TheC64 Maxi - Full sized C64 review and disassembly

The 8-bit Guy reviews and disassembles TheC64Maxi. He also runs a program to measure the delay in screen and audio update upon a key press and both look equally minimal and similar (better than the original MiniC64 or a Mac emulator), which probably makes for a better video game playing experience.

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There’s a classic article on the latency of retrocomputers:
Computer latency: 1977-2017

Of course the latency of emulated retrocomputers will depend a lot on the hosting platform, and on the emulation technique. Links: keyboard, terminal, negative latency.

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There’s another review by “8-Bit Show and Tell”, showing some of the advanced features, like saving configurations (e.g. cartridges, preloaded software, and attached hardware). This is actually pretty neat and may be even interesting to those who already own the real thing.

And the follow-up Q&A regarding some of the aforementioned features (this may be the more interesting one of the two videos, as there is some detailed information found):

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Personally I want one at some point. I have a Breadbin and a Model-C. This model seems like the first sort of “Real” Commodore64 replacement to the old Model-C.

What I can find out about TheC64 machine, is that it is possible to enter and use the menu, through the use of the keyboard. Then it will accept old 9-Pin joysticks, if you use a USB converter. If that is not enough, you can use two of them. It is also possible to make it boot up, straight into the Basic screen, and not into the carosel mode.

Basically. Wonderfull video signal, smooth 50hz, no stripes, can use old joysticks of choice and then it is a VIC-20 at the same time.

I want one…

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Frankly the only thing for me that’s missing is the lack of C128 mode and if they add that in? It’ll be perfect. Oh i mean there probably will stil lbe problems, but at some point you have t ogo 'it’s good enough for the general audience that doesn’t want to get an old tube set, buy or restore their own, and source software.

Now I want a “TheC128D”… :slight_smile:

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That would require a different keyboard, and not that much software is written for native C128 anyway.

Does anyone know if TheC64 Maxi supports USB mice emulating two mice in the joystick ports? I’m getting back into 6502 coding and I’m making a two player game using mouse control (mouse for movement, two buttons for rotating aim left/right).

However, C64 mice are pretty rare out in the wild, and very few people would have two C64 mice. I found a $20 adapter for PS/2 mice, so about $40 for a pair of them. But you still need a couple PS/2 mice, and not everyone has those lying around.

But if the TheC64 Maxi supports USB mice? Well then … now we’re cooking! Practically every TheC64 Maxi owner would have a couple USB mice lying around.

Oh - I’m assuming TheC64 Maxi does NTSC mode also. Is that right? I’m designing my game primarily around NTSC because that’s what I personally have and also 60Hz will be a bit faster. And also, I think the S-Video output of NTSC C64s is really classy due to the way it uses field alternating phase on the chroma signal. It’s really fine looking on a classic NTSC CRT.

(And sure, I’ll default to boring joystick controls, but they’re a bit clunky since there’s only one button. My control scheme is that when you press the button, movement continues while you can now use the stick to aim. When you release the button, aim continues locked in the last direction. Unlike the more common “button lock” method, this lets you run in one direction while aiming behind you.)

I recieved one of these TheC64-FullSize machine as a present the other day. And I have been playing around with it for a couple of days. It is a fun machine.

I have not tested with a mouse yet. I will be doing it, once I get to test Arkanoid.

Yes… It does NTSC. You can set the machine to do both PAL and NTSC. However, I do not think it will autoswitch between the modes. In the menu, you can choose what machine it should boot as. However… Why? The output is HDMI only, so the only reason would be if you want to run some specific NTSC software. Most and the best are PAL anyway.

Personally I do not see any issues with joysticks. Software (games) are coded to use a single button anyway, and if you play with a joystick, then you place it on a flat surface anyway. I have seen reviews were people complain about joysticks in general, and they all hold the stick up in the air like it was a controller. Wich it is not. Obviously. It is also those people that are calling it a controller, and the same people that are referring to a Commodore64 as a console. Yup… It is the young ones that thinks that the only computers in the world, are a Windows computer and a Mac.

Sorry for my rant…


Outside of arcade games where they’re bolted to the cabinet, I’ve never placed a joystick on a table. I’ve always held it.

Only things that go on tables are mice and trackballs.

Cool, I look forward to your mouse test results!

My interest in NTSC is because 60Hz produces smoother faster updates than 50Hz, and I am developing primarily for 60Hz NTSC because that’s what I personally have.

More annoyingly, 60Hz matches HDTV refresh rates here in the USA, which means that a 60Hz alternating field transparency effect will look smooth while a 50Hz transparency effect will not. It also affects the use of sub-pixel scrolling for quasi-interlacing effects, although that is not an effect that has been used in commercial software AFAIK. It is something I intend to take advantage of in my own software, though.

I am actually not very interested in playing many C64 games other than the ones I’m developing myself. In recent years, I find it more enjoyable to watch other play games on YouTube longplay videos. The ones I’m developing myself are an exception because they’re designed for gameplay which I’d personally like to play but there aren’t already games like it yet.

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You need to place it on the table. That is how it was designed to be used in the first place. You see the idea in arcade machines as well. The difference is, that the arcade cabinet is the base and table at the same time. Also a reason as to why so many joysticks have suction cups under them. Holding a joystick like a controller results in a really wierd gaming experience, and is the reason why controllers on consoles, have evolved to the shape they are today. You see it in the Playstation controller and the Xbox controller. They are designed in a way, that you can have a firm grip and the buttons and the analog sticks are designed with that in the mind as well. Hence the sticks being so small on controllers and the stick so big on joysticks. Also, a joystick is designed to take a beating like this. Placing a Playstation controller on the table and moving it with one hand, pushing buttons with the other hand, makes a really strange and crappy experience. There are after all, some 15 years design evolution, parting joysticks and modern controllers in their basic form/design-idea.

If you want to keep using joysticks like they were a Ps3 controller, then be my guest. It is just, that using a table, makes a way better experience. Not telling anyone that one way is forbidden here. Just that it is designed to be used in a specific way.

Well… It is just nice that the machine can do: C64-NTSC, C64-PAL, Vic20-NTSC and Vic20-PAL. :wink: I have it running in PAL, as I am using it for gaming, and the majority of the best games were European PAL releases. If you have software specifically for NTSC, then it can do that as well. What I find the best about this system, is that the video output is perfect. Like in really perfect. There are 3 different settings for PAL and 3 for NTSC. Basically just scanline emulator. Just do not go past 24 inch in screensize. The image will become ugly. Just remember that 12 to 14 inch were the standard back then. In some cases, 24 is stretching it a bit. Go for 16 to 18 inch, and it will be perfect. Not too big, not too small. The pixels are big enough anyway.