• Judland

  • by judland

These are the ramblings of a happy Commodore computer user since 1983. If you'd like to read more, you can visit my blog at: http://istilladoremy64.chorusgrove.com

Oct
16

The C64 Underground of the 1980s

With no such thing as the Internet and access to very few places that sold C64 software - not that I had the cash to buy it in the first place - what was a teenager to do in the mid-eighties?

Back in the eighties, we didn't have the Internet. So, when we wanted to get games for our C64s, we had to find disks. Now, this meant either you went to a store and bought yourself game disks or you found someone who had a disk they were willing to share.

I didn't have much (if any) cash back then and there weren't many stores in the area that sold games for the C64. Those stores that did sell games, didn't have much of a selection anyway. So, to get my games, I did what most of us did back in those days; we found like-minded friends (or friends of a friend's friend) and created so-called "underground" disk sharing networks.

It was all very cloak-and-dagger back then, too. My "contact" in high-school was a student in my art class.

Every morning, before class started, he would loan me the latest disks he got from his cousin (or something like that). I would then take them home, make my copies and bring them back when I was done.

It always seemed like such a long wait between trades as I would never know when the next batch of disks were to arrive and what games would be next. It was great!

I never got to experience the BBS scene until I went away to college. The C64 scene was a little bigger there, than in my home-town, making it easier to learn and do more.

My first modem was a 300 baud MasterModem and I used it quite a bit.

The city where I went to college actually had quite a few Commodore based BBS in the area and I spent many a late night visiting them.

I also met and became friends with someone in the the college's student residence who had quite the collection of C64 disks, too. So, between him and the BBS network, I was a very content C64 user.

Altough it is wonderful to have just about every game or application, written for the C64, just a mouse-click away, I find that something has been lost in the process of making everything so easily available. I sometimes miss the obscurity, or the challenge of the hunt (so to speak) that went along with the entire expereince of computing back in - what I like to call - "the PC's golden age".

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Responses

daytona400f 10/30/2011

I used to troll the isles of Toys-R-Us and try to recruit people to trade software with! One guy I met ended up getting really into C64 hardware/software/programming. He works at EA now writing software for video games. I like your "cloak and dagger" line! sooo true... Here in Sacramento we used to organize copy-parties. Everyone would pack up their c64's, floppy drives, newest copy software/parameter disks and spend the better half of a day just copying. Good times!

judland 10/31/2011

That's pretty cool, knowing someone in the video game industry. I didn't know enough people who owned PCs, let alone C64s, back then. So, I had to rely on my "contact" in my art class. I was the kid who's buddies would come over to play the games that I had in my collection.

They didn't have C64s, but rather Intellivisions and Atari 2600s. Needless to say, their game collections were a lot smaller than mine.

Thanks for your post! I really enjoy hearing (or reading in this case) other people's C64 stories.