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A Commodore 64 in your Hand!

Posted by boyo on Feb 27, 2011 22:43 (Feb 27, 2011 22:43)

The debate of which computer was best was common place amongst friends in the school playground during my youth. Back then it was the old battle of the Commodore 64 vs Spectrum vs Amstrad CPC. My loyalties fell into the Spectrum camp and I loved my little machine dearly.

Saying that though I was always curious about the other formats out there as there was a rumour going round that they were better than my Speccy, Sacrilege!!

I stayed in the Sinclair camp for many years, always keeping an eye on the competition and defending my machine daily against the onslaught of “Mine is better than yours…” banter which had become a way of life in the early 1980’s.

Many years passed and even though I had never owned a Commodore 64 my life still seemed complete, until that is I heard a little while ago that a C64 TV plug and play device was about to hit the market and my nostalgic memories of playground battles came rolling back…

The device in question is called the C64 DTV (Direct To Video) and had been available for some time in its NTSC incarnation when the PAL version hit the UK stores.

The first thing that impresses with the C64 DTV is the secure pyramid plastic packaging it comes in used to protect and showcase the device inside.

The manufactures have gone for a leaf switch version of the Competition Pro 5000 as the interface to the 30 games held on the Commodore 64 circuitry held within. The build quality and feel of the joystick is extremely good when compared to the half hearted attempts of some of the competition such as the Namco arcade device which probably would win an award for the worst joystick ever, if such an award existed.

On the back of the joystick is the on/off button with a nice bright red LED signalling to the player when the device is on. Above this switch are a series of red buttons. The first, smaller, button when pressed resets the C64 DTV. The further 4 buttons, labelled A- D, serve specific extra functions within some of the games whilst playing in addition to the movements of the joystick and two buttons.

The fairly lengthy lead that comes out of the front of the device ends in a composite video (yellow) and mono (white) jack. There is therefore the requirement that you have a TV with composite connections or a suitable SCART adaptor.

Installation of the device is a simple affair. Unscrew the battery cover on the bottom of the joystick, place 4 AA batteries inside (not supplied by the way!), reattach cover, hook up the joystick to the relevant connections on your TV, switch on and away you go.

On start up the highly recognisable Commodore logo is displayed followed by a number of static screens acknowledging Mammoth, the producer of the device, the
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#5 May 27, 2011 18:28:46 ( May 27, 2011 17:28 )

@Whizzbang - Commando for ZX with music also exists. The music was added later by an independent group and it sound almost identical like C64 version. More I add, the sfx don't collide with music, because they are original, made on the beeper.
#4 Mar 8, 2011 22:41:47 ( Mar 8, 2011 22:41 )

Speccy version would rock the casbah. 

I have one of these C64 DTV doobries and it's deflatingly average.  The game selection is certainly not going to worry to Top 10 list which is such as shame; the C64 had some truly classic games in its time.

All in all, a missed opportunity.  Oh the shame....
#3 Mar 2, 2011 23:11:11 ( Mar 2, 2011 23:11 )

 Not a C64 fan, but wouldn't a Spectrum version of this be just ace!
#2 Mar 1, 2011 20:15:40 ( Mar 1, 2011 20:15 )

Loved some of the mods that have been done to these over the years, best was a plug in keyboard!
#1 Feb 28, 2011 19:35:59 ( Feb 28, 2011 19:35 )

 Sounds very interesting, Boyo. Has it got Uridium on it?

I was also a Spectrum fan (and still am) but unlike you I used to think the C64 was better than the Spectrum, mainly based on the screenshots on the game boxes which usually looked better for the C64. I only knew about 2 people with C64s though (rich people) while all the rest of my friends had Spectrums.

It was only years later via emulation that I got to try out loads of C64 games via emulation and was very disappointed. I mainly tried games I loved on the Spectrum and expected them to be as good but with better graphics on the C64, but I frequently found they didn't play anywhere near as good as Spectrum games. Also, the graphics may look good in little screen shots but on a full screen they are often very blocky and ugly looking.

The C64 version of Commando is pretty good though, probably equal to the Spectrum one for gameplay, but with music. 
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