Creating the Commodore 64: The Engineers’ Story

A reprint of a 1985 article by IEEE Spectrum.

Despite complaints about quality control and the industry’s slowest disk drive, the Commodore 64 has been an unparalleled success, pushing a number of its competitors out of the market. Part of the reason for its success is the price, which keeps falling—from $595 at its introduction to $149 currently, for which the consumer gets graphics and sound equal to or better than that provided by machines that cost five times as much.


Great. The best are the last sentences.

“They wrote it according to the spec. It didn’t matter to them whether something worked or not. As a result, programs made sound effects you couldn’t hear.”

I wonder if there were notable early Japanese games, that could now be run with sound (by emulator setting etc). And I wonder if there are still undocumented (hardware) features that are not yet discovered, but I doubt it. And probably there are more C64 stories.

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