Systems Have I Loved: Commodore 64

In honor of the imminent arrival of my Nintendo DS Lite, I decided to do a series of posts on the ol’ blog where I go through my history with video game systems, from the first up to the DS itself. Without any further ado, let us begin a journey through the recent past.

Ah, memories.

System: The Commodore 64. I recently found out that our ownership of the noble Commodore 64 (a rare piece of technological excess in our otherwise lower middle class household) was due to a small inheritance my father received sometime in 1983. I am told he spent some $2,000 on this machine and its peripherals, including a cassette storage deck and ungodly loud printer. That sort of cash was not tossed around lightly in the Bent household, but considering my brother is now a successful computer programmer, and much of my NYC employability comes from lifelong familiarity with computers, it was perhaps a pretty sound investment.

Favorite Games: Many happy hours were spent by the Bent brothers playing G.I. Joe and Summer Games II (possibly the reason for my lifelong obsession with the Olympics). G.I. Joe was just an amazingly in-depth port for a C64 game. There was the 4-bit transduction of the tv theme, urging you on as you fought the forces of Cobra, either in vehicle levels (so-so fun) or one-on-one as one of the Joes (the best!). If you prevailed, you would jail that Cobra member and continue to fight. Our preferred combatant was of course, the ninja Snake Eyes, for his prodigious speed and all-around awesomeness.

I can remember playing Summer Games with our cousins, who I think also owned a C64, and taking great delight in their skill at the Cycling event. This consisted of twirling the joystick in a circle to pedal, and I believe our cousin Lucas was a young prodigy in this event. I remember Equestrian being impossibly hard, but I was also probably not more than 5 or 6 when playing the game.

I believe Ikari Warriors also saw frequently play.

Least Favorite: This will be a rare exception in this category. I do intend to pick a least favorite game that I disliked for each system. I think The Legend of Blacksilver is actually an awesome game, but it was my least favorite because my brother and my dad used to play it together, i.e, without me. Despite my love of all things knights & monster, I was deemed “too young” to appreciate the complexities of Blacksilver, so I was relegated to the rear of the computer room where I could gain no purchase on the map-making and high fantasy adventure of Blacksilver. Alas.

Personal Quirks: Despite being a color system, our C64 was yoked to the lesser tv in our household, a black & white job from the 70s. So we were forced to play games in black & white, except on the rare occasions when the folks would give us leave to attach it to the color tv in the living room for a day or weekend. Then everything exploded with heretofore unknown color and life.

Also, LOAD “*” ,8,1 is burned a small patch of my brain forever.

Next up: The Nintendo Entertainment System.

One Reply to “Systems Have I Loved: Commodore 64”

  1. My father, educator that he is, purchased this highly instructive game in which the player does lots and lots of math problems while ascending through an abandoned, lightning-struck television station while being stalked by, I kid you not, an ambulatory TV that occasionally threatens to kill you unless you do the sevens table. It was the bane of my childhood and, I am convinced, the reason I am not very good at video games. Or my sevens table.

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