The Commodore 64 is really back and available, albeit temporarily sold out. When this writer was in junior high school, the computer lab of my Redondo Beach, CA middle school was filled with Apple 2s, Commodore 64s and an Amiga. The Commodore, priced at $199 ($450 in today’s money,) was technically inferior but much more accessible. These were the best personal computers most families could get and if you were lucky enough to have parents that let you use these machines, there was a lot of gaming to be done on them. That’s partially the point. Computers did so little, that aside from simple checkbook balancing and low res print shops, these machines were entertainment. In that Los Angeles area middle school computer lab, after spending about fifteen minutes writing ascii art programs, it was down to the serious business of game playing and sharing.
So, while every thirty something has fond memories of the Commodore 64 buying the new isn’t likely to bring any happiness to your life now. The Commodore USA website claims young people are interested in their product as well. This is not surprising considering the pop culture swoon with eighties stuff and vintage electronics. Role playing gamers may be even more susceptible to this. The problem is home entertainment has evolved. The Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and even the Nintendo Wii do more than the Commodore 64 could and unless you buy the $900 Ultimate edition of the new one, they all still do. A good amount of Commodore 64 games are available for download on the Wii. Reliving simpler times and collecting bits of your childhood, are one thing, spending almost a grand for something that isn’t as useful as a $400 netbook is something else. A hundred dollar Commodore 64, WI-FI or Bluetooth universal keyboard that would work with consoles would be a much more welcome and useful piece of overpriced nostalgia.