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ScuzzBlog: Diaries December 2018

Entry 18th December 2018: Post 01: Commodore 16 - Sad little computer

Commodore 16 - Sad little computer

The Commodore 16 or C16 was born of a fear of Jack Tramiel that the
Japanese were about to enter the home computer world in the States
and dominate. He need not have worried as the MSX machines did not
take over or become papular. So his decision to create the C116 which
was the base machine from which the C16 and plus/4 sprang floundered
and the computer was dead within a year. Tramiel himself left Commodore
and so the fate of this little computer was destined to fail from the
get-go. The C116 with its MSX style arrow keys was released mainly
in Europe where the plus/4 and C116 faired better.

The C16 slots in between the VIC and the C64 though sadly utilising
features that were not consistent with the later models i.e. the cassette
port and joystick port.

I have to say I have never switched one of these on. Having had such
a high failure rate on the plus/4 I discovered an inherent problem
with all these computers that probably mean the two boxed I have
almost certainly don't work. I am not going to try.

It has the look and feel of a C64 though is not one. It has 16 KB of
RAM with 12 KB for the BASIC interpreter. It does boast a new video
chipset giving 121 colours. The problem chip is the TED which lacked
the sprite functionality of the VIC-II and sound capabilities of the
SID... which are both present in the Commodore 64. The only improvement
as such on the VIC-20 was really the ROM resident BASIC 3.5.

The Commodore 16 created in 1984 using Commodore BASIC 3.5
The CPU is a MOS 7501 or 8501. The unit has 16 KB RAM and 32 KB ROM.

Shame the computer wasn't successful. Born of a bad business decision
maybe. Though I guess its easy to be critical after the event.

Commodore 16 or C16.

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Last updated 18th December 2018

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