Modded C64 eye candy

“Everyone needs a hobby,” they tell us. For the blogger mysteriously identified only as “R,” that hobby would be an almost fanatical nostalgia for the Commodore 64 computer.

At first we thought this was a fan community site, but apparently it’s all the work of a single person. [R] has tweaked, extended, repackaged and resurfaced this 1980’s icon in nearly every imaginable way. They tend to gloss over the technical aspects of these mods, but that’s okay – the C64 is such an exhaustively documented system now that the site dwells mainly on the aesthetics and meaning of these reborn devices.

The 64 has made an indelible impression on electronic music, and the machines are still sought after by collectors, composers and circuit-benders. [R] pays homage by housing these vintage systems in styles reminiscent of even vintage-er synthesizers. Any one of these would warrant a post here, yet there’s a whole collection to browse. Check it out!

[via Retro Thing]

C64 interface for your computer

Before we get started, lets just point out that this C64 was broken. He did not take a functional C64 out of operation for this. What he did do, was to build a hardware interface for for his VICE system. For those unfamiliar, VICE is a cross platform C64 emulator. [Simon] points out that the old games just weren’t as much fun without the original hardware. Having a broken C64 lying around, he put it to good use. It now acts as the interface for all the original fun stuff.

If you are a fan of the hardware, but just want to interface it as a normal USB keyboard, that is possible as well.

Commodore SQ1000 twitter wall: the twypper

Before we begin, let us soothe those first dreaded thoughts. No, the commodore was not destroyed in the process. They can simply clip the 16 wires they added to interface the keyboard and be back to stock. Breathe a sigh of relief, and enjoy the twypper, a twitter wall made from a commodore SQ1000.

[Alex] needed to make an interesting project for his companies Openspace/hack day.  A friend, suggested a twitter wall, and that’s when [Alex] got the idea for a typewriter. After a quick search, he found oomlaut’s typewriter.  They didn’t let that deter them from making their own version though. They found a nice fully functional commodore SQ1000 and began hacking. Ultimately they simply decided to use an Arduino to short the key switches to simulate typing. There are all kinds of details on the necessary steps to get the typing to function absolutely correct on the project page. Over all it was well done and we’re happy to see that it can be undone just as easily.

[M]ouse: a PS/2 to c64 adapter

4100951630_8cb9dc6164 (Custom)

[svofski] has a friend who is a pixel artist. They really wanted to try out their skills on a c64, but were missing a mouse. The original mouse for the c64 was not only serial, but used a different method of communication than more modern mice. [svofski] built this adapter to translate the ps/2 data to something the c64 can use. The writeup describes the build in detail and even has the PCB and source code available for download.


[via flickr]

C64 emulator for iPhone approved — minus BASIC


After a lengthy process that had previously met with rejection, Manomio’s Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone and iPod touch has finally been accepted by Apple. This marks the first time a multi-purpose emulation title has been approved by the App Store. The $4.99 C64 app comes bundled with five fully-licensed classic games, and additional titles can be purchased and downloaded directly within the application.

App Store policies prohibit software that could run downloadable code, which barred most emulation attempts in the past. A couple of Sega titles worked around this by nature of being single-purpose emulators. The condition by which the C64 title was finally approved was the removal of the BASIC programming language (though ironically it’s still shown in screen shots, even on the App Store). Since only sanctioned programs can be installed and run from within the application, no user-alterable code is present.

The C64 emulator is neat enough in itself, but the really encouraging news here is that a precedent has been set; the business model may open the floodgates for developers to bring more classic gaming titles to the iPhone platform. So download that SDK and get hacking!

[via TouchArcade]

Update: The iPhone Blog has a simple work-around for accessing BASIC!

Update 2: App pulled, no surprise. If you jumped on the opportunity while it was available, [George’s] comment might be of interest.

C64 USB keyboard


[Maarten] told us about a C64 USB keyboard that was modified to be used as a standard input device. An interesting aspect of the project is the use of V-USB (formerly known as AVR-USB). V-USB is a software only approach to slow speed USB HID. In essence this is a two fold mod, The C64 keyboard is patched to a PC, and an off the shelf AVR is software-hacked to bit bang the USB communications. The author notes an initial problem with multiple key presses that was later corrected in the application. For the other side of the spectrum, we had covered the C64 twittering client, and a commodore 64 laptop.

Restoring yellowed computer plastics


Many of our cherished computers and consoles from the past have not stood up well over time. It’s not the hardware as much as the color. From Commodores, Apples, to Super Nintendos, the machines have slowly drifted towards a sickly yellow and even brown. The culprit appears to be the fire retardant chemicals used in the plastics. Amiga enthusiasts have spent the last year perfecting a technique that restores the plastic of these machines to its original splendor. Dubbed ‘Retr0brite‘ it’s a gel made from hydrogen peroxide, xanthan gum, glycerine, and ‘Oxy’ style laundry booster. The results are really impressive. If you do start restoring your own machines, caution should be used since it requires strong concentrations of hydrogen peroxide typically employed in bleaching hair.

[via Waxy]