Vintage Commodore 64/128 Ads

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Chip Hageman
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I've been delving deeper into the Commodore 64 recently. In my travels on the interwebs I've stumbled across a few vintage C64/128 ads on a site in Finland. So I downloaded them, corrected them (cropped correctly, exposure, sharpened, re-sized, etc.). They didn't need a ton of work, but I did want to get them as close to the original as possible.

... Ahh, takes me back to my highschool days. :-)

-Chip

Commodore 64 Ads


C64 Ad 01 C64 Ad 02 C64 Ad 03

Commodore 128 Ads


C128 Ad 01 C128 Ad 02 C128 Ad 03 C128 Ad 04

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Bill Loguidice
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Apps
Matt Barton wrote:

Going back to the original ads, I'm curious about word processing on the Commodore 64. Easy Script and Easy Spell? I wonder how well they worked. I'm guessing not good.

My first major word processor was Scribble! for the Amiga. It was pretty lousy, but not as bad as most about crashing. Like Bill, I tried to use Final Copy for awhile, but it was just too damn buggy. We're really, really spoiled nowadays with Word. I remember having to do a manual spell check; had to click on each "misspelling" one by one (no live checking). The most annoying thing, though, was when the damn computer or program crash (usually to a guru meditation error requiring a computer restart) while you were trying to save your work. That usually meant your disk was now corrupted and everything was gone.

I loved my Amiga very much, but would never, *ever* want to go back to using it for word processing.

Productivity apps (spreadsheets, databases, accounting, etc.) in general on the Amiga was something of a lost cause and a tiny part of the reason why it ultimately failed. The WordPerfect company put out a version or two of WordPerfect for both the ST and Amiga, but soon dropped active support, instead focusing (correctly) on the PC and, to a lesser degree, the Macintosh. WordPerfect for the ST and Amiga could have easily surpassed anything possible on the latter platforms given enough TLC (particularly the Amiga version), but the consumers just weren't there apparently, which is why we had niche companies who often couldn't deliver a stable (or feature rich) product, which, as we all know is the most important feature of a "work" app--losing your work trumps everything else (and delaying your work is pretty high on the list too).

This is a bit odd, though, because there were certain desktop publishing apps, graphics packages, sound packages, etc., that were top notch on both the ST and Amiga. You would think a rock solid, feature rich word processor would be a no brainer in comparison.

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Bill Loguidice
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The Adam
TripHamer wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I got one out of the newspaper in the late 80's for cheap as a birthday gift. I essentially had an Atari 2600, ColecoVision and Commodore 64 (which replaced a Vic-20), then added in the Adam to the mix. It's a shockingly potent system with a few crippling design decisions.

Like the power supply being routed thru the printer, if I remember correctly.

Certainly it was too bulky and having the power supply being built into the printer was unecessary, but at least it was a quality printer for the time. The built-in word processor was kind of buggy (this was fixed for the most part later on, though too late to reach most consumers), but to me the most crippling feature were the digital data packs, which were VERY susceptible to corruption and being eaten like most tape-based media are when run at such high speeds. The Adam actually had a very fast disk drive, but naturally this was something you had to buy separately.

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Matt Barton
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Going back to the original

Going back to the original ads, I'm curious about word processing on the Commodore 64. Easy Script and Easy Spell? I wonder how well they worked. I'm guessing not good.

My first major word processor was Scribble! for the Amiga. It was pretty lousy, but not as bad as most about crashing. Like Bill, I tried to use Final Copy for awhile, but it was just too damn buggy. We're really, really spoiled nowadays with Word. I remember having to do a manual spell check; had to click on each "misspelling" one by one (no live checking). The most annoying thing, though, was when the damn computer or program crash (usually to a guru meditation error requiring a computer restart) while you were trying to save your work. That usually meant your disk was now corrupted and everything was gone.

I loved my Amiga very much, but would never, *ever* want to go back to using it for word processing.

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TripHamer
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A few crippling design decisions.
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I got one out of the newspaper in the late 80's for cheap as a birthday gift. I essentially had an Atari 2600, ColecoVision and Commodore 64 (which replaced a Vic-20), then added in the Adam to the mix. It's a shockingly potent system with a few crippling design decisions.

Like the power supply being routed thru the printer, if I remember correctly.

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Bill Loguidice
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Adam
TripHamer wrote:

I wanted a Coleco Adam but I skipped that also somewhere between the TI-99/4a and the Commodore 64. :)

I'd get one now off of eBay, but I think the moment has passed. :)

I got one out of the newspaper in the late 80's for cheap as a birthday gift. I essentially had an Atari 2600, ColecoVision and Commodore 64 (which replaced a Vic-20), then added in the Adam to the mix. It's a shockingly potent system with a few crippling design decisions.

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TripHamer
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Coleco Adam

I wanted a Coleco Adam but I skipped that also somewhere between the TI-99/4a and the Commodore 64. :)

I'd get one now off of eBay, but I think the moment has passed. :)

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Bill Loguidice
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Amiga and PC and timing
TripHamer wrote:

My thinking is (with 20/20 hindsight) that the PC was going was going to be around a lot longer than the Amiga. So I dropped 2 grand into a 386 SX - 16 instead. However, what I didn't realize is that I could of had a few years with the Amiga (before Windows 95) and got to take part in it, during that time.

Now it's just a toy of that reminds me of what could of been.

We eventually got a 386 SX-20 at the same time I was doing most of my computing on an Amiga 500. Eventually, with some upgrades, the 386 became more my primary PC, but I guess didn't 100% commit to the PC until I got my then state-of-the-art Gateway Pentium 90 with 8MB of RAM and a 2MB SVGA card. It had a Sony Trinitron monitor and as I relate in Vintage Games, it was stunning running Doom.

I remember in college when I lived on campus, I was deciding what computer to take (I entered college in 1990 and graduated in 1994). I was actually going to take my Coleco Adam because of the printer (!), but I ended up taking my Amiga 500 with color printer (a mediocre dot matrix color of course). I remember distinctly doing a report on Mars for my Freshman Astronomy class and including a photo of Mars I got from a BBS in the print-out (there was SO much banding in the print-out, but I guess it had a certain charm). Anyway, probably about halfway through college I switched to a 386 SX-20 laptop with a black and white screen and onboard trackball because, frankly, the word processing on the Amiga (I believe I had Final Copy or some such thing named similarly) was always buggy and crash prone (the Adam would have been worse, though). I still used the same printer if I recall and the AmiPro word processor, which was excellent.

My fondest memories of using the Amiga in college was playing a lot of Pool of Radiance (which one of my roomates liked (though he was an ass)) and drawing the Bugs Bunny picture in Deluxe Paint III in a couple of days because no one believed I did the Peanuts picture. Ironically, I was a communications major, and having the Amiga helped me in my television production class since the Amiga powered the titling and graphics (sadly, the Video Toaster was pretty much off limits). I was always able to come up with the best graphics and work the Amiga the best because I was probably the only one with actual Amiga experience prior to the class.

Of course the college itself was - as is typical - quite behind the times. I remember in my journalism class them still using disk-based IBM PC's and DOS word processing when the rest of the world was already well into Windows 3.x. I remember my journalism professor being wowed by the two Macintoshes (and wouldn't anyone in comparison to 1982-era DOS PC's?) and wanting to replace all the PC's with Macintoshes, though of course the cost was prohibitive. That was my first exposure (OK, maybe second) to laser printers and of course the output for the time was quite stunning. It's what eventually got my father to get me a laser printer class Okidata printer, which was not quite a laser printer, but indistinguishable from the output (and cheaper, of course). I had that printer until about 1998.

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Mark Vergeer
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I was exactly thinking the same.... PC Gaming

Back in the day I was a heavy C64 user. Coding in basic and machine code. I even created some demos and cracked a few games (for personal use as I loathed the slow tape loading). I had the chance to buy an Amiga 500 but had no means to ever buy the software for it nor the 3.5" empty floppies if I were to copy the games. The damn thing was just too expensive for me at the time. So I poured my money into a 1541 disk-drive instead as I was still using the C2N/CBM Tapething with turbo loading tapes (C60 tapes with a 10x software based turbo loader). I could afford the floppies and the games were far less expensive.

I decided not to buy an Amiga, but ended up using and playing on one all the same - probably because I could borrow one from a relative. Games, discs all was there. But because it was not my own system I was very carefull with it and only used it sparingly. I also had the chance to use a NMS 8250 MSX2 system which I used extensively, programming it in basic with a bit of assambly. The Amiga was less accessible for programming back then.

In my last year in Highschool I had the chance to pick up a Philips PC/XT with 8088 CPU, EGA Monochrome paperwhite screen, 32Gb Harddrive, 768Kb ram. I hacked a RAMDRIVE driver that made the 128K extra available a RAM Drive in unison with a freeware utility to be able to load dos and device drivers into that extra 128Kb of ram. Something reserved only for 286+ users. My EGA card had some VGA capabilities but wasn't a true VGA card. Still with some tweaking I managed to even get get some VGA games running. Replacing some of the crystals/oscillators it was possible to even overclock this machine. I played a lot of early DOS games on it. Text adventures, Strategy Games, Arcade games and quite a few early Apogee titles in EGA mode. On this system I programmed in GW Basic as is was very very similar to the basic on the MSX. I moved up to Qbasic which offered a compiler and introduced another way of programming also found in Turbo Pascal. I ventured into Turbo Pascal and actually ended up doing a lot of the programming assignments my friends were doing for their University Course in Informatics as well. Just for the fun of it.

When I moved out to go the University I ended up giving that XT/PC to my Volleyball-club who were going to use it as one of the office systems after a couple of months and got myself an Escom 486SX-25 with 4Mb of ram 210Mb Harddrive, Soundblaster, 2x CD-rom, 14" VGA screen and Trident 9400Cxi VLB graphics card, mouse, keyboard and I kept my Star LC-10/20 dot matrix printer. Windows 3.11. Dabbled a bit with OS3/Warp. Got a spare harddrive that I swapped out for Linux. I ended up installing and compiling Linux on that machine basically from scratch, doing my own XWindows configurations etc. All the time I was attending medschool, branched out into psychology and ended up as a student-assistent/assistent teacher for a lot of the computer courses at my faculty: Statistics, Smalltalk, SQL/Database etc. Of course I had to upgrade to a DX2-66 when it became available and really enjoyed playing Doom on our own network. When Windows95 was appearing on the horizon we even were selected as a betatest team we were using versions of Windows95 way before the public preview version came out. Which was very cool.

This was the first time I experienced the need to upgrade and maintain the PC hardware specs up to good standard in order to have an enjoyable gaming experience. I ended up selling / maintaining / building new PCs for my fellow students in order to keep up. I more or less broke even doing this and sometimes even made a healthy profit. People would come knocking on my door when they'd lost their thesis on an accidentally deleted stackered harddrive etc. And I would be able to fix most problems. Still money was tight and as the first emulators came out on the DOS machines: Spectrum, C64 and MSX emulators I was drawn to these old machines. Ended up buying a MSX2 and put my C64 next to it. Then I was exposed to the beginnings of console and arcade emulators on the PC and as these were far from perfect I went out and got myself my first consoles: Famicom Clone with Gunnac, 1800in1, Captain America etc, Snes. I took me a while but after the buzz around the Megadrive died off I ended up getting myself a Megadrive. I also did get a N64, Saturn, a Playstation, Dreamcast, Playstation two and all other consoles in the process. Console games were expensive though and PC games ware often found in the bargain bin etc.

For a while I kept on upgrading my PC hardware and selling it on but was really amazed by the ease of use of the consoles and when I figured out I could play more of the latest games on the consoles with the money I would have otherwise spent on keeping my PC up to date I want console gaming for a long time. The only gaming I did on my PC was emulation. I was fascinated that my PC could actually play my black Sony Playstation discs better and better and even ended up making one of my PCs (I always had several systems, still do) a dedicated emulation system. Despite the improving emulation I would always prefer to play the games on the real thing but Emulation made investing in games - that could be played with open source software on regular PCs - something world while and not some dead and street where the games will die the moment the console does. Still am fascinated by Emulators and I must admit that FPS games on the PC are best played with the keyboard and mouse combination.

I am of two minds. Actually use all sorts of technology to play games and I do have a PC gaming rig which is excellent for emulation (Playstation 2, Wii and Gamecube even) and quite recent games. I do enjoy both consoles and PC gaming now. Ease of use and being sure you get the best experience as it was inteded by the programmers makes me buy a console (PS3, Xbox360) game quicker than a PC game.

My 2 cents.

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TripHamer
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My Thinking

My thinking is (with 20/20 hindsight) that the PC was going was going to be around a lot longer than the Amiga. So I dropped 2 grand into a 386 SX - 16 instead. However, what I didn't realize is that I could of had a few years with the Amiga (before Windows 95) and got to take part in it, during that time.

Now it's just a toy of that reminds me of what could of been.

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Bill Loguidice
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Timing
TripHamer wrote:

But to this day I still got my C64. I regret skipping the Amiga and going to the PC. I own an Amiga now but I missed out on it in it's Prime.

It's all in the timing, really. There was a time, prior to Amiga's going AGA, that you were in a better position - particularly as a gamer - going with an Amiga. Some, though, stayed on for far longer than they should have, holding out hope that Commodore would turn things around. While I wanted to move into AGA Amiga's, it never worked out that way. I ended up going the PC route and I can't say it's anything I regretted because that's where all the action ended up being.

The timing subject would be an interesting one to explore, as there are very specific times I believe certain systems were very much worth owning, sometimes even over all others...

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