• Tag Archives Commodore 64
  • The Halley Project

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    Source: Amiga World – January 1986

    The Halley Project, subtitled “A Mission In Our Solar System”, was a game released by Mindscape for the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit and Apple II in 1985. A version with updated graphics was also released for the Amiga in 1986. For those old enough to remember, 1986 was the year Halley’s comet made it’s once every 86 year visit to the inner solar system. It was definitely a big deal at the time so it isn’t surprising that a game would be made to capitalize on that publicity.

    The Halley Project is actually a pretty good game. It’s a sort of space flight simulator and you are recruited as a star pilot to participate in the “greatest scientific adventure in history”. This consists primarily of traveling to and exploring different objects in the solar system. The game is fairly high on realism for the time with realistic distances used. The game does give you a hyperdrive so you don’t have to spend months or years on each mission though. After completing all of the missions, you would be given a code that you would then have to mail to Mindscape in order to receive instructions on how to access the final secret mission. This basically just involved them sending you the password.

    The Halley Project is a relatively obscure game by today’s standards. It has not been re-released and there are no sequels (maybe when Halley’s comet comes around again). If you want to give this one a try, you’ll have to find an original disk or use emulation. The Amiga version has somewhat better graphics than the others but they all play basically the same so you can just choose your favorite platform.

    The screen shots above are from the Amiga version and the ad is from the January 1986 issue of Amiga World.






  • Abby’s House of Discount Software (Commodore 64, VIC-20)

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    Source: Commander – June 1984

    It’s always interesting to go back and look at these ads from various 8-bit software/hardware dealers of the 80s to see what was available. I swear some of these places must have literally been fly by night. I never remember seeing and ad for this particular dealer until I ran across this one recently.

    This particular ad is from the June 1984 issue of Commander magazine, a Commodore 8-bit publication. What’s interesting about this one is that it is early enough to show cassette based software for sale. The Commodore 64 had been introduced less than two years before and had not been widely available for too long at this point. However, it’s pretty clear from this ad that cassette based software, while certainly available in North America (at least for a while), was never as popular as disk or cartridge based software. By the time I got my Commodore 64 two years later, there wasn’t really any available.

    Stuff for the older VIC-20 also shows up in this ad and while there’s some cassette stuff for it too, cartridges were always more popular that disks or cassettes on that machine because of its very limited stock memory.






  • Apropos Technology (1984)

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    Source: Commander – June 1984




    I used to love looking at these hardware ads. Today when you buy a computer, it has just about every interface that most people would need (everything is mostly USB anyway). But in the 1980s, you needed some sort of interface add-on for just about everything. Want a printer? Make sure you get the right interface. A modem? Might need an additional interface for that too. Then there were all those non-standard RAM expansions…

    In this ad from the June 1984 issue of Commander magazine, you can see just a few of the multitude of hardware expansions available for Commodore 8-bit computers. For example, for the VIC-20 you could get ~27K of memory for only $80! Then there were more obscure things like a cartridge switcher for the Commodore 64.

    Then there are those printers. I can’t believe how much a printer used to cost. What is essentially a typewriter modified to work automatically with a computer cost $600 to $700 and that was a lot more money in 1984 than it is now. If you wanted something designed from the ground up to be a printer and that could print at more than a few characters per second, expect to spend more…at least in the early 1980s.

    I am not at all familiar with Apropos Technology but there were probably thousands of small hardware and software dealers like this one advertising in magazines throughout the 1980s. Most of them didn’t last very long (like this one as far as I know) but some would become well known.