Was the C64 actually broken?

Debunking Was the c64 ever fixed?

Your correspondent has been taking some time away from thinking about the author after the previous post because… well, because he’s not really worth the effort when making pathetic, idiotic comparisons between selling an old dialect of BASIC and rape[1]. But there’s a new post and, because the intention of this blog was to respond, here we go.

In 1982 Commodore released the Commodore 64 onto an unsuspecting World. They showed off its colour, graphics, and sound, as well as its “64K” RAM, but they didn’t bother pointing out to potential buyers that they would probably or almost definitely be unable to use these facilities in their own programs.

As has repeatedly been demonstrated both in this blog and by tens of thousands of user-developed programs, C64 users could and indeed did use those facilities in their own programs.

I really don’t care about various software released by third parties or even by Commodore themselves which went part of the way to alleviate the situation.

The author merely wants to remove those options from the table because they negate his “arguments”.

Unfortunately, throughout the whole lifetime of the Commodore 64, Commodore never ever produced a replacement BASIC ROM suitable for fitting to the motherboard, so they never fixed it.

As explained previously, they didn’t need to do that because the C64 can swap its BASIC ROM out through the cartridge port; Simon’s BASIC is a ROM replacement and, if users felt the need to replace the BASIC ROM, that option was there.

I’m pretty sure I found this out the hard way, when I typed in a very very long listing from a book about producing graphics, then it failed to run, even after I debugged it very carefully.

The problem with type in listings is that the people typesetting them for books or magazines were not programmers or even involved in computing and they made mistakes; these people didn’t know that the equals sign in a FOR/NEXT loop was essential to program operation or that if they mis-transcribed TI$ as TL$ at some point they’d be breaking the program. Even the dedicated computing magazines had errors in the listings they published introduced in this way and had to go back and provide corrections, this is why most magazines eventually went over to using print outs from the actual computers instead despite that offering a few problems too when listings weren’t reproduced cleanly.

And no, this isn’t a C64-specific thing either because it’s equally true of every 8-bit computer.

I only put the Commodore 64 onto my short list of computers because it had a 3 channel synthesizer chip, instead of just a tone generator. Little did I know, that not only was it virtually impossible to program this in BASIC, but that the sound was distorted through any TV. I longed for a custom 3 ended lead, or a dedicated internal speaker

The sound is not distorted through “any TV”, some sets won’t tune in correctly but they will have an issue on any computer and not just the C64. And a “custom 3 ended lead” wasn’t necessary either because the sound could be taken from the monitor port regardless of how the video was being output so a regular Commodore monitor cable or even something whipped up from a couple of quid’s worth of parts will work. The author’s inscience strikes once more, dear reader.

There are also far too many programs working with the SID chip from BASIC for it to be described as “virtually impossible” to work with.

The only type of game that Commodore 64 owners could program on the Commodore 64, using the built in BASIC, which looked similar to what could be done on other computers was an adventure game.

There are action and puzzle games written in BASIC including some commercial titles such as the C64 version of Tetris but, since the author presumably won’t have seen even 1% of all the C64 programs out there, he’s merely guessing from his regular position of ignorance.

I think that an easy fix, better late than never, that could have been applied to the Commodore 64 was quite simple. When the Commodore 128 was released in 1985 it should have been at the same or a very similar price to the Commodore 64, due to falling RAM prices, as well as the massive profits being made by Commodore. At the same time, the Commodore 64 should have been discontinued, then that would’ve been the end of this mess!

This just demonstrates the author’s specific lack of knowledge as regards the C128; it isn’t just a C64 with more RAM and the extra cost is down to those differences. There’s no magic wand that could have been waved to reduce the price of the C128 to match the C64 and the demand for C64s meant they couldn’t simply discontinue it because nobody sensible would ever shoot their golden goose.

BTW, I’m still eagerly awaiting a program from TMR or any Commodore 64 fanatics written in Commodore BASIC V2 which draws a line across either the hires OR the lores graphics screen. No Machine Code or SYS commands allowed, just BASIC! I think that the lack of such a program after 13 months of this blog proves that the Commodore 64 is CRAP!

What it actually demonstrates is that people don’t consider the author to be worth the effort. Your correspondent merely responds for his own amusement (and indeed for the amusement of the people reading this blog) so has no intention of jumping through the author’s hoops in this way. If your correspondent could be bothered, this situation can easily be reversed by writing a C64 program using hardware sprites and challenging the author to reproduce it elsewhere. It is incredibly easy to skew these “tests” against one platform so they can never be said to prove anything useful.

[1] Your correspondent previously promised another post which hasn’t been forthcoming; that will be done at some point soon, but other matters and the disgust felt about the author’s aforementioned comment have both got squarely in the way of late.

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