entertainment enjoyed by the whole family as a collective. But whilst I was at the time mildly interested in the programming and creative aspects of the device, I got the games in a big way.
I did not know this at the time, but in the previous year, the Commodore 64 had been “unveiled”. Although it suffered reliability problems at first, by 1984 its greater flexibility and capability, along with its greater visual and aural capabilities (do not laugh) meant that the VIC-20 was quickly headed for retirement. I do not recall exactly what year my family traded in the VIC-20 for what came to be referred to in shorthand as the C64, but it probably did not take long. Now, by greater visual and aural capabilities, well, obviously by today’s standards that is a pretty sick joke. But the Commodore 64 could give brief real-time voices, constant music that, although low in quality, put the player right into the mood of the game, and crude representations of visual elements that in 1982 matched or even exceeded those of arcade machines. If you can imagine a bass voice saying “Another visitor. Stay awhile… stay forever!” in exaggerated tones, then you can sort of get the idea of my first impression of the Commodore 64. Continue Reading