After the spectacular success of the Commodore 64, CBM barely knew what to do with themselves. They created the Commodore 128 that combined C64 functionality with unique high powered modes of its own, but it didn't really work out. Of course there was the mighty series of Amiga computers from the mid 80's onwards, but Commodore was convinced they could still make good use of the popular C64 technology.
Enter the Commodore 65; in many ways like a C64 that went to "11". It featured a sleek new design, two SID audio chips, a built in 3.5" floppy drive, better graphics abilities, expansion to 8 megs of RAM, and a flat bit to rest your coffee on. Some working prototypes were made in 1990-91, and when Commodore was liquidated after their bankruptcy in '94, some of these machines got out. No one knows exactly how many are out there; estimates range from 50 to several hundred.
This particular unit is owned by Jason Compton, well known Amiga fan, editor of Amiga Report (a hyperlinked online magazine pre-HTML... wow!), and all around super talent. He may show it off at the ECCC Commodore show that's coming up September 27 this year in suburban Chicago (check out the awesome guest list of C64 luminaries!). After speaking with Jason about the C65 it seems clear that while the machine had a lot of things going for it, it was simply too late to market. By 1991 Nintendo & the PC were leading gaming and computing away from the standards that the original C64 had set.
With millions of Commodore 64's sold in the world, it seems like there could have been interest in an improved version like the 65. The C65 went unreleased not because ol' "chicken lips" (the unfortunate nickname for Commodore's logo) was too chicken to offer new products, but because the C65 simply would not have sold in the early 90's. Especially not at the $300-400 projected price. Sadly the evolutionary C65 will go down in computing history as another unfortunate casualty of Commodore's legendary lack of insight.
More details about the beleaguered C65
I'm going to September's Chicago-area C64 show, wanna come?
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