A very Commodore (and Atari) new year!

Looks like the theme of my 2018 will involve a lot more retro gaming than even I had imagined. And I’m pretty happy with that too. 🙂

My lovely wife has helped start me on that path thanks to two gifts for Christmas that I totally love. The first is the book Art of Atari by Tim Lapetino which is the perfect retro gaming book for anyone who spent time with Atari systems, especially the 2600. Seeing box art of popular games in their full glory is a great dose of nostalgia worth revisiting. The book’s presentation is nothing short of glorious – the cover gives you a VERY good idea of what to look forward to when you start reading.

The awesome Art of Atari by Tim Lapetino.

For fans who are interested in the more historical aspects of a company like Atari there’s also a section in the book that gives you peek at prototypes such as the wireless controller version of the 2600 known as the 2700 and the holographic oriented Cosmos. These were things I read about online but never with pictures so that was a great bonus. If you have the gamer’s equivalent of a coffee table then this is definitely a book you wouldn’t feel embarrassed to have taking pride and place on top of it.

The other gift was something I always wanted but had never taken the plunge with and that’s a Commodore 64! Though my gaming history is tied very closely with Atari computers (even an Atari t-shirt from the family this year) my friends all had C64s and I got to see a lot of the great games on the system. As a result of that the system had quite a strong influence on my gaming background and I was envious of all the cool stuff I’d read was coming through Computer & Video Games.

At first it looked like I was lucky and the machine that we found on eBay was in good condition but on delivery it turned out there were a couple of issues, namely there being no actual picture on my TV. However not all hope is lost as it seems that the often unreliable power supply is working as expected and according to the symptoms I read up on it might only need a couple of replacement chips (possibly just the PLA) which I can source and replace myself.

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I never thought I’d get into the (sometimes) dirty work of maintaining an old computer but the C64 is actually a good place to start as most of the main chips (and the ones that usually fail) are socketed and the motherboard is surprisingly clean for a system that was built with the intent of reduced costs. Much less intimidating to experiment with than my beloved Atari machines that’s for sure.

There are so many resources online regarding C64 repairs that it’s obviously an issue encountered often by people so I’m not alone on this problem. I might just be able to fix this myself too which I never imagined I could say but we’ll see how it all goes in the next few months! 🙂

Wishing everyone the best for their new year! Game on! 🙂

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