With Nintendo, Sega and Atari all in the middle of rereleasing consoles from the 80s and 90s, it's a great time to be a retro gamer. And now an older-school player is jumping into the mix: a mini version of the classic Commodore 64 is due next year, developed by Retro Games and distributed by Koch Media.
The original C64 was released in 1982 and sold strong for over a decade. Its legacy lives on and it's often credited with popularizing home computers, video game consoles and the tinkering hobbyist community that lives on in the indie game scene and devices like the Raspberry Pi.
Following in the footsteps of Nintendo's Classic Mini NES and SNES systems, Atari's Flashback line and Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis Classic, the C64 Mini is essentially a plug-and-play emulator with dozens of games pre-installed, wrapped in a shell that looks like a shrunken version of the original machine. In this case, the C64 packs 64 games spanning a breadth of genres, like shooters, platformers and puzzle games, including Impossible Mission, California Games, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe and Paradroid.
Those are playable with the included joystick, which connects to the system via a 1.5-m (5-ft) USB cable. But the C64 Mini doesn't just emulate games: by plugging in a USB keyboard, the system can also recreate its home computer functionalities, allowing enthusiasts to tinker with BASIC and even code new games. That said, the fact that it needs an external keyboard implies that the form factor is just for show – and would require some pretty tiny fingers anyway.
Like other retro rereleases, the C64 Mini includes a few modern concessions. The device is powered through USB and outputs to a TV via HDMI, with both of those cables measuring a decent 1.2 m (4 ft). Software-wise, games can be saved anywhere and the visuals can be filtered through different modes, including pixel perfect, CRT and scanline emulation. In future, the system firmware can be updated through USB drives.
Retro Games says that the C64 Mini is just the first product in a line of classic recreations, and while this one is just half the size of the original, a full-sized and fully-functioning version is also due for release later in 2018.
The C64 Mini is due for launch in early 2018 for US$69.99 (£69.99/€79.99), and includes the system, joystick, USB charging cable, HDMI cable and 64 pre-installed games, which are listed below.
AlleyKat, Anarchy, Armalyte: Competition Edition, Avenger, Battle Valley, Bounder, California Games, Chip's Challenge, Confuzion, Cosmic Causeway: Trailblazer II, Creatures, Cyberdyne Warrior, Cybernoid II: The Revenge, Cybernoid: The Fighting Machine, Deflektor, Everyone's A Wally, Firelord, Gribbly's Day Out, Hawkeye, Heartland, Herobotix, Highway Encounter, Hunter's Moon, Hysteria, Impossible Mission, Impossible Mission II, Insects In Space, Mega-Apocalypse, Mission A.D, Monty Mole, Monty on the Run, Nebulus, Netherworld, Nobby the Aardvark, Nodes Of Yesod, Paradroid, Pitstop II, Rana Rama, Robin Of The Wood, Rubicon, Skate Crazy, Skool Daze, Slayer, Snare, Speedball, Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe, Spindizzy, Star Paws, Steel, Stormlord, Street Sports Baseball, Summer Games II, Super Cycle, Temple of Apshai Trilogy, The Arc Of Yesod, Thing Bounces Back, Thing on a Spring, Trailblazer, Uchi Mata, Uridium, Who Dares Wins II, Winter Games, World Games, Zynaps.
Source: The C64