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Commodore was a secret conspiracy of the US Navy to destroy the nascent Personal Computer market in the early 1980s. Commodore Jack Tramiel worked with the Navy to set up Commodore Business Machines to make cheap affordable computers to ruin the market and take Apple, IBM, Atari, Radio Shack aka Tandy, Timex/Sinclair, and others out of business.
“I don't believe in compromises, I believe in winning!”
Jack Tramiel ran Commodore as though it was a Navy battleship. Anyone who didn't follow his orders was subjected to a "Jack Attack," which took the form of Commodore Tramiel bursting through their cubicle wall and attacking them until they submitted to his will. This is how the Commodore series of computers were released with slow floppy disk and tape drives; in order to save costs, Commodore Tramiel repeatedly punched anyone who refused to make his computers cheaper, until they relented and compromised the speed of the components in favor of price. It was through this style of corporate management that Tramiel was able to undercut other computer makers and drive them out of business during the 1980s computer war. Commodore prevailed until 1994, when IBM released the PC Senior with VGA graphics and Windows and put them out of business with even cheaper computers and even crappier operating systems made possible by a combined effort of IBM and Microsoft.
Commodore should not be confused with the Holden Commodore despite the fact they share the same technology. The iconic namesake Australian muscle car was even designed using the drawing program Doodle on a Commodore 64.
Commodore produced a range of different computers, each one slightly less resembling the breadbox you'd find in your Grandma's kitchen than its predecessor.
edit Commodore PET
The Commodore PET (Primitive Earth Technology) was commissioned by NASA for the Apollo Space Program and sold to school children. The best Lunar Lander players in America were invited to mission control in Houston to play the game where real lives were at stake thousands of kilometers away in the moon's orbit. The only incident of note was when one player accidentally pressed three keys at once, causing the oxygen tanks on Apollo 13 to overheat and explode. Following this near disaster Commodore decided to concentrate instead on the home market where the threat of a lawsuit was less likely.
edit Commodore VIC-20
Jack Tramiel joined forces with William Shatner to introduce the first sub $300 8 bit home computer, the Commodore VIC-20. It had 5K of RAM and 16 colors and ran with a 1 MHz 6502 CPU and hooked up to a television set. It sold like hotcakes, until Jack decided to make the Commodore 64 (originally known as the Commodore VIC-64) to replace it. Tramiel decided that the Commodore 64 wouldn't run any VIC-20 games, because he based the Commodore 64 on the PET computer not the VIC-20, but would have 64K of RAM and higher resolution graphics of 40 columns instead of 22 columns like the VIC-20 had. After the Commodore 64 came out the VIC-20's price was dropped to under $100 and later $25. ($25 Vic20s turned out to be rebadged 64s with simple internal switches labelled 'warranty void if adjusted.') The Commodore VIC-20 then became known as a poor person's computer as one could afford it on welfare and homeless people bought them and hooked them up to old black and white TV sets hotwired into lamp posts for electricity so they could play games and calculate their expenses out of their cardboard boxes. After all, if Captain Kirk said it was a good computer, Star Trek fans would buy it. The Commodore VIC-20 was the poor person's Apple or IBM PC Jr., but much cheaper making it ideal if one doesn't mind slow floppy drives that take 45 minutes to load a program - the tape drive took 2 hours to load the same program. After the VIC-20 flopped, Shatner went on to shill for Priceline.com and "Promise" margarine.
edit Commodore 64The Commodore 64 evolved from the PET to become the most sophisticated, powerful computer platform ever devised by non-alien lifeforms. While this evolution remains under contention from those espousing intelligent design theory, common belief is that a significant number of Commodore PETs realized that they had no colour abilities - and hence adapted to the 1980s computer market. Inter-computer inbreeding resulted in the Commodore 64. No mimes were hurt during this process (but they were worried. Oh yes, they were worried).
While generally used by pre-teens to play (now classic) games like Jumpman, Jumpman Jr., and Flight Simulator II, the Commodore 64 was capable of multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction (although, granted, multiplication and division were merely after-market add-ons, not built in). It could be expanded with a variety of peripherals (e.g. tape drives, floppy drives) and could even run cartridges (e.g. Fastload). The computer also came with the BEESICK programming langauge built in. This enabled users to communicate with sick bees in order to make the computer function. Owners of early Commodore 64 models could even bake a loaf of bread with the computer, by placing dough into the special slot built into the case. Most Commodore 64 owners preferred to bake their bread in an ordinary oven after having the computer mix and knead the dough, claiming that it finished with a more pleasing texture and even browning.
Many users who purchased non-turbo cassette-based games in 1985 are still waiting for them to finish loading.
Here's a sample of its features:
- Nintendo-64 derived architecture
- 1 MHz processor
- 16 colours, palette optimised for displaying hi-res pornographic images
- Absence of Microsoft Paperclip!
- Variety of strange symbols readily accessible with shift key (in fact, these symbols represent an alien alphabet, used to communicate with extra-terrestrials)
- Commodore key!
- Hamster reset functionality! (worked by shoving a live hamster into the user port)
- 8 function keys cleverly mapped to only four physical keys
- Keyboard that only works when it feels like it
- Bug Spray
- A clock
- Oompa Loompa SLAVE drive
- Power switch
- 'Test your strength' Restore key, hammer not included
- 38K of available RAM (and sheep) with BEESICK interpreter loaded
- SID sound chip (made by a guy called Sid)
- Interface available with Apple II+ hardware and mimes.
- Songs such as Brick House and Three Times a Lady
- A Shift key with the patented Kickass Locking Feature (KLF).
- Lumbering Hippo disk drive.
- Hardware "Turbo Overdrive" (no theoretical speed limit) web server implemented on the SID chip, and NSA class firewall on the VIC chip. A single C64 runs the internet sub-matrix we know today.
A relatively unknown and late addition to the Commodore 64's feature list was the secondary power supply unit, which ran off magic and rainbows assuming the standard AC power supply failed to operate. This, however, was removed from all units when extremely religious people called rainbows "ghey" and magic "not cool"
Containing the powerful and still unrivaled MOS 6502 CPU, this machine could read and write data and programs to cassette tape or diskette. It had an unprecedented "zero page" register which had the ability to control nearby robots and allowed the C64 to save the world during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
All of the sites and information on the internet is stored in a network of three Commodore 64s, the first is hidden underneath the Sydney Opera House and uses the building's roof as a large transmitter. The second is on the 52nd floor of Trump Tower (so we tell him, it's really in that pyramid hotel in Vegas), the third is again under the Sydney Opera House (flying around the world is expensive). This will feature in the next movie National Treasure: Secret Commodore 64 network.
It has recently been revealed that the standard cassete loader, in most cases will show strange rainbow patterns. In an investigation by the FBI its been revealed Commodore has been secretly using this to brainwash young kids into buying even more Commodore 64's to boost their sales and to give Apple a good kick in their ass.
The Commodore 64 famously enjoyed a marketing campaign based around the Beatles' progressive metal epic 'When I'm 64'. The accompanying 30-minute promotional video was screened in cinemas worldwide and featured Paul McCartney sitting at a C64 typing in a 6502 assembly program while John Lennon was depicted struggling to establish an RS232 connection between the C64 and a newer IBM XT PC. Of course hilarious results ensued that escalated with George Harrison eventually suggesting to try a parallel connection via the Centronics port instead.
This campaign was a huge success and was estimated to have resulted in at least 5 extra sales over the Christmas period.
But nowadays Commodore are so bad at marketing, that if they were to buy KFC, they'd rename it to "Warm Dead Bird".
edit Commadore 64
The Commadore 64 is essentially the same as a regular 64, but with extra gin. It was used by a fleshed-robot named Robo-cop which was destined to destroy Unix-matrix world second in 2032. The Commodore BASIC 2.0 combined with gin was able to beat the Agent Smith clones by getting them intoxicated so they couldn't fight back. But all Robo-cop could eat was baby food and the gin only made him a mean drunk and gave him muscles like Popeye to beat the Agent Smith clones.
edit Commodore 128
The Commodore 128 was made by taking the innards from two Commodore 64s and, for some reason, a TRS-80 Model III, duct-taping them together and then sticking the whole thing into a single case. This allowed users to run two programs simultaneously; you could, for example, be typing a document in PaperClip and playing Frogger at the same time. You could then save the results to the built-in hard drive, if there was one. If not, then you could spend the rest of the week saving to a cassette tape. You could then take that cassette tape, put it into your car stereo, and listen to it. It was certainly cheaper than buying cassettes of Ozzy and Neil Young, and generally sounded better.
Shortly after the invention of the 128, Commodore decided to devote itself to further improving and developing the Amiga and then very quickly went tits up. The tits industry followed in short order with a defamation lawsuit, and Commodore went out of business.
edit Commodore 16 and Plus/4
After having achieved success with their Commodore 64, they introduced the Commodore 16. The plan was to take away most of the memory, provide worse sound and graphics and resell all peripherals to the users. To make up for the graphical shortfall (It only displayed 300x200 resolution in 40 columns), Commodore added a 16 million colour palette which mostly consisted with shades of black. The machine looked just like a C-64 and many people were deceived by its appearance. Instead of generating huge profits, the machine sold well below moderate which generated huge losses enough for many governments collapsing after rioting broke out all over the world. The main designer was mutilated and executed. After that the C16 units were sold in grocery stores for $16 each in Mexico were it found instant success even if it did not support Spanish.
Software was initially scarce but continued this trend long after the machines final demise 2 weeks later with games such as Punch Her which was initially bundled in with the machine, in which the hero scored points by beating his wife senseless with a stick, before PC Plod finally caught up and arrested him for GBH. The other famous game was called Jack Attack based on the C64 game but with even more shades of black. The game was based on Jack Tramiel and his rearranging of cubicals at Commodore and attacking employees who like tried to make the 1541 disk drive faster or something. Jack was not amused and left Commodore to buy out Atari to make the Atari ST with his son Sam Tramiel (ST = Sam Tramiel, get it?), not the son of Sam but the son of Jack named Sam.
The Plus/4 was much the same machine as the Commodore 64, and was so-named because it had 4 built in programs. A word processor, a spreadsheet,A data base , and a drawing program. The PLUS/4 was designed to be a rom-version of TriMicro's Trilogy. It required 10 months of effort by David Johnson. One month before the assigned dead-line, the rom space was changed from 64k to 32k, thus requiring a lot of last minute code changes. Pacific Tri-Micro did bring legal action against CBM for not paying royalties. The Plus/4 was translated into German and French. It sold very well in Europe. Needless to say, the Plus/4 sold exceptionally well in Hungary, where David W Johnson enjoys rock-star status.
Steve Ballmer's dog reacts badly to the news that Microsoft Flight Simulator 11 has been canceled for the Commodore 64. Being an 8 bit computer in a 64 bit world is very hard for the Commodore 64, who took to drinking heavily in order to cope. Firefox 1.52 for the Commodore 64 allows C64 users to surf porno in 16 colors using the Shockwave plugin for 16 colors on Youtube.
Ushering in the Multimedia era, the Friendly Boy, as it was referred to in Norwegian marketing materials, had advanced graphics, advanced sound, advanced keys, advanced disks, advanced processing, advanced memory, advanced user interfaces, advanced customer service, advanced joysticks, advanced modems but after Oprah referred to it as "only kinda nifty," it was fated to be defeated by the technically inferior Senior IBM. The Atari ST ripped it off in the USA, the ST stood for stolen technology. The Senior IBM used Windows which ripped off the Amiga OS with an inferior GUI that looked like it, but could not multitask. Instead of the red screen of death via Guru Meditation Errors, Windows used the blue screen of death via Bill Gates laughing at how rich he got off of suckers instead.
edit Modern Revival
Sometime around 2007-ish, a gaming computer company bought the rights to Commodore for approximately three dollars and twenty-seven cents. Commodore has made a name for itself nowadays as the premier manufacturer of gaming computers, including the economically priced GS ($1,000,000) and the high-powered and somewhat expensive "multimedia" (porn) model, the Commodore XXX ($5,000,000,000,000). Only about two people in the world own one, and both of them are Mr. Peanut. Modern Commodores come with a really cool case with customized vinyl graphics, but they refuse to sell them to anyone who doesn't own a small oil field.
The C64DTV is a $35 Commodore 64 system inside a joystick that connects to a TV set to play 30 of the Commodore 64 games. Nobody Cares about it and toy stores that carried it like Kay Bee Toys went out of business with too many of these in stock, they lowered the price to $15 then $10 then $5 but still nobody would buy them. So they closed down the toy company and put the C64DTV units in a dump near Devil's Mountain.
edit Commodore AMD 64
Well I have nothing, do you? A Commodore computer with a 64 bit AMD processor. My best guess anyway. Why make a Microsoft Windows PC with the Commodore name? I dunno, sounds stupid or something like the old Commodore PC-Colt. A Commodore PC, ridiculous! No wonder they went out of business and got bought out by Gateway.
- Apple Computer, now defunct
- Cray Computer
- IBM System/360 mainframes
- Norman Osborne Computers CP/M-86 and Z80 systems.
- Atari ST Recycled video game technology from old Atari 2600s. Not at all like an Amiga.