Another return of the comments

There’s already been a passing glance at some of the comments from the author’s post More revelations from TMR! but, since there’s an ongoing conversation, we can quickly dip back into that particular well. Again concentrating primarily on what the author has written, he started with…

You said “having a better BASIC would have made it easier for people starting out in programming”. Actually, it would have made it POSSIBLE instead of IMPOSSIBLE for most C64 owners to program the graphics and sound features of the C64.

The author has absolutely no evidence that it was “IMPOSSIBLE for most C64 owners” and this claim is completely bogus without any such support. There’s a wealth of user-developed software which adequtely debunks this claim already of course but, whilst we can be sure that many C64 owners never tried programming (and this is true for every single 8-bit computer), there’s absolutely nothing conclusive to say that they weren’t capable had they been interested.

The success of the C64 was as a games machine not as a programmable computer. Even so, I think that most 8 bit “home computers” sold weren’t by Commodore and users of computers that didn’t sell many units were happy and fanatical about their computers.

The original comment that the author isn’t properly addressing actually said that the C64 was “a huge success, being the most sold home computer in the world” and that’s a very different thing to what the author is essentially claiming that “Alexander Axglimt” wrote. No comment was made about Commodore selling most 8-bit computers at all, the author is merely trying to distract his readers away from a valid argument.

And the author’s response is false on a second level; a percentage of C64 sales were down to it being very good at playing games of course[1] but the author has absolutely no evidence to back up his claim above and can’t demonstrate that said percentages were significantly different to other platforms; Sinclair may not have marketed it as a games machine initially but a large percentage of Spectrum users played games without ever learning to program and Atari, who were reluctant to provide decent documentation for a couple of years, once told “a company who wanted to convert their successful business programs […] that their products were simply not wanted on the Atari computer” (quoting veteran Atari 8-bit programmer John Harris).

Unfortunately, the people still at Commodore had learnt most of what they knew from Jack Tramiel, so they didn’t know what to do with the Amiga. At least they had the common decency to supply the Amiga with AmigaBASIC by Microsoft

AmigaBASIC only shipped with some Amigas and the rest didn’t come with anything compatible to run programs written with it either, so it’s essentially in exactly the same boat as a C64 with a BASIC extension like Simons BASIC. Ask yourself dear reader, why doesn’t the author have a problem with something like this unless it’s with the C64?

[1] Many of these games were programmed by users, the budget games market in particular was primarily stocked by bedroom coders.

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