Happy Birthday, Commodore 64! Here's Why You're Still Better Than a Mac Pro

By , dealnews Media Editor

This week marks a very important moment in personal computing: Thirty years ago, at the 1982 CES, the world was first introduced to the Commodore 64. And even though it's old enough to run for congress, it's still considered by some (ok, just us... and maybe these guys) to be one of the best home computers ever unleashed upon the market.

SEE ALSO: The Best Birthday Freebies: A Complete Guide

Don't believe us? Well, let's compare it to the behemoth that is the Apple Mac Pro — which several people have told us is "today's Commodore 64." (No one told us that.) How does the 30-year-old wonder-keyboard stack up? We looked back on the fond memories we have of our sister's Commodore 64 (the one she would never let us near, when we were kids) and found five things that it can do that the latest, "greatest" Mac Pro can't. Check it out:

  1. Load Programs from Tape and / or Buy Them in Book Form
    Without a tape drive, how do you plan on loading Rootbeer Tapper into your Mac Pro's RAM? You can't. And when's the last time you saw Photoshop offered as a book full of code that you can input yourself? That's right, you haven't. But I've sat and watched my father hand-code ZORK from a printed book. Sure, there may have been some bugs in the final game, but it was still fun to play (until it wasn't ... frustratingly, maddening wasn't). Also, think of this: All media has a shelf-life, even CD-ROMs, but good old printed books will be around for ever and ever ....

  2. Connect to Any Tube Television
    With its convenient RF-modulator output through an RCA cable, it's a one-plug connector to any standard CRT TV. Have an older TV? You can even get a converter and hook it up through the rabbit-ear antenna's connector! Will any of the Mac Pro's 12 cores help you connect it to a tube TV? Nope! So that means that you'll have to spring for one of those new, non-tube "flat screen" TVs or monitors, if you want to use your computer. Sounds like a waste of money to us.

  3. Be Carried Under Your Arm
    Let's face it, living the life you live, your house is going to burn down at some point. Which would you rather try to save from the burning wreckage? The heavy tower of the all-metal Mac Pro? Or the light, plastic all-in-one of the Commodore 64?

  4. Take a Spill Like a Champ
    We have, personally, spilled an entire cup of water into our sister's Commodore 64 (see, there was a reason she wouldn't let us near it), so we can tell you that the little keyboard-that-computes can shake it off. We tried to test this theory on a new Mac Pro, but were hustled out of the Apple store in Grand Central Terminal before we could say "think different." We're pretty certain though that moisture and new computers don't mix.

  5. Blend in With Any Mid-70's Decor
    Styles are cyclical, so it's only a matter of time before beige and brown come back around as being the "in" thing. When that happens, your Shiny silver-ized Mac Pro is gonna look really silly sitting next to the Tan dishwasher that you buy in 2013. (Though, why are you doing your computer-ing on top of a dishwasher, in the first place? To each their own, I guess!)
I think we have a clear winner ... but let's say the Commodore won, anyway! So, happy 30th, you old so-and-so! May your next 30 be as glorious.
Jeff Somogyi is the dealnews Media Editor. He longs for simpler times ... you know, when people lived in huts and were scared of the moon. See more of his old-fashioned-ness on Twitter or on his blog. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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I still have my Commodore 64 with 300 baud modem, my 5 1/4  disk drive and thermal printer.  It was the thing back in those days.
OMG.  So YOU are the other person who played that game!!  LOL

Frodo seems to work GREAT on Android!  I'm in Nostalgia Heaven...

I'll check your blog in a couple of years when the AMIGA turns 30.  LOTSA memories there!  Dungeon Master, Captive, Phantasie III, Faery Tale, Ports of Call, Stunt Car Racer (head-to-head via homemade crossover cable).  Man... I'm old ...
Never showed my Commodore Amigas to my 15 yr old daugter, but she and her friends get a kick out of my Vectrex and sticking their faces into my Nintendo VirtualBoy!!  LOL
Jeff Somogyi (DealNews)
My Shuba has torn and I lost my trencher beak.
I have been having a BLAST replaying C-64 games on my HP TouchPad running Cyanomod’s Gingerbread 2.3 build using Frodo Emulator!
Solved “Below The Root” at least four times (yah; I’m a “Master Quester” (lol)).  Got Ultima III and IV to boot to the point that I can at least enjoy the music (though, even w/ a BT kybd I have not gotten the games to run fully.)
Loaded “Bulldog”. Just for the tune.
Played “Druid II”, “Infiltrator”, “Elite”, “Autoduel”,”Hacker”, “Paradroid”, “Spy vs. Spy”, “The Bard’s Tales”, “Defender of the Crown”.
Ahh, memories …  8^)
You can get the updated Commodore 64  that runs Linux and comes with an emulator to run the old software, it even looks just like the old version.
I still have all my Commodore stuff. Two 64's and a 128, a bunch of accessories, and magazines. The floppy drives no longer read the disks but they will still power up. I set it all up to show my kid. She went back to her Windows based computer since I could not load any programs.
Jeff Somogyi (DealNews)
25 to be elected a representatives ... but 30 for the Senate - which we all know is the REAL Congress! (I kid, Nancy Pelosi! I kid!)
Hey, Jeff, check your 8th grade social studies notes (you did save them, didn't you?) . The C64 *is* old enough to run for Congress--only need to be 25. (It's 35 for Prez.) I didn't get one because a colleague convinced me I needed CP/M, which Commodore didn't have but Osborne did, but I didn't buy that either--waited for 1984 and bought an original 128K Mac...
Ahh yes. The good old C64. Man, do I miss mine. It was a 128/64 and I loved it so much. I miss Clue:Master Detective. Nothing compares to the ease of using, or writing programs for them
Dan de Grandpre (DealNews)
Agreed! Remember how the infielders would dive to catch a simple pop-up? ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jejblUhw3hU]
Dan de Grandpre (DealNews)
Welcome back! :D
I bought my own Vic20 for home use, but we used a Commodore 64 in High School, and I remember using it in Science class to track Haley's Comet back in 1986 :O)
Best baseball games ever were on this - Hardball 1 and 2. 
Wow! Impossible Mission!! .... "stay a while.... stay foreverrrrrr", LOAD "*",8,1What memories......
I'm back!
Jeff Somogyi (DealNews)
Yeah, the games were great! Little Computer People! Mail Order Monsters! BC! (ok... maybe NOT BC!) Now I need to find a C64 emulator. 
Dan de Grandpre (DealNews)
I miss Jumpman.
Joe K
Loved my C64! I ran Geos on it in high school. It was a GUI for the C64. Loved the games. Archos. Impossible mission. Roller coaster creator. And some off-road game. All very fun.