Tweet from a Commodore 64? We Do That and More to Celebrate the Beloved PC's 30th Birthday

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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.

Commodore VIC-1311 joysticks
Commodore VIC-1311 joysticks.

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.

Suncom TAC-2 joystick: Best ever made?
Suncom TAC-2 joystick: Best ever made?

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.

Author's cartridge collection for the C64.

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:

Disks of Summer Games for the C64.
And here is one of the games running on the Commodore 64. Does the Olympic Torch there beat London's?

Summer Games on the C64.

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:

 M.U.L.E. (Electronic Arts, 1983)
M.U.L.E. (Electronic Arts, 1983).

Next: Day 5, Graphics

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