Last year a company simply called Retro Games released the C64 Mini, a response to the mini-console craze, only this time a mini-computer. The main flaw was immediately obvious: computers, no matter how old, need a keyboard. And the C64 Mini was so small that its replica keyboard couldn’t actually be functional — it was one solid piece.
The C64 Mini was banking on the fact that a lot of its games used the joystick, and that in a pinch it could PASS as a console. It just wasn’t the same, though. The only way to make it the same would be to make the unit full-size with a functional keyboard; in other words, to actually make a Commodore 64 again. Guess what they did?
Yes, Retro Games is following up the C64 Mini with “The C64,” a full-size replica of the 1980s classic. You can do anything with it that you could do with the original, including BASIC….but it also has modern conveniences like an HDMI connection, save states, and the ability to load an infinite number of games from a USB stick. You can even throw a switch and turn the C64 into the Vic-20, the C64’s predecessor.
If this sparks a trend of old computer rereleases, that would be amazing. I grew up with an Apple II, not a C64, and an HDMI-capable rerelease of THAT machine would blow my mind — though it would be more difficult to pull off. The machine wasn’t nearly as compact as the C64, and you definitely couldn’t plug it into your living room TV (I mean you COULD, but it’d be awkward to use).
The C64 comes back on December 5, 2019, for a retail price of $120.