Design for a portable Commodore 64

Originally published at:


I don’t understand where they’re pretending the mini-cassettes go, but otherwise cool

Why mini cassettes and not a 3.5" FDD? They did exist for the 64.

They go in the side. Did you not click the link to all the images?


Good looking concept, too bad it is not practical. Commodore released a portable C-64, the Commodore SX-64. Not quite handheld.

Besides, the Atari 8-bit computers were cooler.

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This is really cool, this is a genuine compliment and I have nothing to nitpick.

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No computer of any kind was ever “cool” in the '80s

Maybe the Fairlight CMI, that’s about it

I have two words for you: Star Raiders


I can totally see hipsters wearing calculator watches carrying this around.

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Oh, and according to the sticker on the back, it doesn’t interfere with the aerial of my TV. Whenever I turn on my portable ZX Spectrum, I can’t watch Airwolf, Miami Vice or V.


The guys behind THEC64 wanted to do a C64 handheld, which looks nice and modern, but it seems it never saw the light of day:

Compare that to actually existing portable versions of the C64:


Cool design, but keep in mind it’s just a render. There is absolutely no room in case that size for a 3.5" color CRT and electronics. CRTs can be made pretty small, even color ones, but a reasonable deflection angle mandates a minimum depth to the tube and the associated magnetics (transformers, yokes, etc…) can only get so small. It would also be top-heavy as hell and uncomfortable to hold.

Make it an LCD or OLED and you absolutely could build this.




Where’s the buy now button dammit!?



The early SONY Watchman models (in the early 1980ies) had “flat” (b/w) CRTs.

Those could have been been developed into colour versions with more compact electronics, but I guess by then LCDs offered a less cumbersome route.

There were portable colour TVs with conventional-but-tiny CRTs, transistorpunk thingies almost as large as a telephone book. One of the neighbours had one, I once hooked up my VC-20 to it. Workable, but not at all practical.


I was a kid when that Sony watchman came out. I believe they cost $200 at the time. Really bad tuner made it almost unwatchable but couldn’t dial down the cool factor. A classmate got one for Xmas and it just seemed like the most extravagant gift in the world. Funny how it seemed like $200 for a cool tech gadget ($500 today) was ridiculous extravagance but today everyone over 14 has a device in that price range in their pocket.


I saw when he posted his design a while back. I’m such a sucker than when I saw this post I’d thought “maybe he’s got a prototype now!”

If he ever does a Kickstarter, put me down for launch day backer! :smiley:

The internal physical space required for all these mechanical and transistor-based parts probably isn’t actually possible in our universe, but I absolutely adore some of the nostalgic physical details:

  • The red not-LED indicator lights, that took several seconds to actually fade when the power was turned off

  • The gigantic physical Eject button, with a deliciously chunky force required to pop out a cassette

  • The texture of that weird Commodore/Nintendo plastic casing, somehow both greasy and gritty at the same time

  • Membrane keyboard! Were these things made of plastic? Metal? Treated animal leather? Nothing in the world feels like an 80’s membrane touchpad.


Which is a full-fledged computer that can do all kinds of things on top of watching movies, People even make movies on those.

Let alone a battery.

Don’t make fun of hipsters, some of them have a rather tragic life

I‘m curious, would you insist on an actual 6502 inside, or would you accept an emulation? Many people were totally pissed when the makers of THE64 revealed it wasn‘t „the real thing“, they probably wanted to hook up a datasette and wait 10 minutes before they could play a game.

Extended writing on these touchpad, e.g. when writing a program on the ZX81was such a pain in the ass. At least those without the dome switches are still made and they still feel pretty much the same.