The C64 Mini: a gaming blast from the past

Originally published at:


Here’s a well done review of the c64 mini by a guy who is totally passionate about the system.

And here’s another one by Jeremy Williams from Adam Savage’s Tested channel.


I didn’t pull the trigger for two reasons: I wanted an operational keyboard (or at least a USB jack to plug one in, but it wasn’t made clear if this was possible), and I wanted the game list to include “Below the Root”. So, I guess if there’s a way to load further games, and plug a keyboard in, maybe? Kind of? I haven’t even worked my way through half of the games on the SNES Classic I bought four months ago, and lets not even bring up the 143-in-1 NES cart I got before that.


From the description:

  • 2 USB ports: plug in a USB keyboard and use as a fully functional home computer, or add a second joystick for 2-player games

Afaik we can load games via USB.


Yup, that’s a nice selection. I might be concerned that they’d get in trouble with licensing for some of them. Also, why do they call it Jumpman 2 and not Jumpman Jr?

The Amazon page suggests it does not save hi scores by default, which is more than a little unfortunate. I’d at least want savestates. (Who the heck would have the patience for Monty on the Run anymore?)


I presume that they have the rights for those games all sorted out?

According to that first video I linked to, loading games via usb is a little problematic because you need the joystick controller, an external keyboard, and a USB drive all plugged in at the same time, but the device only comes with two usb ports, so you need to either use a usb hub (which may or may not work), or do what the guy in the video does, and use an apple keyboard that has a usb port built-in.

Yes. Also according to that first video, the people who made the C64 mini wanted to put other, better games on it, but because of the passage of time, they weren’t able to track down the people who owned the rights to them, because many games ownerships have changed hands multiple times.

The device apparently provides 4 savestates for each game.

That’s OK! I have my own C64.


Commodore BASIC isn’t in the app list? Can you break out to BASIC? I assume it has to emulate all or at least most of the C64 hardware quirks because games tended to use them a lot, so the BASIC interpreter could be fun.

Big missing feature: No PETSCII graphics characters printed on the front of the keys!

The C64 keyboard should look like this:

Note the weird hieroglyphics on the front of each character key. Those were the foundation of the character graphics on the system. (fuddy duddy ASCII instead opted for international characters).

The games list also doesn’t include Ace of Aces. :confused:


Wait a minute–there’s a 720p HDMI output on this C64? image

I think it should only be able to connect to HD displays via coaxial.


One of those “Tune to Channel 3” boxes?


I literally learned to use computers on a C-64, and learned to program, and ran my first BBS on a C-64C.

The C64 was my gateway not only to my current career and fascination with being “online” but also to countless awesome games and general interest in technology (“how does the data get on this tape?!” “I wonder what makes that weird noise in the disk drive?” “Ooh! If I cut out a spot on this disk I can use the other side!”).

Fave games:

  • Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
  • Summer Games / Winter Games / California Games
  • F15 strike eagle
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • BC’s Quest for Tires
  • Maniac Mansion

BC’s Quest for Tires!!!


Yes! BASIC! This is what I wanted to ask. Also, whilst this is all well and groovy, why has no one done this with the Amiga yet*?
(actually, the reasons are probably as depressing as any story from late-life Amiga. I Probably don’t want to know)


No Agent USA?! How dissapointing waited & hoped to play this game again. It’s not on the list.


OK. This has the potential to be way cool. But:

  1. It should be a computer, too. Not just a game platform.

  2. It is missing the ESSENTIALS:



Seven Cities of Gold


Amigas had a lot of weird hardware in them, I’m betting accurate emulation is a much bigger challenge than a NES or C64.

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Emulating the custom support chips on the Amy is… interesting, and not necessarily in a good way. (and that’s not going into the copy protection schemes…)

The C64 is also interesting to emulate the peripherals on, especially for copy protected games; some of the schemes were especially hardware dependent; if your 1541 wasn’t in good alignment, the game wouldn’t load or run properly because it was doing stupid controller tricks to read half-tracks, forced ‘bad’ sector reads, and other creative measures. It was a common measure for systems of that era, unfortunately.


I’m going to bet that’s a lot of the reason why. That being said though, the UAE has been able to emulate Amigas well enough for most games for a very long time.

I’ve resisted getting something like a mac mini hooked up to my TV running UAE for a long time, mainly because if I did that, I would never have any free time again.