Commodore took the wraps off the Commodore 64, one of two immediate follow-ups to its popular Vic-20 home computer, 30 years ago this week.
The 64 made its public debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), though it wouldn’t go into production until later in the year before going on sale in the US market in August. It didn’t make it across the Atlantic until late Autumn.
The original ‘breadbox’ Commodore 64 design
Back then, I was a young lad eagerly awaiting the 64 my folks had ordered as a Christmas prezzie from a local reseller. But supply was so constrained, we were told we might not get the machine until the new year. Unwilling to wait until 1983, I chose a Dragon 32 instead.
Had I hung on, I’d have received a machine that, like the Dragon, had a full-sized keyboard and was also somewhat cheaper than a BBC Micro. But, unlike either the Beeb or the Dragon, the 64 couldn’t use a standard domestic cassette player for storage – you had to buy Commodore’s own tape deck, with a proprietary connector, adding to the cost.