Tiny consoles for everyone: Now there's a mini-C64 in development

It looks like the success of Nintendo's nostalgic plug-and-play mini-consoles has inspired Retro Games to try the same trick with the Commodore 64 -- but this mini-C64 can also make new games.

It looks like the remarkable success of Nintendo's nostalgic plug-and-play mini-consoles has inspired UK-based Retro Games to try the same trick with the Commodore 64, as the company has announced plans to produce an unofficial C64 Mini console.

These sorts of unofficial plug-and-play retro game consoles are not a new phenomenoon in the game industry, but this one is worth paying attention to because Retro claims that in addition to coming pre-loaded with 64 "licensed classic pre-installed games", the C64 Mini can be used to actually create new (C64) games.

According to the company, curious devs will be able to plug a USB keyboard into the (already keyboard-shaped) C64 Mini and use it to code new C64 games, presumably in BASIC.

It's very similar to functionality advertised for The64, a similar (but smaller) C64 retro console that the same development team pitched on Indiegogo in an (apparently unsuccesful) effort to secure funding.

However, it appears as though they managed to find a retail partner in German firm Koch Media, which owns well-known game pubilsher Deep Silver. With the backing of Koch, Retro says it plans to release the C64 Mini in early 2018 for $70.

It's worth pointing out that Retro repeatedly refers to the planned mini-console as "TheC64 Mini", presumably because the company hasn't licensed the rights to use the Commodore name. While it's not made clear what software the C64 Mini uses to emulate the C64, that earlier Indiegogo campaign for The64 notes that (in that case, at least) Retro licensed the Commodore 64 BIOS, game ROMs, and more from a company called Cloanto

If you want to brush up on the C64 and how it changed the game industry after its 1982 debut, take a moment to look back at Gamasura's classic historical profile of the Commodore 64.

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