Nope, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. The C64 is back for 2011 in a new multi-OS Linux + Win + Commodore box. It's like adulthood never happened.
In an unlikely triumph of unabashed fandom, the Commodore 64 is on sale again, lovingly brought back to life by a stalwart group of Commodore devotees, and soon to be available to kids that never grew up the world over.
The new Commodore 64x
- as sold by Commodore USA
, a fan startup company which formed last year and acquired the licensing rights to the Commodore and AMIGA brands - is a fully functional PC replica of the famous original '80s computer, updated for today.
It's powered by a dual-core Intel Atom D525 1.8GHz CPU on a mini-ITX motherboard and sports Nvidia Ion 2 graphics, 2GB of RAM (upgradeable to 4GB) and even an optional Blu-ray optical drive.
But while the innards might have been updated to provide you with a functional, contemporary PC, the presentation of the remake is unmistakably "vintage". The keyboard, which, like the original C64, houses the computer itself, has been painstakingly modelled after the original design, down to the shape, colours and contours of the keys.
In another throwback to the original device, the C64x runs Commodore OS, a Linux-based operating system which can emulate the old C64 interface, letting you run "classic 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit era software" originally made for Commodore PET, Vic20, C16, C64, C128 and AMIGA (and you can even toy around with BASIC).
But where would you even get that software these days? Commodore USA has a solution: "No need to bother with floppy disks, as many games can be legally purchased and downloaded from the internet directly on to your computer." We're not sure if the C64x has an App Store in its future, but apparently the OS features a media-centre style application that allows you to preview and select software.
And for those who like the retro stylings but might actually need to get a bit of work done on their PC these days, the C64x also supports dual-booting with Windows (and presumably Mac?), so really, what's not to like?
The C64x is available for sale in a number of configurations from Commodore USA online here
(the Basic version retails for US$595), and you can find out more about the complete specs here
. And note: Commodore OS is still in development but will ship to purchasers once complete. In the meantime the C64x comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 10.04.