With vintage gaming in full force, even lesser-known systems are getting their days in the sun. The Commodore 64 is being rebooted as the C64 Mini, ready to be plugged into your TV's HDMI port in early 2018.
While it doesn't hold the cultural cache of say, the Super Nintendo, the Commodore 64 remains the highest-selling personal computer of all time. Launched in 1982 by a semi-conductor company that had designed what it deemed "the world's greatest video game chips," for a brief period in time the 8-bit computer was the dominant gaming machine on the market.
Its relatively low price as well as its stunning 64 kilobytes of power made it a clear choice for the gaming enthusiast in 1982. The Commodore simply had features that nothing else on the market could match. The games looked great, and there were a wide variety of them, everything from adventure games to early attempts at open-world sandboxes. And it wasn't just visual. "At a time when most computer games contained no music or, at best, a melodic sequence of beeps and bloops," write Matt Barton and Bill Loguidice in a history, the machine's "tunes demonstrated the potential of the C64 as a truly musical instrument."
The company sold 3.5 million by 1986 and kept selling more a million units a year through 1989, some of which are still in use . The system still attracts niche fans who build new, custom games for the machine. A VR system was even recently introduced.
And now you can experience it in your own home. While the Commodore 64 never got a Mario or a Sonic, its library was vast. Games as varied as Netherworld and Nobby the Aardvark show its range. The Mini is a 50 percent replica of the old computer and comes complete joystick. With Nintendo's odd supply structure, the chance is perfect for a smaller retro gaming world to win over the eyeballs of nostalgia hungry Gen Xers and anyone else curious about when games took over the world for the first time.