Issue 64
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, ePUB, MOBI, HTML,
TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image

Nigel Parker
Spell Checking
Peter Badrick
Text, HTML & eBook Conversion
Paul Davis
D64 Disk Image
Al Jackson
PDF Design
Nigel Parker
Email Address
Articles are always wanted for the magazine. Contact us for details. We can’t pay you for your efforts but you are safe in the knowledge that you have passed on details that will interest other Commodore enthusiasts.
All materials in this magazine are the property of Commodore Free unless otherwise stated. All copyrights, trademarks, trade names, internet domain names or other similar rights are acknowledged. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission.
The appearance of an advert in the magazine does not necessarily mean that the goods/services advertised are associated with or endorsed by Commodore Free Magazine.
Copyright © 2012 Commodore Free Magazine
All Rights Reserved.



Issue 64 ! How could I pass up this excuse to create a Commodore 64 special issue version? Well the answer is I couldn’t!

So here then; we have a Commodore 64 only version of Commodore Free, (Well apart from the news sections I had to include these as a mixed item) You still have the latest news items, but the rest of the magazine is devoted entirely to the great machine; the Commodore 64.

I would like to thank the various people who sent in articles, at one time I thought it may be a blank issue! Remember without your help I can’t produce a magazine! One of the hardest parts is actually obtaining material to include in the mag.

What then does the Commodore 64 mean to you!

Is it something you remember fondly or did you want a BBC micro but xyz shop had a sale on so you were lumbered with a c64 special reduced pack, because dad though all computers were the same? For me it was a progression from the amazing Vic20 and how could I resist the new Commodore machine, especially when I saw the demos that were being produced for the 64 and read the list of hardware enhancements. Wow hardware sprites that’s great! (I didn’t actually know what they were; but if they were hardware they must be better than software ones right?) 3 channel synthesised sound, enhanced basic (well sort of), larger memory and a bigger screen area to program, arcade quality games etc., that’s not to knock the VIC I had many happy hours on the machine; and indeed still do! it was my first computer after all; and set me in the commodore camp, it still has some secrets and people are bending the hardware to what was thought impossible from a Vic. I must say some of the Atari ST and falcon range of machines looked very tempting, and; had the software been more available and easier to obtain I may have been here writing Atari free!

Still I am deviating a little from what I am supposed to be doing; as we are celebrating the Commodore 64. And of curse its many spin off machines an example of which was the SX 64 a luggable machine complete with Crt screen and disk drive. Very heavy but once set up it was a Commodore 64 (able it with a very small screen)

Oh just going back to my Vic; I still have the machine and the box it came in by the way; and yes thanks it still works fine; and yes it does get used for a number of games; and yes I do enjoy the machine. But the Commodore 64 captured my mind, I remember at school being fascinated by the machine, and to see some of the great games and demos created on it were just amazing, it was like the start of a new era, everything was so colour full and musical, every game looked great (well ok! some didn’t look that good) every game was so playable (ok some were dogs to play!) but you get the idea, everything was so cool (well ok then except the 20 min wait for arcadia to load)

We have some stories about what Commodore meant to people, one story slightly deviates from this and doesn’t ready as happy as the others, if you are affected by bullies or depression I would suggest you follow some of the help points towards the end of the article. I was of course expecting a happy jolly look back at times, but I guess not everyone’s memories of Commodore were as happy as mine!

So without further ado I give you

The commodore 64

Taaaaaa Daaaaaaaa

Bit of a limp build up really but I didn’t know what to write and who reads editorials anyway!



Happy Birthday Commodore 64

Last month saw the official birthday of the Commodore 64 now 30 years old! Can you believe your machine is such an old timer?

For me the thrill of using the machine is still there; I still enjoy the art of actually using the machine for things like;

In the news section the BBC went to a primary school and secondary school to see if the children still appreciated the machine. Although they took a tape drive to load games from it, they may have been better to have a selection of titles on cartridge and disk to display a more balanced opinion of the machine. Personally (apart from the loading) my son would sit for some time playing games on my C64 without a word about the graphics being dated or the sounds not as good as cd quality audio from Xyz console (its all about gameplay isn’t it?.)

The machine started the careers of so many talented people; and at the time it must have been and indeed was a revolutionary machine. I can’t believe it’s been around for 30 years! Some of the games look as fresh today as they did when they were released years ago. (Ok some haven’t lasted the test of time as well as others,) but you must have a favourite title that you can’t help but sit down and play.

I have played remakes of games that are 100% accurate on the pc but nothing beats the real Commodore 64 even emulation isn’t near enough to having a real machine and real program to load. Nicely tied in with issue 64 then is the Commodore 64`s birthday and special issue. I hope you enjoy the nostalgia and of course the new productions for the machine.

Commodore Free E-Cover Tape #1

By Richard Bayliss

During the late 1980's and early 1990's magazines had their own cover tape, crammed with a few games, playable demos and stuff like that. Well Commodore Free finally has a cover tape, and each issue, we hope to be finding some cool stuff for it. Since Nigel likes tape loading, he'll probably love this :)

This issue is something special as we have several great programs for you. Every single game has been mastered with a non-commercial tape loader 'source by Martin Piper of Element 114 Software. Which is free to use and modify. Even for commercial purposes (if you ask him nicely). If you would like the tape source then you can visit and download his C64 sources, which includes the latest version of his loader, SEUCK Redux, and a few other files. You'll need ACME cross assembler and a LOT of programming knowledge to be able to use this source. Pressing Shift+Run/Stop as usual will load the programs from this issue's e-cover tape.

Enough about the loader. For our first cover tape, we have REAL treats in store for you. We have a couple of games by RGCD which involves jumping sheep and underwater antics. There is a nice shoot 'em up adventure by Jon Wells, and also we have a nice unreleased oriental bow 'em up and much more. Here's what we have on our first ever E-cover tape.

The Mollusk Redux

Copyright (C)2012 RGCD

Programming Achim Volkers
Graphics Achim Volkers
Music Sean Connolly

Controls: Joystick port 2

Once upon a time, living in the deep blue sea was a hungry Mollusk. He had nothing else to do, but to eat, eat and eat to survive. Something smells very fishy indeed. The sea starts to get really crowded with a school of fish on the loose – and the silly Mollusk decides to go for it – unaware of the consequences of its fate.

Your mission is to guide your Mollusk through the sea, gobbling the harmless fish (using fire held and opposite direction to where you are moving). Unfortunately the sea isn't all that safe. There are people dropping anchors and hazardous fish such as sharks, electric eels and much more in which you have to avoid. One contact with one of those creatures will result in a loss of a life. All 3 lives result in Game Over.

Your mollusk can defend himself by spurting out ink, (fire and direction you're moving) but you will have a limited number of squirts. Eating the jellyfish will give you more in. While your mollusk is eating fish, the number of fish gets added to your quota. The more fish you eat, the closer you will get to reaching the next level of the game.

Can you help your Mollusk live a long life in the deep blue sea, or will he become fish bait for the sharks and other hazards?

Sheepoid 2 - Woolly Jumper

(C)2012 RGCD and The New Dimension

Programming Richard Bayliss
Graphics Steve Day, Shaun Pearson
Music Richard Bayliss

Controls: Joystick port 2

Once upon a time in a farmyard lived mischievous sheep. Three ran across the pen to the fence to get attention from people. Whereas one sheep, Pepito went to the farmer's mushroom farm, tasted mushrooms, and then drunk beer. He ran into a barrel and was unfortunately knocked out unconscious.

Later on that day, Pepito himself on a strange psychedelic universe called Mindspace and the mischievous sheep tries to explore it but gets himself lost – unaware of the planets of Mindspace are full of aliens and other hazards. Well, it's not actually a planet. Pepito's still unconscious. Back on the farm. The 3 sheep were concerned about Pepito and tried to wake the poor sheep up. They tried everything – including crouching down and breaking wind in his face, but nothing happened. So the sheep stood there waiting for Pepito to wake up.

This is where you take part. Your quest is to guide Pepito the sheep through 16 planets of Mind Space, and get him out of his nightmare. Pepito can jump over platforms, but some platforms are much too hazardous. Some consist of meat hooks, spikes. Pepito cannot swim either.

Each world is heavily guarded by assorted aliens, such as the green martians, blue penguin ships, chickens and the annoying bugs. Luckily for Pepito, he can shoot balls of wall at those aliens. The larger the ball of wool is, the more points are awarded. Falling objects will either help Pepito or drain him with the default ball of wool.

At the end of each world, a whistle will fall from the sky. Pepito must grab that whistle, as that will call a rocket to pick the mischievous sheep up. Then take him on to the next stage. Can Pepito escape from his nightmare and awake to see his friends around him. Enjoy the adventure.

Escape from Arth

Copyright (C)1994 - 2008 Psytronik Software

Programming Jon Wells
Graphics Jon Wells, Kenz (Loading picture)
Music Feekzoid

Controls: Joystick port 2

Suggested by Kenz with kind permission from Jon, himself. We have a great classic arcade adventure which was written back in 1994 by Visualize Software, and was given away with the newest version of Escape from Arth.

The planet Arth is under threat of an armageddon. Two cyborgs Voto, and his girlfriend Veti have been trapped on the planet, armed by evil robots and droids. Armed with a laser blaster, Voto and Veti try to find their captured space ship, so that they can escape the planet from those evil robots – and from being blown to bits as well.

Your mission is to explore Arth, and release all blocked pathways within a time limit – as that time limit is the time until Arth is exterminated by a time bomb. To be able to do this you will need to shoot at the enemy droids that are visible on screen, and explore every section of Arth. That way you can find a coloured lever, which will represent a colour of the rocky wall. Pulling that lever will release the wall, giving your more screens to explore. Each door will give you clues to which direction they will take you. Can you escape from Arth? Or will you blow up in bits and pieces along with the planet?

Brothers of the Bow

(C)2010 by Anthony Burns

Programming Created in Sideways SEUCK Richard Bayliss (Enhancements)
Graphics Anthony Burns
Music Richard Bayliss

Controls: Joystick in port 1 or port 2

11th Century China

The elderly and tyrannical Duke Zhao of Chongqing, fearing the approach of death, expels the Buddhist priests from his court and appoints a coven of alchemists and sorcerers to discover the secret of immortality.

Their rituals summon the demon Narodakini: an extra-dimensional entity that was once praised as a goddess in ancient Tibet, before the disciples of Buddha put an end to her cult and drove her into powerless exile, deprived of the psychic energy of her former worshippers.

Narodakini offers to reveal to Duke Zhao the secret of eternal life, if he will re-establish her cult in his province. Temples and statues are quickly raised in her name, all Buddhist priests are exiled from Chongqing, and the people are commanded under pain of death to do homage and make sacrifices to the power-hungry spirit.

As her worship increases, so does her energy, until Narodakini’s psychic influence spreads throughout the province, enslaving the duke, his servants, his soldiers, and all whose minds are not protected by virtue and wisdom. “Fulfilling” her pact, Narodakini transforms Duke Zhao and his courtiers into the living dead, and banishes them to tombs in the wilderness. She replaces them with an inner court of her own demonic subordinates.

Most of the righteous people who are spared her influence flee from Chongqing, hoping to summon aid from the neighbouring states before Narodakini’s power is too great for even the emperor to challenge. In the town of Nanchang, however, seven brothers remain: all humble, virtuous, and normally peaceful men who work the land. Horrified when the mind-controlled soldiers of Narodakini invade their town and murder those of their friends and family who have been too slow to escape, they seek advice from the one Buddhist monk who has remained in Chongqing.

He advises them to ride to the local Shaolin temple and acquire the Sacred Arrows of Mahakala: the only weapons capable of exorcising the newly-empowered Narodakini. However, in order to seize the arrows from the enslaved Shaolin warriors, and then to travel to Narodakini’s stronghold in the necropolis of Fengdu, the brothers will need a few more useful items, not to mention all of their hunting and riding skills, and all of the help that the divine powers can send them …

There are five levels: Nanchang, Wilderness 1, Shaolin temple, Wilderness 2, and Fengdu necropolis. Each level contains obstacles that you should be careful not to ride into, including rivers, chasms, fences, and sharp bamboo spikes.

You will often be attacked, and should concentrate on defending yourself, but also keep a careful eye out for the Oracle: each level contains a statue in the shape of a seated Buddha.

Manoeuvre close to the statue’s mouth, and it will say a number from 1-3 (in Chinese characters). Remember this number …

This indicates the path to take at the end of the level. You will have reached this point when the flashing “Go” arrow appears.

You will now have to select a path to follow. Each path contains an urn.

Touch the wrong urn, and you will succumb to a fatal curse. If you collect the right urn, you will be awarded one of the items necessary to complete your quest. The items are, in order of collection …

Explosive arrows (With a hollowed-out core full of gunpowder, these arrows are instantly fatal to soldiers, and can destroy supernatural opponents as well, but require two shots to do so.)

Dao sword (You will need this in order to fight the Shaolin warriors.)

Sacred arrows (These magical missiles sail right through human soldiers, instantly vaporising them, and can thus destroy whole ranks. They are also instantly effective against supernatural enemies, but can only destroy one at a time.)

Iron horseshoes (A mundane sort of talisman, but essential in order to navigate the field of bamboo spikes surrounding Fengdu. Be careful, though, as these only enable you to ride over the short bamboo spikes. The longer ones should still be avoided.)

Elixir of Life (In the likely event that one of the brothers has died during the quest, this will resurrect them just before your final battle.)


Pikemen: These soldiers often attack in formation, and try to block your path.

Crossbowmen: The repeating crossbow that these soldiers use is slower than your own, but still has a deadly range.

Fire Lance: This is a new concept in ranged weaponry, crude but devastatingly effective: a charge of gunpowder shoots a lethal cloud of shards and pellets out of the tube. The range is poorer than a regular bow, but the velocity and wide spread of the blast is very dangerous.

Caltrops: These soldiers do not attack you directly, but instead drop metal spikes on the battlefield to impede your progress. Be particularly wary of them around bridges and narrow passes.

Shaolin Warrior: Not only do these expert martial artists disdain the use of ranged weapons: their agility is such that they can dodge all the arrows you send their way. The only way to kill them is in close combat, but first you will need a sword. Even when you are armed, on no account approach them while they are executing a move, as their flying kicks will knock you right out of the saddle and into the next world …

Hopping Corpse: Undead atrocities that will drain your life force if you get too close, and cast curses at you from afar. They have a limited range of movement, but are still dangerous on narrow terrain especially. To be ready for them, keep a close eye on the rock tombs in the wilderness.

Dakini: These wrathful spirits are the trusted servants of the demon queen. They like to ambush you by flying in from the top and bottom of the battlefield, and slashing at you with their sickles.

Hungry Ghost: The grotesque spectres of greedy and unrighteous men. They cast curses in random directions, and periodically phase into near-invisibility, with only their glowing eyes revealing their position.

War Rocket: As you approach the end of your quest, the enemy force will pinpoint your position and try to stop you in your tracks with these deadly self-propelled explosives. Being neither alive nor undead, they are immune to your sacred arrows, and should be avoided at all costs.


Jiaolong: Breathes fireballs in one direction.

Shenlong: Breathes fireballs in random directions.

Narodakini: Your final opponent. She slashes at you with her sword, and casts curses in random directions.

After you complete the whole game, you will need to load in the separate ending, which is password protected. Type in the correct password and you'll see the spectacular and true ending.


(C)2012 Art Ravers

Programming Sensible Software
Graphics Wayne Womersley
Music (Gallop) Andrew Fisher

Controls: Joystick (either port)

Things are going badly in the Masai Bradford game reserve. Head Ranger Wayne Johns has to cope with some strange behaviour from his animals, but fortunately Keeper Carol is there to help - when it is her shift. Getting into his jeep, Wayne uses his trusty net to get them under control and restore order to the park. But can he survive all the zany zebra, mad monkeys, rampaging rhinos, spitting snakes and other abnormal animals out to get him?

One or two players

Joystick port 2 for brown jeep, port 1 for orange jeep

Fire and a direction to use the net on that side of the jeep.

Watch out for hazards in the park - trees, rocks and water (this is not an amphibious vehicle!)

The more dangerous the animal, the more bonus points you get See how far into the park you can reach.

That rounds up this issue's cover tape. Next issue we will be bringing yet more tasty treats for the second cover tape. If you have anything you wish to include on a future cover tape then please email it to Nigel or myself (See TND web site for my email address) and we'll try to include it for the next issue. We hope you will have minutes, if not then hours of enjoyment playing these games. Catch you soon in issue 65. With yet another fun filled cover tape.


BBC Pays Homage to 30 Years of the Commodore 64

A machine is setup to show how relevant the c64 is today to the youth of today, however the person (not sure I know who it is) setting up the machine; does seem to be coming across rather a lot of loading problems! The Commodore 64 also had a disk drive and cartridge port!

What will today’s kids make of the machine; well personally I think the datasette is far to near the TV but hey what do I know.

Read more here:

Flimsoft Reveal a Working Preview

Flimsoft a software distributor (see last month’s Commodore Free for an interview) has revealed one of the launch titles, not only that but a preview of the game is available for download, this one level preview (still in working stages) provides a taster to some of the quality you can expect from the company here is what they said about the launch..


Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls. Flimsoft is proud to announce its first ever release of Alien Bash 2 by Tomi Malinen (this is PAL/NTSC compatible).

This is a preview of the game:

The game itself will be available from the Flimsoft website in the very near future. It will be sold as a standard cassette edition at a cost of 4.99GBP as well as a limited edition version which includes a large case with two cassettes (which will be sold at 9.99GBP) containing both the original version and the new sequel as well as a couple of other goodies..

Game play: Plug joystick into port 2.

Aim of the game: Destroy the aliens as they come down to invade Earth at different speeds.

We hope you enjoy the game.



THE Flimsoft website goes live

At the time of writing! The website was just some history about the start of Flimsoft and the Demo to download, but things look like they are starting off for the company and they have some really good titles lined up for future releases, Believe me if I could tell I bet you would wet your pants! But I am sworn to secrecy (unfortunately, and that means my pants are very wet!)

Here is a copy of the front page for the TEXT readers of the magazine

Hello and welcome to Flimsoft – a new name in modern Commodore 64 game publishing.

We live in strange times. Computer technology has advanced dramatically in the past thirty years – since Commodore 64s reign of the micro’s, and yet we continue to thrive on the Commodore 64 as a source of entertainment. What is it that makes this personal computer so appealing and so stunning for something from the 1980s? Is it the enormous library of software that exist from yesteryear? Could it be the amazing SID chip that produces some of the finest music ever incorporated into a computer game? Perhaps it might be the potential of creating your very own games and producing some very unique music? Whatever the reason might be, the Commodore 64 is just as good as it was back in the day and new developments of both software and hardware make it better and better as the years progress.

Of course, new games produced (within the past few years) aren’t as common and advertised/marketed as they once were. The mission of Flimsoft is to sell great quality software and to essentially allow you to Purchase the latest releases at a good price. It is also designed as a personal contribution and celebration of something that has engrossed me for many years as well as giving something back to the community.

I hope you enjoy looking through our new website.

A big thanks for everyone’s support during the very initial stages of this Project: Nigel (Commodore Free), Jason Kelk, various members from Lemon 64, members from Commodore Computer Club UK. Thank you So much for making this happen.

All the best

Jamie Alvis BA(Hons), PGCE

Fifteen 3D Game Released

To scramble the tiles use the button. To move a tile simply click it. Now slide your own way to put them back to the start position.

Created by

code: Hamar
graphics: Mitchell
music: Ryba

Released 18. July 2012, Falcon soft

You have to rearrange the cube back into its original starting position, you must have seen the sliding games one block or section is missing so you can move only 1 section at a time, interesting to see the concept in 3D though Meeting

COMMODORE FREE Ok I missed the deadline but the information is here maybe for next time and reference!

--- Original Message ----------
Subject: Meeting: Thursday, August 9, 2012 6:00PM PDT
From: "PDXCUG Admin" <>
Date: Wed, August 8, 2012 10:19 pm

Hello, Fans!

Unable to attend the meeting in person? We have a fun alternative:

Come chat with us using your RR-NET, Comet64, Flyer or VICE

Find us in the c64 chat room Meeting:

Thursday, August 9, 2012 @6:00 pm

More info & location:


More information:

As usual, we'll have plenty of time for these activities:

What you can bring:

See you there,

- Goog is Portland's Official Commodore Users Group Serving the greater metropolitan area - Portland, OR USA Meetings every 2nd Thursday of the month

Twitter: @pdxcug

Commodore Related RPG Game Tortured Hearts

Ok this isn’t strictly Commodore related but ........

--- Original Message ----------
From: "Jörn Asche"
Subject: Commodore Free Tortured Hearts

Hello Nigel!

I just came across your Commodore Free magazine and thought you might be interested in this information:

Zoltan Gonda, and Csaba Foris, both well known for the legendary Commodore 64 RPG “Newcomer™” as well as for Haegemonia: The Legions of Iron; Rush for Berlin; Panzers Phase 2 und Panzers: Cold War have teamed up once again to bring PC gamers another RPG which brings back the story and gameplay that won’t let you sleep until dawn. Supported by Lenore Hoehl, the team has already produced the full story in a development environment, including a crafting system, character development system and many more.

Tortured Hearts™: Or, How I Saved the Universe. Again. is an epically epic, satirical RPG, dedicated to the proposition that most RPGs take themselves far too seriously. Since almost every imaginable plot scenario and character has already been used and overused to the point that clichés are unavoidable, Tortured Hearts™ instead revels in pointing out that the life of adventurers is one endless heroic cliché, some sort of existential trap created by the gods of RPG worlds.

Currently the team is working on a playable demo version that is set for release in autumn this year.

Additional details (e. g. screenshots and videos) can be found on the following sites:

Tortured Hearts Official Website:

Facebook site:

Please see the attached press release and screenshot for more details on this project.

If you need more information or would like to do an interview please don't hesitate to contact me.


Joern Asche

Press Release About The Game

Press Release by Game Psych LLC

Tortured Hearts™ - or, How I Saved The Universe. Again.

Ambitious, story-driven RPG with unique style and presentation – first facts revealed and demo version in development

Zoltan Gonda, and Csaba Foris, both well known for the legendary Commodore 64 RPG “Newcomer™,” have teamed up once again to bring PC gamers another RPG which brings back the story and gameplay that won’t let you sleep until dawn. Supported by Lenore Hoehl, the team has already produced the full story in a development environment, including a crafting system, character development sytem and many more. Currently the team is working on a playable demo version that is set for release in autumn this year.

Tortured Hearts™: Or, How I Saved the Universe. Again. is an epically epic, satirical RPG, dedicated to the proposition that most RPGs take themselves far too seriously. Since almost every imaginable plot scenario and character has already been used and overused to the point that clichés are unavoidable, Tortured Hearts™ instead revels in pointing out that the life of adventurers is one endless heroic cliché, some sort of existential trap created by the gods of RPG worlds.

The game is set in the unique custom world of Eupherea, where things are different.

For example, the gnome race hasn’t yet been written out of the Big Picture. Celestial bureaucracy, which functions much like ordinary mortal bureaucracy, has a hidden hand in the affairs of things and especially in the lives of adventurers.

The player character is one of many seasoned and stereotypical adventurers seeking their fortune. But it bothers him to be a stereotype; he doesn't want to be identified as another loot jerk. He seeks thrills, but the thrill is gone. His own quest is to get a thrill out of life again.

Some quick facts about the game:

Additional details (e. g. screenshots and videos) can be found on the following sites:

Tortured Hearts™ Official Website:

Tortured Hearts™ Official Facebook site:

For further information and interview inquires please contact

Lenore Hoehl Jörn Asche

More Photos About the Commodore Vegas Expo

More photos about the Commodore Vegas Expo v8 2012 have been posted! A CommVEx report and pics are at

and other pictures are at

Back in California,

Robert Bernardo

Fresno Commodore User Group -

Commodore Vegas Expo v8 -

New VIC 20 Website Opens

Message from the webmaster

The site is dedicated to the classic Vic 20 Computer. There's some games to download and play. Some I have programmed myself and some type Ins. I'm not an expert programmer by any means, but I have a good grasp of the basics. If you have written a game for the Vic 20 and want it on the web, let me know and I'll post it here.

Cubase64 Brings Real-time Audio Processing To Commodore 64

COMMODORE FREE This is amazing stuff ……………

News From Synthtopia

If this isn’t geektacular, we’re not sure what is. Developer Pex “Mahoney” Tufvesson has created an app, Cubase64, that is designed to let you do real-time audio processing, with 11 effects, on a Commodore 64.

The effects and options include:

Check it out and let us know what you think of doing audio processing on a Commodore 64!

Comet+ Internet Modem and Disk Drive Hybrid

The Comet+ (pronounced Comet Plus) is a hybrid device with Wi-Fi, Disk Drive, micro SD card, on-board flash and static RAM, and an RS-232 port.

It can be used stand-alone as a disk drive and/or Internet device, or can plug into the user port on compatible Commodore computers, allowing it to host a BBS server without the need for an external PC.

It has a full Arduino development system and on-board breadboard for hardware hacking and creating new Commodore peripherals. Users can create Arduino "sketches" and upload them directly from the Commodore computer.

Prototype was revealed at CommVEx 2012 and full production is expected before the end of the year. For more information, visit or follow @cometplus on Twitter

Stil in development but taking early orders!

The Comet+ combines mass-storage with the Internet in a single device, while providing flexibility to customize it to your specific needs.

Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ Cartridge Available!

Yet again, RGCD and Psytronik Software have collaborated to bring you a multi-format release - this time of two of the finest arena shmups available for the Commodore 64, Aleksi Eeben’s acclaimed Greenrunner and Redrunner - both upgraded and optimised to run on both PAL and NTSC machines.

Not only that, but Aleksi has also managed to squeeze into the 64kb cartridge version an updated (and also NTSC fixed) version of Retroskoi+, converting your C64 computer into a two-oscillator monophonic synthesizer.

The 64KB cartridge version is housed in a clear cartridge shell illuminated by an internal flashing green and red LED, complete with a printed manual and Retroskoi+ reference sheet. The package costs £25/26 inclusive of Europe/Worldwide shipping and is available from

The games are also available together on disk or tape from Psytronik Software - with the tape, disk and premium disk versions costing £4.99/£4.99/£9.99 respectively (plus shipping) here

Retroskoi+ is exclusive to the cartridge release, but the two games and mp3 soundtrack can be downloaded for free from the Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ game page here

AmiSystemRestore r1 beta Released (for AmigaOS4)

News from

This is the first public beta of AmiSystemRestore.

AmiSystemRestore aims to give AmigaOS4 a similar ability to Window's very useful System Restore. What it does is create Restore Points, which act as snapshots of your SYS: partition (where the OS is stored). If anything changes on your SYS: partition, then you can roll it back to the time of the snapshot.

Why would you want to undo changes to your SYS: partition? Well, if you install a new program (or update an existing one), you have no idea if any new libraries (or other changes) will have problems that may break existing programs. A badly written installer might even replace libraries (etc.) with older versions!

AmiSystemRestore allows you to undo all recent changes (whether or not they were done by the installer), and return SYS: to an earlier point in time. Knowledgeable users can be more selective about which changes are undone, with the warning that they need to know what they are doing!

If you are installing something using AmiUpdate or the official Installer system, then AmiSystemRestore will automatically create Restore Points for you (and Ringhio messages should notify you of this).

This is a public beta of AmiSystemRestore. Although I and a small number of testers have not noticed any stability problems in over 6 months of use, there is still the possibility of crashes or lock-ups with untested programs or situations, due to the complexity of the OS patching done by AmiSystemRestore. So as a precaution I advise that you make a backup of your main OS partition (also known as SYS:) before using AmiSystemRestore.

You can download it from

Individual Computers

New products for C64 and Amiga

Due to popular demand, we've put a product for the C64 back into production that was previously only available from selected resellers. The PLA chip replacement SuperPLA will be back in stock starting September of this year. The revised edition will be available for 18,90 EUR (*) from all our retail partners.

SuperPLA V3 is meant for repair jobs and can be used in the following computers:

The target computer is set by jumpers. The new, much more compact design has the jumpers moved to the back of the board.

Our new accelerator for the Amiga 500 has already been discussed in user forums, but will be released with some changes, so customer demand is met in both price and features. The ACA500 is powered by a 14MHz CMOS-68000 processor with 2MBytes RAM and a mass-storage controller for CF-cards and CD drives. Auto boot from CF-card is possible from Kickstart V1.3 and higher. Thanks to our TrueIDE technology, any CF card can be used, even if the card identifies as "removable device". A CD-ROM drive can be connected to the easily reachable IDE port on the side of the A500.

The relatively moderate increase in speed is enough to run WHDload. For those who want more CPU power, the ACA500 has a CPU-slot compatible with our accelerators for A1200 computers. This makes even our top model ACA1231 available to the A500 computer. The ACA500 will be available from all resellers for 79,90 EUR. We're currently negotiating about including Kickstart licenses into the ACA500, so the built-in flashrom can be pre-loaded with different Kickstart licenses.

Our new ACA1220 is powered by a full 16,67MHz 68020. For the A1200, this card can be considered a 128MByte-RAM expansion, but for the A500 with ACA500, this board is a turbo-tidbit that provides more memory than has ever been offered at this price: The ACA1220 will be available starting from 89,90 EUR.

The ACA1220 can be expanded with a real-time clock. In an A500 setup, the RTC is already located on the trapdoor expansion, so it's not required there. If you're going to use the ACA1220 in an A1200, you can add an RTC for 19,90 EUR (*). Battery is not included.

The RTC-module can also be used with other accelerators or even without an accelerator in an A1200. For example, if you own an ACA1230 and haven't yet equipped it with the hard-to-find RTC chip, this module will solve your problem.

As a replacement for the sold-out ACA630, we'll have a new budget-accelerator for the A600, available in Q4/2012. It will be powered by a 16.67MHz 68EC020 processor and provides the popular maprom function, just like all our ACA cards do: Maprom allows executing Kickstart ROM from fast 32-bit memory, increasing execution speed considerably. The ACA620 provides 9+1MBytes of RAM (1MByte reserved for maprom-function). The target price is 99,90 EUR.

The "big" Amiga models don't have to stand back: We'll have big memory for a small budget soon. The new BigRamPlus offers 256MBytes of memory for A3000(T) and A4000(T). The full-size Zorro-3 card will be available from all Individual Computers resellers at 99,90 EUR (*).

(*) recommended retail price including 19% VAT. Price may differ in your country. Shipping cost may be added.

Hollywood Player 5.1 for Android Out Now

Airsoft Software is proud to announce that Hollywood is now also available for Android devices (ARM architecture). This makes it possible for the first time for every Hollywood user to run his Hollywood applets on smart phones and tablet computers running Android. Everything you need is the Hollywood Player for Android which is now available as a free download on Google Play. To see what Hollywood on Android looks like check out a little demo video on YouTube.

Please note that the Hollywood Player for Android requires at least Android 2.3. To get your own Hollywood project onto your Android device, simply compile it as a Hollywood applet (*.hwa) from the Hollywood GUI or Hollywood Designer and then copy it into a directory named "Hollywood" on the SD card of your Android device. Then you can easily run it using the Hollywood Player!

Feature wise the Hollywood Player for Android is pretty identical to the desktop version of Hollywood, plugins and videos are fully supported. Due to security reasons, however, certain functionality like starting external programs is currently disabled. You can find a complete list of differences between the desktop and mobile versions of Hollywood in the release notes in the Hollywood forums. Please note that the Hollywood Player for Android is a WIP snapshot from the current development version of Hollywood 5.1 which has not been released yet and is still a work-in-progress.

Due to the multitude of Android devices and the often scarcely documented native development interface of Android, it can happen that this app does not run on your Android device. If that is the case, please let us know in the Hollywood forums or via email.

Download now!

Official Hollywood portal

Airsoft Softwair online store closes July 31th, 2012


Due to personal reasons the Airsoft Softwair online store has to close at the end of July 2012. This means that no more orders can be processed after 31th July, 2012. Thus, everybody who doesn't own Hollywood or Hollywood Designer yet (or still needs the upgrade to the latest versions) should take the opportunity to secure himself a personal copy of this amazing multimedia software NOW because the store will go down on July 31th, 2012. The download versions are delivered instantly via email/WWW download and the CD versions of Hollywood and Hollywood Designer come in a nice digipak. Thank you for your continued support over the last 15 years!

Leaderboard Collection [EasyFlash]

Credits :

Code Tom-Cat of Nostalgia
Crack Tom-Cat of Nostalgia
NTSC-Fix Tom-Cat of Nostalgia
Docs Hellboy of Nostalgia
Test Lemming of Finnish Gold, Nostalgia, Offence

Download :

Commodore Free

Leader board easy flash version wow I loved these games on the c64 back then it looked amazing the cool swing of the golfer the 3d view being drawn before you, I must say replaying the games again today it still has an appeal and the golfer swing is very realistic and smooth. It’s another birthday and Christmas all rolled up into 1 download, very nicely done. Don’t forget to read the mini game review on leader board later in this issue by Luke, he gave it an almost perfect review.

SID-Wizard 1.0 RC

SID-WIZARD is a new Commodore 64 tracker created by Hermit and released at the Arok Party 2012. The tracker is inspired from others such as Goattracker, XSID, SDI etc. but has a number of new features. The program comes complete with a PDF manual covering all its operation.

Here is some information taken from the PDF about the authors main aims in the trackers creation

My aim from the beginning was to create a comprehensive native C64 tool for SID music creation, as there are so many editors around which are good at some aspects but on the other hand many of them lack very basic features. (For instance, saving/loading individual instruments, multi-speed support, detuning, jamming, keyboard-tracking, etc.)

However there are several trackers to mention which contain almost all important features, and which I got much inspiration from. My personal favourites - and possibly the most featureful, in order of appearance - are: Goattracker (cross-platform with emulated SID sound), SDI, X-SID, SID-Factory, JCH Editor, DMC, Hardtrack Composer. I made some comparison charts about these editors, and I figured out that I need to code a native C64 based editor, which should contain everything essential, and even some more inventive/innovative features. More or less I found the way to do so, and coupled the different features under common hood to achieve simplicity, ease of use despite the amount of new functions. Let's see in a nutshell in the next section what can be done with SID-Wizard....

Download the program and manual from

The authors website is here

C64 - The Journey Continues

By Luke Lynde

Hi this is Luke Lynde with my first Commodore 64 Article that I have written in about 5+ years. Some of my recent articles have appeared in Scene World, although they were actually written ages ago! I am still with my favourite machine, even though it is getting old and getting some grey hairs. I am 38 now and I am getting a few grey hairs myself! I suppose that was bound to happen one day! The most important event of recent times is obviously the passing of Jack Tramiel. He will be sorely missed, even though he did sell the company before it really became popular. That is business I guess, nobody has a crystal ball and can foresee the future. It is Jack's Legacy that is important though, because without him there would be no Commodore Computers! We would all be stuck with the Spectrum ZX and still be wondering why the graphics are so terrible ;-)

The great thing about the Commodore 64 really is the reliability of the hardware, particularly the unit itself. There are the usual places where it rusts, and the plastics go yellow on some, but overall they are very well made. You can switch the insides too; between the old and new model case. I like the old cases, they are very nostalgic. The new cases are better designed, and a little larger. To get rid of yellowing on your C64, you can use Retro Brite. This substance is chemical, so unless you know what you’re doing, I don't recommend making it at all! You can do a search for this on Google if you are really serious about using it. As far as dismantling a computer goes, they don't get much easier than the Commodore 64.

There has been an influx of games of late for our C64, and I particularly like Edge Grinder and C64anabalt. Edge Grinder would have been a killer if there was more of it. A classic horizontal scrolling shoot-em-up with awesome graphics, and slick presentation and playability.

C64anabalt, is like a LSD tripping decathlon game, hehe. Even though I don't play this game enough, it is an awesome game - and will cause many people to start smashing something in frustration! On the C64 scene, there is a deluge of old-filer old game cracks being released on CSDB, none that are worth playing. I am at the point I won't even download cracks from certain groups now. Quantity over Quality isn't even a subject of debate. I really enjoy older classic games being re-released with decent trainers, documentation, bug fixes if needed, etc.

I am on the waiting list for some flash cartridges for the C64. I will be sure to review them in subsequent issues. As far as buying C64 hardware goes, EBay is the only solution really. You will always get stuff cheaper if it is local and "pick up only". That is how I get my items. About a year ago, I contacted someone local who had some Amiga stuff for sale, asking if he had anything C64. I ended up getting 2 new slim line C64's from him!! Great deal, hard to get C64's in new condition, I am sure. If I want new cables, and smaller items - overseas is the main solution. E.g. XE1541/Serial Cables/Action Replay/Etc. I'm sure it is the same for you. Not to mention all of the various specialty shops that are on the internet...

Here in Australia, a SX-64 with Serial Number 1 was sold for $660. I don't know how authentic this eBay sale was, but is worth mentioning. Most C64 hardware in Australia for sale, is greatly inflated in price compared to anywhere else in the world. As I said, you get it cheap if it is pickup only, and if you don't live near any C64 fanatics who think it is made of precious metal, hehe. Anyway, time is cheap, and I am broke, so I will see you on the other side of the rainbow. Until we meet again, don't electrocute yourself! Bye now.

Commodore C=64 Special Edition

By John Fielden

Well, as Germany get a goal disallowed against Greece in the third minute, I remember the time between my C=16 refusing to work and the day my Auntie came with my Cousin Ben's old c64; The machine he agreed to sell me on the basis of my estimated Birthday money (£50 -I was spot on!) from previous birthdays. Some-one had bought him an Atari ST and he wanted to sell his Commodore to have some spare cash.

I was all commodore at that point (merely due to the fact that's all I knew .../know!) So, I couldn't understand why he hadn't kept with The c= brand. This is ironic now because the producer (Geoff) of my radio show ( also a programmer; mentioned that the ST was a great computer to program... Had I not opted for an A1200 with starry eyes and not much sense; I may be further down the road. The other part of the irony is Ben just wanted a games machine! -I was cut off from finding or affording the right package. I do wish I had come across HiSoft, or GFA's Basic offerings. I only found Blitz which came across as a games only compiler. And Amos which was a "buy this package, now you've bought this buy this to do that, oh! And to finish doing that you need this package also! Oh, and when you've done all that this package makes it better, Now try this package for even better results!" -well, on Income Support I wasn't going down that road. (see Issue 61 - who said "Computers for the masses not the classes!" -it would've been nice for commodore to include something for novice programmers.) However, that's another story.

Let’s start where the c16 crashed.

Life back then was a mix between football and when frustration hit at not being able to make something work programming wise; a mix of either not enough books or of not being able to find them as they were cleaned away along with everything else between school times. All asking "Where's my ..." brought the standard yell. "It's where you put it last!" Perhaps Granny was unaware of mother’s interventions; but still not a very helpful statement. Not sure where mum was; unless it was at the pub!

While the c16 was going I was a bit young to understand it all, and though my Dad sat me down to learn it, he wasn't really there for me after that. So Games won out! I had this deep persistent wish to have a colour telly. My mum would only rent me a black and white one; even then it was a deal 50p for renting the colour TV through D/E/R. So, when every-one was out or no-one wanted the colour; trips were made up and down the stairs with all the equipment. This I guess, must over time, have loosened the cartridge port and generally affected the internal workings. At times it got left to play out, and I'm not sure any-one else was as understanding and gentle with it as required. So one day, that was it! The power came on but not the screen. I think I even phoned the TV company but it wasn't the programmer (Roy, I mentioned in a prior issue) that came out.

I cannot now exactly remember when this occurred, or whether it was months or over a year/s until the invite came to go to my cousins. I rarely saw these cousins, whether they were too busy, just never thought, realised 'if he comes his mother will come!', or what it was; but invites were rare! Inviting oneself was unheard of (as considered pushy; "he who wants never gets" was one of the dysfunctional motto's of the household.) So, I nearly didn't ask my cousin and kept quiet at first when he mentioned he was selling the Commodore 64 and getting a new one. Part with the sale of his old machine and part with his birthday money. Luckily I was allowed to stay much of the day and by the end of it I'd come up with the idea to use my birthday money to purchase his surplus. This was agreed on the grounds that if he got a better offer between then and my birthday he could sell it. I said "Don't! I'll match it at Christmas!"

Despite the panorama my birthday came and this was made extra special because my auntie came as a surprise! Now, manners and etiquette dictate that once you've got something like this set up and you know it's working, you turn it off and entertain your guests. .........ooops!

Well, I played Ghostbusters, -and pretty much nothing else all day! I remember Auntie Jean coming in to see how I was doing; and unknown to me, this was the cue to greet the guests as all was well. But, I was hooked and while they understood, now they are at the other side of the world; so I regret a rare missed opportunity to have seen them!

Having said that I was hooked!

I was busy learning all the things that Ben hadn't time to make clear on the exhibitions of past visits. I learned what a franchise is; it remains an absolute mystery to me how the code worked with name and earnings; and it remained secure enough that random attempts were dismissed outright! -(Did any-one crack it? How? Please write in).

Over the years the computer got blamed for keeping me awake; and family/household laws were brought out limiting its use until 9pm. When that failed to get me 'out of bed in a morning' it was changed to 8pm. When this didn't work either. "He'll have to stop using it then!" -Thankfully, this wasn't upheld by the committee that went behind my back in discussions. So, the computer gradually got back in the frame.

Programming was severely limited "AGAIN" by only one book supplied with the computer, which to top things off had numerous spelling mistakes! -(In the originally shipped version). I remember resorting to what I remembered for the c16 with COLOR... of course prompting the usual Syntax Error!

I hadn't quite learned my lesson regarding shipping computers up and down stairs though; this was less as it got stopped -in no uncertain terms as 'mommy dear' got fed up with it! -Still dissatisfaction with life didn't stop the occasional sneak attack on the nice warm and relatively spacious front room. Ultimately though the cold and dusty bedroom was learned to be tolerated with heaters that were continually on minimum "to save electric!" and experiments were tried in cramped conditions to try to find more space; which meant the dismantling of said computer. -It was during a change-round like this when one day to my horror I noticed some of the pins from the power connector were stuck in the c64's power port. Imagine my horror as I put it back together! I think I even prayed! -Something I only did when in dire need and knowing it. Well, what would I have done without a computer? ... -"Homework! -probably!"

Thankfully, everything worked! For the time being anyway. Was it the praying? At the time I thought it might have been done in Ben's time. I was pretty thick back then!

During the time before it became 'too old to work anymore'. I remember upon tearing myself away from Ghostbusters, I had a look at all the games supplied with the sale. To my dismay some didn't work! "He didn't tell me that!..."

I later learned that tapes as disks wear out. (Again, Thanks Roy of D/E/R on a rare but valuable visit)

What I did manage to play and enjoy -for various lengths of time. That is to say instead of playing one for a bit of the day, then loading up another etc. Over the course of the time a particular game was in the spot light and remained interesting; It got played to death! -that was when the frustration of only being able to get to a certain place set in. There's more irony here as the game that stuck in mind and lasted was what most critics dismiss as 'boring'. Perhaps, but The Double provided a great escape where the control of a club -albeit imaginary; offset the life, much of which were choices were taken over like having to make friends just because THE OTHER PERSON WANTED!

It's safe to say that the double, football manager game was a welcome break from!

That is to say the only thing vaguely in common with the manipulative bully that wormed his way in and then slyly -due to his own cowardice gradually worked on the minds general frailties whilst building himself up -in his own mind at least. For a while I was taken in. I see such things in this life as an opportunity to learn to deal with them. I duly did though some 20 years on his younger brother still seems to believe his propaganda! And seems well versed enough on law to stay within the boundaries of 'legality'.

The whole episode with the football at the time was of not really playing football at all! But of standing between two trees -which had never done me any harm- and using them as Goalposts while this guy and his stooge tackled each other to see who could get the most goals past me. The prolonging of these games meant I became a good goalie and eventually got picked first in school. In the street games deciding I was the main goalie of this dubious trio meant I got cross at one point having to point out that I wanted the occasional run out; so there and was played on such occasions. And these games went on into darkness. There was however a bigger darkness lurking which reared its ugly head as time went on. Looking back on things you were unprepared for is often easier when you realise you got the last laugh. As the saying goes 'He who laughs last laughs best'. And the crunch came at 18. He had been unable to hit me as he was in trouble anyway so much that he was scared of getting something more serious than a caution, or of having the full truth of what was going on opened up to investigation; this would not only have jeopardised the glazed front he put/s on; (though he seemed to think people see through 'rose tinted specs' -particularly Granny -whom could not deal much with the harsh realities of life despite living through some of her own. -I think mentally; she'd had enough and didn't want to hear mine. Anyhow this didn't help me much at the time.

The games at the third year senior level involved "Who buys the next ball?" -Invariably 'Who kicked it' versus 'I bought the last one, it's your turn!'. You might think each took a stance and stuck to it, but no! The Goalposts moved continually! This game included "Whoever kicked it mugs (fetches) it!" versus "The Goalkeeper gets it -because he doesn't do any running around!" That would be fair enough except the person who said it when in goal changed his mind. It was said to have come off me though I was blocking a shot rather than taking one, and when the bully with a gleam in his eye and that stupid smile on his face echoed agreement; I felt something was up! I had to go it was my ball. Never play football next to a road, and certainly don't shoot that way, though in those days dogs had free reign to roam and it could be hard to find a spot! Imagine the winter months where the street lamps were the only source of luminance. It's hard to say why I put up with it besides the chokey smoke filled room, the only one room heated in the house with TV programmes that weren't necessarily interesting to an adolescent male. And the urge! The urge for something to do; mix with those my own age. etc. Pity there wasn't much choice around!

Well, things happen over time. His friend proving to want little to do with him at school because he damaged his 'street cred' -something he was always going on about to me. The stooge decided to pester me to make decisions in his favour, little things like persuading me my career choices for upper school were wrong and pretending that I was somehow part of the special 'friendship'/relationship those two had! (Glad I'm out! At the time I was a lonely child with nowhere to turn.) I see now that Granny putting precedence on other's importance over my own led to my not caring what I did just so long as there was some-one I knew who, I thought, didn't despise me for being there -this wasn't my choice either! Another story more of the c16 era though.

Well, games in the fourth year varied somewhat, as I had no money I could hold out the longest! It seemed when I did get a football it went the quickest! A great trick was played (as they would have it) when it was the stooges turn, he turned up with a plastic 99p effort. This was pointed out in school and I was disgusted having saved several pounds for a decent leather ball that lasted for that night only! I'm sure he'd once said "We need a leather one"

On and on with the games; It just so happened that a neighbour, an elderly gentleman by the name of Mr. Hanson saw what was going on long before I did. Not only that! he tried to help me as it turns out. Only he tried to shout at us, unknown to me he was trying to shout at them and in so doing trying to point out to me he didn't like them. He didn't realise how much I needed football; or what at that point seemed to me as though it was football. Unfortunately in his eagerness to help he didn't see that being stuck there amid the shouting -a part of the 'game'; was it embarrassment that I was there; it was the bully that got shouted at when it was his turn to fetch. At least at first, unfortunately, he easily manipulated the young ignorant unsuspecting fool that writes to you now.

I wish Mr. Hanson had ventured round just before the end of school and waited as a guest of Grandma's; he might have buttered her up with something like flowers, biscuits, chocolates etc. He might have brought Mrs. Hanson -A delightful couple, full of life despite its troubles. Had he pointed out what Mrs. Hanson did long after I'd broken free from the trouble maker and decided to go and make peace and apologise for my part in it. She kindly said "You weren't kicking it, you were trying to save it." This was true but on public highways walking to or from school or when bully came round without his stooge -perhaps seeing me had a better prospect (And I stood against it despite the odds. Though Granny would have a fit if/when I got into any trouble, and mother often reminded me that trouble at school meant I would go into a children's home; complete with the addition "Where they abuse children!". -More Irony. But how I now wish I'd found an alternative, I wasn't welcome at the bully's football club -the local one. I didn't have much luck there anyway as an 8 year old the coach shouting at me at my first game against the nine year olds.

Defence proved not to be my thing, in adulthood some-one pointed out "You think like a Goalkeeper" but being part of the miss-use of the otherwise beautiful game; even though it was of desperation of seemingly having no other outlet for it. Dad seemed to have long since given up against me in our shoot outs in the yard. Having beaten him since ages, too young to remember. The walls side by side, not forgetting obstacles such as drain pipes provided for something of a lesson in angles without the need for mathematics. Not that he noticed; he'd excelled in the basics and was keen for me to learn "You've got to have maths to be a good goalkeeper!"

well doom struck, that was the beginning of the end of my dream to play in goal for my country! The rest was refusal to play in goal for my school -due, in a nut shell to hating it, and all it had come to mean to me. Which had little to do with schoolwork and more about survival, tolerance or turning a blind eye and as this proved to cover all the above. Playing truant which occurred more later despite early accusations of it when ill from the head of year. (Having tonsils removed affects the immune system, so does being unhappy at a place! The only other choice I knew to be worse!) Qua-sera-sera! I reluctantly stayed, had I played one different thug, not on the team said "...If you let one goal in, even if it's not your fault and we win 10-1, I'm still going to batter ya'!"

What could I do? I felt I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself under that pressure, other issues were crosses, bigger outdoor goals meant angles I hadn’t been used to. Thugs in the outdoor group and having no interest in being injured meant I avoided a lesson, and a play time I might have loved at a different place. What did the teacher do, who allowed the kid in to give me this message? -Guess! He pretended he didn't hear! Nice place Halifax, pop by for a holiday sometime, there are B&B places -Alternatively find a copy of Hitler's memoirs from the library it will be cheaper!

Meantime the rows with the neighbours were getting worse. The next door neighbour at no.31 (B's) whose Dad had caused nuisance of himself enough to stop me playing football in my own back garden. (He could've moved his stupid Greenhouse. I'm sure we would have found a way to pay for any damage should it have occurred, though it wasn't like we were aiming at it, also due to the environment we had to use placement more than power.

I keep going backwards, so did the supposed 'friendship' -the stale, false and fast becoming worthless 'mates' were getting worse in their old age. "Pot shot Willy!" the loud mouth bully shouted at the top of his voice as we passed B. coming out of his garden one day. Still ignorant of the very real difference of jokes between friends and taunting, trouble making -without a moment’s thought I copied after laughing as it was true the guy looked the spitting image of The Snooker player Willy Thorn. We; or rather I got chased! It was after the first time I went round and tried to make peace. "It's mainly Mark shouting" I blurted not knowing really what to say. This Wassock wasn't worth bothering with; He'd shown in the past he didn't like me. "It was you!" is all he said. This was stark contrast from the insight Mr. Hanson had shown. I'd gone round to ask for my ball back; now I can't remember if it was actually mine; or if I'd been asked to go. I went once; after that I was still expecting the 'turns' system! Well after I refused they didn't go and ask alone! They took their older brothers with them!

I even tried to make it fair, not always coming to my area -I persisted. I was defeated by 'name' stooge won't go round to where 'name' bully lives! And at stooges house his mum came out and she was extremely verbally fierce. On the other hand my mum put on a soft and pathetic voice whenever there was an audience! I was expected to take it as the lesser of the two. Not having any of my own opinions yet and resenting family life for other reasons, I put up with it. Unfortunately, this went so far as disrespecting my mum by not doing what she asked; -even when I had every intention of obeying, I found myself bowing to peer pressure even though I wasn't really enjoying myself in their company! Hard to figure really, perhaps getting shouted at angrily behind closed doors was easier than having to put up with negative vibes in lessons I could no longer change! A Mothers love would make it harder to do the threatened or perceived things that thugs seem to take pride in doing.

All this from having a common interest in football. -Not that common in this rugby town.

The story continues well into the night so I might point out that the bully shot himself in his own foot on more than one occasion. For a start he blames me for his not being able to get the girl in our year who lived next door to me. The real reason he came around! First his refusal to have anything to do with me at school did not go unnoticed, nor did I keep him warning me off his art class a secret. Though this was after he'd blown it anyway with her by going out with some-one else just when she was getting used to the thought of giving him a chance. I saw in her eye after this there was no further point in talking to her about it! I hadn't really minded being used in this way, but he'd used up plenty favours! Any failing, not that it ever should've been my responsibility to help get her for him!, on my part was naivety; not scheming but this didn't stop him blaming me for his own failings!

Football had taken on a new dimension with the druggies from one of the Saturday amateur teams that also attended our school in the same year. Games took on yet a new meaning! We tended to be winning by about 19 - 7, even 19 -3 at one point. Presently the bully who even boasted to me about his exploits against me and my family; once he knew that my Grandma was pulling the strings he really took advantage of her fearfulness of him. My fault for saying he was harder than I was. Characterised by meanness, willingness to do others wrong, psychotic need to win at any & all costs, rehearsal of violence/s (incl. "fighting"), and it's associated training etc. And furthermore; in said bully's case: Seeking out those weaker than him pursuant to boosting his own ego, entertainment etc. A big family that would stand in his; their corner no matter what!

In contrast; I was wrapped up so well I believed in Santa Clause until eleven -o'clock when I fell asleep! -err, some things are still hard to admit! An only child, protected as some would say "spoilt" -didn't stop them from taking the treats! And Granny would have had kittens had I got into any serious problems. She even invited the bully in once when he called; although I'd fallen out with him after one of his betrayals, "tricks" etc. Such things aren't football and there's too much to cover. I won't go into them all here; suffice to say that it involved a lot of persistence and persuasion from stooge to throw another bully's book on the roof. It seemed some kind of rough justice after continued incidents, and peers tend to hold up the yellow card and label 'coward'; rather quickly in order to get what they want. Now I simply would've switched it as I notice he was suggesting much but doing little. I was in the trap of 'you want to get back at him' and without an answer, but no I just wanted to be left alone and the person that said violence breeds violence was right! Eventually; more to stop the pestering than anything else; remember I had no option of saying 'don't call for me again.' I could say it, but if they called; the weight of expectation was that I had to go just because they'd called! -Grandma believed heavily in charity... she saw reluctant to go out as being unsociable; and was keen to try to make me learn it. But I don't think she understood that some people disguise their intentions to use people, and did not see reluctance as finding the experience unenjoyable and even -initially- detrimental!

The next thing I knew; the fat bully had come in to indoor football while I was sat down getting changed kicked me as I looked up, the punch I blocked easily. But the upset was that people had gone out and told him where I was sat so he could rush in! -That school hated me and I hated it, there was only one thing to do. In football I was the greatest! I had this inner self belief about my football ability that they never managed to entirely break! In fact it wasn't until a scout asked me "Do you want to play for us lad?" after a Saturday amateur game; that proved to be a fixed game as the other team had a lad who wanted to play. Unknown to me as they didn't think I was good enough, as the captain said to one of their lads after the match. And after playing a blinder down the left wing (right footed naturally) one of their lads shouted at me "This was supposed to be and so's day!" Well what a carry on. Realising the game has this element of rot throughout and by now having enough problems to work out; and not quite believing my ears anyway I turned down the chance of trials! There's an element in me that wonders what would that have been like? But chronic ill health was looming; so it would have been short and sweet at best. A far cry from the day when stooge turned up laughing and scoffing that bully had told his mate; stooge had gone straight to bully having been every bit involved in the process. Stooge was protected by bully, fat bully didn't attack him. Later turned out the school was dealing with fat-bully whom might've got expelled, they knew what I didn't know. I just assumed the school had failed to do anything again! -But was still stupid to have taken matters into my own hands.

Well, if this all reads as a mess; that's because life was a mess; an absolute mess! Perhaps not even a life, merely an existence! That wasn't the end of it. Bully had lent me some books; that he later said cost him over £100. Stooge on the way home that evening prompted me about the books. The 15 minute walk home produced the thought that somehow became more appealing as the chatter went on. So by the time I got home I'd been prepped, even ordered not to be scared of him, and not bottle out. He was adamant he didn't think I'd do it. Something I now see as reverse psychology, but back then was totally unwitting and very ignorant of the ways of the world.

At the abomination of this perceived betrayal of what I still thought was a friendship, I was enraged. No question in my mind about was it a friendship in the first place? -Just adamant it wasn't any more! Thoughts raced through my head. The initial plan to rip them to smithereens as stooge laughed out loud was dismissed. Even in a rage I wasn't that violent, I couldn't help thinking what has these books done to me; -or something on those lines. Even though I hated school; I liked English! and was beginning to feel some kind of affinity with books and writing, but in the face of this dastardly (did I put a 'd' or 'b'? -same same!!!) betrayal. I didn't see that stooge was going to report it to bully all along, that he thought it was funny to see some-one else being victimised.

I had a couple of budgies once; with no real expertise at taming them; the usual story of nothing to read from and no-one to teach me. I was somewhat ham-fisted in my approach to try to befriend them. I used in desperation to chase them round the room from curtain to curtain, not really meaning to scare them and not actually knowing I was making things worse not better. I witnessed one day I'm almost sure the yellow one attack the flight-feathers of the green one. A gesture as if to say; 'I don't care where you go, just don't follow me!'

The Green one couldn't fly after that! It fluttered round a couple of times in quite a panic before giving up, resigned to the fact of being heavily petted for the rest of its life. Which I'm almost sure this was far from what it had imagined capture would mean. The yellow one still wasn't having it! So, it seems both provided something of an outlet from the bullying. Comfort from the one that couldn't get away, and if what fat bully once said about a hierarchy of bullying that I'd bully some-one else down the line. (Something bully tried to provide with 'dreamboat' - a younger lad he brought to cause trouble, others he just brought to practice their karate on me!) Then inadvertently this was an outlet of that. -Blimey, how low down the pecking order was I. And does apathy, having no real intentions toward violence lower a person on that pecking order? And will these idiots ever understand; or even accept that I don't want to be on their stupid pecking order! -The real hierarchy is awareness and what we do with our knowing.

I'm sure my writing here will help some going through similar. After all if we keep quiet we let it win because ego fears a perceived shame. Yet shame is allowing it to continue 'but underground' because of being too ashamed to talk about it. So future generations assume they are the first to deal with it. Not so; nor will I keep the dirty secrets of cowards who take delight in finding isolated, vulnerable, 'weaker' individuals to gang up on! My life/existence would've been hard enough without the added misfortune of coming across these idiots! It compounded other things to go on longer than they needed to, and made recovery a longer more drawn out process.

The other essential thing was a retreat from it all, the thoughts that ran around my head at night stopping me from sleeping until 3.0am or later. Somehow the fit girls that thought nothing of me in reality had in my mind developed a liking for me by that time. Hope will find you if it can when there's little else. My spelling is rubbish, my word power has humble beginnings -I've learned as I've gone on. Yet my imagination has the potential to write novels! (This by now is somewhere near!#)

It's thanks to the imagination -put to good use, having got out of this and other bad situations!- that allows for quite inventive tutor-programs (though I do say so myself!). The basic to assembler and back program being -it seems to me- quite a rare specimen. You don't see them achieving such things!!! Had I known this at the time of course, it may have negated my need to get back at him. I was not considered to have any ability. The school in its omnipotence saw fit to put me down; when in fact it was failing me all along!

The books only got torn down the spine in a couple of places; -looking back these books had done nothing to me. Surely, I should've waited with the fire-man's axe we had in the pantry! So, doesn't that show where the real intentions of violence were coming from!!! It happened, as I told him when Grandma had forced me and allowed him to be my friend again; -albeit a false assumption that was to be corrected later. -To allow him in to my existence again! And as I told the go between -Stooge- who was keen to scoff and had "He is going to kill you!". Adding "He was furious! -I've never seen him so furious!" Game set and match to stooge. I was no longer, nor no longer would I ever be the threat to his special relationship with bully... So, it benefitted me after all! Albeit in a way I couldn't have foreseen.

At first I put the books on the doorstep, then in a continuation of the petty minded thinking that had got me this far into a dark murky place of vandalism to property -something that is not usually me! And I've worked very hard to keep away from the criminal elements, I even read The Bible! This state’s many notable things. Not least is 'bad company breeds bad character!', and it must do because how else would it survive? It survived this way by digging in further continuing my stupid thoughts; I decided "I don't want him coming up my garden path again!" So, I put it by the trees where the football was played!

Unfortunately and unseen to myself at that point; the local Environment van was inspecting the grass verge, looking at the health of the trees etc. coming down from up the road. I was looking out the window to watch the look on his face when he saw I had been brave enough to do something (again, I wish I'd thought of the axe! We don't have it now. A dotty aunt took it in to the cop shop -out of harm’s way. -still Good that I didn't stoop too deeply into their pit!!).

The look on the drivers face when he and his mate picked up the books. The horror that must've come across mine -It shows crime doesn't pay! They took the books as I watched frozen; The thoughts were 'how do I explain what's going on?' So for the first time in the process I realised it was shameful to have let him turn me and bring out my vindictive streak -which my aunt was working on constantly besides, so if he thinks he was working alone at all he has been deluding himself! -I think also; it's the voice in his head!

He warned "You're going to pay for it!" at first he was going to batter me; he later gloated that I wouldn't go to the door. Grandma had got back by then and saw something was wrong And made things ten times worse trying to coax him "come in and talk to him!" -I couldn't believe it! Thankfully he didn't "If I see him I'm going to batter him!" -I had to say the same ruddy things over and over till Grandma got it. "Tell him, I'm gonna kill him at school!" By school I'd finally managed to summon enough courage to go and do the things I normally did, take the usual nasty-ness, punches in the back of the head in maths, teachers that saw me as the problem for having the 'audacity' to report it! etc., etc. -Nice time the eighties!

I thought he'd meant pay him the cost; But he did get back in vengeance about four times as much as those books cost. Various attacks on my glasses with the football -till I got contact lenses; from rubbing the lenses against metal, to extremely powerful and fast shots aimed at my face and Influencing others to have a go. The slates he'd thrown snowballs with bricks in; at our roof from over the road! Later boasting for days and weeks after. This cost those holding the purse strings. Luckily the aunt was working. And I felt it some kind of rough justice that she was paying for all the added hassles etc. she was causing me. ('God works in mysterious ways!') -basically, I didn't care as I was forced now to see him. I'd caved in to the 'let bygones be bygones'. This proved it could never be when no-one thereafter would lend me anything. -So, were they all there waiting for me to slip up so they could tell? -what's their own rule about "grassing" (telling tales - this in its real sense means lies.) -I learned my lesson/s! Their top dog had barked and now all teeth were showing! Even his women served to humiliate me on one occasion; but that's another story.

Again, in a way the computer served as an escape. No chance of homework. Hard to concentrate for the sound of The TV seeping through the walls and no Walkman in those days. The Double was slow to work through the teams, the results, the gates and transfers but it seemed the longer you waited for that next big player to improve your team, the more interesting it got. Stooge had introduced it to me years before but had lied about what the best rating of the players. My dad in desperation to keep himself out of the pub and also share something with me; took up the game and found that I was too blindly trusting! Back then, this was about the first indication that stooge was dodgy. -to say the least! Again, there wasn't much else. Now, I'd rather have a room with nothing in it, than a room full of rubbish! It was my dad working away, in the void that would otherwise have meant endless boozing that got the team that was the mutual support that had stopped any "real" fall outs early on. We've stopped playing now, but this played like a dream on an emulator at full throttle! We found that it does not pay to get all the grounds with full 999999 capacities! Because the number wraps round and the average significantly drops again.

So, if you do find it. And unfortunately, I can't send a version in as I pressed something in the menu and it seems to have wiped the only copy that dad had kept -before I knew! But, for those who still want to play the game and reach the dizzy heights of stupid amounts of money. This is how dad did it -this time in old age and ill health. Zoomed the game to the transfers. Kept his eye on results, especially later on to get the teams he wanted and avoid those he'd already managed -he's very good at maths! He used sales of players to improve capacity Now; Instead of going to the top. Stop at about 850000 for normal teams. 825000 if there's a team you really hate and want to be vindictive about. But generally for big name sides put at about 875,000 to 899999. Then for the team you want for yourself and will eventually manage permanently; get to about 925,999 to no more than 949,999 then if you get crowd trouble chances are less of it wrapping round and going over the 999999 and ruining the average gate figures.

Stooge had tried to get my tape, having been refused a copy of it. I had got a bit wise to him even if the levels of stress I were under meant that I usually didn't manage to keep him at bay. I made sure I managed with this! -Speaking of managing...


The whole thing now looks very much indeed like stooges jealousy acting out. It seemed at this point to him that I was a threat to his otherwise unique closeness to his longstanding protector! What better way than to make sure that he held supreme than to manipulate events. The bully had started it by

1. lending me a book that was stooges; unknown to me I was supposed to return the book to bully. I returned it to stooge who said "AW, I didn't want you to read that!" (for any teenagers who may be reading. It's called Wilt, I forget who it is by. But I laughed throughout! Pity I didn't find more like that at the time.)

I could not understand this response but looking back it was a vague pointer to what these two were really like. An old cycling comrade had tried to warn me at the outset. He had helped me pass my cycling proficiency at Junior school; now though he was at the other school, the only other choice that my mum would permit and the fiercest rival to where I was. For some reason among the neighbours near cycle pro It seems he managed a peaceful co-existence with but I didn't. I think this was much to do with my lack of people skills rather than anything cycle pr. might have said. Stark contrast to bully who took advantage of my lacking; I was told much that I could manage to grasp. As it turns out stooge -that is to say the role he plays rather than intimate he is any less in their relationship. -And when I use the term 'relationship', I tend to mean it as a general term where people make interactions of any kind, verbal etc. But while on the subject there was a point back then that I wondered whether they were gay for each other. This was prompted by a dream I had at the time where they were together!

I don't think I understood the dream; but thanks to much help from one of these psychic people, I now understand it as the Heaven World trying to guide me not to fall for the bully's nasty tricks! Or if I did the dream should've served as reassurance that it was already known what I was going through. Like a Guiding hand.

while dreams offered guidance that way; The Double offered guidance to another direction. Unfortunately, one I seem to have felt unable to take in academic life. Believe it or not these plonkers were still around; And I, being at a loss for anything else although this was a feeling rather than a thought /process. A sort of feeling of not being good enough for anything else, or when the opportunity presented itself briefly I remained confused as to how to get rid of what was by now long since dead wood. Thinking I didn't want the beauty of the present to meet the beast of the past. The beast/s had just come round relentlessly in the past; no matter what I said -or did! I seem to have long since rolled over and played dead on that one.

I would be 17 going on 18 when I changed from a BTEC First in Sport and Leisure to a clerical induction. Said bully by now had a chauffeur. I thought of chauffer as a mate I'd also gone to school with; in actual fact he was as big a user as the rest of them. Played computer, ogled out the window at the girl next door, (main reason why bully and stooge hung around), took ball bearings out of my bike for his own; -added to the bullying by offering to fix my bike how these taunting harassers wanted it ("street cred." -Keep it!). I don't know why I took taunting as advice. It became that I was susceptible to this negative influence more and more. Such things are to be ignored; and this is character building. He did give some things like a trip away. A safe haven when the abuser visited (oh, didn't I mention that? -Well, that's another story perhaps for The Amiga special ###!### -Alas, I jest. I don't think the readers of a retro computing magazine want to find such things here. But while on the subject there's some basic advice later for any parents who may have concerns -perhaps simply that they wouldn't know the signs or what to do with disclosure.

It may be worth noting that having given up on initial attempts to be heard, after I learned through incidents showing themselves in me that threatened to become more than the odd one off. I was desperate to find some-one who I could talk to. One teacher had a slur against his name which was possibly a lie or exaggeration, but enough to put me off. Another teacher in "Personal and Social development" I was about to ask if I could talk to him in private and plucking up the courage, and looking for the right moment when he announced to the class he didn't like me. So, that plan was abandoned! Another teacher saw it, as I'd got the right answers in maths (rare!) but that wasn't it, some-one had changed them to the wrong answers! The abuser had visited that week. The door was open, I heard voices on the corridor waiting for their lesson I assumed, so excused myself in a bit of a nervy panic. -But that was close. I don't know why she didn't send a letter home to talk to my parents. Some detective work may have brought something, if done the right way.

Well, all things must come to an end sooner or later. Stooge had embarrassed bully once too often over the 12 year olds he saw fit to go out with to fill the void left by my next door neighbour’s consistent refusals. So he came less and less thankfully. It got so alternatives were found to take on the druggies for the kick-about. 'One down ...!'

Things looked like they may get better for a short time; Until; it became apparent that bully having sapped my confidence, self-worth etc. over the years. Was now it seems, trying to make me the stooge. I started to resist; The relief had recently arrived through managing to open up about the abuse. This lifted a weight, I remember visiting another friend of the family Man Utd. were in the final of The League Cup and won for the first time in their history. (1991). I met a new friend called Zebedee the cat! (R.I.P.) He cheered me up somewhat. Months later dying of cat leukaemia.

I think he helped remove some of the stress; because I began to see that I was far from happy being around the confidence sapping bully and I began to resist his BS. My humour being all important to me; having put up with him slighting my family. I wasn't having the “don't get funny with me stuff!” I wasn't having a one way street. That weird lot seemed to think I was there to put down -for them; he even said it. And when what he later called his 'star' turned up -yes. Another member of his gang! The nastiness and teasing wasn't just persistent, it was manic! Strange that I put up with it; things of years old still got their silly manic laughter. This would've been all one way, except for the odd quip I got in (under later duress) and the fact that the girl next door whom I'd known from infancy saw me as her longest standing friend. The bully was an absolute fool therefore to put me down etc. She'd even warned me once before to find better friends, I remember looking round in my mind, and asking "Who?". I now think that some of these had gone to the school I'd begged my mum to no use to go to instead of the steaming pile she'd demanded. Even brow beating me not to tell my dad the truth when he visited on Sunday; -When he took over playing of The Double! (and I went out to play football...)

Just your typical dysfunctional family really! But one thing I wouldn't stand was around the corner in 1993. I was doing a course in clerical at the time. Having switched after year one from Leisure; My first experience of a female dominated environment other than home. A beautiful young lady sent me a love letter; (It was the first time any-one had shown any real romantic interest in me that I remember; -except for the girl next door whom I'd known from such an age that I saw her as a 'knock -about buddy- we played with ropes, dressing ups, pretended to have a library with books in younger days. I got it into my head we were cousins at one point. Devised because; at that age no-one seemed to accept that a boy and a girl could be just friends; it somehow stuck in my mind. So anything else was out from that point.

It got too much for the bully; who blamed me at his failing, and his hugely inflated ego could not stand it when I found cause to laugh at him. Neither could the chauffer whose car horn honestly; did sound like a mouse squeaking! -And brought shrieks of laughter from me after bully got me the demonstration. It got boring just driving around; I got left out for my audacity; and we were already drifting apart (or trying to!) when Chauffer told me one night that bully had said that if he hit me while I was a minor he'd be in trouble as he'd already turned 18. This was the first evidence that I saw for myself he really had a bad, huge ego problem. Had the points been actually totted up -unless you penalise him for use of support/s! I was probably far behind. So, for him to think he could control me by hitting me. He was in for a shock!

Soon after I turned 18 he started a scuffle; walking down a quiet B. Road, he kicked the ball hard at my legs from close range, which bounced off me and sped off down the road. He hadn't shown much respect for the chauffer in doing this as the ball was his! I was feeling any bias from the chauffer looked to be going bully's way. What is more I felt it would be retribution enough if bully got it after all the rule was 'whoever kicked it muggs (fetches) it" and I didn't really get a chance to kick it. It just hit me on its way to its destination; -which was toward chauffer’s house anyway! I wasn't letting him get the last laugh, but such was the confusion still in my own mind it went off like some kind of joke -or was passed off this way. So, I kicked his behind. It must've been harder than I thought (though looking back I should've kicked harder still! -I was fitter then -not to his level though) "He said "Ah, ya' jarred me back ya' b*****d!" and came over and punched me in the jaw. At this point something twigged; -No longer a joke, but there was something else somehow, a different feel in the air. I turned away, and apparently he hit me in the back of the head; whether I felt that or not, I just kept walking. It didn't seem to register at the time until his need for recognition that he persisted through his star go between whom I'd played football in Saturday Amateur for a while. Until a scout asked about me and I realised the game had been fixed for one of their players. That was it; I could take no more of this corrupted game.

It had been a nail in my goalkeeping coffin when the bully decided it would be funny or something to get to 19 goals; then throw the matches against the druggies. (first to twenty) I couldn't understand it -but I was the only one playing to begin with; that is until he tried it the other way without stooge knowing. His anger came out whilst I had been sometimes quick to point blame but less equipped or eager to continue the anger. So, a boon when I realised it wasn't a joke that I'd been picked; not only on the wing but on the lift wing when I favoured my right foot! (not only that but bully once played there at school and he'd now faded out of sight refusing to go for some reason -before we fell out.)

It was too late by then, the shroud of silence put around the incident, and star refused to admit it had happened at all. But by the way he did this in an obvious way! I still think that scout. Pity my head was a mess.

Of the punch that he came to check the damage on 'star' seemed pleased enough that his protector had managed to push my lip onto my tooth with enough power to make my lip bleed. He also said the bully thought I could have dodged it. -I too got this feeling at the time but refused it feeling If this b*****d wanted to hit me so much he'd better get on with it then forever crawl back under the rock he came from like the leach/slug he is!

You may remember the influential Grandma forcing me to 'make friends' she whispered; with that glazed look that seemed to unnerve me more than her anger ever could. Though he later claimed just prior to carrying out his plot; "We never said we were friends!" -Thank God! if we had, I might never have got rid of him from my life! Don't they say vampires need some invite to get in???

Grandma was in; so I told her what happened. and she had better stop inviting him in, and told her all the things he'd said about how she smelled (he claimed) and how the house smelled etc. The snowballs that disjointed the roof etc., etc. I often think if I'd been allowed to refuse him at the door. I may well have had things worse in some ways -though bad enough to force action from the 'namby-pamby' 'parents' (being mum and Grandma.) And he would've lost perhaps a 'genuine' reason to be hanging about outside our house. I would've phoned the police even if they wouldn't! Of course the real reason was the girl next door! He also would've lost some kind of counsellor. In there wasn't many who'd put up with his incessant self-promotions! -I got fed up in the end and this must've been part of his annoyance!

I wouldn't even speak to him again; except at the wedding of that girl next door! -To some-one else!!! Although she must've been short of people as he was her usher at the door! -I didn't know enough about such things so I'd had to refuse the 'what do you think about churches?' -not much! A pretence of God by the government would've been the articulate answer! ...? As I didn't know a thing he sat me at the back. So, I'm holding my peace of something I know not what! Perhaps knowing; the bully's ego thought that it was my fault she wasn't with him -Imagine the uproar if I'd said that! Sitting at the back served to save Grandma's legs a bit. But not being in the picture when he was said everything. I didn't really fit there now. That was just a childhood thing and it was time to move on. -long past.

Unfortunately, (for me anyway) I'd missed the gear change! The glaring sign that heralded a potential new world slipped by in the murky depths of depression! Well, what can I say? The young lady on the clerical course was beautiful. The letter was simply unlike anything I've ever seen -either before or since and were in it not for what later got diagnosed as PTSD which is still triggered today -to a degree- by the mere thought, or passing chance of a possible relationship, romantic interlude or whatever. Otherwise this heart would perhaps not be quite so alone, and wouldn't be wishing for a time long since gone. There was something that got in the way; something that actually should've helped but somehow feeling self-conscious and out of my depth anyway. Overhearing "I'm going to do management" (we had three choices; +Administration which I linked to clerical most somehow; it's what I'd been doing the last few weeks while there under her care, and secretarial) although, there's no-one now to correct me if I'm wrong. I wasn't that far away and was certain I heard it. I was umming and aaring about what to choose. It seems I tried to be comical for too long; when I should've been doing some serious thinking!

The conversation I picked up again at "If he chooses managerial, I'll do the course here." she'd spoke to the other female that you get a better education from the college in the next town on. Her kind mother had encouraged me to come to clerical in the first place; when I didn't know what else to do, though to look at her you wouldn't know she had a beautiful daughter! I was stupid. I still thinking only of the humour said "Which is easiest?" after it became obvious I was struggling. Some laughs seemed to encourage me no end. I think "Secretarial" was mentioned, and "Admin. had the least modules." that did it for me, (and believe it or not this last section is the hardest to write!) I put my name down for Admin. I lost touch with her as she went to the college in the next town on. I could not do this as I don't yet drive. The only good thing perhaps to come from my stupid decision is that I didn't hold her back!

Football Management games I'd got besides The Double, though I always seemed to come back to The Double. When The c64 came to the end of its life, which to be fair had been a long while by now. And the Amiga was about due from a maturing life assurance policy. The amount of football MANAGEMENT games that I got, and none quite replaced The Double though I played PM2 quite a lot. (Having found I could cheat! -With the scores, and getting The Ultimate team by preventing Injuries. Simply by saving each game before the match; then loading it back if I needed to. -I still lost matches!!) Even now with PC, though I don't play most; I didn't feel at home without the odd manager game. But the times I'd let myself dream of what it would be like etc. And here's yet another glaring chance of dream fulfilment. I didn't take it because I didn't connect the two; though I wish I'd remembered as I was so backwards in coming forwards I still might not have moved forward by the end of the course in that state!

So, she's better off where she is; and I've been getting lost more and more, one way and another ever since! Somewhere along the lines; the dream changed to it being a reality for me. The same as dreaming of having a girlfriend became the reality rather than the goal. I don't know where along the path this happened but can guess many failures became predictable and gave up on. Many humiliations hit self-esteem so hard that without help of the right kind such as a counsellor; the reality came disassociated from the dream and hope could only stay alive through the dream, if the dream died; somehow even to become reality that would; I think seem to the psyche to be the end of the reality it was used to -the end of the dream. Like the song 'Puff the magic dragon' where the boy grows up and the toy gets put away. Much of the spinoff of an existence like this is neglect. A neglect where schemmas (Piaget) that most expect unknowingly and get freely were prevented so the psyche and body etc. has too much of a leap to make when it comes time to move on. Like the clutch goes down but the speed isn't fast enough yet.

Help prevent bullying

- Don't force your child to go to a school just because it's the nearest or cheapest to get there.

- Struggling to get out of bed may be a sign of stress not just 'playing truant' /for its own sake.

- Don't necessarily go straight to the school when a problem occurs, even bullying at the school. A schools sole interest often is that they don't get any blame; and tend to do anything to make sure no blame falls on them. Better go to a GP. Request that the school doesn't find out. For example, the school's counsellor found I had good intelligence -but he was cagey about how good. So, why wasn't I doing well in class? The assumption lack of trying? The truth; too many distractions, the fierce culture of the class dead set against such learning. The gang leaders pretty much demanded the culture was destructive. Another problem with seeing some-one at school is the intense peer stigma that further damages self-esteem. Worse the lazy counsellor saw me in the year office where people could just walk in and out. Would you say that was indicative of a school that encouraged talking things out?

- Don't force children to 'make friends' / "shake hands" -usually this will be false, a pretence to appease you.

Some/all of the following may be relevant or even necessary, as bullying is a form of abuse and vice versa.

Help prevent abuse

- First. Don't make your child play out, go anywhere or see any-one they don't want to. Don't use bribes, threats or anything to get your own way. By this measure you are being the bigger child and this is no role model to set. Not only that but sometimes getting your own way hides the way that leads to the truth. (Zen?)

- Second, Don't interrogate! -or scold "Of course you do! Stop playing up!" etc. "Why don't you want to go?" Accept it, if your child has too much homework, so be it. If the child is being subjected to hassles from what turns out to be the next ripper. Then you'll find out soon enough, the fiend will become pushy, the 'friendship' will pita-out when they get no 'joy'. The child may need watching on the way to school etc.

- Third, Don't Shout so much! Create and maintain an environment of trust where your child feels safe to communicate with you. That way you'll find out details soon enough. Don't jump on the cause with your own campaign! Control your outrage, though you may be right to feel that way. What does your child want to happen? -Is it realistic? Consider all viable possibilities and their most probable outcomes. If it is a serious allegation, the police should know, but the main thing is that the child does not have to see the persons again.

Some possible signs: a sign perhaps -too much homework? -could be a sign of stress. Not getting out of bed in a morning, lateness for school on a regular basis. All sorts of misbehaviour; rebelling where it is safe to do so. Self-harm, jeopardising own schemes etc.

Not cleaning /properly -why? You feel dirty anyway. What then is the gratification? If it happens once is different to over 12 years or so.

Isolation, withdrawal. You feel great, your best friend is coming over. But you notice your child's face looks like a wet weekend in March! Don't Order or coax "Cheer Up!" ('My friend is coming think of me!' is the subtext here. Think of the child. It may well be time -if there is time- to sit down in front of the fire with a cuppa' and allow your child to talk! And don't get frustrated if nothing serious comes about. Give it time! Once or twice may not be enough to pluck up courage, gain trust or find the right words.

The last lesson is to understand words. It may not be easy to say or hear "I'm being abused / touched", it may come out as "I don't like -so and so.", or "I don't want to go...!"

The way you say 'Why?' is important, but more important is that you say "OK. You don't have to see so and so, if you don't want to." and that must be that.

A relative questions why your child goes off to sleep over’s with their friend/s whenever they visit. Why didn't you question it before you idiot! But of course, you still won't believe Your Friend is capable of doing anything wrong! Don't lock them in the house demanding they see them. -I could easily have put the back door window -or even the door through! But again violence was not my natural intention! -I locked myself in my room and cried as much at the useless parents as the trap that was my own plight! Thankfully the family friend came. "Is everything O'right?"

"No, him playin' up Again!"

I'm grateful he came to see what was wrong!

Character building:

I once thought that I had to match aggression with aggression; experience however has taught me to match it with Resolve!

I once just forgot things as they happened, I now make notes to see what I can learn from them and so to better use retrospect to see more of the situation.

I once struggled to communicate; I now make sure I do speak. (if I have something to say) And over the years, despite some awkward moments have become quite articulate.

Instead of just putting up with any old riff-raff that comes along; I now work hard to check out people who try to get 'in' with me; though much now is a developed instinct. I'm not ashamed to go so far as to hire a detective, if in doubt! (There is a good maxim I got from Goalkeeping. "If in doubt -don't!" can be applied to all potentially dangerous situations. Unless you're sure 100% that you have the skill, etc. to handle ..."crosses, one on ones etc." stay away!)

These tips are designed to alleviate stress, pressure that tends to get placed on the child. 'Did I get them from a doctor/psychologist?' You might ask. But; No, 'Doctors tell you nothing!'. Perhaps I got it from a book? Good books on these things are rare, the few that are tend to be on recovery rather than prevention or detection. I don't think any-one thought much of these and as no-one likes to talk about it. This makes it still harder to find! On the few occasions when it is, it tends to be intellectualised which seems to put a barrier up against some-one talking about themselves; their own experience. And the sad truth is that in certain places to do so somehow seems to open oneself up for further scrutiny, ridicule or even further abuse/bullying. -A deterrent to move forward and ultimately overcome!

There is so much more to say but it isn't practical to here. Had I not been ill I would have finished studying my psychology degree by now; and so perhaps been saying things like other scholars; to other scholars which does little to help the 'surplus' population, although plenty to help itself. If I've helped prevent just one of the many and increasing suicides among children; -or even adults in relation to their childhood. I am ready to take the risk; on account that there isn't much left for me with this illness -and nothing to do with bravery. (Please don't think that. As far as courage goes I'm nothing special. Some-one I once wanted quite desperately to befriend as I thought he could help me. And thought quite highly of his opinions (not gay) decided I was a coward. So, that was pretty much cast in iron! I'm not that brave. I was desperate to get out of the house, out of the situation when the family friend turned up and helped me out. But there are people who go through a lot worse before finding help. Keep seeking, if you've been unlucky so far.

by John Fielden CertSocSci(open) of 2001 severe chronic illness prevented further study.

Commodore 64 Monitors

By Commodore Free

Monitor and Television technology has moved on since the release of the Commodore 64. The machine was designed to plug into a domestic Television via the RF lead, although forethought has placed a port for us to investigate, so how can we use our system on modern hardware?

Well Commodore didn’t just design the machine exclusively for the Television, and a very wise move it was to, at the time the machine arrived commodore also had the 1080 and variants monitors available, other manufactures had similar systems; these were essentially computer monitors with various inputs, the 1080 for example lists the following inputs, also we had the 1080s (the s was for stereo speakers) and other variants.

And of course a number of other monitors appeared from an every growing number of companies, the output from the Commodore was via the 5 pin Din connector the AV port; some of the newer commodore had 8 pin connectors and these can connect to S-video the extra pins providing the additional chrominance signal. You could make this cable yourself by following the guides on look towards the bottom of the page you will see links to a number of DIY monitor cables. Various people sell cables already made for example Protovision Although the shop was still off line at the time of writing and of course good old eBay. Commodore scene used to make and sell the you would need to contact Allan to see if they are still available

I even found a wiki page on the output here this also shows the pin outs for a scart cable.

So what do we use today

As these monitors (like the 1080) are hard to find (but not impossible, although vastly elevated in price on eBay) and not to mention heavy! CRT or cathode ray tubes (analogue domestic TV) can weigh a tone! Surely we must have something else we can use what about a TFT screen or flat panel monitor TV or plasma screen.

Well for some time I have used 2 domestic televisions with Av inputs on the front; you know the white red and yellow inputs, although still cathode ray tubes they were given to me free! and so were a lot cheaper; than the 1080. Although the quality is better than a TV RF signal (and I recommend you do not connect a Commodore 64 with this interface!) it’s not as good as a dedicated monitor, the colour isn’t very accurate and can drift a little, it all depends on the TV and the quality of the connectors and components used inside the TV, as well as interference.

What else

Well I have a TFT flat screen television downstairs and this has a scart and AV input I could use a scart converter to give me the Av inputs if the TV doesn’t have them! but using the same method and cable as above I can connect the machine to the Yellow (video) and red white connectors (sound left and right although the c64 is mono!)

The quality on this TV is much better than a dedicated monitor, although it’s all hit and miss and down to the quality of the components in the television itself as stated before some TFT`s have a S-video input we could use this as well on the systems, I tested it didn’t seem to make a difference to the final picture quality. Although many people I spoke to said the picture improved using s-video; for this to work you need a Commodore 64 that supports this output, as I have said the early machines had a round 5 pin din plug but later machines had an 8 pin plug; this 8 pin plug gives out the signal needed for s-video to work, people have said the colour drift is reduced or even removed using this method. -

Another option I have used is my main computer has a video capture/ TV tuner card with video input I can take the cable from the Commodore 64 and connect to this using the yellow, red and white connectors, run with the software on the PC; all I do is select the input and I have my C64 displayed on my pc monitor this has the benefit that I only need 1` monitor and also can minimise or maximise the display as the software lets me stretch the image to fill the screen.


Although various boxes exist that show a composite connection to a VGA monitor I have found the quality is very poor and not found anything I could recommend, although other users seem to have had good results, I guess I maybe have been unlucky on my choice of VGA monitor or adaptor

Still this is a start of options to look at

Lost In The CLOUDs

By Commodoreman

I was recently adding magazine article titles to my list for my website. As I was entering the information for Commodore World Issue 10, I was scanning through Doug Cotton's "From The Editor" titled "The House That Windows Built". Here was some information Doug wrote about concerning the release of Microsoft's Windows 95. As I read through the article, I came across a tidbit of information that caught my attention..."Now, since all of this brought me around to the subject of Bill's column, let me quote for you something he said a couple of columns back: 'If a new computer or a software upgrade costs more than it’s worth to you, don't buy it. After all, you don't have to upgrade. Software will run forever and computer hardware will work as long as it is kept in good repair'".

This is interesting considering a disturbing trend in software and the burgeoning (or resurrecting) philosophies that are taking place. It is quite likely that most, if not all, have heard of the "cloud" that many seem to be talking about. When I first heard this term used, I wondered what the developers where up to now. Turns out that this new "Cloud" technology was simply a re-hashing of an older method of software management.

This could be a real doozie if it really comes to full implementation. Here is where I am getting to, back in the old days, software was run on mainframe computers that sent software to dumb terminals. All was controlled by the central mainframe (Some of you readers may actually have first-hand working knowledge of these).

Well, The problem I see with the quote above is that Microsoft LOVES to phase out older software. How would it be if "everyone" migrated to this new "Cloud" method of doing things? If everyone had a high-speed internet connection, software (Operating Systems too) would be downloaded whenever a computer is turned on. Of course, updates would be automatic - instantaneous. Problems could be resolved "on-the-fly". All programs could simply be "in the Cloud" and available from anywhere. Right?

If you fall for this, too bad. Well, as the Commodore indomitables that we are, I do not think we do. If so, how could we continue to use such "outdated", "useless" programs and hardware? I have started seeing cases where being so dependent on this "umbilical" - having to connect to access software or even certain features of a software package. There are gamers who cannot play their on-line games because there is no longer any support. The servers have been "disconnected". So, they paid $$$ and were "allowed" to enjoy the privilege of using this software.

This is THE problem for us as users. THEY (big house developers, e.g. Microsoft) would really like to force this end-of-use policy on us all in order to pay for all new programs - applications, games, utilities, etc. Is all of this making sense yet? Software would expire and be rendered useless when the servers are disconnected. Ergo, we must pay for the privilege of using the new upgrades.

This is just one example that illustrates a great advantage that our venerable Commodores have. We do not have to depend on a server to "farm-out" the program we want to run. The software we paid for is not rendered inoperable at the flip of a switch. True, hardware is the weak point and I hope we can resolve this soon (but that is another article and discussion for a later time), but as long as our machines continue to faithfully run, we will continue to use our programs as we wish.

Here is another way to think of can organizations such as Microsoft rake in the trillions of $$$ (or insert your country denomination here) when those like us still use their beloved machines and software for 30+ years?

So, that brings us to the title of this the future of computing to be Lost In The CLOUDs? Too bad they couldn't just continue to feed the C=hickens!

First Computer or The Evolution Of A Commodore Addict

By Lord Ronin from Q-Link

From: Al Jackson

Hi, I have attached a great article written by Lord Ronin (aka David Mohr). He wrote many articles for our Club Newsletter & I think this one is perfect for Issue 64.


Al Jackson

COMMODORE FREE As this was from the late Lord Ronin I haven’t edited or made any grammatical corrections; and so the comments are printed as is, as sort of Blast from the past in memory of Dave! Whom I had agreed to meet after sending many emails, sadly the meeting never happened as he passed away.!

I've always wondered why books of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, Found it popular to make titles like the above. So I just had to do it for this editorial. Caught me in a weak moment. <G>

What inspired this editorial is that I looked through a few of some other C= pulbications. There I saw a series of articles. Dealing with how the people had gotten and used their Commodore. Many times this same topic shows up in the IRC and on the mail lists. So I said to myself why not do one on how I and a couple members of the group gained their C= PCs and how it has affected us. As you will see, save for one. All of us gained our C= units in the 90s, or later. Missing all of the big times for the C=, as well as the prices. <EG>

Ego forces me to go forth with my story as the first one. My first contact with a computer was in 1974ce in college. Had to take a class in computer programming, in order to pass the requirements for my electronics degree. Don't ask me why, no one in either electronics or computers understood the reason or this law. Or liked it for that matter. We the electronic students, took it because we had too, and didn't care for the class. The instructor was interested in teaching the next batch of computer operators and programmers. Didn't really care for us one shot guys. Gave us the book for the class and left us alone. Here I sit at a C=128D, using EdStar II to write this editorial. Smoking my pipe, drinking a 36oz cup of coffee, with a cat on my lap. OK self-taught in typing, and can't touch type. But got 7 fingers that work on the keys. Time warp back to that computer class. There I sit, in pretty much a clean room. The room with the big hoppers and the mega reels of magnetic tape. Now that was a clean room. AIR it was only the instructor that went in that room. I'm sitting in front of a blackish, metal monster of a machine. A stack of rectangular cards to my left. All with strange to me characters on them in rows. These <they have a name but I don't remember it> where fed into the machine and I had to type the data from the book into the machine. Which chunked and put a rectangular hole in the card. At that time I didn't know anything about typing. For my generation, typing was a class for girls in school. Ah if I knew then what I know now...

Well the point of the above is that I came to dislike, rather heavily computers. Class was a turn off to me. Wasn't friendly and I felt alienated and unwanted. Let’s jump ahead a few years. At the risk of being stoned to death. My next experience with computers was with the TRaSh 80 4K. See I'm ducking already. But wait with that next stone. I didn't own one. I was the head electronics tech at a Radio Shack store. I just set them up and later popped out the 4K chip and put in the expanded 8K chip. Again this didn't do anything positive for my computer interest. Customers who dug computers rolled over me with information and that didn't do a thing for my battered ego.

Now before we jump in years. A few things to mention. At that time I was already a Computer phobic. What I didn't know at the time, and this came to me in recent years from C= programmers on the mail lists. That being I have an ability, buried and locked deep away, to learn and programme. Yeah I didn't believe it either at the time, and still have trouble with the idea. But when I could read the simple punch cards, and later reprogram a few print statement lines on the 80. And that without any books. This tells the others that I have a something for computers. At that time is was a big dislike and a bigger hammer.

So between my time in the late 70s at Radio Shack, and 1993ce. There is a few years. Years where I did nothing at all with computers. Ah, that isn't really true. As many know I play Role Playing Games. In these games there are computers. Like in the post-apocalyptic games, the espionage games, super hero games and the space sci-fi games. There they have computers. Granted that some of the games are pre C= days. One has the characters manually moving 16"+ disks in and out of the computer on the spaceship. Loading up new programmes that way. Others put things in the future, during the mid 80s, and projected the types of computers that would be in that time. Some are fantasy A.I.s, while others are household units that run everything ROM the wakeup call through the coffee pot. What is funny about that last one, is the game came out in 79-80. In an 83 Compute magazine. I saw an advert for a device that will plug into the C= and do all the above, and then some. In any event these games used computers as a part of the items found and even skills. A little digression here for a moment. These games ran as a Hollywood movie, where there was just one computer operating system. Today I make the player select the computer operating system when he picks a computer skill. <VBESG>

One of these games that came out originally in the late 80s, called Shadowrun <now in at least the 4th edition> has a character class called the "decker". One that has a jack in his head and a mess of cyberware, and hardware. He enters the matrix of the systems in basically a V.R. state. Funny part to this, is that in one of the supplement books. There is a notice, "Amiga and lesser computers welcome". Sorry no mention of the sacred C=.

OK all of that and a look in a store at an Apple and a B&W Mac. Those where my only experiences with a computer. Wait, one player had brought in some print outs from his Franklin computer. There that is the lot from around 79 to 93. All of that computer stuff, well it made me feel that I was too dumb to learn this new thing. Besides the cost was past my reach with a wife and family and only part time jobs.

Enter me mumsie to the story. She who has bugged me for many a year to write. I am not a writer I keep telling people. Just the only fool that will put words to the screen in my group. Now mumsie was a part of the Josephine Literary group. This is the volunteers that teach adults how to read. Here comes the weird part. One of her students, turned her onto the sacred C=. She picked a new one up <I have all her C= things now> He gave her some "archive" disks. Taught her a bit about the C=. OK tell me how does a man that can't read operate the sacred C=?

Well, mumise used it for several things. But had "fun" when the Sheriff’s department, for whom she did volunteer work, switched to the 3rd generation Mac system. No she didn't get a Mac. Kept and used her C=. Sadly she could have gotten more out of it, if she or I had known of the thing called a user’s group. There was one active at that time <mid-late 80s> in Grants Pass Oregon. But neither of us knew of such a thing. So we never hunted for it, or even knew to ask.

I would visit her each year for a few weeks. Do the help out on the property and that sort of thing. She tried to get me interested in the C=. Telling me about how she did her diet programmes for TOPS <Take OFF Pounds Sensibly> for her diabetic tests, house records, copy of her will. She also wanted her recipes recorded. Having some prg <around in a box here someplace> that was for her medical situation and her special recipes. And then she pushed the writing thing on me. I think she had Omniwriter or Bank Street Writer. Which she used a little bit and tried to demo it for me. OK I got turned off even more.

But hey you know how mothers can be. After about 6 years of bugging me. I relented and said OK if she got one I would try to use it. Oy what she started. Sadly, I did get it, a C=64 breadbox, Oki-120 printer, 1541, couple of joysticks, SR-3000 monitor. Mumsie didn't know at the time, and I didn't until a year later, that this model from Sears is a 40/80 monitor, and a couple of factory disks in the box, along with a crammed disk box of archive disks. I say above "sadly". Because it was to be a Chanukah present in 1992ce. Her health forbid her posting it to me. She wanted me to pick it up in the summer of 1993ce, when I came for the yearly visit and my 43rd birthday. Bringing the wife and stepdaughter with me. Sadly is because she had a quintuple bypass and I had to race down the 400+ miles, thanks to a friend with a car. In order to visit her in the hospital. That is when I found out about the present. So while preparing her place with the hospice girl. I packed it up from the shed and my friend and I took it back to Astoria.

That first system sat on a little coffee table. Two other friends where there and one had experience with the Apple, and the other with the Tandy Color64. Thankfully there was the most needed user’s manual. Well to be short, I played Acro Jet as one of the first games ever played on the computer. All so amazing and I was scared of it. Yeah this freak was scared of that mess of plastic and metal. Scared that I would mess up and destroy something. Err, I did and have over the years, messed up disks, using the originals, or not paying attention close enough to the swapping in copying. But I was hooked at that time. OK, I was thinking of the ability to play games. No more spending quarters at the arcade. Here they are right in my face. Ah, I spent more time writing articles that I do playing games on the C= today. Bit of a change there for me.

Well near the end of my part. I played with the system. By accident on Halloween that same year. I met an old college friend. Who was a member of the local users group. That December I went and joined. In January my adopted son joined. Few years later we were the ones that kept the group from disbanding. I started to mess around with Word Writer versions. Seeing that I could put something onto the screen and print it out, in a readable manner. If you ever saw my penmanship, you'd understand how important that became to me.

Over the next three years. I sent disk letters to me mumsie. Had to show her on a visit how to fire up the note writer screens. Then how to use the enclosed notewriter for her own letters. Each year till her passing. I came and taught her more about the C= system. At the end, she was more interested in the fact that I had been elected to offices in the users group, and my dedication to the C=. As her health had deteriorated to the point of doing very little. End to this part is that at her passing. She wanted her entire estate sold and the funds divided amongst a few charities. Such as the hospice programme. Excluded from her estate were some family personal items. And yes I got her entire C= system including her computer bench. Her C= is shelved in memory. The bench is in use and her files, well they were put on the BBS. So that is why a computer phobic became a Commodore fanatic. All me mothers fault. <BG>

My next one is on a man known as #30. That is his BBS ID number and how he likes to be called. He is the only one of us that had gotten a C= in the 80s. His is a shorter story. But not a pleasant one.

#30 is a few cans short of a sixpack. Nothing that he is unaware of and has been that way since birth. Something about the drugs his mother was doing while carrying him. Oldest of three kids. The other two by another father. Guess you can see where that is heading. Well back in the late 80s. The step father gave the younger brother and him C= machines. OK these where the Plus/4 versions. #30 enjoyed typing in some of the things in a couple of books. But he had no tape drive or disk drive. You can guess who was given those. Yupper, the same half brother that went and sold both of the Plus/4 units, ah without asking #30 either.

Well that made him a bit anti computer. Having a bad taste in his mouth after that incident with his half brother. Which included selling the C= games that #30 bought. Here though we have an interesting event. Several years later, we found a place outside of Portland Oregon that sold C= things. Once upon a time it was a sales of C= hardware and software. Now the owner has retired and is slowly parting off his items. Picked up replacement games that were lost over a decade ago, for #30. Couple of them turned out to be the exact same ones that he had stolen from him by his half brother. Complete with the play disks, and his old characters.

But I get ahead of myself. I met #30 around 1997ce. At that time he was living in what they call a group home. He had heard about the game store. As he likes the RPGs, he came by to see what we had and what we were like. Didn't expect to see a couple of C= units running and some C= items for sale. Well, to be short on all the events. Over time, he became reinterested in the C=. Picking things up from me, and later from CMD. Joined the user group, and for some reason, shortly after that, he no longer had to stay in a group home. He could move in with his mother and her boyfriend <another Nam Vet>. There he would call the BBS, write messages, play the games and eventually became a sub-SysOp. In a couple more years he was able to live on his own. Where for three years, he took care of himself and four rescued cats. Recently he moved into the kibbutz. Saving him the 5+ mile one way walk each day to come to the shop for C= related things.

During that time, he collected all that he could in C= things. Building up his collection of hardware and software. Though he gets easily frustrated in doing type in programmes. Like many he can see the errors in the lines of others but not his own. He has done some raw programming experiments as well. Having a keen mind for math, just a lot of garbage that needs to be collected and removed from that mind, so he can feel that he is progressing. When the muse strikes him, he can remember little tips and tricks for his programmes. Such as he did in a character generator, that he started. Not only working out the large dice roller and modifiers to the dice rolls. He also remembered how to make the individual characters show up when the character’s name is typed into the prg. I don't know how to do that sort of thing. The C= has improved his life over the years.

Scott a.k.a. #16 from the BBS is another one of the local members. His story is different. One that also found us through the game store. He picked up a Vic and a C=, along with an Enhancer 2000. Joined the group and sort of floated along. Leaning more to the Amiga section. Later on he brought in the C= things for me to sell for him. A bummer I thought at the time.

Things went on like that for a few years. Until his National Guard unit was called up and sent to Iraq. Gone for over a year. He used his money to buy a few things. Such as an AmigaOne. But upon his return to the states. Well then he got bit by the C= bug. Started to buy items that he found online. Set up a deal to buy the remaining contents from a school here in Oregon. The rest of us chipped in to buy the items. As it turned out there was a lot of them. Greatly increasing our collection both personally and for the group.

#16 has since that time, worked a bit on Basic programming. Tweaking a few of the examples and asking the infamous question of "what happens if I do this?". Hardware work has captured his imagination at this moment. Knowing nothing about electronics. He has assisted in simple things like mech replacement in the HD controllers and in a FD-2000. Helped in the removal and instalment of a power socket on a circuit board in a HD controller, and replaced a boot rom in another. Soon to be working on the rest of the ZipDrive project that I started. Made him drool when I showed him a book of hardware projects for the C=. Looks like I will be teaching basic electronics in the group.

Fortunately the C= fever has reached a peak for him. Meaning that he can now start to enjoy the things that he has collected. Over constantly trying to collect more, well indiscriminately. Not that I practice what I am saying either. <G> He has set up a place for his C=128D and another for the Amiga. Since that is his new office in the group. One particular story about him is worth mentioning as it gave him a deeper and more practical understanding of the superiority of the C= to the heretic.

#16 had used the heretic system for a period of time. That is what his other friends, now gone from the area, where using. He got caught in the constant upgrade and throw away cycle. After showing him Geos/Wheels. He wanted them, bought a new RamLink and a used HD. He couldn't install Wheels and Geos on the HD. Finally I lent a hand. Here we come to the differences of PC platforms. His problem was that he was looking for all the steps that he used in installing windrone stuff. "It can't be that simple" is the quote from him. That we remind him of each time he runs into a problem on the C=. That was the entire problem for his installation. He overcomplicated in his mind the instructions on the setup of Wheels on the hard drive. I on the other hand, could never install anything on the heretic system. Well besides a .45cal round ball.

Time for him is a difficulty. He lives several miles from our GHQ, or the Bunker as we call it. Work, home life, a life outside of Commodore <is there such a thing?> his job and of course his National Guard work. All cut into the time he has to be with the group on days for mutual learning. Still he does good with the C= when he can make it to the sessions. At this time he is also learning how to use the emulator on his heretic laptop. Mainly because he is the only local member with a heretic and we have opened up to emulator users.

WareCat a.k.a. #26. For reasons in this narrative that will shortly be understood, doesn't want her real name or location known. While the BBS is up, and when it is up again. She is our OnLine Games SysOp.

WareCat doesn't live locally. She is many miles away. I sort of knew here in Hi School. Being a year ahead of me, we didn't meet much, save for the music classes. You know the peer thing in Hi School. Once she was an exotic dancer. Quite a few years ago now there was a car crash. Her husband was killed and she was badly burned. You can see why she wishes to be known by her handle.

I could say that by turning her onto the C= in the mid 90s. I brought her out of her depression. But that isn't the full story. There were others in physical and mental therapy that helped her along. But let it be said that the C= did give her hours of fun and enjoyment. She was one of the first L.D. callers to my original BBS, and to the second one. On the third one she became the Games SysOp. When the new one is opened. She will have the same position.

We exchanged messages in the mail on the BBS. Talked in depth about things in her life. How her life was changing, and a lot about the C=. Exactly where she collected her C= items, I don't know for certain. As I haven't seen her face to face in over 17 years. She likes the fantasy Role Playing games on the C=, along with sci-fi games like Wasteland. She does do some writing for the group. Mostly that is on and for the BBS. Where she made many of the hint and tip files for the games. After several of us sent in our notes to her. Geos is something that she does have and enjoys looking at the files we have sent her. Plays some of the games. I know she enjoys the Goes version of the Risk game. But she is a very private girl these days. I know that she will be glad when the new BBS is up. Past that I am not fully certain of all her C= interest.

My little Vixen, the China Doll, a.k.a. #3 on the BBS. Quite a few years younger than me in age. I won't say this to her face. But definitely older than me mentally and emotionally. I met her when she was around 13, way, way, way back in the early 80s. She came to a game at that time. Game was an espionage one called Top Secret. Still my favourite to this day. I thought nothing about it at the time. Married or so I thought at that time. A long story that is not C= related. Vixen <her handle> came often to the games, over the years. Not all the time. Other things prevented her from the regular nightly schedule we had at that time.

Time passes, despite my hanging onto older things. Vixen left for several years. I went through the pain of finding out that I wasn't married after thinking I was for four years. Met other girls, got married again. That one fell apart. Met other girls, and just never clicked right. Meanwhile Vixen is going around the country doing different work as a secretary, freelance sort of thing, that I really don't understand, and she was also doing exotic dancing when other jobs weren't available.

Now I had moved since I last saw her, and more than once. When after many a year, she returned to Astoria, a grown and worldly experienced girl. Who also had her sights on the right man for her. Silly girl thinks that is me. Well I have several tests for a girl that says she is interested in me. Micro skirts, role playing games, kosher food and house, gotta love cats and also love the sacred and most holy C=. Freaking Vixen did all of that and more. She is the files SysOp on the BBS. Plays some of the OnLine games and is a regular in the PBEM games <Play By Electronic Mail>.

She still travels around. Not as much as before. Great for both of us as it keeps the relationship fresh. Vixen will check some of my writing for me. Catching the reverse spelling and because of the left index fingers arthritic condition, some of the missing letters at the start of words. As she isn't here right now, there can be quite a few errors in this report. Her art understanding is better than mine. We jam on making the intro screens for the monthly group disk. Where she works to clean up the scans I do and then colour them in the art programme. At times helping me with wordage in the text, and ideas for parts of the stories I write for the group.

Her interests are wide in the C=. No interest in programming. But in using the system. She tells me it is easier and more fun to use than the other girls laptops. Also that it is faster to load up from being turned off. We do two player games from time to time. She also works on copies of the same game that I am playing. Well when I was more active in playing games. Exchanging ideas and things about the game that we found. Such as constantly trying to climb the sand dune in the Wasteland game. Increases the climb skill for the characters. Although it would swell my head to say that she is using and loves the C= just because of me. The truth of that is, she loves the C= because of the C=.

Well there you have some of the stories about group members and their first experiences with the C= Pc platform. Nothing fantastic in all of that, save that most of us started after the fall of Commodore. Being what I have called the 2nd generation users. We missed a lot from the 80s and all of the things that happened in those days. I'd like to think that we are recreating that feel for us today. Though none of us have ever felt what was felt in the 80s about the computers at that time.

So then do you remember your first time on a Commodore? How about your first Commodore, and do you still have it about? I meet people at a sci-fi/fantasy convention each year. Many of them remember the Commodore. They started out writing and or doing art work on the Commodore. OK and playing games. Out of the majority of the people I talked to, even though they don' know about all the things that have happened since 1990ce. They still have their C=64 or 128, stuck in a closet. Just can't get rid of it. Yet they have no problem tossing out the non-compatible stuff when they upgrade their heretic systems. Makes one wonder a bit.

But enough down memory lane. I have a BBS to rebuild from scratch on a C=128D. A 64c to set up, disks to sort for files for the BBS. And maybe, just maybe, I have created more interest in you to play more often with your Commodore. <G>

My Early C64 Memories

By Jason 'Kenz' Mackenzie (Binary Zone / Psytronik)

In the days before I first saw a Commodore 64 in action I was a proud owner of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. The fact is, I *adored* my Speccy, I thought it was the best thing in the world and spent hours and hours immersed in Speccy games - the Speccy was my LIFE! That was until one fateful day when me and my friend Dave Morley were invited over to visit another friend of ours - Matt Walton - who owned a Commodore 64. Me & Dave were both big Speccy fans and had no idea what to expect from this mysterious machine of Matts. So we biked over to Matts house, uncertain of what awaited us. How could ANYTHING be better than our awesome ZX Spectrums?

If memory serves, one of the first games Matt fired up to show us what the C64 could do was URIDIUM. Now, you would think having two ardent Speccy fans in a room with a C64 for the first time we would be all like, "Fah, my Speccy is better than THIS" - but that was not the case at all. As soon as I saw that Manta class starfighter skimming smoothly over the surface of the dreadnought I was absolutely, and utterly GOBSMACKED. It was just so damn SMOOTH! It looked like an ARCADE GAME with those gorgeous bas-relief graphics!! And the music ... that little metallic-sounding spacey title tune -I had never heard anything like it. Matt then went on to show us various other classic C64 games and my little mind was being more and more boggled by each game he showed us. I was blown away by the animation (and SPEECH in Impossible Mission), the parallax scrolling in Bounder ("why doesn't my Speccy do that?" I wondered), the general awesomeness of Way of the Exploding Fist - the smoothness of the multidirectional scrolling in 'Z' - the stunning graphics in The Last Ninja! etc. etc. the list of games that amazed me is endless.

As well as being seriously impressed by the games I was completely and utterly smitten by the music in C64 games - especially music from Rob Hubbard and Martin Galway. Matt was really into C64 music and often bought games "just for the music" so I was very fortunate that he could do tape recordings of all the latest C64 tunes to listen to at home - some of those music tapes I still have to this day!

[120 minutes of audio bliss – recorded on the 30th November 1987 (according to the inlay!)]

And so followed many more visits to Matts house to play the latest C64 games and to hear the newest C64 tunes. I was amazed by the loading music in games as well –I couldn't believe that after a few seconds of loading time these incredible themes were blasting out of the TV speaker while a game loaded - the Speccy had NOTHING like this! After a while there was only one thought on my mind - I *had* to own a Commodore 64!

[Never a dull moment at the Walton household at weekends!]

And that is where life threw me a bit of a curve-ball. One Christmas (or birthday, I forget which), my Dad, bless him, surprised me by buying me a brand new computer ... So imagine my surprise when instead of seeing the C64 that I longed for, instead were a pile of boxes with big AMSTRAD logos on the side. I was now the, erm, 'proud' owner of an Amstrad CPC 464 with colour monitor ... ! I think what had happened here is my Dad had either listened to 'helpful' advice from a person in a computer shop or read up on the specs of the CPC vs C64. It's true, the Amstrad DOES have more colours than the C64 (even if a lot of them are varying shades of green and blue), it DOES have 3 channel STEREO sound (albeit supplied by the tin-pot AY-3-8912 chip), it DOES have a better version of BASIC (but who programs in BASIC when there are GAMES to be played!) So, on paper, the CPC may SEEM better – but does it have the silky smooth versions of Uridium and Ghosts 'n' Goblins that gobsmacked me at Matts -or incredible soundtracks from the likes of Rob Hubbard & Martin Galway etc.? In a word, no. But as not to seem ungrateful for this gift my Dad bestowed upon me I duly immersed myself in the CPC scene for a couple of years. I went out and bought games on the CPC that I had seen at Matts house - but they were never quite as good on the Amstrad (with a few exceptions). Exploding Fist - yukky colours, ONE backdrop and hardly any sound! Bounder -single speed scrolling! Green Beret - abysmal graphics and sound! Rambo -just horrible! Wizball - FLICK SCREEN?! Bad sound. Oh dear! There WERE some good games on the CPC of course - Get Dexter was amazing, the Ultimate games did look nice (even Matt was envious of Knight Lore!) Mercenary was pretty damn nippy on the CPC, and I always loved the CPC version of Ikari Warriors. There were some very respectable soundtracks in CPC games too - Glider Rider & Ghosts 'n' Goblins from Dave Whittaker, Meltdown from W.E.Music, Rad Zone from Dave Rogers - all great tunes - but they still didn't compare to the likes of Zoids and Rambo on the C64. No siree!

[Arnold the Amstrad - Not quite the C64 I was longing for!]

So in the end I saved, and saved and SAVED my cash (even working on a building site at one point, labouring for my uncle) until I had enough money to buy my very own Commodore 64 system - and after handing over £200 in cash to my local computer store I was at long last a VERY proud C64 owner - I can even remember buying my first issue of Zzap!64 the same day - issue 13 (with the Zombies on the cover) which was a big moment for me as I was now officially a C64 owner! A couple of years later I started my own C64 public domain library called Binary Zone PD - which led on to Commodore Zone magazine and Psytronik Software- and the rest, as they say, is history! Well over 20 years have now passed since I first purchased my C64 – and that very same computer is still going strong and is used almost every day.

Commodore 64 And Versions

Although this isn’t in anyway designed as an extensive list of the alternatives or deviations from the commodore 64 I am going to list some of the more shall we say common machines and some that the casual reader may not have come across before


Called the breadbin because of its shape, round curves; apparently they had cases left over from the Vic 20 and so used these and the moulds to produce the case for the Commodore 64. Lots of purist prefer this machine, although there do seem to be different revisions of the internal design. Also a conversion kit was released to make the breadbin Commodore 64 look like its newer version the 64C. (see later text) The machine had some truly awesome specifications for the time. If you thought this was another VIC 20 revision you would be wrong, with a MOS 6510 processor and 64 KB of RAM (huge at the time) Hardware sprites and 3 channel synthesised sound

Here are some of the 64 versions :

New Design The C

How do you take the world’s bestselling computer and make it cheaper? Well you could redesign it using surface mounted components instead of socket design and redesign the SID chip so it’s easier and cheaper to produce, and that is exactly what commodore did! to show the machine was different they redesigned the case to a more what some call Amiga like style. Bundle the machine with a few games and a joystick and you are guaranteed a Christmas sale. Actually there were some problems with the machine and the most notable is the redesigned SID chip as the digital playback of sampled speech was so quiet on the chip it was barely audible, although this didn’t cause games to not work in itself. Many programmers actually wrote routines to detect the chip and change settings or music to sound better depending on which machine the demo or game was playing you will see this still today with the option to set sounds or select the SID chip to use. Personally I loved the shape and so had to buy one or 2 or 3 machines, mind you I have a fair few breadbins as well.


Commodore trying to enter the business market again this time with a luggable (due to the weight of the machine we can’t say portable) Commodore 64 with fold out keyboard and built in Crt screen. The device also had a floppy drive with space for the very rich to add a second drive. Useful now if your space conscious as you don’t need a separate monitor (assuming you have good eyes that is) Supposedly Rare although most die-hard fans of commodore actually own at least one of the machines, personally I have never seen the actual packaging in the flesh so to speak and would love to see a boxed mint machine, mine has a slightly broken keyboard but still functions perfectly.

C64GS Games System

Commodore had seen other systems from the likes of Atari and decided it was time to enter into the games system market so they came up with the idea of the C64Gs or Commodore 64 games system. Basically a Commodore 64 without a keyboard and a top located cartridge port. Now you didn’t have to type complex commands to have a game to play turn the machine off stick in a cartridge power on and the game was available to play. The problem was many software houses wanted to see how the market would go before releasing dedicated titles so some of the games were just the tape ports hacked to work from a cartridge and some games even still had the press 1 for 1 player or enter your name for the high scores. And so the system never really took off, the price was slashed as dealers got rid of stock, Commodore bought back a number of systems and re hacked them to make more profitable Commodore 64 systems. They are not rare but if you have one you tend to hang onto it like the SX64 its very collectable especially with all the packaging.

Some of the others

Commodore MAX Machine Designed as a games system was a very cut down Commodore 64 it actually predates the Commodore 64 released in Japan with variants in the us called Ultimax and VC10 in Germany

Commodore 65 known as C64DX was prototyped but never released would have displayed 256 colours on screen and with a 3.5 built in floppy drive

Review: Knight n Grail

By Commodore Free

Before I start I found a wiki page that has some information about the game here:'n'_Grail

Knight 'N' Grail Credits

Programming, GFX & Sound FX Mikael Tillander
Additional GFX & Cover Artwork Håkon ‘Archmage’ Repstad
Music Hans Axelsson
Packaging Jason ‘Kenz’ Mackenzie

Game developed by
Published in 2009 by
All Rights Reserved.

The Happening

In an instant we were separated, the flash of light struck the tree. Our tree. She flew headlong a few hundred yards, landing on a flat stone. I tumbled into high grass. The shadow moved towards my beloved one and soon consumed her. Another flash appeared. This time the brightness blinded me totally but I could imagine the scene in front of me. I've heard the story so many times. Now it was finally happening. The curse was upon us.

I swore I'd help her shed her serpentine skin and return her to her natural form, no matter what. I turned to the archmage and humbly asked to be able to wield a sword and wear armour. The price for his aid would be the very same item that I was now about to risk my life to obtain. The vessel of restoration.

Iron clad and with death in my grip I ventured into the dark to find the goblet of gold.

Boot Em

Ok loading the game from disk then

Title Screen!

The game starts with a title screen and the music begins, I hope this is setting the scene for the in game; as the screen and music look and sound great! (Although I am unsure in what order that should be; does the screen sound great and the music look great ermm moving on then ....)The title screen changes every so often to another screen with the credits on.

We are invited to press F1 for a new game

And after a brief loading session we are in the first screen,

The Opening!

our hero is front on with a sort of sideways walk, bit odd but seems to work; I guess it was either easier to animate or made the characters animations more convincing. I must point of the glowing lanterns although not flickering are quite breath taking none the less very nice details.

Our character is animated well; and he seems to have the gravity like the gent from Ghosts n Goblins (it’s fitting for the game though), you have a sword and standard armour at the start; although other ammo and protection can be found within the game. Pressing fire button throws the sword out and then it will boomerang back towards you where its caught! As shown in the nice graphic


The game is full of small and very well animated creatures and effects; like the water droplets that come down they seem to well then fall very convincing; I also (as said earlier) like the flickering flames in the torches used to light up the castle. Something I do like is the lack of clutter; by this I mean the corridors are just black and something I do moan about is not knowing what is foreground what is background; and what I am supposed to shoot at; Not here very clean and a refreshing change from some of the other games that feel the need to have as much graphics placed on screen as is possible. I know this is a technical feat but it removes from the game play! while it may be felt the need in some games for such graphic fests it definitely not needed here! (stands off soap box, sits down with a warm cup of liquid; sighs and grips the joystick, looks down at his feet then continues to write with a slightly reddish face)

Control wise it’s all pretty standard with a joystick plugged into control port 2

It’s safe to say that the game has all the elements needed, a map to view progress; collect items shoot monsters, not original by any means but it’s all very well executed, the more you play the more you will love this game, explore the runes as they hold the games clues. If you find yourself in a position where you can’t advance IE you can’t jump high enough (thinking here early on and yes this is a hint!) then you have gone the wrong way. Shooting items will open doors for you, although it doesn’t say where they are open so remember where you see the locks and back track. (this is also a hint)

The runes hold the games clues

A locked door needs a key

Shooting items could give you keys

Our hero finds a rune!
Water blobs
Can these be dodged


Music 8
Graphics 8
Gameplay 8

This is very close to perfection in a game. Nice build-up of game play, challenging and quite brilliant! And you say they are working on a part 2 (cool)

The Making Of Soulless

Where did the idea for Soulless come from?

Trev: That came from me - after playing Joe Gunn it really took me back to those teen years and made me think of the games I loved to play which were basically platform games. A couple of my faves were Impossible Mission and Draconus...... Can you tell? I fiddled about with a puzzle idea and SHAZZAM ... the game idea was born.

Georg: That's completely Trevor’s idea. From the looks there's a bit of Antiriad in there ;)

How did your collaboration on the game come about?

Trev: I really loved Joe Gunn and I've wanted to do another c64 game for donkey's years so I spoke to Georg and bunged him a couple of mockups of an idea I had ... And like the man from Del Monte, he said YES.

Georg: I asked Trevor to help out on the Supernatural game tutorial thingy. Or he volunteered? Anyway, he made a great bunch of imagery, and that's when he asked if we could collaborate on Soulless.

Early Soulless screen mockups

How long did the game take to produce - from initial idea to final release?

Trev: Oooo now your talking - I would say about 8 months, it took that long because of other projects in between.

Georg: Must be nearly a year. The idea came up in the first half of 2011, real work started a bit later.

The game shares some similarities with Draconus, Impossible Mission & Shadow Of The Beast - did these directly inspire the game?

Trev: Impossible mission was the main inspiration. I always loved the search aspect of the game. the art style was defo inspired by Draconus, big bold and colourful.

Draconus (C64)

Georg: Game play wise I'd say the most obvious inspiration is Impossible Mission (searching and puzzle). I actually only know screenshots from the other two, the player character has similarities though.

Impossible Mission (C64)

The game has an interesting back-story, who came up with this?

Trev: I always loved the simple 8bit / 16bit backstories to most platformers so I kinda went along those lines ... I'm no Stephen King, am I!

Where did the idea to include the comic booklet come from?

Trev: the idea came from The Sacred Armour of Antiriad. I loved the fact the game came with a little comic backstory and thought it would be cool to include one with Soulless. I mentioned the idea to Kenz and he agreed. I spent a week or so fiddling with different styles and ended up with a loose sketchy art style that I really liked.

A rough mock-up of the Soulless comic

How did you manage to fit the complete game into just 64K?

Georg: There's actually not that much compression going on. I had a level editor created for Supernatural which allowed building a screen from several types of primitives. This type of build-up lends to nice memory saving opportunities if you don't go overboard with little details. With a bit of fiddling I think a few more screens would be possible.

How long did it take to design the character of Rizek in beast form that you control in the game?

Trev: At first I had the main character as 1 sprite in size (24x21 pixels) but once I'd done a few mockups he looked a bit weedy and small so I decided to make him 2 sprites. His first incarnation looked very alien like which I liked but I ended up with the green lizard look- as soon as I had the art done it only took a few hours for Georg to get him running / jumping around, what you see in the final game is basically what was done in the first few days.

Rizek character ideas

The game features a gorgeous animated intro sequence - tell us a bit more about where the idea of this came from and how it was produced.

Trev: Well I'm a bit of a git with programmers, I try to cram in as much as I can and make them work as hard as possible. Like most of us I always loved a nice intro so really wanted to do one for Soulless. I started with the comic I'd done and cut it down to a few specific scenes then I passed the idea onto Georg making sure it was possible. As soon as I knew it was do-able I got stuck in and bunged it back to Georg. It did need a bit of fiddling to get it to fit - the horse scene for example needed a fair bit of simplifying but what you see is 99% what I had in mind.

Georg: Trevor had the story fleshed out before hand for the comic booklet, but I think he designed most of the intro parts when the need arose.

An early design for the Soulless intro

The search mechanic works really well (it's much simpler to grasp than the jigsaw puzzle in Impossible Mission) - how did that come about?

Trev: I really loved the search mechanic in Impossible Mission and that was the main inspiration behind the game. I didn't want it to be overly complex so made the puzzle part pretty simple to work out. Although I do love the Impossible Mission puzzles too.

Georg: I guess there were quite a few people who did have problems with the puzzle in IM. My part was to have randomisation with all the objects, to have some replayability.

Trevor, you are well-known for working on awesome PC remakes of 8-Bit games. What made you want to return to an actual 8-Bit system to produce Soulless?

Trev: I did my first art for Tynesoft way back in the day for a winter sports game (I did a few sprites for it) and moved on to Amiga / ST doing stuff for Ocean / US Gold etc. I guess the love for 2D never dies and when I played Joe Gunn it inspired me to get back to my roots. Part of the fun is working to huge restrictions and to try and make thing look nice in a few colours. Thankfully, Georg was great to work with and the editor he created was perfect for a simple artist like me to use :)

Georg, Soulless is your first big C64 release since Joe Gunn. How does the production of Soulless compare with the production of Joe Gunn? Was Soulless more complex to create?

Georg: Joe Gunn was my first foray into C64 assembly, so much was learned during creating it. I made a few other smaller projects after that and had a lot more insight on how to tackle things. Just before Soulless came about I was actually trying to make a remake of Ovine's Rocky Memphis. I had a bit of code going, and it was an almost perfect fit for Soulless. Soulless is a lot bigger, and I'm glad I had started my specialized IDE C64Studio. It helped me with a lot of smaller stuff and I'm happily adding tools that support game development.

Joe Gunn (C64)

You bought Mikkel 'Encore' Hastrup on board to produce the audio for the game and he produced some great atmospheric soundtracks. How did this collaboration come about?

Georg: We asked around in a few forums and he was the first to answer. And boy, he sure is good! The intro music gives me shivers.

Was anything left out of the game for any reason (E.G. memory restrictions?)

Trev: Nope, everything in my original idea is in the game - 3 cheers for Georg... hip hip

Georg: Gladly not. I'd rather sacrifice a few details in the screens to get all the screens in. When we wanted to have an opulent intro / outro it was quite obvious that they wouldn't fit in. Currently I don't know if we can manage to cram all into the cartridge (but I'll try!)

Smila, please tell us a bit more about the production of the amazing Soulless cover-art.

Trev: My first thoughts for the cover art was along the lines of the Ultimate box art style. I had seen a picture of a demon ages ago and really liked the look of it and kinda based the cover on that. I tried it with an Ultimate style border but it just didn't work so I ended up going with a Thalamus style border as that seems to work well with everything, Haha!

Various stages of design for the Soulless cover artwork

Any tips that can help out players of Soulless?

Trev: The only tip I can think of is when you enter a new room don't just go sprinting in, take a few steps and see what’s going on or you will end up stepping on a beastie.

Georg: Don't hurry. Trevor made sure that all the rooms are manageable.

Soulless puzzle idea

Any plans for a sequel to Soulless? Or are you going to let Rizek take a rest after his arduous adventure?

Trev: I do have an idea for a sequel but I'm not going to give anything away ... Not yet anyhoo!

Georg: No plans that I know of so far, but who knows Trevor's mind? ;)

Trevor, any chance of a PC remake of Soulless?

Trev: I have no plans yet but hay... you never know .. doing a remake of your own game is a very appealing idea :)

So what C64 project can we expect next from you guys?

Trev: I've already jabbed Georg with an idea for a Bubble Bobble inspired game. In fact 80% of the art is already done for it so he bloody better program it or there will be hell to pay :P

Georg: Looks like Catnipped is going to be it. However I wouldn't mind having Trevor on board for the next RGCD cartridge competition *hinthintnudgenudgeknowwhatimean* ;)

Catnipped - The next C64 project from Trevor & Georg!

And finally, the Commodore 64 is 30 years old this year. What it is about the C64 that makes you want to keep supporting it and produce new software for it in 2012?

Trev: For me it's the memories it brings back... that awesome kick you got when you loaded a new game and watched the intro for the first time. The thrill you got from hearing a new SID tune, The loading screen, the gaming heroes - Hubbard, Fasoulas, Galway, Walker, Braybrook the Zzap!64 team etc. And the fact the c64 is just a fucking fantastic piece of history that I love and fully enjoy working on still.

Georg: First of all, obviously nostalgia. And then, how very manageable it is for a few persons in comparison with today’s systems. There's nearly everything programming and behaviour wise spread over the internet. That helps immensely.

The complete map you get to explore in Soulless

The Making Of Soulless - Layout by Jason 'Kenz' Mackenzie. © 2012 Psytronik Software.

[Mini] Game Reviews Corner

Episode 2 "Inside The Labyrinth"

By Luke Lynde

Welcome to the second installment of Mini Game Reviews Corner. The games aren't Mini, but the Reviews are. Sometimes it isn't obligatory to go into too much detail about Commodore 64 games, because most C64 game titles are full of 8-bit dynamics of pure simplicity, and pure brilliance. It's what makes the Commodore 64 unique, and still so popular.

I will choose games that are more common and well known to some veteran users, than others. It is a look at the best the Commodore 64 has to offer, from different time periods, to assist people in making a wise selection and to find that hidden gem they may not have played before (in fact, particularly suitable for beginners and hobbyists). Read On...

Leaderboard Golf

[1986-1987 Access Software Inc]

The simplicity and perfection of this seminal C64 game, still is as appealing as when it first came out. Even if you don't like Golf, and share the opinion that all Sport Games are second-rate, you will surely still like this. Your player is at the forefront with the distance looming in the form of grass, trees, dirt and sand. Choose your club easily and let the golf club swing. Trial and error will soon enough make you more than capable of achieving a decent score. The landscape can fill in slowly, but that is a minor issue.

What I like most about this series of Leaderboard Golf is that it plays perfectly, the alteration in dimensions after you play a shot is totally authentic. It can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. There is a variety of courses, and you always feel you are in the game - and when you make a decent shot, you want to continue and improve. Even after many years not playing this, I came back to it - and became addicted to it all over again. A good game to play to let time pass quicker, as there is plenty of holes to play through. A perfect game.

Detail 90%...perfectly suited to the gameplay
Playability couldn't be more accessible
Overall 96%...a fantastic game

Cybernoid 1 And 2

[1988 Hewson Consultants]

Another staple of the C64 diet. You are in your space-ship, ready to take on screen after screen of alien landscapes and deadly enemies, until you finally achieve success. Both of these Cybernoid titles are well known, with the highest quality of graphics and sound for a shoot-em-up. Screen layout is professional and has a level to detail not often found in many C64 games. Navigation of the space ship is easy, you can use different weapons, and the enemies show no mercy and are hell bent on your early demise.

Slow-down is common when a lot is happening on screen, but overall it is a great series for the Commodore 64 - and still appeals to me on a nostalgic basis, and also as a showcase of the quality of game that showed the prowess of the best home computer of all time... It was well received upon release, and is still a seminal game for our beloved C64. Each screen has a different layout, and a different approach, to continue throughout the game. As I said, it is well polished - and looks as lovely as it did when I first came across it. A touch of C64 heaven.

Detail 96%...high quality and attention to detail
Playability 81%...difficult but rewarding
Overall 90%...both Cybernoid games are classics

Frogger 93

[1993 Magic Disk]

An arcade classic with a modern polish, providing you with the best Frogger conversion on the C64 so far. The classic arcade games of the early eighties seem to have come back into popularity, whereas in the late eighties the early titles were often avoided as an unfortunate beginning best forgotten. Trends come in and out, but they never really disappear. Frogger is a simple game, guide the frog across the road, hop on some logs and turtles, and get into the hole. This title stands out because it is equally as playable as it is detailed with quality graphics.

There is a decent high score table, and the momentum changes as you progress through the game. It is a modern portrait of perhaps are more crude beginning, but the playability of this game, like many early arcade heroes, is what makes it shine again and again. Maybe you won't play it all the time, but you will always enjoy it when you do play it. I am like that with this one. It's good to find a hidden gem amongst the plethora of disk images, and here is one of those. Perfect and addictive, and thanks for all the frogs!

Detail 90%...looks great
Playability 91%...fully functional
Overall 92%...perfect rendition of a seminal arcade title


[1992 Freeline Dreams]

Tetris is a common game that doesn't require any explanation. It has been considered the next best thing since Chess. A puzzler, simple - as the pieces drop down into your playing area, you manipulate their position, and lock them into place to make full lines at the bottom of the screen. It sounds almost absurdly boring but has an atmosphere that draws you in constantly. We have all played it on one platform or another, and this version is very nice - and the mechanisms of the original game are incorporated.

In the playing area, some pre-determined pieces are already there, to make the challenge a little tougher. On the downside, it is not the traditional Tetris and may not hold your attention for as long. More options could have made the game more appealing, because such a classic game is highly required of mechanism as well as variety. A decent game in its own right, and I am sure you will enjoy it - if you haven't played it before. One for the ages...

Detail 92%...nice graphics and presentation
Playability 88%...basic Tetris mechanisms are intact
Overall 89%...all you would expect from a decent Tetris clone

That's it this time around. You know the Commodore 64 is a good computer, when a lot of the games are better than even other games on other systems that came out after it. I see the Commodore 64 as a perfect balance between Antiquity and Modernity, a Synchronicity of time and space. See you next time!

In Review: The SD2IEC

By Luke Lynde

I recently received a SD2IEC device from Germany (via eBay), so I thought I would give a brief review and suggestion on this excellent device. Basically it is a replacement for a disk drive on your C64, and emulates the actual disk drive faithfully, with less compensation given to fast loaders. So you will be more happy with this for games, and less for demos. For better fast load support, the 1541 Ultimate is the way to go (mine is still on order). For even better fast load support, the original 1541-II disk drive from Commodore is of course the true king, as long as you know how to make adjustments now and again to keep it working nice and smooth! The SD2IEC however, should work - first time every time, however :-)

My SD2IEC already had the latest firmware installed, which is basically the nervous system of the device. This is updated constantly for bug-fixes and adding improvements to the device. The firmware is flashed using some simple basic commands. More information on this is found in the PDF File. This can be downloaded at: The PDF also includes a disk command summary, board close up, features, pin description, and links to related websites (most will be listed in this article). Disk commands for loading files and changing directories etc. are long and laborious, so I suggest you download this browser and place it in the root directory of your SD Card: CBM FileBrowser -

This file browser supports a number of Commodore Computers (of course the C64), and is easy to use, has quick navigation, and is stable and reliable. It appears to be the best one so far.

Basically everything revolves around the SD Card, you firmware is updated from there, your browser in the root directory, and your collection of games, demos, etc. It has support for D64, D71 and D81 - because they are the most common I use. Other file formats are supported too. As long as what you use doesn't require a fast loader, your program should and will work. All updates to Firmware are to be found at this website: The C64 wiki site has much information about the SD2IEC also, including: history, features, comparison to the 1541 ultimate, software, firmware, and web links. The address is: I need to mention also that the SD2IEC also works on some other Commodore Computers also, though I am yet to try it on those.

I enjoy SID music, so I was pleased to find a browser/player that can navigate through directories of SID files stored on your SD Card. SidPlay64 can be downloaded at:

This is the latest version so far, it works well, but can crash now and again. Overall it is an essential tool, and a joy to anyone out there musically inclined. I hope the software is improved in the future, even though at its current state it is almost perfect. Another good reason to have a SD2IEC! 24 hour SID music, reliable loading, and a small footprint. Who can ask for more? I look forward to getting other C64 drive replacements when they come on the market, stay tuned for another review, in the future. If you can't wait for your 1541 ultimate, get this! If you have your 1541 Ultimate, get this anyway!

The Absolute Beginners Guide to the Commodore 64

Reprinted From Issue 14 of Commodore Free


Some items in this article involve opening up your machine and testing electrical continuity; while this should be a safe process ensure the machine is Powered off and unplugged, also earth yourself this can be done by connecting a cable to your wrist and to a radiator or through the purchase of a Commercial earthling kit, computers are susceptible to static electricity

You follow; the following article at your own risk and Commodore free and indeed I can’t be held responsible for problems caused by following this Article as a result of damage to yourself others and any electrical equipment.

My New Commodore 64 Computer

Commodore 64 history in brief

Retro Classic

So you obtained a Commodore 64 for whatever reason and the machine came with no instructions or manual just the Commodore 64 and hopefully a power pack in the form of an external "brick" you may be new to the system or returning to the machine after years of inactivity. The Commodore 64 is a well loved machine, it does contain some faults but most enthusiasts choose to ignore them or class them as quirks rather than hardware and software bugs. I still remember the day I received my Commodore 64, mainly because it was Christmas day, but also remembering going to a Computer exhibition with my father in London and seeing Geos operating system and purchasing Geos and a 1541 floppy disk drive, this could of course be remembering a great childhood, I prefer just to remember my commodore 64 and me and dad wowing over Goes and thinking we must buy a printer for this system.


What can I do with this machine how is it supposed to be used and is there still support

Fear not! Applications, games and even new hardware is appearing all the time for one of the best systems ever created, but we don’t want to dwell on that for now what we want is to know the system is working and then see what "bits" we have

New starters

Lay all the parts out in front of you let’s see what you have hopefully you will have at least these items

TV to connect the machine to otherwise you won’t be able to view a picture

Commodore 64 itself This may be a new designed Commodore 64c or the older more rounded shape

Picture of original 64
Picture of the redesigned 64 the 64c

TV/Av lead

Commodore power supply

TV Connection

While the Commodore 64 can connect to a domestic TV via the aerial socket the picture isn’t as good as a dedicated Av connector, (more about this later) Plug in the power supply to the C64 the connector should only fit one way round and its location is on the right of the machine with the keyboard facing you, also here you will notice 2 joystick ports and a power switch (on/off) ensure the switch is off . Now connect the TV / AV cable to your commodore machine, this will connect to the Commodores modulator located at the rear of the machine

The modulator converts the digital signal produced by the machine to an analogue format for display on a standard domestic television via the Arial socket. One thing to be aware of is that different countries have different standards, for TV signals and for power, so if the Commodore 64 came to you from England and you are in the U.S.A. the TV signal isn’t compatible and the power requirements are different, England or the UK. Use a Pal TV signal and U.S.A. use NTSC so you would need a TV that can handle the different format. The other thing is that U.S.A. use 110volts of electricity from the wall socket usually on a 2 pin plug whereas the UK. use 240 volts on a 3 pin plug (live, neutral and earth)

Now connect the other end of the Av cable to the TV and select an unused channel, tune on the Commodore 64 at the wall socket and at the machines switch (by the joystick port) now turn on the TV press the unused channel and follow the TV instructions to manually tune to a TV signal with luck you should find the commodore screen slowly fade into picture as you start to tune in.

Nothing is working

Ok don’t panic if this isn’t working first we need to check the Commodore 64 is receiving power, in the U.K. the plug that goes to the mains has a fuse this need checking to ensure its working, then look at the commodore 64 there will be a POWER light this should be glowing red, if not then you could try a friend and swap power supplies but also be aware the Commodore 64 has a fuse inside this could be blown and I have been given 3 or 4 machines where this was the only fault, it’s a clear glass fuse similar to the picture below, test it with a multimeter or take it to an electrical specialist for a replacement they should be only a few U.K. pence, I was charged 10 pence for a replacement, and the guy in the shop even kindly tested it for me. See the how to use a multimeter for continuity testing section.

Still dead?

depending on the model, the old brown Bread box machines used socket mounted chips, look for the SID chip it should be as shown in the picture below This could have blown and while the machine will work without the SID chip albeit without sound it won’t work with a blown one, so carefully remove it with a chip extractor or with 2 flat bladed screwdrivers remove the SID chip and then screw the case back together now try powering on and tuning the picture if you have a picture now you now you have a dead Sid chip, try eBay for a replacement ensure its the exact same model of SID remember there are two main revisions 6581 and 6580 they are NOT interchangeable


As described at the start of this article, using the aerial socket on a TV isn’t the best picture quality the Commodore can produce, on the rear of the machine is a AV??? Socket various cables have been made allowing the Commodore to connect to modern TV and Av equipment, for example your 32" plasma TV that may not have an internal tuner, only Scart and Composite connections try looking on Provision’s website as they sell various cables, also eBay sellers have Commodore 64 to scart cables as well as s-video and composite

Variants available for a few pounds, If soldering is a skill you possess you could even produce your own try for.

As shown in older versions of Commodore free various boxes exist that will take a composite signal and create a picture viewable on a TFT Pc screen or an old CRT screen, the Crt screens are the big TVs the TFT are the slim sexy models, looking on eBay the Commodore 1084s monitors that were one favourite with Commodore users seem to be going for around £20 U.K. pounds really it’s better to use the money to purchase a cable, I purchased a cheap TV with Av sockets on the front and plug the Commodore into this, the picture is excellent the cable cost me £5 UK. from eBay and the TV cost me £89 new

How to use a multimeter for continuity testing

A multimeter can be obtained for a few pounds the one I use cost me £3 U.K. pounds I am not an electrician so we are not going to be doing anything fancy like testing circuits For Basic fault finding a continuity test can save time and money

Set the multimeter to the ohm setting. now touch the two probes together and you should hear a noise and the display will change, this confirms that continuity or electrical current is flowing round the device, open the two probe contacts and the display will drop back to zero, showing us there is no continuity This can now be used on fuses Touch 1 probe to one end of the fuse and the other probe to the other end of the fuse if the multimeter makes a noise or the display changes we have continuity or current flowing through the fuse if the display doesn’t change then the fuse is dead. You can use this to check the fuse in the plug of the Commodore 64 and the internal glass fuse (I am sure there is a technical name for this fuse but I don’t know what it is)

Opening up the Commodore 64

This depends on the model but the basics are really the same. Ensure nothing is plugged into the machine. Turn the machine over on your lap so the keys are facing down and the underside is now facing up,

You will need a small cross head screwdriver to remove the screws from the base of the machine, Locate the screws as shown they should come out quite easily. Turn the machine over carefully noting where the screws fall out. Also worth checking is that all the chips are secure by gently pressing them into their sockets (if they are socketed )

Writing About The Commodore 64

By Andrew Fisher

This year marks thirty years of the machine. By the end of it I will have owned a C64 for twenty-seven years and been writing about it for twenty. As I mentioned in the introduction to my book on Commodore 64 games, it’s taken me from a bedroom in Cambridge to a concert in Copenhagen. I’ve met and become friends with people I consider famous - the programmers, designers and musicians behind my favourite games. So let’s take a journey through time to look at how others and I have written about this fantastic computer.

In 1982 the price and the specification of Commodore’s new machine astounded the computer press. There were few magazines dedicated to games, but it soon became clear that the machine - thanks to its sprites and the SID chip - would be good at playing games. Electronic Gaming Magazine in the States and Computer & Video Games in the UK began regular reviews of new games, but it would be the format-dedicated magazines that made the biggest impact.

My early computer experiences were the BBC at school and then the Sinclair machines (ZX81 and Spectrum) at friends’ houses. One memorable birthday party saw a group of us arguing over the joystick, and whose turn it was to play Jetpac on the VIC-20. In the autumn of 1985 my dad brought home a magazine about computer games and I loved what I saw. That was issue 18 of ZZAP! 64, with a gory cover by Oli Frey depicting Beyond the Forbidden Forest.

Just over a month later the machine arrived, with Datasette and two tape games. But the first hurdle was getting it to work - a poorly manufactured power-pack meant the machine had to be sent back to Commodore for replacement before we could play it. Those first two games were 3D Time Trek by Anirog and Arcadia by Imagine, taking a long time to load from tape.

The next few years saw my brothers and I build a games collection, dabble in BASIC programming and subscribe to ZZAP. That magazine was to become invaluable, guiding us towards the good games. While we did read others, it was ZZAP we returned to time and again. Many wrote the machine off when the 16-bit machines arrived, but not for the first time it surprised and confounded the critics.

With the purchase of a disk drive and GEOS, the computer was used for typing up homework. I began to program in machine code and use programmes for making and transcribing music. Discovering Commodore Disk User with its monthly disk filled with a variety of software was fantastic. I wrote some programmes, received contracts for their publication... and was shattered when the magazine closed.

A reader survey in ZZAP asked what people wanted to see. One suggestion was a technical column, and I wrote in to say I could write such a column. It was important for ZZAP to change, since the rival Commodore Format had emerged. With the change from ZZAP to Commodore Force, my regular column appeared - under the alias Professor Brian Strain, aka the Mighty Brian (as opposed to the Mighty Brain who did CF’s letters page).

After 16 issues of Commodore Force (incorporating ZZAP! 64), I faced heartache again as Europress Impact closed. A brief spell writing for Commodore Format followed, but that too disappeared from the shelves. The commercial era of the C64 was over, Commodore itself went bankrupt and my writing was confined to fanzines (Commodore Scene) and diskmags (including Scene World, which I helped organise and edit for ten years).

The first decade of the 21st Century saw fans put together so many great things - new hardware, new games, even a new issue of ZZAP. The surge of interest in retro gaming led to the dedicated magazine Retro Gamer from Live Publishing, and after sending in an article on spec (about golf games) I began to feature regularly in its pages. I also appeared in The Def Guide to ZZAP! 64 published with issue 18, looking back at old ZZAP reviews and deciding whether they were right or wrong.

With the demise of Live Publishing, I put together the Retro Survival CD. This collected articles that would have been in the next issue of RG and new material on a CD, and paid the contributors who had lost out with Live’s closure. Fortunately Imagine Publishing stepped in to continue Retro Gamer (and gamesTM with its retro section) and I continued to appear in print.

The pinnacle of my writing so far has to be The Commodore 64 Games Book 1982-19xx. Andrew Rollings had published his Spectrum book, financing the printing from pre-orders. A similar system allowed me to spend a year reviewing over two hundred games, taking screenshots and researching the stories behind the games and creators. Many of the games chosen were personal favourites or hidden gems, as well as the big names. Each game review featured little bits of trivia, screenshots and cover images, as well as text and scores from previously published reviews. I was thrilled to receive the finished book in February 2008, and glad to hear that so many people worldwide enjoyed the book and refer to it regularly.

Sadly, poor health has delayed a planned follow-up on the history of the machine. But I continue to write for RG, including a large article marking the 30th birthday of the Commodore 64, and enjoy supporting projects including Commodore Free that promote the machine I enjoy using.

The VC 314

A Raspberry PI in a C64

By Carl_retrotext

--- Reply message ----------
From: "Richard Bayliss"
To: "nigel parker" < >
Subject: Another article for issue 64

Hi there Nigel,

Carl_retrotext has allowed/requested me to use his blog entry about the Raspberry PI inside a C64. Please find article attached. Hope you find this one useful :)

Friendly regards:

Richard Bayliss

You can now read the whole text to this project here from Lotek64! issue #41! (German Magazine)

What is a Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a small, inexpensive computer that is capable of running tasks like most other PCs, however it is smaller, a lot smaller in fact it measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm , almost the size of a credit card and costs £25. It has an ARM11 chip at its heart, which finds its origins in early UK microcomputers, notably first in the Acorn Electron, the brain child of Mk14, ZX80 and 81s’ Chris Currie and Austrian physicist Herman Hauser.

It is made by a foundation that is run as a charity, amongst the PI’s aims is to bring raw coding and computing back to the young masses who are suffering with a lack of computer skills, there is a generation that can use computers , but not a generation that can make computers work without pointing and clicking a mouse, there is a difference between the two, the same analogy could be applied to technicians and Engineers, the Techs can swap and change, but the Engineers can fix and fabricate and innovate, it is said that the fear is we have more Techs than engineers. So bringing a cheap raw computer to the masses is one possible way to reverse this trend. Similarly the way the first computer to retail less than £100 the ZX81 kick started the early inception of creative computing, the results are still with us today.

As to how easy or hard it is to use, I am not sure, the RPi will be debated by more and more of its energised following as they receive their computers, time will tell, maybe I can write about that one day.

Getting the concept.

I read and saw on the internet a system called mini ITX, which is a system that could slip into an existing computer case, like a ZX Spectrum and emulate the system that it was fixed into, provided you could install the emulator, however it is expensive and I did not really understand how to go about it.

So at 0630 on the 29th of February this year I placed my order, not with the purpose of learning to code, but to obtain this computer as an alternative to the mini ITX.

Two years previous to this I had acquired a Commodore 64 that had been in a wet storage container for many years, not a lot happened on powering it up, and when opened I discovered the PCB to be rotten with damp damage, so I stripped it back to its case and keyboard, I discovered a great USB keyboard adapter that retro-fitted straight into the C64, the Keyrah by Siliconsonic. It only took five minutes to turn my moribund keyboard into the most interesting PS2 keyboard for my PC that I have ever used.

I also used it to run the Frodo emulator on my Nintendo Wii, so with this in mind I knew installing a PI in my case was possible and maybe easy too.

In mid- May I was Lucky enough to receive my Raspberry Pi, it was from a second batch, they had sold very quickly on the order day, some people have been advised September delivery.

It comes ready built, it has an SD card slot, 2.5mm Audio out, RCA Video out, piggy backed [ double ] USB socket, Ethernet port, HDMI socket and a power socket shaped to micro USB spec.

You need to supply a 4GB SD card and burn an image or the firmware to get the PI to boot up, this was available from the Raspberry Pi web site, you also need you own power supply ( a Samsung Phone Charger in my case)

First impressions were, ‘I am going to Break this!’ with all the wires plugged into their ports the PBC was skidding all over the table, there are no screw holes or mounts, you have to improvise something yourself to be sure of protecting it, I did so temporally with some Lego. There was no doubt now that I wanted to get on and start on the VIC 314.

Shopping List.

Getting started.

The problem I thought about first was regarding the Keyrah, its USB 2.0 port to PC socket was facing the outside of the case, were it all to be enclosed the plug would have to face inward, I was prepared to re-solder the socket, however no need! The Keyrah has pin-outs on its PCB so all I had to do was slice a USB lead and solder the wires to the board, although I managed to find a socket that slid over the pins, which made for a tidier job.

keyrah with USB cable over the pins.

The USB socket port.

I had been looking out for a USB splitter as I knew that one socket on the Pi would be used up for the Keyrah Connection so I needed one extra as a bare minimum for the mouse, I was very lucky to pick up a four way adapter whilst grocery shopping, It was perfect and when glued into the case it fitted over the user port nicely, I had to cut one screw bosses from the case to level the sockets off, I did this with a craft knife with ease.

Keyrah and PI connected to USB hub

A word about the Epoxy resin Glue: It is the best adhesive to use, however it appears to do nothing for a long time, the instructions said that it would be only workable for five minutes, however you have to in reality tape or clamp down the objects for hours and leave well alone. A good tip was to do a socket a Day, also before touching the socket to check on its progress, touch the left over resin that you mixed, if this is still soft then leave the Case alone! It takes 12-24 hours for it to be rock hard, but it is well worth it.

Audio/ Video connections and the Power supply.

Next was the Audio and Video leads, I had to in fact needed to shorten the leads as I anticipated how tangled it could get under the keyboard on completion, so I cut and re spliced them to achieve this.

The Triple Phono joiner was next to be glued, this fitted perfectly in the Cassette port.

The power supply has to be rated at 5 Volts with 700 – 1200 mA current, however mine is slightly smaller than this 4.75V but when tested under a meter it gives 5.01 V, go figure! . One of the most annoying things for me was the method of turning it on and off, basically pulling the plug out, if this is done repeatedly I am sure that it could loosen from the PCB and there is the added risk of placing your thumb and finger on the capacitor nearby, I have read of people accidentally pushing this off, so a simple switch was a must for the VIC.

I cut the wire to the PSU and established the White wire was positive, so I soldered this wire to the centre barrel connection, this way if I were to push or pull the power supply barrel the negative would always make contact with the board first ,this could minimise the risk of blowing diodes on the PCB. A tip on soldering the barrel socket is to solder the wire with the plug inserted, because the insulation gets hot and melts and this moves the centre pin out of position, leaving the plug in will eliminate this problem.

The Socket and switch affixed to the case.

This left the end with to the Mains plug quite a bit shorter so I extended the wire so I could use it comfortably in the future.

The power socket and the switch were selected to fit the H-L and RF slots without the need to cut or drill the case. I used hot glue to seal off the soldered connections. It was a nice feeling to turn the Raspberry Pi on without using the fiddly plug, it was beginning to feel like a real computer at last!

HDMI and Ethernet.

The HDMI and the Ethernet sockets were next, these were glued in the same way as the other ports, the Ethernet cable was purchased from eBay, it was the only one my search brought up, if I could not source this type of cable I would have had a cable made and added a Female/Female connector and left the end open to act as the socket.

The Level of the sockets were padded from underneath with Lego tiles! They were perfect for this, when I glued them however it was best to stick them upside down otherwise air pockets got under the tile and that would not create a very good bond, likewise the up side would then fill with resin creating a really good surface for the cables to mount on to.

The HDMI lead was longer than I hoped, a 1 metre length would have been easier to coil and take up less room, I also had to clamp the HDMI lead down well as the weight of it was moving it out of position to easily.

Taping down the annoying HDMI lead.

All of the leads were now installed, the only slot left was the expansion gap, the Keyrah was behind this one so I glued a piece of trunking to cover over it, this obscures the slot and tidies it up at the back.

Closing it up.

The final thing to do was to very carefully coil and route the cables so they would not squash the Keyrah and the Pi, as a bonus, the PCB of the Pi did not need mounting as the wires plugged into it in all directions suspend it under the case.

just before closing it

The Model Name.

In my research the C64 was either codenamed the (VC) VIC 40 or 50 and there was a (VC) VIC 10 and VIC 20 obviously, so I call this the VIC 314 it is simply PI with the decimal point removed, but you guessed this already!

Various angles

A quick word about the Paint job.

My first idea was to give this the Livery of the Raspberry Pi : Purple, Black and Grey – however I could not obtain the right colours in a hard wearing paint, plus this is a Commodore computer and I did not want to be overtly sycophantic to the Raspberry Pi, yes it’s a Pi but I did the Project because this C64 was the computer that deserved to live longer than it should have…. It had died once in the storage container where it was first found, and now it lives again.

Road testing.

Operationally it works perfectly, I have installed Vice and can play games using the Joystick and the sound driver is now working, perfectly.

Getting VICE to work and sorting the full screen for Playing.

I have never used the pseudo commands in cmd line until I started using Ubuntu on one of my PCs, so I looked with some trepidation at installing VICE, however this was very easy an I would recommend you visit the eLinux site to get step by step instructions on how to do this.

When I got the emulator running the screen in full screen mode was of the bottom right hand corner, this was because the over scan settings for the Debian squeeze OS were different, so I asked on the Raspberry PI forum and got simple step by step instructions on setting up a separate boot for VICE from a helpful member of the community, I simply run the PI and then initiate the new over scan code, restart and it changes over scan on re-start allowing me to use the screen perfectly in full screen ( a little off the left and right border but fine ) when I quit the system it will restart in normal PI over scan allowing me to use the VIC to surf the net and the like. When it runs, the sound buffer overruns and silences the emulator, however when you stop moving the mouse about and the CPU slows down, you can re-enable the sound and it plays very well indeed.

You can define the joysticks in the key set menu to get joystick operation working.

Missing keys?

So what if we need to use the keys that are not on the VIC? well I have plugged in another keyboard via the USB 4 way port and this works well, conversely If I wanted the VIC to be used as a keyboard to a PC, this still can be achieved with use a USB lead, providing the PI section is not powered up this will work as normal.

Total Cost

Raspberry Pi £25 *excluding Carriage ,Keyrah USB interface £24.80 excluding carriage

Total including Cables and materials excluding the C64 Case were about £65 but the equipment was purchased over time so no impact was felt to me financially.

I would estimate that the project took about 15 hours to finish but I was not really keeping track, staring at it in admiration was probably a big chunk of that time.

The VIC 314 running.

Final Thoughts.

Personally, I am very pleased with the results, if any of you find a dead computer I hope you can make it a great machine again with some imagination. I would think that it is an easy project to take on if you have some experience of having to fix things or retro fitting parts to existing builds in the past. If you have any questions or want to share your efforts with our community then please do.

Thanks for reading.

Commodore 64

By Commodore Free

While this issue isn’t an extensive look at the commodore 64 itself; at least new users will have more of a feel about the machine and especially with this being issue 64 I had to do something special as a node of respect to the machine and its designers also out of respect for Jack Tramiel

So what Does the Commodore 64 mean to me?

I can still remember opening my machine on Christmas day; getting out the bits; connecting it to a spare portable TV we had in the dining room and then spending all Christmas trying to write something that resembled a program of sorts. My head deep in the user guide; following every program, and trying (without much success) to work out what all the mystic commands meant, poke what?

The machine saw me with new friends coming to play games, swapping games and trying to beat high scores. Yes it actually did help me with my homework; as it was a more fun way to learn; and of course test out my maths problems; and while my spelling and grammar are not to everyone’s standards without the machine they could have been far worse.

Even today I am still finding new friends to share my passion for the machine, If it wasn’t for the internet and various retro events; I would have thought I was the only person on the planet still using the machine! I never did finish “thing on a spring” and I expect I never will! but with all the games that are available for the machine it’s still looking bright and with so many to choose surely I can at least finish one.

I am amazed at all the new releases and how the hardware is pushed way beyond what people thought was possible, indeed I suspect the original designers would be totally amazed at some of the new games and demos released for the machine not to mention the music produced on the device. I know cross platform development has aided this but still!

I intend to use my Commodore 64 until I am put in a hole in the ground; as for me it’s not just nostalgic I actually have a thrill playing some of the games that I don’t get from today’s hardware, with hardware today they just throw more and more processing power at the game; but the c64 has what is has and so you have to marvel at the achievements people have made. Yes we have new devices like the 1541 ultimate and being able to save files to SD cards, but the machine itself hasn’t changed.

I talk to people all around the world about the c64, and they still share the passion I have for the machine. I still get the buzz as I did when I was a child loading games and I do still love loading games from tape.

I would like to thank everyone involved who contributed to this issue and indeed further and past issues of Commodore free I would like to thank Democoders and games developers and publishers who still, despite the fact they can’t make money, release games and demos for what most see as a dead machine.

Finally thanks to all the readers and people who have sent me messages over the past few years as the issue is way late I have to finish it here. Maybe special issues are just too much work!

The commodore 64 is Dead

Long live the Commodore 64 !

C64 4 EVER!