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Retro-tech fan seeks cash for Commodore 64 clones

Project Bread Bin to recreate classic box with modern twist

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A brand new 1982-style Commodore 64 for just $75 (£48)? Yes, it is crazy, but that’s not stopping one enterprising retro-tech fan from trying to make it happen.

Daniel Biehl has a Commodore 64 - a real one - but he knows it won’t last forever. So he wants to build a machine that will run all the C64 software out there and work with C64 peripherals but isn’t an emulator. He calls it Project Bread Bin after the nickname given to the original C64 casing - and the Vic-20 before it.

As Biehl admits, Bread Bin can’t be a replica C64 - that’s a trademark world of hurt he not unreasonably hasn’t the stomach to enter. The new kit can’t use the C64 name, either, for the same reason.

Its casing will be based around an integrated keyboard, as before, but it will also support modern TVs, be able to connect to the internet via a local network, and use Micro SD cards for storage.

At which point you have to ask whether, having moved so far beyond the original C64 - which Bread Bin will not resemble in any case - wouldn’t he just be better off pitching a generic personal computer in the 8-bit style?

After all, if his crowd-sourcing effort succeeds beyond expectations, he plans to make Spectrum, Apple II, BBC Model B, Atari 800 and even Amstrad CPC clones too. At what point does one of “these older computers but with a few modern conveniences” cease to have anything in common with the machine it is mimicking?

But that’s a question for the future. For now, Biehl is concentrating on getting his C64 clone into development. He admits he lacks the technical skill to design and build the machine, so the $150,000 he hopes to raise through Indiegogo will mostly go to hiring an electronics design company with the right skills to pull his plan off, and likewise someone to create the casing.

If the funding comes through, and the Bread Bin is produced, supporters aren’t likely to get their mitts on the kit until the autumn of 2014. A more important deadline is much closer: 26 May 2013, which is when the call for funding comes to an end. ®

Full details at Daniel’s Indiegogo Project Bread Bin site. ®

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