Press Play On Tape: The Commodore Is Still Keeping Up With You

PPOT17_TitleAs Commodore 64 month draws to a close, episode 17 of Press Play on Tape rolls in to prove that the Commodore is still keeping up with you! Hosts Alex and Aaron are joined by Ant Stiller and Hellfire64’s Rob Caporetto on a round-table discussion on everyone’s favourite 34 year old breadbin.

The group discusses what makes the system special to them, how they’ve been celebrating C64 month, and if there’s anything they’d ever do to change the system. There is also a look at some of the brand new releases that have caught their eye in recent times, and a few of the upcoming titles on the horizon.

The audience were challenged to come up with what game defined the Commodore 64 for them. The lads definitely weren’t ready for the overwhelming response – definitely proving that people are still keeping up with the Commodore!

This episode of Press Play On Tape along with all previous podcasts can be found on Podbean and also iTunes – we’d love it if you gave us a review while you’re there. It all helps!

blahjediAaron Clement
Tassie based retro gaming guy. Father of 3 and married to the very tolerant Kellie Clement. Coffee powered!

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Top 30 C64 Games Of August 1988

Top30_C64_Aug88_chart_HDR1988 was my favourite year of the 1980s. I was still playing arcade machines that had come out a year or two before ’88, like Bubble Bobble and Double Dragon, but the new machines hitting our shores were just so impressive – Power Drift, Galaxy ForceChase H.Q., Ninja Warriors, Dragon Ninja, P.O.W., Vigilante, Cabal, Ninja Gaiden, Forgotten Worlds, Operation Thunderbolt, we could literally go on for another couple of paragraphs! I just wish someone invented a time machine already!

1988 was also a gaming bonanza on the C64. There were great original games, film tie-ins and arcade conversions aplenty. If you were wondering what the top 30 C64 games were this month (August) in 1988, take a peek below, we promise it will send a nostalgic shiver down your spine. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Aliens was our favourite movie on VHS at the time. 1988 was a darn good year!

Top30_C64_August88_chartchart source: Zzap!64 August 1988 issue


You Don’t Know Jack! Interview with Jack Tramiel from PC’89!

JT_interview_titleConsidering that August is all about the Commodore 64 (#C64Month), we thought we would revisit an interview with Commodore (Ed: and Atari Corp.) founder, Jack Tramiel (born: Idek Trzmiel). The interview took place at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia, while Jack was here to officially open the PC’89 exhibition. As per usual, Jack is candid in his responses and provides us with an insight into his early life that shaped him as a ruthless businessman. If you are a Commodore fan (Ed: or an Atari fan), grab yourself some popcorn and read on……

Presenter: Jack Tramiel is here in Australia to open the PC ’89 exhibition at Darling Harbour which starts today, and he’s given us a little bit of time in the studio this morning. Good morning.
Jack Tramiel: Good morning.

Presenter: We work our guests hard when they come to Australia and you’re finding that out, aren’t you?
Jack Tramiel: I do yes.

Presenter: You’ve had a very busy time.
Jack Tramiel: But I’m enjoying it.

Presenter: Are you?
Jack Tramiel: Yes.

Presenter: Well I’m glad to hear that. In fact we’ve got a line of Americans in this hour of the program which is interesting because it’s a lot of people from your part of the world making their way to our shores. Commodore 64 is big here, it’s big just about everywhere isn’t it?
Jack Tramiel: Yes it is.

Presenter: Did you really invent it?
Jack Tramiel: No I’m not the engineer. I’m a businessman, but I do know what the public wants and I know how to bring technology and people together. And by living in Silicon Valley where the technology was born I know it’s available, I know how to bring like I said people together and sell volume to bring the price down that the average person can afford to buy. In this we’ve made the 64 so successful.

Presenter: Commodore started out as a fairly small company I think didn’t it? What did they start out as?
Jack Tramiel: Well I founded Commodore and that was in 1955 in Toronto Canada.

Presenter: Where did you get the name from?
Jack Tramiel: From the back of a Opal Commodore of a car.

Presenter: It was as ordinary as that was it?
Jack Tramiel: I was sitting in a taxi cab and I was trying to get the name for the company which I was building, and I was really looking to make it call it General, I’d just come out of the army and I was in the army for three years and seven months, so I was looking for something strong, so I was looking for a name like General which I couldn’t get because it was taken. Then I was looking for a name like Admiral, and that was taken, and as I was talking to a friend of mine in the cab right in front of me this car with the name Commodore. I said well let’s try this one.

Presenter: And that was it?
Jack Tramiel: And that was it.

Presenter: What a wonderful story, I love it, I love it.  We’re back in 1955, let’s go a little bit further back, life started for you in Poland, is that right?
Jack Tramiel: Yes I was born in Poland, I was born in 1928, in 1939 the war started and that’s the time when I to a certain extent left Poland. Auschwitz was still in Poland but it was not Poland for me.

Presenter: When you were in Auschwitz?
Jack Tramiel: Yes.

Presenter: For how long?
Jack Tramiel: I was in the camps altogether for five years and a few months.


Presenter: And then America?
Jack Tramiel: Then I spent two years in Germany from April 10th 1945 till November 19th 1947. In November 1947 I left Germany and went to the United States.

Presenter: Did you have a lot of money?
Jack Tramiel: I had absolutely no money at all when I arrived in the States, I’m Jewish, that’s the reason I was in camp, and a Jewish organisation paid for my ticket and they also gave me 10 dollars spending money. And when I arrived I was in a hostel like which was done by the Jewish Immigration Association and for three weeks I had to find my own way and I started to work for whatever job I could find. But when I did arrive in New York I did not believe that I’m in the United States.

Presenter: Why?
Jack Tramiel: Because it was just like being back in Poland, same language, the area I was in it was lots of immigrants and it had the same smell of pickles and of herring and all that which was very nice but this is not what I came for. And I made a decision that the United States was extremely good to me, I was liberated by the Americans and I felt I wanted to learn more about America so I joined the army.

Presenter: Where did you fight, or did you not fight? Did you go to Korea?
Jack Tramiel: No I didn’t go anywhere.

Presenter: You just joined the army?
Jack Tramiel: I joined the army and it did me a lot of good to learn all about America because it was a peopledom. Washington State, from California, from Texas and from New York and black and green and white – all kinds of different people, and I found that America is not New York City only, there is much more to it. Then I left the army and after two years and the Korean War started and I was recalled, but I was still lucky that I was not shipped to the front and there the second time around I made a decision that I’d better learn a trade, and the army gave that opportunity to start repairing office equipment like typewriters and adding machines etc. And before I left I was in charge of the First Army Office Equipment Repair Department which we had something like 25-thousand pieces of equipment in there for repairs. And when I left the army I actually continued working in the same field.

Presenter: And that was the genesis of your interest in computers?
Jack Tramiel: Correct. And so during the day I was working in an office equipment repair shop, at night I was driving a cab to be able to feed my family and after a while I decided I’d better use my allowance which I received from the United States Army I was entitled to borrow 25-thousand dollars from the bank with a government guarantee. And I actually took that money and I started my own business, my own little shop. And after I had done that I found that New York City in which I was in the Bronx, it was just a little too big, people were too smart and 25-thousand dollars which is not enough. And my wife had lots of family, she’s also a survivor, also from Poland, and she had a lot of family in Toronto and we used to go there every once in a while, so we decided to move to Toronto. And there I repaired again the typewriters and adding machines in a company by the name of Sears Roebuck liked my services and they asked me if I’d possibly could find a way how I could assembly a typewriter for them. Being young enough and foolish enough I figure it’s an easy task, as long as you have money you can do almost anything. Well I get 176-thousand dollar loan from Sears and I started to try to find a license to build typewriters. Well no American or West European country or company wanted to give me a license, so I wound up getting a license from Czechoslovakia.

And I actually brought 50 technicians over the counter, we started building typewriters. And we built so many that we could not sell them all in Canada and I had to start exporting them back to the States and that’s the way Commodore started.

Presenter: That’s a fantastic story and it tells me because you haven’t said this, but it tells me that you’re a man of great determination, that you don’t think that any obstacle can get in your way. Do you feel that?
Jack Tramiel: I don’t feel that. When I look back you know there must be something you know. In the camp that I told you I was in there was 10-thousand people in 1944, and we moved from Auschwitz to Hanover and when the war came to an end of these 10-thousand there was only 60 left.

Presenter: 60 individuals?
Jack Tramiel: 60 individuals from 10-thousand people. I was one of those 60. So from there on, nothing was difficult to me.

Presenter: No, having survived that.
Jack Tramiel: Right. So I believe when a person has a goal, when a person is willing to work hard, the person does not want to become rich the same day but he looks at it in the long term, he can make it. The key is to give first and receive after. We live in a society today that’s just the opposite.


Presenter: Everybody wants to take, take, take don’t they?
Jack Tramiel: Right now.

Presenter: Instant gratification?
Jack Tramiel: But if you are willing to invest your time, your effort and you’re willing to serve society, society will reward you in time.

Presenter: Extraordinary, an amazing story. And you’ve got a very happy face. Are you a happy person do you think?
Jack Tramiel: Well a very happy person because I, I’m just looking at that in 1945 I was reborn, I don’t look back, I do remember but I don’t have any hate in me. I have built a company, I have built a family, I have three sons and four grandchildren and they all know about my background and about success and they’re all working together with me, my three sons are part of my company, and we are very happy with what we’ve accomplished.

Presenter: Well welcome to our country, I hope you have a happy stay, and I hope they don’t work you too hard, not in this humidity anyway.
Jack Tramiel: Thank you.

Interview source:
mage source: 8bitlegends


Pastfinder: A Long Lost C64 Gem

Why has it taken me almost 30 years to discover and play Pastfinder? I mean, I love shoot’em ups, so this game should have been on my radar back in the 1980s. Anyway, it is never too late to enjoy a great game, and let me say from the outset, Pastfinder is a beauty.

What’s there not to like, you are thrown thousands of years into the future on a baron planet with high radiation, you have an awesomely powerful spacecraft (called a Leeper) that is able to walk the landscape (the articulating legs look great!) and fly high to blast enemies and also drop-off supplies to the bases that desperately need them.

Pastfinder is a classic vertical shmup with a twist (think of Zaxxon, but in a vertical attribution instead of isometric) – the clever gameplay of flying and walking the landscape to avoid obstacles, together with tight controls, makes this an absolute blast! Yep, that pun was fully intended! Play this now on your C64, you won’t regret it!



pastfinder_screen2image source: Lemon64


Commodore Club: Under the Hammer

Carrying the tradition of August being Commodore month, the Commodore Club held their annual auction at the weekend. There was a fair bit of loot on offer, from the C64 and Amiga, to the Atari 2600, N64, SNES and other classic systems.

Paul the auctioneer kept the formalities to a minimum and ensured the smooth running of the bidding processes – once the gavel dropped, there was no mucking around. What transpired was some friendly bidding wars amongst the modest crowd. Weird and Retro’s Serby cleaned up with the winning bid on the C64 cassette games, but I ensured I got in on the action with winning the C64 Breadbin andC64 compilation game pack auctions. The usual suspects (StaceyRob and Pedro) also got in amongst the action and scored themselves some impressive vintage goodies. By the end of it all, everything that was up for grabs was gone.

Once the auction wrapped up, it was down to business of playing some old school classics. The Commodore Club day is one of those monthly events that you should not miss! Are you coming to the next one?

Let the auction begin!

Paul whips the crowd into a frenzy

The Commodore 64 cassette loot

Sussing out what to bid on

Oo’er the 1942 – never seen one in the flesh, till now!

Amiga represent

Mmmmm, juicy C64 compilations

I really really wanted to win this lot! Alas, Serby did

Smash that gavel on Rolf!

I wonder if I could just borrow these for a while….

My winning lot!
Serby’s WaR chest!

Oh that gorgeous A3000 is begging to be played

Auction over. Game on!