The Commodore 64 'scene'

The first true 'cyber scene' for the modern age: around the Commodore 64 (C64) circulated a world-wide youth culture expressing itself through multimedia productions mastered using every obscure complexity of this 8-bit microcomputer - something of a forerunner to modern gaming consoles.

The C64 owes its life to Commodore International, a small business that began in 1954, and formalised as Commodore Business Machines (CBM) in 1962, then turned from producing calculators to computers in 1977 with the Commodore PET. Soon followed the VIC-20, and then the Commodore 64 in 1982. Neither Texas Instruments, Amstrad, Apple, BBC, Atari, Coleco, nor any other competitor could displace the depth and breadth of the Commodore 64's reach.

Over 25 million Commodore 64 microcomputers, in their various forms, were produced: an industrial success, but also a cultural success. The sheer number and quality of games and applications produced for the machine are outstanding for the limited hardware capabilities employed. An entire generation of youthful computer enthusiasts embraced the machine, for entertainment and for a social culture that demanded high quality creative productions to acquire high status and regard in the community. The scene reached across the globe, but its epi=centre was clearly in northern Europe, and its spiritual home was Venlo, the place of a yearly migration for the leading "copy party".

The hey-day of these 8-bit microcomputers spanned the 1980's, giving way later in the decade to 16-bit machines, where the Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST gradually took hold as largely gaming machines and the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh became increasingly popular general computing machines. The C64 lost steam in the early 1990's, and CBM liquidated in 1994. In the following years, many enthusiasts have continued to keep the machine, its products and its history alive in the retro-scene.

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