While the C64 Mini has been out for a bit now, it is only recently that I have gotten one of my own. This was mainly because I found out that, through frequent updates from the creators, you can now add your own games, as well as modify existing games to do various things!
Here are a few of the features that really have me excited with the C64 Mini…
Adding new games:
While it’s not perfect, you can add C64 games to a thumb drive and play them on the C64 Mini. While I’d really like to add things to the “carousel” with images and a text description (which I realize can be done with some modifications, but I’m not wanting to do that), being able to play some of the classic Commodore games I grew up with makes this a must play. Even though it’s just a text selection, which is just like an Everdrive.
One notable thing about the C64 Mini is the USB drive only recognizes the controller in the “Second Port”, which means any older games designed to play with the “First Port” wouldn’t work. Fortunately with a newer update you can now put a simple tag on the end of a game file and it will swap the port. There is also a way to modify the controls within games as well, mapping certain keyboard keys to controller presses, which opens up possibilities to make some games more playable. Especially with controllers featuring extra controllers, which leads me to the next bonus.
While the Commodore 64 uses the classic Atari 2600 joystick, I’ve always preferred a D-Pad for playing games. The fact that you can now use a USB controller with the C64 Mini makes this a possibility. You can also map the buttons, which leads to some more extra play-ability with classic games that may increase the gaming experience in unique and new ways.
Here is an example of a really cool use: I have some USB SNES controllers that work with the C64 Mini, which have a ton of extra buttons. So I basically map the D-Pad to the controller and Y button to the main button, which covers the main controls. A lot of games use the “Up” direction to perform jumping in platforming games, along with various other actions, which has always been awkward for me. Now with three extra face buttons I can map the B button to Up as well, which means I can play platforming games in a much more uniform and familiar way! This opens up a new world of “control-ability” that is an unexpected bonus.
While I do realize that there will always be some inherent lag on any HD system that isn’t using fancy FPGA hardware to emulate things more efficiently, the C64 Mini is a really excellent plug and play that turns into a beast of a Commodore 64 Tribute Machine with some minor customization. I highly recommend this system to anyone wanting to relive the 80s with this classic system and I hope that the developers continue to add functionality with future updates.
Is there anything that I missed that might be cool to mess with? Let me know as I’d love to see what else this little gem has to offer!