Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * October 2006
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Classic Gaming Spotlight

The Commodore C64

Today's retro Gaming Spotlight is not on any particular game, but on what is by all accounts the most popular home computer of all time: the Commodore C64. For years after its launch in 1982, the C64 was a favourite for budding computer enthusiasts worldwide. And it might surprise you that even today, almost 25 years after its launch, there is a small but active community, developing new games for the C64 and using the "breadbox" machine in a number of surprising ways.

Compared to today's computer systems, the Commodore 64 certainly seems antiquated:
  • It had 64 Kilobtyes of memory. A modern Windows machine now comes with one Gigabyte of memory - enough to store the combined memory of over 15,000 Commodore 64s. A single C64 doesn't even have enough memory to keep a single "Stinky" 3D-model in its memory, let alone do anything with it.
  • A "blistering" 1.023 Mhz clock speed. Clock-speed alone has increased a thousand-fold since then, but with advances in chip technologies the real processing power increase is many times more.
  • A maximum resolution of 320x200 pixels with 16 colours. Never mind the 4 billion colours you can play Wonderland with.
  • Programs stored on cassette tapes (!) or on a lumbering disk drive that could store 170kB per disk side. The 35 MBtyes that a fresh install of Return To Wonderland uses on your harddrive would require over 100 two sided disks just to be stored.

And yet, in spite of these modest specifications, the Commodore 64 brought us a slew of brilliant games that have stood the test of time. They might be outclassed by the sheer glitz of modern games, but nobody can deny the impact that games such as Archon, Boulder Dash, Impossible Mission, or The Bard's Tale have had on a generation of game players and game designers.

So, let's take a trip down memory lane. We'll visit some of the many fan sites built around the "commie" and have a peek at the lasting impact of the Commodore 64 scene. We've also put together a C64 Retro Challenge: indulge your nostalgia and you might just win a copy of our soon-to-be-released game Wonderland Adventures!

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