The Commodore 64 turns 25 this year, and amazingly, CNN seems to deem it important enough to merit a front page story. Obviously they have some nerds on staff, because this is far better than their usual sensationalist fare. I’m too young to have grown up with a Commodore, but I do envy everyone who had the experience of using one. From all I’ve read and heard, it sounds like a great system. It was also the best-selling personal computer model of all time, selling 30 million units over its lifespan of twelve years. I can’t even imagine a computer model lasting more than two years these days.
The great thing about the Commodore 64 is that it was affordable (at $600, it was cheaper than a lot of personal computers on the market these days, even adjusting for inflation) and it was hackable. You could get really close to the machine and write all sorts of neat programs out of the box. It turned a generation of kids onto programming. Personal computers these days don’t come with development environments and compilers. If you want to program, you have to go out and download the tools (and many people don’t even realize you can). The way the Commodore 64 did it was much better.
I think it’d be really neat to buy a Commodore 64 and experiment with it to see what the generation of nerds before me was using. It’s not too expensive (going for less than $100 on eBay, and certainly less in local used computer/electronic stores). I already have a bunch of older computers, including some SPARC stations, at my house, so why not add to the collection?