Tonight’s review is a bit of a departure, as the book I’m reviewing is not sci-fi or fantasy. In fact, it’s non-fiction. While it’s not the first non-fiction book I’ve reviewed here, non-fiction is definitely not the focus of my reviews. While you can find The History of the Commodore 64 in Pixels on Amazon, getting a hold of it might be challenging; I don’t believe it’s in general distribution. I received this book as part of a Kickstarter to which I contributed last year. In short, this book recounts the history of an oft-forgotten member of the gaming scene, the Commodore 64 personal computer.
When you think of what they had to work with: a roughly 1 MHz processor and 64K of RAM, it’s really amazing what the programmers from around the world accomplished on the brown, breadbox-shaped machine.
There’s a common element in a lot of the stories told in this book: the SID chip, a powerhouse (for the time), 3-voice synthesizer widely recognized as a musical instrument in its own right. The music and sound-effect capabilities of the C64 were unparalleled in the home PC market.
All of this are told as a series of essays by the people who were captivated and inspired by this machine to try their hand at programming and composition and created some of the great games for which the C64 is remembered.