In 1984, the Commodore 64 became my first home computer. Armed with my trusty C-1530 Datasette, 1701 color monitor, and 300-baud 1650 modem, I learned programming basics, explored online bulletin boards, and indulged in some serious gaming. At the time, I had no idea what an influence it would have on my chosen profession.
So, when I heard about a Kickstarter campaign for a book titled, The story of the Commodore 64 in pixels, I was immediately all-in. The campaign blew past its funding goal, and for good reason. Over the course of 268 pages, author Chris Wilkins provides a trip down memory lane for C64 fans, retro-gamers, and computing nostalgia enthusiasts.
Wilkins begins with a brief history of the Commodore International company, including the back-story of its innovative and driven founder, Jack Tramiel. The chapter profiles the various C64 models that dotted the computing landscape, as well as other key models in the company’s history, including the Commodore PET, VIC-20, and 128.
The remainder of the book is divided into two sections, each engrossing in its own right.
In The Games, more than 70 games are profiled. Each is given a two-page spread that includes screen shots, box art, year published, publisher name, and author. Some of my favorites included Lode Runner from Broderbund, Summer Games from Epyx and The Bard’s Tale from Electronic Arts.
In The Memoirs, Wilkins rounds up a veritable 8-bit who’s-who to provide first-person accounts of what the Commodore 64 meant to them and the trials and tribulations of developing games for the platform.
With a whopping 64 kilobytes of RAM at the time, The Commodore 64 went on to sell more than 10 million units worldwide, a sales mark that landed it in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest selling single computer model of all time. Wilkins’ book makes it easy to see what the fuss was all about.
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