C64Month competition answers

Last month I held the C64Month competition right here on the MOS6502-site.  It seems the quiz was a bit harder than expected with messages arriving from my retro friends on Twitter and Google+ that they found 8, 9, 10 answers but not more.  I guess you’re all wondering what the correct answers were then to this Commodore themed quiz, so without further delay, here they are:

1. This is a close-up of which Commodore system?

This is the Commodore Amiga CD32 system, the world’s first 32-bit games console.  Announced at the Science Museum in London on July 16th, 1993 the Amiga 1200 based console got released a few months later in September.  It sold well in Europe as approximatey 100.000 units went over the counter before Commodore went bankrupt in April 1994.

2. It’s a keyboard, but of which Commodore system?

The color of the keyboard along with the led-indicator on the “lock”-key make this the keyboard of the Commodore SX-64, the world’s first color portable computer.

3. To what does this belong to?

This is a close-up of the remote control unit of the Commodore CDTV.  The CDTV being basically an Amiga 500 in a HiFi-case, aimed at the same consumer market as that targeted by the Philips CD-I system.
Unfortunately for both Commodore and Philips, the expected market for multimedia appliances did not materialize, and neither machine met with any real commercial success.
On top of that, the Amiga 500 with its A570 CD-ROM drive was capable of running CDTV software, so there was very little motivation for Amiga owners to buy the CDTV.
Commodore would rectify this with the CDTV’s successor: the Amiga CD32, by adding the Akiko chip. This would enable CD32 games to be playable only on the CD32.

4. The C64 had many peripherals. Which one is this?

This is one of those “strange” peripherals: the Phonemark Quick Data Drive.  It connects to the datassette port of the C64 and stores and reads its data from microwafers with sizes from 16 KBytes to 128 KBytes.  The specs were quite interesting for the 80s as it had its own directory system, its own operating system and could load and save with a speed of 2 KBytes/sec.

5. This is part of the box art of which game?

This is the Jack Attack game.  It was developed by two young Canadian programmers.  The title was given by Commodore’s Michael Tomczyk and his team of software developers as a “Jack attack” was something that the Commodore insiders would know.  Basically, when Jack Tramiel thought you did something wrong, you would be in for some serious talking and shouting, aka a Jack attack.

6. This has got to be one of those classic epic C64 games. Shown here is a page out of the manual. What’s the game?

It’s a game that sits comfortably in my top-5 of all-time classics: Sid Meier’s Pirates!  Advertised as “The world’s first swashbuckling simulation”, it puts you in the Caribbean of the 16th and 17 century, where your career as a young pirate captain was about to start.  You could sail your ship around the Caribbean, attack merchant ships, engage the Spanish fleet and capture a couple of Spanish towns, in which you could then put your own country’s governor.  Perform well, and one could be looking at marrying one of the fair young maidens and work your way up in royalty!

7. Over the years, Commodore made many different computers and peripherals. Some never left the prototype stage, just like the disk drives shown here. Can you tell me for which system they were intended?

These were 3,5″ battery powered disk drives that were supposed to go alongside the Commodore LCD.  The Commodore LCD and it’s 3,5″ drives were presented simultaneously with the Commodore 128 at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas back in January 1985.
The LCD had its own version of BASIC (3.6, modeled on BASIC 3.5 from the 264 series) and several programs in its 96 Kbytes ROM including a word processor, spreadsheet, calculator, terminal program, monitor, memopad, file manager and an address book.  Sadly, it never went into production.

8. Music on the C64 was made possible by the incredible SID chip. Of course, that is only the hardware part. It was up to those who could actually make music to add to the atmosphere of so many games. Can you name these 3 SID legends?

It’s Chris Huelsbeck, Rob Hubbard and Martin Galway.
Many of Chris’ scores for the Commodore 64 are regarded as classics among enthusiasts today, most notably The Great Giana Sisters.  He is best known for the soundtracks to the Turrican series of games.
Rob’s most popular tunes include Thrust, Spellbound, Sanxion, Auf Wiedersehen Monty and International Karate.  The game Knucklebusters includes Hubbard’s longest tune: a 17 minute opus.
Martin’s famous for amongst others the game music forRambo: First Blood Part II, Comic Bakery and Wizball’s.  He’s also the composer of the music used in the loader for the C64 version of Arkanoid.

9. Zooming in on some games, can you name this one?

It’s Hover Bovver, a game released in 1984 by Llamasoft.  A bit of a “strange” game, as it involved mowing lawns, avoiding an angry neighbour (who’s mower you’ve borrowed) and a gardener and keeping your attack dog loyal.

10. More close-ups of games… which one is this?

This one’s another 1984 classic: Bruce Lee by Datasoft.  It was a fun game that you could play solo or with a friend, who would then take on the role of the Sumo-wrestler.  Usually, this meant “forget the quest and just have a one-on-one fight with Bruce Lee”.

11. OK, here’s one more… go on, it’s easy!

Probably the scariest game for the C64, it’s Electric Deams’ 1987 adaptation of the movie Aliens.  In this game you controlled 6 soldiers and your task was to find out what happened to the inhabitants of the base.  The game had this eerie soundtrack that made it all the more thrilling to play.  Just like in the movie, your proximity meter would beep and continually rise in pitch and frequency when the aliens got closer and closer.

12. Which Commodore system is this?

With everyone making PONG clones in the 70s, Commodore built 2 PONG-styled systems as well, with this one being the 2000K.
The 2000K console was the first and it features two paddles, connected by wire (with 2 additional optional paddles); 9VDC or battery power (6 AA batteries required, yes it can run on batteries!). It generates its own sound with the built-in speaker and can play 4 games: Tennis, Target (with an optional light gun), Football and Squash. There is also a gage for difficulty level (handicap), and another for the number of players and other settings.
The cool thing is that the core chip, the MOS 7601 (the last of MOS’s Pong-chip line) read game instructions from a special ROM which appears to be internal to the chip, making it stand out from the other Pong-clones that had the game hard-coded into the system’s logic.
However, because graphics and sound are also generated directly by the 7601 and are hardwired into the chip’s logic, it meant that special variants had to be created if a special display was required for an arbitrary application. Thus, the 7601 in the TV Game series, while being programmable in a crude sense, is hardwired to generate the graphics for the TV Game series’ internal games only and cannot be used into drawing other kinds of shapes.

13. A look at the inside of a Commodore via the user port… but what Commodore is this?

The color and the “stripes” at the back mean it can only be the Commodore 116 or the Plus/4, but since we’re looking at the user port, it’s the Plus/4 that is shown here as the C116 came without one.

14. Schematics were essential of you wanted to tinker with your Commodore hardware. So, what’s the name of this chip?

This is the schematic of the 8502 chip aka the C128 CPU.

15. In the early 80s, Commodore published a bi-monthly magazine called “Commodore the Microcomputer Magazine”. The main focus of this magazine was the PET. As the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 grew tremendously in popularity, a new magazine was launched on July 1st, 1982 with a focus on video games. What was the name of this magazine?

It was “Power/Play” and focussed initially on the in-house developped games.

16. The Commodore 64 ran at roughly 1 MHz. The engineers at Commodore experimented with the 6502 speeds and at a certain moment in 1982, made an 8-bit 6502 run at an amazing speed of … MHz? How fast did it run?
It never went into production though, as faster CPU would have called for faster RAM and ROM and that would have made it too expensive.

The team made a couple of special 6502 processors for a chess tournament.  By water-cooling (!) the processors, they ran at an astonishing 8 MHz.

17. Who was the voice-over that gave the first Commodore 64 commercials that little sarcastic undertone?

Henry Morgan

18. Who at Commodore actually gave the Commodore 64 its name?

Throughout the whole production design of the Commodore 64, the system was called the VIC-40.  Kit Spencer wanted to change the name to match the other computers in the Commodore lineup: The P128 being the Personal computer with 128 KBytes, the B256 which was the Business computer with 256 KBytes.  Since the VIC-40 would be a Consumer product with 64 KBytes, it would hence be called the C64 (so with the “C” reflecting “Consumer” and not what most think, Commodore).

19. What was the “old” name or name used during the design of the Commodore 64?

That was VIC-40, as mentioned above.

20. The Commodore 64 had a portable version, called the SX-64. There were also 2 other portable versions in existence (although very very rare). One featured a second disk drive and another had a monochrome screen instead of the colour monitor inside the SX-64. What were the names of these 2 other “flavors” of portable Commodore 64s?

The one with the second disk drive was the DX-64.  It was never really commercialized and effectively only used at Commodore.  The second disk drive called for a higher power input, making it very unpractical as a portable computer.
The monochrome screen variant was the SX-100.

I hope you enjoyed this little quiz and all of the other stuff that went on during C64Month!

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