"I buried my friend the other day, and I saw my life in a different way." -Life of Agony/Words and Music

My parents bought my Uncle Kenny’s Commodore 64 for me back in 1985. If I remember correctly the sound chip had blown out, so the first thing we they did was have it fixed. Sixteen years later, I still own (and use) that same Commodore computer.

I’ve owned dozens of other Commodore computers over the years (many of which are sitting out in my garage, acting as “donor machines”) but I can always tell my main one apart from the others for a couple of reasons. One being, many years ago one of my friends modified mine for me by adding a manual reset button to the side of the case. I can also tell it’s my old standby because there are no screws anywhere holding it together. I used to take the thing apart so often that I finally quit screwing it back together. Every memory I have of playing games, calling BBSes, or causing electronic mischief in general on my Commodore 64 took place on this specific machine.

The computer “nook” in our new house has a long built-in desk with enough room to house two or three computers. After getting my main workstation up and running, I determined the corner space would be a perfect spot for my old Commodore. Despite being outdated in every way imaginable, it’s still a fun system to play games on.

After getting my old Commodore up and running, I ran it through some paces by playing a few games on it. It wasn’t long before Mason stuck his curious mop of hair in the doorway to investigate the antiquated beeps and blips coming from my room. The two of us spent about an hour playing old classics like Moon Patrol and Burgertime. Some of the other games he wasn’t able to get into as easily, but he really liked the ones where we played together, both as a team and as head-to-head opponents. I’ll have to dig out some more two-player games for us to try in the near future.

Last night, he came back. “Can I play Moon Patrol again?” he asked. What sweeter words has a child ever asked his father? After several rounds of Moon Patrol, he went back for some more Burgertime.

I don’t expect Mason to grow up being a big fan of Commodore computers like I am. Someday he’ll have his own misty-eyed moments about the days when hard drives were measured in terabytes, and maybe he’ll spend his weekends searching thrift stores for old Nintendo DS units. But right now he’s getting a kick out of 30-year-old games that I enjoyed as a kid, and I’m getting a kick out of that.

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7 Responses to “The Commodore 64 Moves In”

  1. Earl Green says:

    Mason likes Burgertime too? I smell a throwdown in the works. That’s one of Little E’s favorites, though he goes through phases of “I want to play it myself” and “I want to watch Dad play it”. I’ve got the Wii softmodded and loaded up with emulators, so he can practice anytime* he feels the urge to try it himself.

    * = well, not after bedtime. (Don’t think he hasn’t tried.)

  2. Commodore Computer Club says:

    Ah yes, Moon Patrol. Still a fun game to play. I still have my original C64 from Christmas 1983 and a pile of cartridges, Moon Patrol being one of them. It’s awesome your son is into Commodore and retro games. You’ve done well as a dad teaching him about retro goodness. All you need now is a Flyer for your C64 and you can free up some space by not needing to have your 1571 drives (or are those 1541-II’s I see) next to your C64.

  3. Rob says:

    They are 1571′s, but they’re not connected. I converted all of my floppies to D64 disk images, and load them using a 1541u.

  4. AArdvark says:

    Used to love playing Wizard of Wor and Mario Bros. on my 64 with my boy!

  5. Rob says:

    For some reason my website ate my Uncle’s comment, but this is what he had to say:

    “One correction, I gave you the Commodore 64. They got an Apple IIe clone and brought it down to me at cost. That’s back when they had the software store for a while. Both of them helped me a lot. I credit Your Dad, Mom and you for getting me started down the road that helped me finish my working years without starving. I always knew I could count on you in a pinch and you did get me outa some binds more than once. Plus I enjoyed working IT more than any job I ever did. That Commodore was the best investment I ever made (grin) Uncle Kenny”

  6. hexcrass says:

    I love that you have a dedicated spot for your C64. I’m REALLY missing mine!
    Is that an Epyx controller I see?

  7. Rob says:

    Good eye, Hex! A few years back I found a guy selling 4 new in box (NIB) Epyx 500 XJ controllers for $10/each. I bought all four. I also bought 4 NIB Kraft sticks around the same time. I owned the Kraft stick back in the day and my buddy Jeff owned the Epyx, so between the two I have all the bases covered.