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classic battle atari 8bit vs commodore 64

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The machine would have been more expensive to produce than the 116 due to the larger number of chips involved.

You are also trading one compatibility issue for another. Yeah, developers could adapt their software easy enough, but they wouldn't have been happy about it.

Many might have just said upgrade your RAM if you want to run our game.

 

To make it work, I think they would have had to upgrade the C64.

Improve VIC-II color support to what they put on the TED, add a high speed CPU mode, add the new BASIC, and intro that machine for the same price as the old C64, while discounting the old VIC-II 32K C64 for a period of time until it was discontinued.

People that wanted a new C64 get one, and people that want a cheaper C64 get one.

Once they discontinue the old C64 completely, they could drop the price of the newer version, and add a 128K version on the high end, probably around 1985.

 

Independent market analysts at the time (summer of 1983) claimed the VIC-20 cost about $60 to manufacture and a C64 even less than so. Of course Commodore never posted actual bill of costs, but just like you (?) remarked about the TRS-80 computers previously, it would seem like Commodore had really good margins on the C64 by then, which was one of the reasons they were able to shave away $200 of the price.

 

Now the rubber keyboard on the C116 is said to have been cheaper than the full travel keyboards seen on most PETs, VIC-20, C64 up to that point. Also RAM chips used to be one of the most expensive components, so I really believe a Commodore 32 with rubber keyboard could be manufactured for well below $50, perhaps $40. Yes, perhaps that explains why some people consider Commodore computers to feel cheap and flimsy.

 

Obviously manufacturing costs of $50 is still much more than the 116 was intended to cost, given that it would sell to customers ideally at $49 (I think it sold in Germany for the equivalent of $79 which still was among the very cheapest computers), but if Commodore sold a $150 or $180 computer instead of a $50 or $80 computer, on a market where even the cheapest European customers would be willing to pay equivalent of $150 if they got value for money, the manufacturing costs would not be an issue except of course Commodore would only make $50 net margin on each sold computer instead of $250.

 

So we're having the following models:

 

1. VIC-20: dropped to $89 (July 1983), until it finally was discontinued in early 1985

2. C64 with 64K: starting price $595 (July 1982), dropped to $395 (July 1983) and further dropped

3. Pretended C32 with 32K: expected price $150 - $180 (July 1983) in order to price match the ZX Spectrum 16K

4. Pretended C64-II with 64K, more colours, faster CPU, better BASIC: expected price $595 (July 1983) and later drop the price when either the 32K model or the original 64K model was discontinued

5. Pretended C64-III/C128: like the C64-II but with 128K, perhaps a Z80: expected price $xxx (sometime 1985)

 

(I'm not listing the actual TED based computers here, since we want to look at an alternative timeline where those don't exist at all)

 

Computers number 4 and 5 might have been desired by some customers, but not the ones Jack Tramiel had identified, those who found the VIC-20 too outdated but the full C64 too expensive as it was. If Commodore had launched both the C32 and C64-II at the same time in 1983, it would have coincided with e.g. the Atari 600XL/800XL launch and the original C64 probably would have been discontinued earlier on,

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more games never equaled out to more fun... all it did was make me more and more pissed at having bought a c64 and then getting mostly craptastic games... Game play was what mattered... and still does... I only ever dust off the c64 when excitedly hearing of the finally end all be all game/whatever is here! Finally I can justify owning one! Then I wind up needing to do a comparison - mostly when someone says a commodore64 is better than this that farce... I almost always end up finding the claims in both instances false and in disgust... box it back up and away it goes..

 

This is something I cannot disagree with. I tried many different Commodore 64 games and seen the video. It seems like some games that need a lot of moving objects, lots of screen manipulation, or action, seem to run better on the Atari 8-bit. However this really depends on who wrote the game or what programming language they used. Like was it compiled Basic, Pascal, Action, or direct Assembly. Programmers figure out more stuff over time. This is probably due the the Atari 8-bit running at 1.79mhz vs Commodore 1mhz, along with needing to change two bytes for character + color map. Even using player/missile multiplexers to get 8 or more sprites on the Atari screen, the Atari still has the advantage of the faster CPU. Graphics quality, depends on the type of game, what needs to be moving, and the layout.

 

I can tell which Commodore 64 games were put out by companies that had experience programmers working of them. Atari (Atarisoft) and Activision make some really good games the ran great of both machines. Atarisoft even had a few Vic-20 games.

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Independent market analysts at the time (summer of 1983) claimed the VIC-20 cost about $60 to manufacture and a C64 even less than so. Of course Commodore never posted actual bill of costs, but just like you (?) remarked about the TRS-80 computers previously, it would seem like Commodore had really good margins on the C64 by then, which was one of the reasons they were able to shave away $200 of the price.

 

Now the rubber keyboard on the C116 is said to have been cheaper than the full travel keyboards seen on most PETs, VIC-20, C64 up to that point. Also RAM chips used to be one of the most expensive components, so I really believe a Commodore 32 with rubber keyboard could be manufactured for well below $50, perhaps $40. Yes, perhaps that explains why some people consider Commodore computers to feel cheap and flimsy.

 

Obviously manufacturing costs of $50 is still much more than the 116 was intended to cost, given that it would sell to customers ideally at $49 (I think it sold in Germany for the equivalent of $79 which still was among the very cheapest computers), but if Commodore sold a $150 or $180 computer instead of a $50 or $80 computer, on a market where even the cheapest European customers would be willing to pay equivalent of $150 if they got value for money, the manufacturing costs would not be an issue except of course Commodore would only make $50 net margin on each sold computer instead of $250.

 

So we're having the following models:

 

1. VIC-20: dropped to $89 (July 1983), until it finally was discontinued in early 1985

2. C64 with 64K: starting price $595 (July 1982), dropped to $395 (July 1983) and further dropped

3. Pretended C32 with 32K: expected price $150 - $180 (July 1983) in order to price match the ZX Spectrum 16K

4. Pretended C64-II with 64K, more colours, faster CPU, better BASIC: expected price $595 (July 1983) and later drop the price when either the 32K model or the original 64K model was discontinued

5. Pretended C64-III/C128: like the C64-II but with 128K, perhaps a Z80: expected price $xxx (sometime 1985)

 

(I'm not listing the actual TED based computers here, since we want to look at an alternative timeline where those don't exist at all)

 

Computers number 4 and 5 might have been desired by some customers, but not the ones Jack Tramiel had identified, those who found the VIC-20 too outdated but the full C64 too expensive as it was. If Commodore had launched both the C32 and C64-II at the same time in 1983, it would have coincided with e.g. the Atari 600XL/800XL launch and the original C64 probably would have been discontinued earlier on,

 

Personally I think both companies should had put more development into making the computers more usable with professional applications, enhance the text displays so more text can be shown on screen. To take advantage if a monitor is hooked up. 60 or 80 column display. That was something that started putting these computer systems on the decline about 5 years after they were released. Otherwise, they are just a video game console with a keyboard.

 

I mentioned this ideal before, too bad Atari didn't have something that can change the CPU, Color, and Pixel clocks between 1.79 and 2(4) Mhz. So when in wide screen mode, all 48 columns get squeezed back to the visible screen area. I know wide screen, 48 columns/pixel bytes on Antic Text modes, only has 44.5 columns visible, before running into the static on the right side. But a black border could had be placed at column 48. I believe Atari also had 44 bytes mapped to leave room for the horizontal scrolling. Would had given the ability to have 192/384 pixel wide graphics modes.

 

By the way, did you know you can reduce that right side static to 2 pixels wide by setting the HSCROL bit in the display list and setting HSCROL to a certain value? I did it to a few of my later games.

 

I always wondered why Atari offset the player/missile horizontal position by 40 pixels before becoming visible to the screen. Even at Quad width, the whole player is hidden if below a value of 24 anyway. Well a lot of the numbers for the Antic/GTIA do not make sense.

Edited by peteym5

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I'm afraid most of the business market ship sailed away with the IBM PC launch in 1981. Indeed Atari were out earlier and just the other week it was discussed how IBM may have considered the Atari design for their home/personal computer, and that with the right conditions the Atari 800 could stand up to the IBM PC as it is.

 

It is said the reasons Apple II got to be successful in the business segment was that they were early on, and managed to make deals with the most important software vendors. IBM supposedly silently reached out to all those vendors to secure the same applications for the PC prior to the launch. A different type of Atari might've been able to do the same, pitching the Atari 800 as a better Apple II though perhaps the differences were too small and Atari too closely associated with gaming already back in 1979 in order for that to make a difference.

 

For small businesses with a tight budget, I'm sure both the Atari 8-bit and C64 were viable options in their default configurations, though people tend to claim to never have heard about such use cases or seen much of productivity software.

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Independent market analysts at the time (summer of 1983) claimed the VIC-20 cost about $60 to manufacture and a C64 even less than so. Of course Commodore never posted actual bill of costs, but just like you (?) remarked about the TRS-80 computers previously, it would seem like Commodore had really good margins on the C64 by then, which was one of the reasons they were able to shave away $200 of the price.

 

Now the rubber keyboard on the C116 is said to have been cheaper than the full travel keyboards seen on most PETs, VIC-20, C64 up to that point. Also RAM chips used to be one of the most expensive components, so I really believe a Commodore 32 with rubber keyboard could be manufactured for well below $50, perhaps $40. Yes, perhaps that explains why some people consider Commodore computers to feel cheap and flimsy.

 

Obviously manufacturing costs of $50 is still much more than the 116 was intended to cost, given that it would sell to customers ideally at $49 (I think it sold in Germany for the equivalent of $79 which still was among the very cheapest computers), but if Commodore sold a $150 or $180 computer instead of a $50 or $80 computer, on a market where even the cheapest European customers would be willing to pay equivalent of $150 if they got value for money, the manufacturing costs would not be an issue except of course Commodore would only make $50 net margin on each sold computer instead of $250.

 

So we're having the following models:

 

1. VIC-20: dropped to $89 (July 1983), until it finally was discontinued in early 1985

2. C64 with 64K: starting price $595 (July 1982), dropped to $395 (July 1983) and further dropped

3. Pretended C32 with 32K: expected price $150 - $180 (July 1983) in order to price match the ZX Spectrum 16K

4. Pretended C64-II with 64K, more colours, faster CPU, better BASIC: expected price $595 (July 1983) and later drop the price when either the 32K model or the original 64K model was discontinued

5. Pretended C64-III/C128: like the C64-II but with 128K, perhaps a Z80: expected price $xxx (sometime 1985)

 

(I'm not listing the actual TED based computers here, since we want to look at an alternative timeline where those don't exist at all)

 

Computers number 4 and 5 might have been desired by some customers, but not the ones Jack Tramiel had identified, those who found the VIC-20 too outdated but the full C64 too expensive as it was. If Commodore had launched both the C32 and C64-II at the same time in 1983, it would have coincided with e.g. the Atari 600XL/800XL launch and the original C64 probably would have been discontinued earlier on,

That sounds about right. Close enough to what I had in mind anyway.

 

Number 4 gives them even better margins and the higher price gives CBM time to ramp up volume production on the new chip.

That would certainly take steam out of the launch of the XL series, and the new BASIC puts it almost on par with the best BASIC (IMHO) of the time, Extended Color BASIC on the CoCo.

Maybe add 1571 support at the same time which helps justify the greater cost.

That hits about every shortcoming of the C64 except 80 columns.

 

I'm not sure Z80 support was needed for a 128K model, but 80 column support would have certainly been welcome and a logical progression in such a time line.

Z80 support could have even been through that cart they made.

Anyway, that hits the last hardware advantages the Apple IIe had over the C64.

So... faster, better color, sprites, user programmable characters, better sound, better BASIC, 128K & 80 columns standard, all for about half the price of a IIe?

With a 128K model on the market in 1985, it is in time for the 130XE, CoCo III, IIgs, and 16 bit machines.

 

A Plus/4 can do this... imagine if a C64-II could:

dreamtime_2k18_07.gif

dreamtime_2k18_06.gif

dreamtime_2k18_04.gif

dreamtime_2k18_13.gif

 

 

*edit*

http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/Dreamtime_2K17

http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/Dreamtime_2K18

*edit*

Most earth shattering part of that... possible in 1983.

Commodore certainly could have built that for hardware.

Edited by JamesD
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You could have posted the Youtube video URLS - so that there is no doubt of the actual screens are from the hardware.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpJ4NE2Blr8

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4cxhis8V1c

 

 

If it was possible to do this in 1983? Then why wasn't it?

 

Maybe it was because there wasn't the process to do it - back then?

Then how many years after 1983 would a process have been available to do so?

 

Harvey

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Thanks for a precise answer!

 

I remember being with bunch of friends and enjoying immensely playing Pirates, Defender of the Crown, Iron lord, Moonfall, Mercenery, Zack & Maniac mansion....

 

Pitstop II was another one of those great multiplayer games on the c64. Had my cousin over and that's all we played for an entire summer

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You could have posted the Youtube video URLS - so that there is no doubt of the actual screens are from the hardware.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpJ4NE2Blr8

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4cxhis8V1c

 

 

If it was possible to do this in 1983? Then why wasn't it?

 

Maybe it was because there wasn't the process to do it - back then?

Then how many years after 1983 would a process have been available to do so?

 

Harvey

Why should I have to? The links go back to the Plus/4 world website where you can download the actual disk images.

This is a theoretical machine where Commodore just adds the palette extension and high speed clock handling to the C64 VIC-II, rather than developing an entire new machine from scratch with everything on one chip. The Plus/4 didn't come out until 1984, but this should have taken less time to develop.

The point was that the hardware would have been capable of doing this. Possible.

But you are correct that the technique wasn't attempted yet. It was certainly being done in the 90s, but I can't find the first date this technique was used.

I'm not sure digitized images were available to even attempt it yet.

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I always wondered why Atari offset the player/missile horizontal position by 40 pixels before becoming visible to the screen. Even at Quad width, the whole player is hidden if below a value of 24 anyway. Well a lot of the numbers for the Antic/GTIA do not make sense.

That one makes sense - it's so 128 is the exact centre of the screen.
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That one makes sense - it's so 128 is the exact centre of the screen.

Wow :) Never thought about it that way :) Thanks !

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That one makes sense - it's so 128 is the exact centre of the screen.

I figured something like that is going on. If someone were to alter the clock frequencies and increased to resolution until we get close to 240 pixels on screen and other 16 for over scan to allow sprites to partially move off the edge of the screen. Player/Missile positioning could keep 128 for the exact center. I am not sure if the Commodore 64 sprite system has that ability. I believe the Nintendo Entertainment System had 256 pixels across, but was character/tile set mode only. Did not have a true bitmap mode. Could had created an Antic/GTIA with the ability to generate graphics similar to the NES. 60 column text, double it for 480 pixels. But that is something Atari never went for because the original chip designers left. I know you probably would need to run Antic/GTIA at 5.37Mhz and could be issues with overheating.

 

The other issue with increasing resolution is that the displays are mapped in main memory, and would be a limit with 64K systems. Could get up to a point of just displaying a nice picture, but can't move much because the system resources at tide up. Think of using APAC, the Atari mode the alternates between graphics 9 & 11. Nobody is using it for games and I personally would love to do it, but the resources are tide up and would only be able to move one things at a time.

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They improved over time though and eventually came with a proper aluminium shielding which also helped address some of the original heat related issues. Video output also improved significantly in the later revisions, compare the video output quality of an original c64 and one with the short board.

 

Apple did the same, compare the number of chips in the earlier Apple 2e and Platinum board. They even went from dual wipe sockets to single wipe = poor quality.

 

I think what you mean is one cock up after another until they supposedly got right for video quality and heat issues

The C128 still had same issues and that's a much later machine then the C64 machines

 

Too some it up cheapskate build and production quality for over priced games machine

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That sounds about right. Close enough to what I had in mind anyway.

 

Number 4 gives them even better margins and the higher price gives CBM time to ramp up volume production on the new chip.

That would certainly take steam out of the launch of the XL series, and the new BASIC puts it almost on par with the best BASIC (IMHO) of the time, Extended Color BASIC on the CoCo.

Maybe add 1571 support at the same time which helps justify the greater cost.

That hits about every shortcoming of the C64 except 80 columns.

 

I'm not sure Z80 support was needed for a 128K model, but 80 column support would have certainly been welcome and a logical progression in such a time line.

Z80 support could have even been through that cart they made.

Anyway, that hits the last hardware advantages the Apple IIe had over the C64.

So... faster, better color, sprites, user programmable characters, better sound, better BASIC, 128K & 80 columns standard, all for about half the price of a IIe?

With a 128K model on the market in 1985, it is in time for the 130XE, CoCo III, IIgs, and 16 bit machines.

 

A Plus/4 can do this... imagine if a C64-II could:

dreamtime_2k18_07.gif

dreamtime_2k18_06.gif

dreamtime_2k18_04.gif

dreamtime_2k18_13.gif

 

 

*edit*

http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/Dreamtime_2K17

http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/Dreamtime_2K18

*edit*

Most earth shattering part of that... possible in 1983.

Commodore certainly could have built that for hardware.

 

No offense, but (generally speaking, and applying to any similar product), I remember (always) having a hard time feeling pride from stupid / kiddie-looking computers, no matter how "a feat" their results could be perceived relative to other options.

 

Those crammed-to-the-bones, "grilled-pressed sandwich-looking" cases only tell me one thing: cost-cutting, cheap-manufacturing and quality-sidelined, to the MAXIMUM possible extent. That's Tramiel true-legacy, and I leave that to others, definitely NOT my cup of tea.

Edited by Faicuai

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I have banned peteym5 from the forum for creating yet another duplicate account, this time Bluemoon_001. This is after having previously warned peteym5 about creating additional accounts several years ago, and I told him if he continued to create new accounts I would permanently ban him. He was smarter with his new Bluemoon_001 account by using proxy servers to mask that he was using a new sock puppet account, but after I banned the account he slipped up and tried logging into it using his regular IP address. In doing so, this generated an entry in the forum's error_logs table, as a result of trying to login with the banned account. This allowed me to directly link this new account to his main (and some other) accounts.

 

Pete_DupeAccounts_New.png

 

Also notice the pattern of two account names starting with "Blue" and ending with three digits. To say nothing about Bluemoon_001 and peteym5 both misspelling "Tramiel" as "Tremiel", something peteym5 has done repeatedly on the forum. Both accounts were posting in the same threads, often using very similar phrases, such as "Atari already went from a CTIA to GTIA..." (Bluemoon_001) and "I know Atari went from CTIA to GTIA..." (peteym5).

 

Here are other accounts he created in the past, and I believe the one from 2017 was after I already warned him not to do so (that account was never approved):

 

Pete_DupeAccounts.png

 

He was using these accounts deceptively, such as shilling his own games (example #1, example #2). Creating multiple accounts is against the forum rules, and he was given multiple opportunities to stop doing so. Enough is enough.

 

..Al

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I wont miss the threads with him in always descending into discussions about copyright and digital downloads.

 

EDIT: It occurs to me that I have two accounts here, I never use one of them, I asked to have them merged once but it never happened, I didn't chase it, I had very few posts on that account. #DontBanMe!

Edited by Mr Robot
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EDIT: It occurs to me that I have two accounts here, I never use one of them, I asked to have them merged once but it never happened, I didn't chase it, I had very few posts on that account. #DontBanMe!

 

I can merge the accounts, please send me a PM.

 

..Al

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I think what you mean is one cock up after another until they supposedly got right for video quality and heat issues

The C128 still had same issues and that's a much later machine then the C64 machines

 

Too some it up cheapskate build and production quality for over priced games machine

 

Now you're being ridiculous.

 

Every manufacturer finds more efficient ways to do things, it's the only way you can compete. As technology improves and gets better, costs are cut and new revisions are released into production and in some cases mistakes are made along the way.

 

Atari was no exception in "cocking things up" as you say. They dropped the chroma line completely in the XL series ( and in some cases the luma in the 600XL ), rumour has it that they forgot to connect it and nobody even noticed so they didn't bother fixing it. Another design error resulted in mismatched signal impedance in the video display. The wrong valued resistor was also installed in the video output section during production making the mismatch even worse, this mistake wasn't noticed until production moved from Hong Kong to Taiwan. But just to reiterate what I said in an earlier post, the c64s video output improved throughout the different revisions whilst the display in the Atari 8 bits actually deteriorated, especially in the XE series where the video output is the absolute worst of all 8 bit machines.

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It get's even worst after the epic failure the C128 the C16/C116/PLUS 4 models still had piss poor costing with Commodore learnt nothing

Rubber keyboards

Weird din connections for joystick ports

Another weird connect port for PSU still unreliable

Super notorious for failing TED/CPU chips

 

All in the name of cheapskate cost cutting

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That was because people in the Not So Great Britain were expected to want to pay as little as possible for a computer. You get what you pay for, in principle. Basically the TED is all your fault! :-P

 

I hope you're not comparing a $400 Atari 800XL to a $79 Commodore 116?

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The joystick ports were different because the standard Atari style port could not fit, I believe Bill Herd explained this in a talk. It wasn't meant to be a games machine anyway, more designed for small or home business.

 

The C116 was designed to sell for $49 as Jack first envisioned, an entry level machine to compete against the Sinclair. Which ended up evolving into a series of different machines after Jack left.

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The rampant fan-boyism in here is getting sad. I won't rehash arguments I had in 1983 as an 8 year old kid now that it is 2019.

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ah, alternate time lines and fictional battles...parallel dimensions.... that's how to make stuff up...it's a retro-active model... woo hoo...

I have flux capacitor it looks to be of Atari manufacture...

 

Yeah 8-15 years old that's about the target...... nailed it!

 

Really gotta love watching it devolve, I think we better set phasers on stun and beam outta here!

(yeah ST:TNG on tv and ST... couldn't resist)

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Yes, the mini-DIN joystick and cassette ports supposedly were installed to save space and to make it electrically more safe. Less space for you to put your finger onto the pins and short something. Though if the DE9 joystick port was considered unsafe, it is a miracle so many other manufacturers used it and Commodore themselves moved back to it for the C128 and later on Amiga models.

 

I also believe Commodore wanted a first mover advantage on peripherals for the C116/C16/Plus/4 range, by defining new connectors so the previous 3rd party joysticks and tape recorders wouldn't fit, and at least for a few months people would be forced to buy Commodore's own peripherals, until the market either had adapted or the interest for the computers had died out so noone bothered anymore.

 

It is worthy to point out that the TED Developer Prototype (which I still own) is dated August 1983. It has both DE9 joystick ports and the card edge tape connector. Though that board is not fully populated or optimized, and probably bigger than the C116 anyway. Exactly why they chose so small dimensions so the connectors wouldn't fit, I'm not sure of, if it was a matter of logistics and they would save X number of $ on plastic encasing, shipping and warehouse costs if they made the computer one inch smaller in each direction.

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When I was a kid on the primary school I went to, we got C64 computers. And of course, I was the only one in the entire village that has atari 8bit. I loved the C64 at school. It had lots of fun educational games like a game where you had to control a chopper to visit cities in the Netherlands (iirc it was called TopoNED) ... and a game to learn to write words right. It was called woordpakket (which translates into: Word package).

 

Later when I was 12 or 13 I got new friends, who also owned C64. I loved the huge game catalog they had. And even beter: those friends were able to exchange games with eachother. I still had to buy everything (I used to buy cheap games on tape, but I loved them!)

 

You can probably imagine how happy I was when I finally met another kid who also had Atari 8bit. Then the real fun started. He knew another and before I knew it there were a few more guys active with atari 8bit.

 

But, i have to be honest, I really loved the C64 games library more. Outrun was one (and still is) of those games I would love to play on atari 8bit. And Bubble Bobble too.

 

Today I do not have any space in my room for anything else than Atari 8bit. Today I do only care (when it comes to computers) for Atari 8bit. They are a part of me. Sure I would love to play on C64 some of the old games, but the same is with SNES or Atari ST. All fun, but for one day. Atari 8bit is -for me- some kind of love. I appreciate the system, I love the games. I am a huge fan of pokey sounds (I seriously prefer pokey over sid, it is a matter of taste) and best of all today I think the game library of Atari is very interesting.

 

I think C64 is a great computer, just like other systems of that era. Apple //, ZX Spectrum. It is all fun. But I can not serve more than one master, so Atari it is (for me)

Edited by Marius
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