Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top 5 Commodore 64 Games (R.I.P. Jack Tramiel)

Guest Blogger Christie offers up today's top 5...

Jack Tramiel died on Sunday, and though his name isn't as ubiquitous as Steve Jobs, you should take a minute to thank him.  He's the man who created Commodore, and was behind the Commodore 64--the most popular personal computer of all time.  My first computer was a Commodore 64.  I played games on it for hours, and made greeting cards, posters, and banners (all in black and white on my dot matrix printer) at home!  That was big stuff!  (Coincidentally, one of the cards just surfaced a couple of days ago while packing, and wow, how embarrassing.)  In honor of Jack, who lived a productive 83 years, here are the top 5 games I played on my first home computer system.

5: Summer Games/Winter Games.  As for sports games, I was a big fan of the Olympics games. Playing both the Summer and Winter versions, I got to be a ‘pro’ at diving on the high board and skiing down those steep mountain tops.  I loved that they actually had medal ceremonies at the end of the games and even hoisted your flag while playing the national anthem of the country you choose to represent. Trying to perfect the high dives were a big one with me…you could easily over-correct yourself and end up splashing too much and losing points from the judges. (yes, I thought about that a lot, lol).

4: Text-Based Games.  There were these text games that would frustrate me to no end.  You’d be trapped on a desert island and would have to (type) "find the shell."  Then "use shell to make spear."  OMG, these drove me crazy!  And yet, I would keep going back to them to see if they would grow on me.  After about 5 minutes, I'd typically give up, take out the tremendously large floppy disk storing the game, and try like hell not to rip it in two!

3: Paperboy.  Paperboy was another favorite. I played this one constantly in the arcades (remember those?), so I was really excited to get it for my Commodore.  You remember; you’re a kid on a bike and you have to deliver newspapers to your neighborhood without hitting the dogs, cars, and oh yeah, neighbors!  This was one of the few joystick games I had and it saved me a ton of quarters.

2: Ghostbusters.  It was the 80’s and Ghostbusters the movie was huge—so getting to trap a ghost on the computer was awesome!  BUT DON’T CROSS THE STREAMS!  The opening of the game was classic as the music starts and the little bouncing icon would go with the words so you could sing along (skip to 0:34).  Next thing you know, you’re sitting in the fire house, the alarm goes off, you slide down the pole, get into the car, and listen to an electronic version of the theme until you got to your hunting destination. You were equipped with Proton packs to catch the flying ‘Slimers’ and it was just too cool…all in its 8-bit glory!

1: Montezuma's Revenge.  My all-time favorite game was Montezuma’s Revenge.  I couldn’t get enough of this game and now I have it on my iPhone (look for it in the app store) and play it online.  The difficult thing about playing it online is getting used to using the keyboard keys again, instead of a mouse, to control the player.  I’m sure you gamers out there are used to control pads, but why not try it the old way?

Share your favorite Commodore games or memories below.  Never played a Commodore game?  There are many emulators online that you can use to play these and many other games like Pitfall, Super Mario, and more!  Happy Retro-Gaming to You!  And don't forget to share us with a fellow gamer (or old person who will reminisce fondly of the Commodore 64), like us on Facebook, and pour a little liquor out in honor of Jack Tramiel.


  1. I never owned a C64, but I played Zork at a friend's house--great game (even if it was text-based, hater).  I remember Ghostbusters and Paperboy, but both from later NES versions--I never played on the computer.  The C64 came out in 82, I believe, so I was only 6--I missed its heyday by like 2 years.    

  2. I never owned one either but old-school Paperboy kicks major butt no matter where you play it!

  3. Christie CartolanoApril 11, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I was so excited to find the Montezuma's Revenge app for my iPhone--and you can play it in two different modes, modern and retro. I have to play it in retro to make it look like I'm still doing it on the Commodore or else what's the point???

  4. My favourite is Paradroid!

  5. #4 reminds me of the movie Big. Anyone else remember that? Something about an evil dwarf maybe?

  6. Very cool--thanks for sharing!

  7. LOL, I need to re-watch Big, I think...