A new retro games console, dubbed the C64, bucks the trend of recent retro games boxes, being a full-sized recreation of the machine on which it's based: the Commodore 64 (which originally launched in 1982 – basically Victorian times).

By contrast, the Nintendo Classic Mini, SNES Classic Mini, the C64 Mini were all shrunken takes on their original counterparts, as if to say "look how far computers have come – they're all small and that now!" Like the Mini, the C64 has been developed by Retro Games Ltd, which has no link to Commodore.

Here, the full size of the C64 is no mere gimmick. Unlike the C64 Mini, the new C64 comes complete with a built-in working keyboard, made possible by the machine not being smaller than it would need to be to come complete with a built-in working keyboard. Yes, the future is finally here: home computers come with working keyboards once again.

The machine can operate in one of three modes, of which the C64 mode is perhaps least surprising, emulating as it does the machine for which it's named. Added to that is a VIC–20 mode which, being equally aptly named, emulates the Commodore VIC–20, which launched in 1981 (the year your gran was born). The final mode, Games Carousel, will probably prove the most popular, letting users choose between 64 pre-installed games to play.

The games

We're yet to see a complete list of installed games, but Retro Games mentions California Games, Paradroid, and Boulder Dash – unsurprising, really, given their inclusion with the C64 Mini.

New to the party are titles like Attack of the Mutant Camels, Hover Bovver, Iridis Alpha (brilliant actor!), Gridrunner, Planet of Death plus contemporary title vertically-scrolling space shooter Galencia, released 2017.

Planet of Death's inclusion is a neat touch. Originally released as Adventure A: Planet of Death on the ZX80 and ZX81 in 1981, the game was a text adventure, so it's appearance here should help the all-important keyboard see some use among casual users as well as the retro-computing fanatics.

A promo video for the C64 seems to reveal more titles shown in the carousel. However, the video stops short of a scroll through all the available titles, revealing only those between W and H in the alphabet (clearly the games scroll endlessly, from Z back to A again).

The extra titles shown are: World Games, Zynaps, Alleykat, Anarchy, Avenger, Battle Valley, Bear Bovver, Boulder Dash, Bounder, Chip's Challenge, Confuzion, Cosmic Causeway, Cyberdyne Warrior, Cybenoid II, Deflektor, Destroyer, Everyone's a Wally, Firelord, Gateway to Apshai, Gribbly's Day Out, Gridrunner, Heartland and Herobotix.

Of these, only Cosmic Causeway, Destroyer, Gateway to Apshai and Gridrunner would be new additions compared to the C64 Mini. Gameplay footage in the video also suggests an Impossible Mission game will be included, which is no surprise given that both Impossible Mission and Impossible Mission II were included with the Mini.

More features

Akin to the C64 Mini and other retro boxes, the C64 will offer 720p HD output over HDMI, optional scan lines for that old school CRT TV feel, and the obligatory USB ports to update firmware, or run your own software and games.

The C64 also comes with an improved joystick, complete with microswitches. These, Game Retail in the UK promises, should make for an improved gameplay experience compared to the joysticks of medieval times.

The machine is available to pre-order in the UK now for £109.99 (about US$140). It's due for release December 5, 2019.

Do remember, though: if you'd prefer to build your own C64 from Lego, you can do that too.

You can see the previously-mentioned promo video for the C64 below. Enjoy!

Source: Retro Games

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