Modern versions of iconic gaming consoles have been popularized in recent years, but the rebirth of this latest product will surely resonate with early computer users.
Manufacturer Retro Games announced this week it is working on an updated version of the beloved Commodore 64 8-bit computer launched in 1982 and cost $595 at the time. It was teased in a trailer set to the theme song of popular 80s-themed Netflix show “Stranger Things.”
Called THEC64, the computer is a more complete replica of the mini-version also released last year by Retro Games. The updated product comes with a full-sized retro keyboard, a classic joystick and a selection of classic games, including Speedball and Cyberdyne Warrior. It will cost $199.99 when it launches in early December.
The chunky, tan-colored Commodore 64 computer brought personal computing into the home for millions of users in the early- and mid-1980s. People used their C64s, as they were known, for everything from basic office functions to primitive games like “Impossible Mission.” It was limited to 64 kilobytes of memory — about the equivalent of one long email.
Commodore sold more than 17 million of its C64 systems, according to the manufacturer Commodore International. The Guinness Book of World Records once listed Commodore 64 as the best-selling computer model of all time.
Retro Games initially sought funding for the computer in 2016 with an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign that failed to reach its target goal. The team refocused on developing and releasing the C64 Mini first as other retro mini-consoles, such as the NES and SNES Classic Editions, exploded in popularity.
But the retro keyboard that came with the C64 mini console was purely for show. The team rectified that decision by putting a fully-functioning keyboard in the full-sized version.