Commodore 64

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Platform - C64.png
Commodore 64
Commodore 64.jpg
Released: 1982-08-??
Discontinued: 1994-04-??
Developer: Commodore
Type: Hardware

The Commodore 64 is a home computer released by Commodore and the best-selling single model of personal computer in history. Unlike modern computers which boot into an operating system, the Commodore 64 boots into Commodore BASIC, a primitive programming language which used little memory, but also couldn't do much. Software was either typed in BASIC or loaded through peripheral devices like disk drives, cassette drives, or ROM cartridges.



Music and Sound

The Commodore 64 used the SID chip which featured three channels with selectable waveforms. With cleverly programmed audio drivers, it could be used to play sample-based music and even recognizable speech. Also Sound Expander and Voice Master were produced for this platform, but they were supported too poorly.

SID supports filtering of voices. However, due to a production shortcoming, the filter sounds different on every SID chip and even on every C64 it is socketed on. As a result, C64 gamers often heard notes muffled or louder than the composer intended. Most composers, including Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Chris Hülsbeck and Jeroen Tel, expressed their concern in interviews, and some, like Ben Daglish, Fred Gray and Chris Grigg, used the filter very sparingly or purposely avoided it.

In 1986, a major revision of SID, known as 8580, appeared. It supported more waveforms and the filter was consistent, but samples were very quiet. The latter could be restored by soldering a resistor.

Many C64 emulators and SID players allow to select the SID model and to configure the filter, and even have a template based on Martin Galway's original Commodore 128D.


In the 1980s, composers usually wrote their own drivers in BASIC or assembly language and typed the notes as numbers. Although there have been editors which allowed their music to be embedded into other programs as early as 1983 (most notably, Master Composer), they were often too limited and bloated for games until 1987.