Relics of the Past: Commodore 64 Computer


Commodore 64 computer keyboard.

It has been 29 years since the Commodore 64 computer was sold in 1982. It became the best selling personal computer ever.

From 1983-1986 it dominated the personal computer market selling between 30 and 40 percent of all personal computers sold during that span.

My mom bought a Commodore 64 computer in the 80’s from a computer store in Alexandria and gave it to her grandkids. If I remember right it cost $159 but the Commodore 64’s were selling at $595 when first introduced. The first models were only costing the Commodore company only $135 giving the company a huge profit margin.

It was not as user friendly as the computers today. We would buy Commodore 64 themed magazines and copy the programs line by line to get them to work on the computer. It was a lengthy process for some of the longer programs but when it worked after all the typing it was worthwhile.

It seemed like the Commodore keyboards were not made that well since the keyboards seemed to stop working in a very short time compared to the keyboards of today. The keyboard I am typing this on has lasted at least five or six years already while a Commodore 64 keyboard might stop working after a year or two at least in my experience using them.

One of my sons has a working Commodore 64 system today comprised of a keyboard, monitor and 1541 hard drive. He uses the GEOS (Graphic Environment Operating System) with the computer.

Today on ebay there are 106 Commodore 64 related products for sale at the website including keyboards, disc drives, monitors, software and other accessories.

We never had access to the internet with the Commodore 64 but if we had the right setup it might have been possible to go online.

Personally I think the Commodore 64 played a large part in the coming computer revolution since it brought computers into the home at an affordable price.

When more powerful computers were introduced Commodore 64 users opted for the new technology and the Commodore 64 gradually faded out of the popularity it had enjoyed during the middle 1980’s.

Even at $595 Commodore’s competitive pricing left Apple and Atari in the dust with the Apple IIe selling for $1,200 and the Atari 800 computer was selling for $899.

There were plans to release a Commodore 65 computer but they never materialized.

The Commodore 64 played a part in helping Americans become more computer literate thus leading to most home in the United States having at least one computer except for those who don’t embrace the new technology and wouldn’t use a computer if it was given to them.

Maybe the Commodore 64 is not a relic in the strictest sense of the word but the last generation has probably not even heard of them.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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