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Feature: 'A History of Gaming Platforms - The Commodore 64'

Gamasutra's first in a new monthly series sees game historians Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton debut an extremely in-depth history of gaming and creativity on t
The Commodore 64 (C64) is perhaps the best known 8-bit computing platform ever designed, rivaled only by the Apple II in terms of popularity and longevity. Within a few short years after its introduction in 1982, the Commodore 64 dominated the low-end computer market, and in the first of a new monthly series on Gamasutra, game historians Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton take a thorough look at the history and development of gaming and creativity on the C64. The C64 wasn't Commodore's first venture into home personal computing, as Loguidice and Barton explain: "In 1977, Commodore had earned some recognition with its ground-breaking PET, which went through several iterations over the years and was quite popular in schools. The PET was followed by the VIC 20 in 1981, the direct ancestor of the C64. The VIC 20 was a smashing success, eventually selling millions of units and establishing Commodore's reputation for making highly capable computers at prices that rivaled the era's videogame consoles. 'Why buy a videogame when you can have a computer?,' asked Star Trek’s William Shatner in a famous series of print and television advertisements." David Ziembicki, co-designer of the C64, said, "All we saw at our booth were Atari people with their mouths dropping open, saying, ‘How can you do that for $595?’” But our historians explain that savvy engineering was only part of the key to the C64's success, with games a vital part of the equation: "Some of the most popular games for the C64 include Electronic Arts’ hybrid action strategy game Archon and multiplayer strategy game M.U.L.E. (both 1983), First Star Software’s Boulder Dash puzzler and Epyx’s Impossible Mission platformer (both 1984), Rainbow Arts’ Great Giana Sisters platformer, Elite’s Commando arcade conversion, Microprose’s Pirates! action adventure, System 3’s IK+ fighting game and Last Ninja action platformer, and Lucasfilm Games’ adventure, Maniac Mansion (all 1987). These 10 games demonstrate the diversity of the C64’s game library, which truly had something for everyone. Indeed, anyone who grew up with the system could easily add another 20, 30, or even 50 more games to this list. For sports fans, there was Epyx’s impressive Games series, like Summer Games (1984) and Winter Games (1985); shoot-‘em-up fans had Synsoft’s Blue Max (1983), Elite’s 1942, and Electric Dream’s R-Type; and even the “adult” genre was well represented by games like Artworx’s Strip Poker (1984). Role-playing fans could choose between several prominent franchises: SSI’s Gold Box Dungeons & Dragons games, Interplay’s Bard’s Tale series, Sir-Tech’s Wizardry series, and Origin’s Ultima series." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, which contains more in-depth background, history and milestones of the Commodore 64 (no reg. required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites) -- remember the magazines?

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