Commodore 64

Definition of Commodore 64

The Commodore 64, often abbreviated as C64, is an 8-bit home computer that was introduced in January 1982. It was produced by Commodore International and became one of the best-selling personal computers of all time. The C64 featured a 64-kilobyte memory, a MOS Technology 6510 microprocessor, and gained popularity for its advanced graphics and sound capabilities, as well as its affordability.


The phonetics of the keyword “Commodore 64” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /ˈkɒmədɔːr ˌsɪkstifɔːr/

Key Takeaways

  1. Commodore 64 was an extremely popular 8-bit home computer, known for its affordability and versatility, which dominated the market in the 1980s.
  2. It featured a 6510 microprocessor, 64KB of RAM, and an advanced sound and graphics system for its time, which made it ideal for gaming, programming, and even music production.
  3. The C64 still maintains a strong fan base and a dedicated community of developers who have created a variety of new hardware, software, and games to keep the spirit of this iconic computing platform alive.

Importance of Commodore 64

The Commodore 64, launched in 1982, holds significant importance in the history of technology as it revolutionized personal computing by making it affordable and accessible for the masses.

With its powerful 8-bit processor, 64 KB of memory, and a wide variety of applications, the C64 enabled people to engage in numerous activities, such as programming, gaming, and graphics design.

As the best-selling single computer model of all time, it democratized computer literacy and played a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the software development industry.

The Commodore 64’s legacy is seen as a catalyst in the transition to a digital society and remains a symbol of technological innovation that has laid down the foundation for modern personal computing devices.


The Commodore 64, launched in 1982, was primarily designed to serve as an affordable home computer, enabling families and individuals to engage with a range of computing capabilities. Its purpose was to democratize access to technology at a time when computing was mostly limited to businesses and well-funded institutions.

As a versatile device, it allowed users to explore a variety of tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet work, and programming. Furthermore, the Commodore 64 proved to be a vibrant platform for the development of pioneering software, particularly in the domain of gaming, enabling a generation of creators to unleash their talents in designing an abundance of memorable and entertaining games for the growing personal computer market.

The Commodore 64’s versatility contributed significantly to its immense popularity, as it fostered the growth of a thriving community of users who developed software for the machine and shared their creations with others. This software not only included gaming titles, but also educational programs, productivity tools, and creative applications, such as graphic design and music composition.

The Commodore 64 effectively nurtured a DIY ethos, encouraging many users to learn programming languages like BASIC and to experiment with hardware modifications, thus becoming an incubator for broader interests and careers in the world of technology. As a result, the Commodore 64 remains an iconic piece of computing history, having introduced millions of individuals to the transformative power and potential of personal computers.

Examples of Commodore 64

The Commodore 64, released in 1982, was a popular home computer that played a significant role in the growth of personal computing and the video game industry. Here are three real-world examples of how this technology was utilized:

Education: The Commodore 64 was widely used in schools to teach basic computer skills, programming languages (like BASIC), and early computer graphics. Kids not only learned how to write simple programs, but also gained a better understanding of computers and technology in general, helping to develop a new generation of computer-savvy individuals.

Video Games: The Commodore 64 was a major player in the early video game industry, hosting a vast library of games from various genres. Titles such as “International Karate,” “Sid Meier’s Pirates!,” “The Last Ninja,” and the “Ultima” series were immensely popular, attracting millions of players worldwide. The popularity of these games helped to spawn a thriving industry, laying the foundation for today’s video game market.

Music and Sound Production: The Commodore 64’s SID (Sound Interface Device) chip was groundbreaking, as it was capable of producing high-quality sound and music at a time when other home computers were limited in their audio capabilities. Many musicians, such as Rob Hubbard and Martin Galway, began composing music on the Commodore 64, and its distinct sound is still beloved and used by modern musicians in the chiptunes and electronic music genres.

Commodore 64 FAQ

What is the Commodore 64?

The Commodore 64 is an 8-bit home computer that was introduced by Commodore International in January 1982. It was one of the most successful and best-selling home computers of its time and is known for its impressive graphics, sound, and wide range of software.

What language is used to program the Commodore 64?

The native programming language for the Commodore 64 is a version of the BASIC programming language called Commodore BASIC 2.0. Additionally, the Commodore 64 can be programmed in machine language and in assembly language using a 6502 assembler.

How much memory does the Commodore 64 have?

The Commodore 64 comes with 64 KB of RAM, hence the name. This memory, however, was divided among various uses such as video memory, audio memory, and operational memory for programs and data.

What kind of software was available for the Commodore 64?

The Commodore 64 had a vast library of software that included games, productivity tools, programming languages, and educational titles. Popular games for the system include Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and The Oregon Trail. Productivity tools encompass software like word processors, spreadsheets, and database management systems.

Can I still buy a working Commodore 64?

Yes, it is still possible to purchase a working Commodore 64. You can find them on sale on various online platforms such as eBay, as well as from vintage computer collectors. Prices may vary depending on the condition and included accessories.

Related Technology Terms

  • 8-bit Home Computer
  • MOS Technology 6510 CPU
  • Commodore BASIC
  • 64 KB RAM
  • CBM PRG Studio

Sources for More Information


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