Ever wished there was a laptop version of the Commodore 64 computer? Now there is.
One hardware hacker has taken apart a netbook and replaced the screen, processor, and nearly every other internal component to turn it into a portable Commodore 64 with a 7 inch display, a touchpad that works as a joystick, and an infrared remote control.
While it takes a lot of work to make one of these C64p laptops, the developer is selling a limited number one at a time on eBay.
The Commodore 64 has been out of production for decades, about ten years ago the company that bought the rights to use the name released the C64DTV, a sort of C64-in-a-keyboard that you could plug into a TV to play classic games.
The developer of the C64p takes the guts of the C64DTV and stuffs them inside the shell of a 7 inch netbook, replacing a number of other key components for good measure. In fact he says just about the only thing he keeps from the laptop are the chassis and battery (which offers about 3.5 hours of run time).
After the conversion is complete, the system can run a number of games as well as C64 BASIC, JiffyDOS, and GEOS. In other words, it’s not just a game console. You can use it as a real computer… if you’re cool with running a 30-year-old platform.
Not every classic Commodore 64 game or app will work. Since the C64p is based on the C64DTV rather than an actual C64 computer there are some programs that may not work. On the other hand, the system-on-a-chip used in this system actually has more memory and support for more colors than a real C64 computer.
These days you can buy significantly more powerful hardware for well under $100, and if you’re feeling retro you can always install a C64 emulator. But that’s kind of missing the point here: the C64p is a pretty awesome retro-computing project that takes hardware from days gone by and stuffs it into a modern, portable package.
If someone can just hack together a time machine next, imagine how impressed people would be when you took the C64p back in time to show them what the future could hold (although they’d probably be more impressed with a smartphone).
You can find more details and more photos at The Future was 8bit.
There are similar laptops, under $100, that come with android 4.0+ and should support a USB gamepad. The Android version of Vice should run on those laptops.
7″ screen? No thanx.
It needs a 9″ screen to make it sweet.
Ha, I still have my working C=64. Or at least I think i still works. Along with my Intellivision, Libretto 70 and Kyocera 6035. Wish I still had my old 20 MB Mac.
This is all sort of awesome! I had some Zipit Z2’s some years ago, had a custom linux on them and emulated all sort of things on a tiny notebook-like thing 🙂
Love it! I kinda did the same thing with my Arm chromebook: Installed crouton, then installed the Vice emulator: C64 laptop with 11 inch screen and all day battery life. Good times.
It’s pretty cool, but at the moment that I checked the current auction, it’s currently bid at almost $1,000. If someone could mass produce this for like $100, I think it would make some sales. I’d be curious to see how many people actually pay in to the $1,000 range.
Yeah… I get the appeal of dedicated retro devices, but it would be so much cheaper to buy a used Linux netbook (just like the one featured here) or an Asus Android Transformer Pad with the keyboard dock and install an emulator. You can even have custom decals/skins made with the cost savings.
On the other hand, I think it’s pretty cool when people hack old hardware… shoving Android sticks into actual C64 keyboards, those Raspberry PIs that are built to resemble old Macintosh computers, etc.
Yeah… I’m pretty sure nobody does this sort of thing because they think it’ll be cheaper or more cost-effective than just installing an emulator.
True enough. Well then – kudos to these guys for finding a great way to profit from others’ nostalgia. 🙂
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