Science

Commodore 64, the best selling home computer legend turns 35

16 Aug 2017 | By Anish Chakraborty
Commodore 64's sales are yet to be equaled

Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation once said, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Oh, boy! Was he wrong?

Back in the day, when Commodore 64 came out in 1982, it took the craze of home computers to a different level altogether. Close to 20 million units were sold, a record never paralleled.

It has turned 35 now!

In context: Commodore 64's sales are yet to be equaled

16 Aug 2017Commodore 64, the best selling home computer legend turns 35

Commodore 64What made it popular?

The Commodore 64, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, was the legend that gave the concept of home computers its momentum.

It was something that allured all with the office applications and the wide range of games which were expanded upon frequently.

Once made available to the public, it spelled into a gargantuan commercial success.

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Its initial days

PET 2001Its initial days

The initial traction was brought on by the first Commodore computer aka the PET 2001, which came with a small screen, a keyboard, and a cassette recorder.

A few years later came the VIC-20, which also became successful owing to the fact that it was cheap and user-friendly. However, it is still significant, as it paved way for the biggie, Commodore 64.

SpecificationsA marvel in its age

Its specifications would make a modern geek laugh but, in those days, it was a technological marvel.

It had a MOS 6510 processor running at 1MHz with 64kB RAM.

Its graphics prowess was also commendable. It was capable of displaying 16 colors on the maximum screen resolution of 320x200 pixels. It may sound nothing now, however, in those days, it was futuristic.

PeripheralsPlug and play

It also sported ports for a wide range of peripherals. You could bundle screens, printers, disk and cassette players, and joysticks.

It retailed for $595 when launched, which was quite affordable considering the fact that Apple II, its alternative, had a pocket pinch that was three times more than this.

However, the success story ended when PCs running Windows came to the market.

LegendA legend worth remembering

It survived till the 1990s, banking on the huge range of compatible games that were still being bought for the Commodore.

Lukewarm sales along with the failure of CD32 console finally made the firm file for bankruptcy in 1994.

It was revived in 2007 but didn't work out. Now it's with some Italian entrepreneurs, who plan to re-position it in the mobile devices market.