Awaiting the Amiga
Neither the SX64 nor the Plus/4 sold at all well and, less than a year old, were canned in 1985, the year Commodore followed up the 64 with a 128KB version. The 128 would last as long as the 64 - it would be four more years before they finally went out of production, in 1989.
By the time of the 128's release in 1985, the 64 had gained a slimmer, more wedge-like design that would inspire the look of the most popular version of the Amiga, which had been in development during 1982 after the 64's announcement, though not at Commodore. The slimmer 64 was called the 64C, and it contained more up-to-date versions of the original 64's key Vic and Sid chips.
The first Amiga was also released in 1985, by which time it had been acquired by Commodore, a year after a prototype was unveiled at CES 1984 by founding manufacturer Amiga Corporation.
First Amiga then Commodore's Amiga 1000
If the 64 came to an end in 1989, its name did not. The following year, Commodore unveiled the Commodore 64 Games System, a C4C-derived console designed to take the computer's plug-in games cartridges - essentially what the Max/Vic-10 had been planned to be all those years before.
By 1990, though, Nintendo and Sega had shown there was now a market for consoles - the Nintendo Entertainment System launched in 1983, the year after the Max and the 64 - and Commodore decided to have another go.
It also decided in 1990 that there was room for a new 64-style machine in the space between the Games System and the Amiga, and a prototype Commodore 65 - aka the C64DX - was built but rejected by Commodore's management. Jack Tramiel had long since quit Commodore in January 1984, and the company was now being run by Irving Gold, who felt that some kind of bridge between the 64 world and the new Amiga era, the role the 65 was intended to fulfill, was unnecessary after all.
The 65 project was spiked. Commodore itself would not survive much longer. It declared bankruptcy in April 1994. ®
The Commodore 64 is 30
It's been 30 fucking years?!?!??!??
Ah, the C65, and a minor mistake
I believe there are a couple or few fully-built C65s floating around out there, some that work. They look like really neat machines, could have been to the C64 what the IIgs was to the Apple. I made my jump from the Commodore 64 (actually the 128D) to the Amiga. A great move, IMHO. Though I still look back on my 128 from time-to-time.
I also recall lugging around the SX-64 I bought in high school. Can't remember what I paid for it, but $250 sounds about right. I have two now just waiting to be fixed and modded with smaller internal parts and LCD screen. If I ever get around to that at all *sigh*
One minor mistake in the article. BASIC was not copied into main memory: it was actually bank-switched in to the 6510 address space when the computer was in "BASIC mode." Address $00 and $01 were special ports on the 6510 (direction and data) which were used for bank-switching segments of BASIC and KERNAL ROM and I/O space in and out of RAM (not solely for this purpose, mind you.) In the correct configuration, one could map all 64k of RAM into the 6510's address space for reading (writes always went to RAM under ROM, irrespective of the bank setting.) I believe GEOS did this, and I know I used to map out the ROMs in my ML programs when I needed more memory space.
Man I loved programming the 6510.
Paris, writes always go to RAM.
"The model that did more than any to bring computers into the reach of normal folk." - No, that'd be the Spectrum 48K.
I almost choked on my coffee when I read the article's claim that the OS was "copied into RAM".
You *could* copy the ROM into the RAM underneath it and then flip out the ROM (some of us liked to do this in order to alter system behaviour for nefarious purposes - for example, I altered the behaviour of the STOP vector, for writing autoboot code out to tape.) But the operating system, by default, ran directly from the ROM chip.
The C64 didn't have a "20K ROM chip", either - it had two 8KB ROMs (one for the OS "kernal" - misspelling intentional) and one for BASIC - and one 4KB character ROM which stored two sets of system fonts (one uppercase, with more of those funky symbols - and one mixed uppercase/lowercase, for professional uses.)
To this day I have fond memories of my many Commodore 64's from over the years. By todays standards the games were blocky, small, and unsophisticated but they were so original and fun.
Games today are a pale shadow in comparison, sure they have massive budgets, design teams, gigabytes of graphics resources but for all that they are still just clones of previous games, just a different situation or weapon set, the same soulless drivel just jazzed up, tweaked and repackaged.
It was on the C64 and other machines of the time that the games industry was born. Guys in their garages with extremely limited resources worked miracles with the hardware and came out with something fun and unique.
It's only fitting that to this day the Commodore 64 is the best selling computer of all time, and with the progress of technology these days with models lasting 6 months at best, it will never be outsold.
Happy Birthday Commodore 64. Thanks for the memories.