Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My museum of content related artefacts (18)

1984: Commodore64

We moved as a family from the Netherlands to the UK in 1983 and lived in London. In 1984 I bought a Commodore 64 for the family. It was intended as an entertainment machine in the widest sense. Of course educational software packages were also used.

We were used to PCs for professional usage, which were self-contained and floppy disc readers built-in. The Commodore64 was a home computer with the computing part under the keyboard; it used the TV screen as a monitor. Software could be loaded from a floppy-disc drive or from a cassette player.

We bought regularly software packages and games. For the Commodore64 there was an extensive assortment. Existing games for other home computers were adapted like Sprite man and a variation on King Kong.

But companies in the UK were very eager in adapting popular books. The bestseller about an adolescent teenager The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ was built into a computer game in no time and fun to play. There were even offers combining the book with a software package. Who is talking cross media as something new?

We bought also some educational games. These were Dutch adaptions from the Spinnaker software. The Schildpad (turtle) was for example a software package to learn to draw on a home computer in a special programming language. Remember there was no mouse to assist you.

My favourite game is (again a cross media product) The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The photograph shows the front of the box. The box is still intact and complete. Besides the 8 inch disc and the program instructions, there is the book, an order for demolition of Mr Dent's residence and the Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Microscopic Space Fleet. It was not easy to play the game as it was using rather abstract images in its presentation, but there was gratification reaching the second level.

The brand Commodore is still alive. I see it regularly on a warehouse when I pass the village of Baarn in the Netherlands. Besides Commodore Games is estblished in Amsterdam.

Blog Posting Number 828


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