These too I perused, especially the reviews of games for the more powerful Commodore Then, in the fall of the same year, my father bought me my very own Commodore Oh what a joyful day that was! I was finally able to play computer games again!
Computer games were obviously a lot different then from what they are now, as is clearly evident by the above video. A modern computer in will typically have something like eight gigabytes of RAM, which amounts to over eight billion bytes, while the Commodore 64 had 64 thousand bytes. This means that the modern computer has times the amount of RAM my precious old computer had. For example, would you believe me if I told you that the music by Rob Hubbard for Monty on the Run was only four kilobytes?
And still, the song is over six minutes long, and well worth a listen. Things were different back then. Believe me when I tell you that making games on such a system was a craft.
A modern computer has 16,, colors eight bits for red, green and blue each, gives us a total of 24 bits which allows for 16,, different combinations. The Commodore 64, on the other hand, had 16 colors in total. There, the graphics are almost symbolic even if they were detailed for their time, and this symbolism triggered the imagination of my young, fertile mind. That in itself had some value, I think. There were many games which supported two simultaneous players using two joysticks. Probably the most well-known of these games is Bubble Bobble, where the players take on the role of two dragons spitting bubbles at monsters and clearing stages.
Another one that I also really liked was WizBall. It featured asymmetric multiplayer, in that one player played as the wizball, and the other played as the cat which also spent most of its time looking like a ball. WizBall featured a system where you had to strategically choose what your next upgrade would be, which I thought was a lot of fun.
FINE DINING AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AT THE COMMODORE HOTEL AND CAFE
The game was about painting the backgrounds, because apparently some bastard had stolen all the color in the world. Speaking of Commodore 64 backgrounds, one interesting aspect of that was that it was all based on blocks of eight by eight pixels. There was room for 25 rows and 40 columns of these tiles or characters on the screen, giving the Commodore 64 screen a resolution of by pixels not counting the border.
So to make the background graphics, the graphics designer would redefine the characters to look like game tiles rather than letters and numbers, and arrange them on the screen. The fast-moving ships, the fighters, the bullets, and other assorted things a game needs?
- An Eye On Eternity: The Life and Death of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (Saint Stories Volume 2);
- The Commodores - Still - Ouvir Música?
- Commodore Pet Emulator.
- A Love Letter to the Commodore 64.
- Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation.
Eight of these sprites could be shown at a time, although clever programming tricks could be employed to display more than that. Another interesting aspect of Commodore 64 graphics were the fact that each background character had two colors. Yes, in high resolution mode.
A Love Letter to the Commodore 64
But the Commodore 64 also had a low resolution mode that allowed four colors per cell. Take a look at the beautiful, high-resolution image below. Let me tell you that making music on the Commodore 64 was no walk in the park. The musician would create their own small piece of software for playing music and the instruments in assembly, and then create the music by typing in numbers for each note.
This meant that the musician had to be a programmer as well. Nevertheless, some of the music created on the Commodore 64 is absolutely amazing, considering the constraints involved. For example, listen to the intro music to the ill-fated Giana Sisters by Chris Huelbeck below. Ill-fated, because it was deemed for a good reason, I guess to be a clone of Super Mario Bros, and banned from being sold.
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