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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon
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Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Video Gaming History - Part I: The Commodore 64

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 09/12/2007 14:39:54
Updated by Joel Dixon at 14/05/2019 02:38:03


Quote:
Are you keeping up with the Commodore? Because the Commodore is keeping up with you!

Video games have played a big part of my life. NHL 94 encouraged a love for the sport of Ice Hockey. Samantha Fox's Strip Poker and others have introduced me to digital bewbies during my important formative years. And Distruptor for the PlayStation was an important game for me, as it was the first time that my older brother beat me to the end of the game (crushing). I've decided to do a little retrospective of my video game history, and hope that some of you will enjoy the walk down memory lane.

LOAD "*",8,1

Commodore 64
This actually looks a lot like our system. Getting the disk drive was a huge time saver!

Excluding some generic "Game and watch" clones, the Commodore 64 was my first real introduction to video gaming - and I liked it! The Commodore was released in January of 1982 as a system designed to offer advanced hardware at a cheap(ish) price. I really took to the system (as did the rest of my family) and was sitting in front of it whenever it was "my turn". Turns got to be a bit of a problem whenever a cool game was acquired, with lots of fights between the family for play time. I can vividly remember my eldest brother waking up at 5 or 6 am before school to get a few extra hours playing California Games. I also remember feeling cheated because I was unable to wake up earlier than him!

You may have noted that I used the word "acquired" in the above paragraph - not many of our games were actually store bought. Pirating was rife - my eldest brother had a friend, who had a "contact", someone that provided us with as many copied Commodore 64 games that we could play. Those that know me now know that I am against piracy of any kind (except for amusing pirate jokes), but back in the day I didn't know any better. FastHackem fueled our piracy, allowing a game disk to be copied in 3 minutes instead of around 20.

That Commodore 64 was also life changing as it introduced me to the pastime of Basic programming. Basic in more than a name, my first program was probably something like this:

Basic Code:
> 10 PRINT "JOEL IS RAD!"

> 20 GOTO 10

> RUN

I also loved reading through the Basic books that were provided with the 64, and typing out the hundred line example programs. Armed with this extra programming knowledge, my coding skills were greatly expanded:

Basic Code:
10> FOR I = 1 TO 10

20> NEXT I

30> INPUT "ENTER YOUR NAME: ", N$

40> PRINT N$; ", DID YOU KNOW THAT JOEL IS RAD?"

50> GOTO 40

RUN
(the first two lines is now an obvious loop. I had no idea what it did, but included it in my own programs because it looked cool)

For me, the Commodore 64 was the golden age of video gaming, and it kept me entertained even after we received more modern systems (such as consoles). A pictures is worth 1,000 words, so this video of 100 Commodore games should be worth a fair bit. Go to the YouTube page to see the list of games displayed.

100 Commodore games in 10 minutes



This is the 1st in the My Video Gaming History series
Part I - My Video Gaming History - Part I: The Commodore 64Part II - My Video Gaming History - Part II: The Sega Master System Back to Top

Comments

SIMPLY AWESOME!!!!

Love the Commodore 64. I will have to admit I too spent more then my share of hours being inducted to gaming goodness with this fair machine.

Ours wasn't as high tech as yours... I remember we had an actual tape deck rather then the disk drive to load games off. I remember to launch a disk you had to press Ctrl,Alt and P all together (or a similar combination) to get the games to run. However it was so quirky it seemed like a dodgey little mini game just trying to get this combo to work and launch the games.

"Stay a while... Stay Forever! muhahahahaha"

Classic!

We also had a space olympics game, can't quite remember the name... I do remember in it tho there was a javelin game where you had to throw your own alien head. Greatness!

Commodore =


# Posted - 10/12/2007 10:36:21
Unfortunately the Commodore 64 was before my time. I was introduced to gaming on the Apple IIe that my Mum used to bring home from school on the holidays. I can't really remember any of the games, but watching the Commodore 64 video, it looks like I missed out on alot of goodness.

# Posted - 11/12/2007 20:21:57
Last Edited - 11/12/2007 20:22:30
Good to hear you're a fan Hoff! We originally started with a tape deck and it was a nightmare! We'd be starting a game to load and come back in an hour to see it had failed! Apparently the disk drive was incredibly slow for it's time - but it was light speed compared to the cassettes!

Do you remember the Run key? If I remember correctly that was the one that would sometimes be required to start a game - and other times make the game reboot. Annoying!

Stay forever - ha ha - love it! Don't remember any space olympics one - we enjoyed Summer Games and Winter Games though! And California Games is a classic!

Hitman - we had a IIe at primary school - yes a single one! It was sweet though. The only game I remember is some kind of zoo game. Don't quite recall.

You gotta get yourself an emulator and download a few classics: Impossible Mission, Space Taxi, Winter Games, Operation Wolf, Way of the West, etc


# Posted - 11/12/2007 23:17:50
From Wikipedia, about Impossible Mission:

"The NTSC Atari 7800 version has been confirmed to have a bug which places some of the code pieces underneath computer terminals, which the player cannot search since attempting to do so will access the terminal. Therefore, it makes the game actually impossible to win."

Imagine that, spending all your hard earned money on a game that is impossible to complete. Its actually quite funny that "Impossible Mission" proved to be an impossible mission.

Makes you wonder what the System Testers were up to....

Also, makes me very grateful for easily accessible patches.


# Posted - 13/12/2007 20:41:44
Haha...

Ouch at least I have a good excuse for not finishing that damn game.

I remember International soccer was a sweet sweet game. I also have vague memories of a game where you had a sword fight with an opponent and you could decapitate them. Loved that game



# Posted - 14/12/2007 11:11:31
Yeah, Barbarian. And a little green gremlin came and dragged/kicked the head away.

# Posted - 20/12/2007 18:33:41
Barbarian was awesome! The sound when the lizard man kicked the newly-removed head was brilliant.

I also remember Gav got us Barbarian II - but we could never work out how to start it after getting to the welcome screen. I downloaded the ROM about a year ago and had exactly the same problem - couldn't get it started!

Archon rocked!


# Posted - 27/12/2007 16:28:12
C64 geniusness. Never had one but my cuz did, loved the tape deck action even though it clearly was inferior to disk. alien syndrome, green beret, that school game where you went around and pranked all the students.. classics.

I used to bank the ole amstrad back in the day, not the cpc mind you, the older crappier one. Man i hated those high falootin amstrad cpc types, bastards.


# Posted - 08/01/2008 13:15:57
The lurkster - good to see you around. Hope life and work is treating you well.

I never played Alien Syndrome, the school game you describe doesn't ring a bell - but I loved Green Beret. Sure, the flame thrower only lasted for three shots - but it was so much fun when you had it! Green Beret was one of the many games that I completely sucked at - and rarely beat the first level. But it still managed to make my rotation.

I know how you felt about the CPC types - I had the same resentment against anyone in high school that had a computer better than my 486 SX (almost everyone). It would barely run Dune 2 and Doom - but I could never get Quake or Rise Of The Triad running on it Still - it could run Leisure Suit Larry - so it wasn't all bad


# Posted - 09/01/2008 20:06:24
What a great read this is! Brings back memories hehehe...

Does anyone know a game with Robin Hood in it from back in the day? You had to fight guards and also find keys to rescue Marian.

I remember my parents typing in the games during the night, so we could play a new game. What an excitement! Was Jet Set Willy also a Commodore 64 game?


# Posted - 13/03/2008 00:07:20
Ailo - you've stumped me on both of those questions. I'm pretty sure Jet Set Willy was on the C64 - though I never played it. I might have to look into that one. And you're on your own with the Robin Hood game - doesn't ring a bell for me at all.

Man - you were lucky if your parents were making games for you! That way you could give them feedback on each attempt and get them to make you the perfect game! Mine would probably have a superhero named Joel with a sweet BMX!


# Posted - 19/03/2008 13:52:55
Deep Lurker
**Long Rant Warning***

I seem to recall a number of magazines and books in the 80s that had source code in c or basic printed out, so you could manually type it in and presto new game/app! Somewhat similar to the high school phenomena with graphic calculators and kids without the link cables typing in doom or dope wars or equivalent over a number of maths classes.

I even think there was a marshall cavendish style weekly mag that's whole focus was upon providing page after page of source code. Each week would bring a module and you'd need to buy months worth to actually get a fully functional game. When you're looking at games under a hundred k it's indeed possible, albeit a rather dull process.

Speaking of marshall cavendish does anyone remember the ancestral trail? Discovered my gf has the entire collected series. Sweet!

Oh and on the topic of gaming addiction, you would've loved the conversion my lounge room took last weekend. Had a geek fest planned. 8 game systems in parallel hooked up to 5 tvs (many of the tvs sourced from the hard rubbish collection conveniently taking place in my suburb at the time). Had the following consoles up for nostalgic enjoyment:

NES, MASTER SYSTEM II, SNES, NEO GEO, N64, DREAMCAST, GAMECUBE, Wii (& DS)

Unsurprisingly Dreamcast ended up the most popular. Man i love that console (hence owning 3 versions of the DC plus spare lasers, and having a well grounded knowledge in backyard repairs/hackjobs)... Seriously. Go out and grab one from ebay. Best $50 you'll spend.

The whole climate change catalysing setup is still hooked up.. I'll take a couple photos and post a link if i remember.


# Posted - 20/03/2008 15:40:33
Last Edited - 20/03/2008 21:40:55
I never bought a programming magazine - but I distinctly remember a Mad Magazine which had the source code to make an image of Alfred E. Neuman. Only 500 or so lines - I remember furiously typing it out in my Year 9 computer class.

Some of those calculator games were pretty fun - I remember bowling being a good one. I also made a simple game called "Gamblor" - basically a coin flip program we used for gambling purposes. Good times, good times.

Never heard of Marshall Cavendish - nor the Ancestral Trail, but it sounds interesting. Back in primary school I would have loved spending months of my time typing line after line of code.

Man - the geek party sounds awesome! Were all of the systems yours? I would have been most interested in the Neo Geo. I remember going down to the local VGM (Video Game Mania) and watching the clerk playing a baseball game on his uber-sized control stick. Something about that gigantic arcade-style controller made me want to play the oddly named system. There were also some sweet fighting games I would have liked to play. What Neo Geo games did you have running?

I bought a N64 from eBay in late high school - Goldeneye is probably my favourite game of all time (I'm not a huge FPS fan). And Mario Kart was awesome on the N64.

I have been interested in the Dreamcast for a long time now - especially as I loved the Master System and Mega Drive - I've never played on one though. I really wish it had a longer life - I'll have to pick one up sometime. What games would you recommend?

Would definitely be interested in pics of your shrine to gaming nostalgia - keep me informed.


# Posted - 20/03/2008 22:43:18

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