Commodore 64 Mini Scheduled for Possible 2017 Release

Commodore 64 Computer

Will retro gamers be delighted to see a new games console with a familiar look later this year? The Commodore 64 Mini, or C64 Mini, comes from the same people who planned to bring out a crowd-funded C64 in its original, full size last year.

This new gaming machine is set to come packed with a selection of classic games from the past and a joystick that may bring back a few memories for gamers who were around in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The original C64 came out in 1982 and brought a new level of sophistication to the world of home computing and gaming. Indeed, it has a place in the record books as the most sold individual computer model in history, a record that it probably won’t lose anytime soon.

This computer is estimated to have sold up to 17 million units across the globe between 1982 and its swan song in 1994. Even as recently as 2011, close to 90% of consumers said that they recognised the brand despite it having been out of the market for close to two decades.

Given those figures it is no surprise to see a new version of this all-time classic has been produced, but will it be a success in the current market?

What Does It Look Like?

The C64 Mini is a half-sized replica of the original computer, which was once a fierce rival to the equally legendary ZX Spectrum. No doubt inspired by the runaway success of the NES Classic and SNES Classic, smaller, recent versions of the classic Nintendo consoles, this system packs a lot into a small frame.

The company behind it is called Retro Games, and they took to the Indiegogo site last year to raise money for their Commodore 64 projects. Now, they say that there is far more demand for the miniaturised version than for the full-sized computer that they originally planned to work on.

In fact, the crowdfunding campaign for the full-sized model failed to reach its target. However, the manufacturer has used the money that they gathered to develop this smaller console and have joined up with a “global business partner” to deliver it.

The result is that they have brought forward the release date of the C64 Mini and put back the date for the bigger model. It looks as though it is going to be a faithful replica of the original, although in a new, cuter format.

What It Comes With

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this new mini console is the fact that it will be packaged with a classic gaming joystick. This is sure to excite die-head Commodore 64 fans who miss the thrill of wiggling their joystick and furiously pressing the buttons as the action heats up on the screen.

In terms of ports, there is an HDMI and a couple of USB ports. This means that you can use it with a normal USB keyboard if you plan to do any typing as well as playing games with the joystick.

As for the games that are included in the package, we are promised that 64 of the most-loved games from the past will be pre-installed on the console. A spokesperson for Retro Games said that most of them were given a 90% or higher rating at the time they were released and that a range of genres are going to be covered.

The chunky pixel fun will cover classic sports games, platform action, puzzles and shoot ’em up adventures, so there is going to be something there for every taste. Therefore, fans of the original computer can probably already start to imagine some of the classic games that could be included.

Well, the titles include the likes of Monty’s Challenge, Uridium, California Games, Paradroid, Hawkeye and Chip’s Challenge. If you used this computer back in the olden days then there are sure to be at least a few games that make you feel instantly nostalgic.

You also get a user manual to get you started easily.

C64 Mini. Source:

What Can You Do with It?

As well as playing games with the retro style joystick, you could also brush up on your old BASIC language skills and maybe program some new games of your own. The truth is that anyone who is used to a modern computer is likely to find it extremely limited in terms of what it offers.

Back in this computer’s heyday, it was a simpler time and this is sure to shine through when you open it up. The accurate C64 operation that is promised will also let the younger generation understand what gaming used to be all about.

An interesting advantage with this mini console is that you can plug in a second joystick and play with a friend just like you did after you got home from school in the old days. If you really miss that old-fashioned feel to your games then you can use the special filters to make your TV appear to be old and fuzzy like the ones we used to play these computers on when they first came out.

You can also save your games as you go along, which is a nice touch that might help us to finally get to the end of Netherworld or The Arc of Yesod at long last.

Who Will Want to Buy It?

It is clear that this games machine is most likely to appeal to people who have a special place in their hearts for the original C64. Anyone who still fondly recalls loading up Mega-Apocalypse or Bounder is going to enjoy the trip down memory lane that it offers.

It might also suit people who have only ever played modern games and who now want to see what games used to be like in the past. To be fair, it is likely to be something of a shock to the system when they first load one of these games, but they could get to like its simplicity and the basic approach.

Anyone who likes to play online and likes some variety in their life could also be tempted to give this console a try. It certainly makes a difference from playing Counter-Strike over the internet and could be an interesting break from more modern games, although it is hard to imagine any newcomers switching to the C64 in the long run. The C64 Mini might also attract anyone who simply enjoys finding new ways to enjoy some home entertainment on their computer. From who look for free Flash games to those who search for free bet offers online, there is no shortage of people who are always looking out for new ways to pass the time.

When Will It Be Released?

At the time of writing, there is still no fixed release date for the Commodore 64 Mini. It is pencilled in for the end of this year but we will need to wait and see whether or not it meets this target.

The good news is that anyone who backed the original crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo or who placed a pre-order for the full-sized Commodore 64 will get one of these minis together with the bigger console.

The aim of the company is to get the new mini console out in time for Christmas 2017 but they said that they are “still completing and testing the firmware”. This means that they can’t guarantee Christmas delivery, although failing that it should be out early on in 2018.

After C64 Mini has been launched, Retro Games say that they will go back to working on the model that will come with a full-sized keyboard.

The Cost

The price of this mini Commodore 64 is to be set at £70 in the UK. The C64 was also popular in the US, unlike the more British ZX Spectrum, and the cost of this model in the States is going to be $80.

Feature image: The original Commodore 64. Source: Pixabay