C64 Mini is a blast from the eighties past


— 3:03 PM on September 29, 2017

Retro video gaming is en vogue these days. Nintendo's NES Classic was the hot item last Christmas, and many prospective buyers weren't able to track one down before the company halted production. Nintendo is releasing its SNES Classic today to just as much fanfare. The Commodore 64 was released in 1982, a couple of years before the NES debuted in its Japanese Famicom clothes. Now, Deep Silver parent company Koch Media has announced plans to sell a mini version of the classic 8-bit home computer complete with its built-in keyboard, an 80s-style joystick, and a 21st-century HDMI output.

 The integrated keyboard has a correct Commodore 64 layout, complete with a Commodore key and function keys to the right of the main key block. The reborn machine has a pair of USB ports that can be used to connect a modern keyboard, record game saves, or update the device's firmware. The device will have output filtering options for pixel-perfect, CRT, and scanline modes. The pixel filters, firmware updates suggest that the machine will rely on emulation. The low price leads me to believe it won't use a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip like the Analogue Nt Mini.

Sadly, the C64 Mini won't be in store shelves in time for Christmas this year. Koch Media expects to release the miniature retro computer sometime during 2018 for $70. The price will include 64 games for the system, including Uridion, Paradroid, Hawkeye, Nebulus, and Monty Mole. The manufacturer says that a full-size version is coming in 2018 as well. I know that a certain portion of the readership will be excited to play around with the Commodore 64 Mini. Personally, I'm waiting for a modern take on the Apple II.

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