Today's Youth Unimpressed With Commodore 64

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Today's Youth Unimpressed With Commodore 64

The BBC sends a games enthusiast to schools to see what they think of the classic computer system.

30 years ago, in the month of August, 1982, the Commodore 64 8-bit computer was first released to the public. Over the course of its lifetime, it sold between 12.5 to 17 million units, making it the best-selling PC of all time and a highly recognizable gaming system. Despite the Commodore's popularity, its ludicrously long loading times and simplistic graphics eventually forced the industry to retire the tape-based device in favor of more advanced cartridge-based systems. Many gamers still look back fondly at the Commodore 64, including enthusiast Matt Allen, who took his well-preserved system to elementary and secondary schools to see what kids today think about it.

"I want to convince the kids of today that the machine I grew up with, the Commodore 64, is as great as it ever was 30 years on," Allen told the BBC. "This is the machine I played in my teenage years. Along with the Sinclair Spectrum, it was the computer to have in the 1980s."

Allen had some trouble convincing elementary school students how impressive the Commodore 64 was in its day. "By the time that we'd managed to get the game to load, I'd lost half my audience," he explains, as the camera turns to children who are more interested in commenting on the loading screen or music than playing the actual game. Allen did have more luck keeping the attention of secondary school students, but received mixed results on the games themselves.

"It's not really amazing from our point of view," one student admitted. She then immediately backtracked to say "Well, it's good, it's good, but ... for then it must have been pretty incredible."

"It's different than modern consoles 'cause there's only one button and a joystick on this one," says another, "while some modern consoles have loads of buttons which you have to try and remember what they do."

The only time I personally saw a tape-loading game system was last year when a friend of mine brought his out of storage. While I'm fascinated by the Commodore 64 as a piece of gaming history, I don't think anyone realistically wants to go back to a time when you waited ten minutes or more to load graphics even simpler than the original Mario Bros. Despite that, I am very glad that people like Allen keep showing off their classic gaming devices, and hope that they will continue to do so for the gamers of tomorrow, even if responses are somewhat mixed.

"I didn't think it was that different from normal games," one student suggested. "I mean, the graphics were ... a lot worse."

Source: BBC

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Another glorious failure of the British education system.

I honestly can't remember if I have ever played the Commodore 64 as a kid or not. I remember playing something similar at an after school program, but this had to have been the early to mid 90's so I kind of doubt it. Would love to try it out some time just to say I did it.

It's nice as a piece of gaming history, but its outdated and not as good as today's systems. I don't want a 30 year old computer and l don't want a thirty year old TV or a thirty year old cell phone (early 80s phones... ugggh). Technology is a forward moving process. New technology replace old technology and is provably better at things then the old tech. There are very few reason to stick with outdated technology, one of which is nostalgia.

The commodore 64 may as well be a cave painting to these kids. Hell the Sega Mega Drive is ancient to primary school kids now. The it's not their fault that they're not impressed by it, they have not seen the evolution of the technology from the Commodore to what we have today. Perhaps it may have been better to start with a more recent generation and work back from there.

I'm not sure how he expected anything other then the kids' reaction. Yes the 64 was a godsend back then, but those kids he introduced it to only know about the current gen, it'd be like showing a Model T to a group of teens who all own new cars.

DVS BSTrD:
Another glorious failure of the British education system.

How exactly? Kids are getting used to having really advanced technology, of course they're not overly impressed with what we had 30 years ago. They haven't even been alive that long.

Fanghawk:
"I want to convince the kids of today that the machine I grew up with, the Commodore 64, is as great as it ever was 30 years on,"

So.... he wanted to lie to them? Yes, back then 30 years ago it was pretty awesome because it represented the best at the time. If his point had been more to illuminate how technology had progressed and get students to form an opinion on the rise of technology throughout the years.
Entering a school with the express intention of trying to prove that the Commodore 64 remains a great system is quite frankly stupid. I dont understand how he thought it'd work on any level really.

My Grandad still has a Commodore 64 in great condition. He's hooked it up to his TV monitor and it sits on his desk. I've played it a few times and I have to say, I was impressed by it. The sheer simplistic brilliance of it is amazing.

Plus, I don't think his one takes 10 minutes to load...

Well if he'd had brought an Amiga I bet he'd of gotten a far better reaction. Amiga FTW!

The guy was seriously expecting them to be impressed?

I mean, why would they be?

...

Nutter.

Twilight_guy:
It's nice as a piece of gaming history, but its outdated and not as good as today's systems. I don't want a 30 year old computer and l don't want a thirty year old TV or a thirty year old cell phone (early 80s phones... ugggh). Technology is a forward moving process. New technology replace old technology and is provably better at things then the old tech. There are very few reason to stick with outdated technology, one of which is nostalgia.

The countless successful indie and mobile games that are built on the same simplistic play style as those in the Commodore 64 days would beg to differ. I think that in large is what he was trying to demonstrate to the students. I'm sure he didn't expect them to be impressed by the hardware itself.

Why should they be impressed with a C64? The thing is a billion times weaker than the computer they use in class.

Hate the nostalgia filter showing its ugly head.

mindlesspuppet:

Twilight_guy:
It's nice as a piece of gaming history, but its outdated and not as good as today's systems. I don't want a 30 year old computer and l don't want a thirty year old TV or a thirty year old cell phone (early 80s phones... ugggh). Technology is a forward moving process. New technology replace old technology and is provably better at things then the old tech. There are very few reason to stick with outdated technology, one of which is nostalgia.

The countless successful indie and mobile games that are built on the same simplistic play style as those in the Commodore 64 days would beg to differ. I think that in large is what he was trying to demonstrate to the students. I'm sure he didn't expect them to be impressed by the hardware itself.

If he was presenting the games rather then the system he could have easily brought in a laptop with an emulator and shown off his games. He didn't, he wanted to present the system as a whole. The system is outdated. Also, yes I was describing hardware, since obviously software is not as provably inferior or superior.

Xanthious:
Well if he'd had brought an Amiga I bet he'd of gotten a far better reaction. Amiga FTW!

I came here to say just that. And I'm slightly surprised to not be the first.

*brofist*


DVS BSTrD:
Another glorious failure of the British education system.

Huh?
So it's a failing that the education system isn't covering 30 year old home computers?
What are they thinking?

I have vague memories of playing (what I think was) a Commodore 64 at my Grandad's house about 10 years ago. Even then, the load times pissed me off, as I was used to the SNES's and PS1's super fast load times.

Blunderboy:

DVS BSTrD:
Another glorious failure of the British education system.

Huh?
So it's a failing that the education system isn't covering 30 year old home computers?
What are they thinking?

Yeah, schools that teach their students about important pieces of history are silly.

A 30 year old technology is shit in the modern days... stop the presses, we have something new to write about.

Is this guy serious?

"I want to convince the kids of today that the stone I grew up with is as great as it ever was 5k years ago".

Just because something was incredible at the time when it was created doesn't mean it will withstand the effect of time. Especially not technology which is much better with every year that passes.

Mister Six:
I'm not sure how he expected anything other then the kids' reaction. Yes the 64 was a godsend back then, but those kids he introduced it to only know about the current gen, it'd be like showing a Model T to a group of teens who all own new cars.

With the average person, maybe, but for anyone who's into cars, they'd certainly get excited about it. Actually, a Model T or something else from that era is a lot easier for the general public to appreciate than a C64 is. In some ways, the basics of them have changed a lot less in a century than computers have in a couple decades. My uncle and his friend restored a Model A, and pretty much anyone can be impressed by seeing a hundred-year-old car that runs smoothly at 60mph.

Fanghawk:
The only time I personally saw a tape-loading game system was last year when a friend of mine brought his out of storage. While I'm fascinated by the Commodore 64 as a piece of gaming history, I don't think anyone realistically wants to go back to a time when you waited ten minutes or more to load graphics even simpler than the original Mario Bros. Despite that, I am very glad that people like Allen keep showing off their classic gaming devices, and hope that they will continue to do so for the gamers of tomorrow, even if responses are somewhat mixed.

Kids these days. My first computer was a VIC-20. Don't make me pull it out of the closet. Some of the tapes might even still load. Heh.

Mister Six:
I'm not sure how he expected anything other then the kids' reaction. Yes the 64 was a godsend back then, but those kids he introduced it to only know about the current gen, it'd be like showing a Model T to a group of teens who all own new cars.

Dunno about you, but I would love to have had a Model T instead of a new car.
Though, I would have to get a tophat, a monocle and a drivers license.

This is honestly really cringeworthy. I don't really understand what the guy wants, does he want them to be impressed?
It's just incredibly awkward because the kids are bright enough to realize that this guy is really proud of the 64 but at the same time there's really nothing good they can say about it other than "it was good for its time".

What a fun job, going into schools with the intent of creating awkward situations.

Nalgas D. Lemur:

Mister Six:
I'm not sure how he expected anything other then the kids' reaction. Yes the 64 was a godsend back then, but those kids he introduced it to only know about the current gen, it'd be like showing a Model T to a group of teens who all own new cars.

With the average person, maybe, but for anyone who's into cars, they'd certainly get excited about it. Actually, a Model T or something else from that era is a lot easier for the general public to appreciate than a C64 is. In some ways, the basics of them have changed a lot less in a century than computers have in a couple decades. My uncle and his friend restored a Model A, and pretty much anyone can be impressed by seeing a hundred-year-old car that runs smoothly at 60mph.

Fanghawk:
The only time I personally saw a tape-loading game system was last year when a friend of mine brought his out of storage. While I'm fascinated by the Commodore 64 as a piece of gaming history, I don't think anyone realistically wants to go back to a time when you waited ten minutes or more to load graphics even simpler than the original Mario Bros. Despite that, I am very glad that people like Allen keep showing off their classic gaming devices, and hope that they will continue to do so for the gamers of tomorrow, even if responses are somewhat mixed.

Kids these days. My first computer was a VIC-20. Don't make me pull it out of the closet. Some of the tapes might even still load. Heh.

Stekepanne5:

Mister Six:
I'm not sure how he expected anything other then the kids' reaction. Yes the 64 was a godsend back then, but those kids he introduced it to only know about the current gen, it'd be like showing a Model T to a group of teens who all own new cars.

Dunno about you, but I would love to have had a Model T instead of a new car.
Though, I would have to get a tophat, a monocle and a drivers license.

Oh no I understand that an actual working Model T would be quite impressive, and even a non-working one is still representitive of the history of the automobile, but kids nowadays don't.

Gotta give it the props it deserves as a piece of Gaming History, but, come on. I'm sure that if you show todays games to kids in the future they'll think they're unimpressive by comparison. Its Evolution.

As much as I'm comparitively close DNA wise to a chimpanzee, doesn't mean I wanna fuck it.

I had two C-64s, both of which had sported floppy drives. Load times weren't an issue. Our VIC20 had a cassette tape drive, and yes, the load times were kind of a bite.

CardinalPiggles:
My Grandad still has a Commodore 64 in great condition. He's hooked it up to his TV monitor and it sits on his desk. I've played it a few times and I have to say, I was impressed by it. The sheer simplistic brilliance of it is amazing.

Plus, I don't think his one takes 10 minutes to load...

The floppy drive was WAY faster than the tape. (Really, if he was deadset on doing a presentation on original hardware he should have brought the FASTER LOADING MEDIUM.)

One of the later magazines (Commodore Format or Commodore Power, I forget which) actually posted a special icon (an octopus) on reviews of games that were multiload (as in, they halted every so often to pull more data because they didn't fit in RAM all at once). On a disk drive, 10 seconds between levels to pull a bit of level data was no big deal, but it was a flow-breaking minute or minute and a half on tape. The multiload icon was a courtesy to warn people away from the tape version unless they were REALLY patient!

Still, big games like Impossible Mission still took a while to load even off floppies. The clever geek had a stack of Zzap!s or Transactors to read next to his C64.:)

Twilight_guy:
l don't want a thirty year old TV

I want my over 30 years old Admiral TV (I got no idea how old it is actually, it is older then me). It ugly has shit and weight ton but damn thing is indestructible and do modern TV still accept F connector or the old red/yellow/white RCA ? I actually have no idea if they are still in use, for not looking for a TV since didn't watch TV at home in like 5 years now, but need those connector for a few old consoles, which has been the main role of that TV since I finished first grade (when parent bought me a Nintendo for completing it). =p

I dunno. I had a C64 back in the day, but quite honestly have no great fondness for it or the games I played on it. Even using it as a word processor was a bit cumbersome-- my dot matrix printer was a pain and had barely legible results.

Oh, sure, I'd probably be happy to play Space Taxi again for old time's sake. But the thing is, it's not like an old car. Old cars had a certain beauty to them that is missing in today's more efficient stylings (cure you, aerodynamics!) Old computers are just like modern computers, except for being not as good.

For something to evoke nostalgia, it has to have something that's missing in today's world.

Part of the problem is context. They're unimpressed because they're not seeing this thing with the time period in mind. Considering the time, the Commodore was very impressive. I've never owned one, nor have I physically played one, but I can appreciate if for what it did at the time. I'm not going to use the "Kids these days" thing, but it's something that's true with kids of all generations. They don't know that these kinds of things need to be looked at in a contextual way.

The same can be said about movies and books.

And this is surprising, why exactly? When kids today have smartphones, tablets and really powerful PCs is it any wonder they're not impressed?

"It's not really amazing from our point of view," one student admitted. She then immediately backtracked to say "Well, it's good, it's good, but ... for then it must have been pretty incredible."

That's the standard response I'd expect from them. Because it's true

DVS BSTrD:
Another glorious failure of the British education system.

How exactly?

I'm actually glad that the Commodore 64 is still relevant today, if not any other system. It may not be as powerful as an Amiga or SNES, but it was quite flexible for its time. And speaking for some of the other kids who actually care, I was taken in by an informative video on YouTube, especially when it got into the details of programming in BASIC and explaining the inner workings of the system.

I agree that you can't introduce kids to something that comparatively weak today without raised eyebrows from across the world, but without the hassle of introducing them to the inner workings of operating systems too early, it'd be fine just to let them make simple programs in BASIC and go from there. Even in a Commodore emulator like VICE. Remember, these kids are in elementary and secondary schools, not upper-level schools.

Other than that, yes, we shouldn't go back to the old days when we've since reached the level of tessellation and Havok physics. But on the other hand, technology's been growing so much that the layman might find it daunting to learn about all aspects of computer science once applying for a bachelors.

-

Side note: I actually found the most lasting legacy of the Commodore itself to be its marketing campaign. Nostalgia maybe, but this is coming from a kid who was born right after the Amiga fell.
Actually, I'm using the C64 slogan as my motto in the occasional TF2 match. :P

DVS BSTrD:
Another glorious failure of the British education system.

Its not a failure of the education system for people to be unimpressed with the commodore 64. By todays standards and by what these kids are used to its below useless. Yes its a piece of computer and gaming history but honestly outside of a small niche nobody gives a shit about that. It might have been impressive back in its day but we are talking about now.

I only remember 2 games from the C64 me and my bro had.... a detective game we played once and could never locate the (literal... wooo!!!) floppy disk for, and another one named Mindshadow.

Here's a link to an updated, DOS version of the same game.

I need to thank my uncle for giving his computer to us. It kickstarted my PC gaming life that I still enjoy today.

In contrast, I bet if you showed them an LP record player they would think it was totally awesome.

This article made me miss my first joystick. It was about the same size, the stick had a slightly different shape that made it easier to use with the thumb (I used it with my hand), it had 2 buttons, and it had 2 dials that could help you physically calibrate it, or make sort of an autopilot (for example: have it move constantly right so you don't have to keep pushing the stick to the right).
Can anyone tell me the model name and manufacturer of that joystick?

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