Strange peripherals… a CD for the C64

We all know the C64 had a datasette and several incarnations of disk drives that allowed the transfer of data and of course, the loading of programs and games.  In previous articles in the “Strange peripherals…” series, I talked about some other, less known peripherals that performed similar services, such as the Quick Data Drive, a RAM-disk and an actual hard drive, the HD20.

Today, I’ll add CD to the list as back in 1989, 8 software companies agreed to put 10 of their main titles on a CD and introduce this medium as a new and innovative means to load games for the C64.
The concept utilizes the CD as a high-quality medium for storing sound rather than going the route of the CD-ROM.
Quite similar thus to the concept of the datasette, on which the data can be “heard” – we’ve all copied our friends tape using a double tape deck on our stereo sets, right? :-)
Basically, each track on the CD, was a program.

So, with this audio-CD filled with “the sound of data”, all that you had to do was connect a regular CD-player (so no need to invest in new equipment!) to the C64, by attaching the included cable into the headphones outlet on your CD-player and to the datasette port of your Commodore and select the right track on your CD player.  Load times for the games was roughly around 30 seconds (pretty fast!).

However cool it all sounded (it actually also worked with your DiscMan – another piece of cool retro tech), it never really caught on.  A spokesperson for Rainbow Arts, commented on this in the 1989 February edition of the German C64-magazine “64’er” as follows: “Making a Master-CD is quite an expensive undertaking, and we really need to see how the public, our clients, react to and adopt this new way of distributing applications and games”.

Sadly, adoption was not high and the compilation CD that was originally released on to the market in 1989, is the only one I know of…
At a cost of € 50, it wasn’t cheap, but you did get 10 games and the cable included…

For the record and history, here’s the list of games that was on this initial release, along with 10 songs from Chris Hülsbeck:

– David’s Midnight Magic (Broderbund)
– Leader Board Golf (Access)
– Mission Elevator (Softgold)
– Impossible Mission (Epyx)
– Dropzone (U.S. Gold)
– Loderunner (Broderbund)
– Solomon’s Key (U.S. Gold)
– Jinks (Rainbow Arts)
– M.U.L.E. (Electronic Arts)
– Fist II (Melbourne House)

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3 Responses to Strange peripherals… a CD for the C64

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  3. Codemasters released a compilation CD for the C64 and Spectrum, too (

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