Day 4: Video Games
By the time day four rolled around, I was tired of working. Wasn't the C64 supposed to be a world-famous game platform, anyway? It was time for some fun.
So I hooked up some joysticks. I mentioned the Commodore VIC-1311 joysticks earlier, and I wish I hadn't. They are terrible. Whoever decided to make the joystick shaft shaped like a triangular prism was either high or trying to avoid a patent lawsuit. Now roughly 30 years old, pushing their ancient mushy buttons feels like pushing a solid, immovable piece of plastic.
So I ditched them.
In their place, I whipped out a Suncom TAC-2—perhaps the greatest digital joystick ever created. Its unique ball/plate-based contact mechanism makes it very rugged, yet accurate and responsive. Its two buttons both wire up to the same contacts, which makes it lefty-friendly.
With the TAC-2 firmly attached to the C64, I was ready to play. After a few games of Frogger and Wizard of Wor on cartridge, I was left unsatisfied. What games, if any, defined the Commodore 64? I flipped through my cartridge collection, below, looking for familiar names.
I happened to have a bunch of nonpirated C64 game disks too—unfortunately, most of them are now unreadable—but I did manage to find and run Summer Games, a digital implementation of the Summer Olympic Games created by EPYX in 1984. I also tried Summer Games II (1984), which lets you combine events from the first game into a huge Olympics-style competition. Here are the disks:
And here is one of the games running on the Commodore 64. Does the Olympic Torch there beat London's?
After that, I loaded up one of my personal favorites, M.U.L.E. (Electronic Arts, 1983), a multiplayer strategy game that involves trading and resource management. Here's how it looked:
Next: Day 5, Graphics