The Commodore 64 is a much-loved 8-bit retro computer that first appeared in 1982 and finally faded away around a decade later. The Commodore company started by [Jack Tramiel] went on to make the Amiga, and eventually ceased trading some time in the late 1990s. All history, now kept alive only by enthusiasts, right? Well, not quite, as the C64 has been the subject of a number of revivals both miniature and full-sized over the years. The latest came in the form of a Kickstarter for the C64x, a seemingly legitimately-branded Commodore 64-shaped PC, but it seems that has now been paused due to a complaint from an Italian company claiming to be the real heirs of Commodore. So will the real Commodore please stand up?
The origin of the Kickstarter C64x breadbin C64 PC is well enough documented, having its roots in a legitimate 2010 offering for which the person behind the C64x appears to have gained the rights. The Italian company is also called Commodore and uses the familiar branding from the glory days to sell some Commodore-themed games, novelties, and a tablet computer, but its website is a little tight-lipped about how it came by the use of that IP. Could it have come upon those rights through the 1990s German owner of the brand, Escom? We’d be fascinated to know.
For those of us who kept the Commodore faith back in the day, this has a disappointing echo of the shambolic marketing that was a hallmark of the brand as it entered its period of decline. It’s clear that both parties believe their offering to legitimately bear the name, but to have competing entities take each other down does no favours either to the Commodore fandom or to themselves. Perhaps it’s time to remind all concerned that the fans care little about which of the Commodores considers themselves to be the rightful heir, but care a lot should such squabbles deprive them of new retro computers bearing the C= brand.
Here at Hackaday, the Commodore home computers are close to our hearts, as our colleague [Bil Herd] was responsible for more than one of them. Read his retrospective on the C64 at 40, and if that wasn’t enough, follow him on a tour of the abandoned Commodore offices.