|Type||Home video game console|
|Generation||Third generation (8-Bit era)|
|Release date||December 1990|
|Predecessor||Commodore MAX Machine|
The Commodore 64 Games System (often abbreviated C64GS) is the cartridge-based home video game console version of the popular Commodore 64 home computer. It was released in December 1990 by Commodore into a booming console market dominated by Nintendo and Sega. It was only released in Europe and was a considerable commercial failure.
The C64GS came bundled with a cartridge that featured four games: Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O'Fun , International Soccer , Flimbo's Quest and Klax .
The C64GS was not Commodore's first gaming system based on the C64 hardware. However, unlike the 1982 MAX Machine (a game-oriented computer based on a very cut-down version of the same hardware family), the C64GS is internally very similar to the complete C64, with which it is compatible.
Support from games companies was limited, as many were unconvinced that the C64GS would be a success in the console market. Ocean Software was the most supportive, offering a wide range of titles, some C64GS cartridge-based only, offering features in games that would have been impossible on cassette-based games, others straight ports of games for the original C64.Domark and System 3 also released a number of titles for the system, and conversions of some Codemasters and MicroProse games also appeared. Denton Designs also released some games, among them Bounces, which was released in 1985.
The software bundled with the C64GS, a four-game cartridge containing Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O'Fun , International Soccer , Flimbo's Quest and Klax , were likely the most well known on the system. These games, with the exception of International Soccer, were previously ordinary tape-based games, but their structure and control systems (no keyboard needed) made them well-suited to the new console. International Soccer was previously released in 1983 on cartridge for the original C64 computer.
Ocean produced a number of games for the C64GS, among them a remake of Double Dragon (which was only sold at trade shows),Navy SEALS , RoboCop 2 , RoboCop 3 , Chase HQ 2: Special Criminal Investigation , Pang , Battle Command , Toki , Shadow of the Beast and Lemmings . They also produced Batman The Movie for the console, but this was a direct conversion of the cassette game, evidenced by the screens prompting the player to "press PLAY" that briefly appeared between levels. Some of the earliest Ocean cartridges had a manufacturing flaw, where the connector was placed too far back in the cartridge case. The end result was that the cartridge could not be used with the standard C64 computer. Members of Ocean staff had to manually drill holes in the side of the cartridges to make them fit.
System 3 released Last Ninja Remix and Myth: History in the Making , although both were also available on cassette. Domark also offered two titles, Badlands and Cyberball , which were available on cartridge only.
Through publisher The Disc Company, a number of Codemasters and MicroProse titles were also reworked and released as compilations for the C64GS. Fun Play featured three Codemasters titles: Fast Food , Professional Skateboard Simulator and Professional Tennis Simulator . Power Play featured three MicroProse titles: Rick Dangerous , Stunt Car Racer and MicroProse Soccer , although Rick Dangerous was produced by Core Design, not MicroProse themselves. Stunt Car Racer and MicroProse Soccer needed to be heavily modified to enable them to run on the C64GS.
Commodore never produced or published a single title for the C64GS beyond the bundled four-game cartridge. International Soccer was the only widely available game for the C64GS but had actually been written for the C64.
The C64GS was plagued with problems from the outset. Firstly, despite the wealth of software already available on cartridge for C64, the lack of a keyboard means that most cannot be used with the console. This means that much of the cartridge-based C64 software, while fundamentally compatible with the C64GS, was unplayable. The standard C64 version of Terminator 2: Judgment Day was designed for the console,but was included on a cartridge that required the user to press a key in the initial menu to access the game, rendering it unplayable, despite the game itself being entirely playable with joystick only on a conventional C64.
To partially compensate for the lack of a keyboard, the basic control system for the C64GS was a joystick supplied by Cheetah called the Annihilator. This joystick, while using the standard Atari 9-pin plug, offers two independent buttons, with the second button located on the base of the joystick. The joystick standard is fundamentally compatible with the ZX Spectrum's Kempston Interface and the Sega Master System, but no other joystick on the market offered compatibility with the proprietary second-button function. Standard C64 joysticks and Sega Master System controllers were fundamentally supported, but the lack of second-button support (the Sega Master System's second button did not function in the same way) meant that the Cheetah Annihilator was essential for playing certain titles such as Last Ninja Remix and Chase HQ 2.
However, it was poorly built, had a short life, and was not widely available, making replacements difficult to come by.
Prior to the console's release, Commodore had generated a great deal of marketing hype to drum up interest in an already crowded market. Zzap!64 and Your Commodore , Commodore 64 magazines of the era, reported that Commodore had promised "up to 100 titles before December", [ citation needed ] - most of which were compilations of older titles, and a majority of which were from Ocean. Of those 28 titles, only 9 were cartridge-exclusive titles, the remainder being ports of older cassette-based games.even though December was two months from the time of its writing. In reality 28 games were produced for the console during its shelf life
While most of the titles that Ocean announced did appear for the GS (with the notable exception of Operation Thunderbolt ), a number of promises from other publishers failed to materialize. Although Thalamus, The Sales Curve, Mirrorsoft and Hewson had expressed an interest, nothing ever materialized from these firms. Similar problems plagued rival company Amstrad when they released their GX4000 console the same year.
There were other reasons attributed to the failure of the C64GS, the major ones being the following:
Commodore eventually shipped the four-game cartridge and Cheetah Annihilator joysticks in a "Playful Intelligence" bundle with the standard Commodore 64C computer. Several years later, Commodore's next attempt at a games console, the Amiga CD32, encountered many of the same problems.
The specifications of the C64GS are a subset of those of the regular C64; the main differences being the omission of the user port, serial interface, and cassette port. Since the system board is a regular C64C board these ports are actually present, but simply not exposed at the rear.
The Commodore 64, also known as the C64 or the CBM 64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. It has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 12.5 and 17 million units. Volume production started in early 1982, marketing in August for US$595. Preceded by the Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore PET, the C64 took its name from its 64 kilobytes(65,536 bytes) of RAM. With support for multicolor sprites and a custom chip for waveform generation, the C64 could create superior visuals and audio compared to systems without such custom hardware.
The Nintendo 64 (abbreviated as N64, stylized as NINTENDO64) is a home video game console developed and marketed by Nintendo. The console is the successor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was first released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, on September 29, 1996 in North America, and March 1, 1997 in Europe and Australia. It was the last major home console to use cartridges as its primary storage format until the Nintendo Switch in 2017. As a fifth generation console, it competed primarily with the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn.
The video game crash of 1983 was a large-scale recession in the video game industry that occurred from 1983 to 1985, primarily in the United States. The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of game consoles and available games, as well as waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers. Revenues peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983, then fell to around $100 million by 1985. The crash abruptly ended what is retrospectively considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America, as well as weakened the arcade game market.
The Commodore VIC-20 is an 8-bit home computer that was sold by Commodore Business Machines. The VIC-20 was announced in 1980, roughly three years after Commodore's first personal computer, the PET. The VIC-20 was the first computer of any description to sell one million units. It was described as "one of the first anti-spectatorial, non-esoteric computers by design...no longer relegated to hobbyist/enthusiasts or those with money, the computer Commodore developed was the computer of the future."
The SG-1000 is a home video game console manufactured by Sega. It was Sega's first entry into the home video game hardware business. Developed in response to a downturn in arcades in 1982, the SG-1000 was created on the advice of Hayao Nakayama, president of Sega's Japanese arm, and was released on July 15, 1983, the same day that Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan. It also saw limited release in Australia and New Zealand.
Epyx, Inc. was a video game developer and publisher active in the late 1970s and 1980s. The company was founded as Automated Simulations by Jim Connelley and Jon Freeman, originally using Epyx as a brand name for action-oriented games before renaming the company to match in 1983. Epyx published a long series of games through the 1980s. The company is currently owned by Bridgestone Multimedia Group Global.
Commando, released as Senjō no Ōkami in Japan, is a vertical scrolling run-and-gun shooter game released by Capcom for arcades in 1985. The game was designed by Tokuro Fujiwara. It was distributed in North America by Data East, and in Europe by several companies including Capcom, Deith Leisure and Sega, S.A. SONIC. Versions were released for various home computers and game consoles. It is unrelated to the 1985 film of the same name, which was released six months after the game.
The Commodore 64 amassed a large software library of nearly 10,000 commercial titles, covering most genres from games to business applications, and many others.
The Codemasters Software Company Limited is a British video game developer and publisher based in Southam, England, which is a subsidiary of American corporation Electronic Arts. Founded by brothers Richard and David Darling in October 1986, Codemasters is one of the oldest British game studios, and in 2005 was named the best independent video game developer by magazine Develop.
Ocean Software Ltd was a British software development company that became one of the biggest European video game developers and publishers of the 1980s and 1990s.
Datel is a UK-based electronics and game console peripherals manufacturer. The company is best known for producing a wide range of hardware and peripherals for home computers in the 1980s, for example replacement keyboards for the ZX Spectrum, the PlusD disk interface and the Action Replay series of video game cheating devices.
1985 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Super Mario Bros. and Kung Fu, along with new titles such as Commando, Duck Hunt, Gauntlet, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Gradius, Hang-On, Space Harrier and The Way of the Exploding Fist. The year's highest-grossing arcade video games were Hang-On and Karate Champ in the United States and Commando in the United Kingdom, while the year's best‑selling home video game was Super Mario Bros. despite only receiving a wide release in Japan that year.
Emlyn Hughes International Soccer (EHIS) is a soccer computer game first released in 1988 by Audiogenic Software Ltd.. The game is named after the popular English footballer Emlyn Hughes. It initially appeared on the Commodore 64, with other versions produced for the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST and Amiga.
The GX4000 is a video game console that was manufactured by Amstrad. It was the company's short-lived attempt to enter the games console market. The console was released in Europe in 1990 and was an upgraded design based on the then still-popular CPC technology. The GX4000 shared hardware architecture with Amstrad's CPC Plus computer line, which was released concurrently. This allowed the system to be compatible with the majority of CPC Plus software.
Audiogenic Software was a British video game development company. It was established in 1985 following an earlier Audiogenic company that had been founded in the late 1970s. It published its last new title in 1997, after the core of the development team were taken over by Codemasters to create Brian Lara Cricket on the PlayStation. The company is, however, still in existence and continues to license its portfolio of titles to third parties for conversion onto new formats.
Barry Leitch is a Scottish video game music composer, responsible for the music in many games spanning multiple consoles and personal computers. Most notable is his work from the Lotus Turbo Challenge, Gauntlet Legends, Gauntlet Dark Legacy, Top Gear, and Rush video game series.
A ROM cartridge, usually referred to in context simply as a cartridge, cart, or card, is a replaceable part ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console or, to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments. A special type of cartridge named ROM cartridge is a memory card containing ROM. ROM cartridges can be used to load and run software such as video games or other application programs.
The United Kingdom is Europe's second largest video game market after Germany, and the sixth largest in the world. The UK video game market was worth £5.7 billion in 2018, a 10% increase over the previous year. In 2017, the number of players was estimated at 32.4 million people.
Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament is a 1994 racing video game developed by Supersonic Software and published by Codemasters for the Sega Mega Drive. The sequel to Micro Machines, the game is themed around Galoob's Micro Machines toys, and players race around environments in miniature toy vehicles. Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament adds new vehicles and game modes, and the Mega Drive version was released on J-Cart, enabling up to eight players without a multitap.
The Atari joystick port is a computer port used to connect various gaming controllers to game console and home computer systems in the 1970s to the 1990s. It was originally introduced on the Atari 2600 in 1977 and then used on the Atari 400 and 800 in 1979. It went cross-platform with the Commodore VIC-20 of 1981, and was then used on many following machines from both companies, as well as a growing list of 3rd party machines like the MSX platform and various Sega consoles.