Commodore 64 roots   Leave a comment

The roots of the Commodore 64 problem were twofold.
1. Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore (who later left an took over Atari’s computer division, but not Atari Games), bought a version of the programming language BASIC from Microsoft for a one off flat rate fee of US$25,000 instead of US$3 per unit. This allowed Commodore to use it as much as they liked, no matter how many computers they sold. The deal took place in 1977 or even earlier! The version of BASIC that Commodore bought from Microsoft wasn’t customised for any particular computer and may have been just Microsoft 6502 BASIC, written for the 6502 processor before anyone had even built a computer to go round it! This BASIC, obviously had no commands for colour, graphics, or sound. Other   manufacturers, such as Apple and Tandy had the common decency to add commands for colour, graphics, and sound, as much as these could be applied to the very limited hardware of the time. Tandy’s first computer came with a B&W monochrome display, but included the commands SET and RESET to plot and unplot points on the graphics screen, and this was back in 1977! Apple started with their own versions of BASIC, including graphics commands, but then had some different graphics commands written into the Microsoft BASIC they called Applesoft BASIC. Commodore just didn’t bother and couldn’t have cared less!

2. Commodore released a games console called the Max in Japan only. This console failed miserably, but instead of forgetting all about it and cutting their losses, they had the cheek to use its custom chips VIC II  (graphics) and SID (sound) in another version which they claimed was a computer. This they called the Commodore 64!

http://www.northnet.org/rayzor/cbm/max.html

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Posted August 5, 2012 by C64hater in Uncategorized

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