Retro computer hardware recreations are flying high! Off the back of the Spectrum Vega project comes a new concept to do a similar treatment to the Commodore 64. "THE 64" project is hoping to bring desktop keyboard and handheld console form factors to life. Can a dream team in the driving seat with a keen eye on what the people actually want be enough to make this project a reality? We certainly hope so!
It's not clear if the project is going to use emulation to achieve its goal, but as the the product design is being spearheaded by Darren Melbourne - UK games industry veteran and creator of the C64DTV which was a fully fledged C64 inside a joystick, there is no need to worry that this project will be any different.
The design of the keyboard form is taken directly from the original "breadbin" C64 with the concept model clearly taken from marking up an original case to trim down into its core design features, keeping the distinctive look while slimming down the bulk. The handheld meanwhile looks to have more in common with a landscape orientation DMG Gameboy than a C64...
Modern interfaces will be included, SD card slot, USB and HDMI but as well as that, an original cartridge slot is planned so ROM based carts can be used, supporting the active homebrew and indie C64 scene which is regularly producing releases on physical cartridges.
As is the norm with these projects, the developers are hoping to include licensed versions of classic games from back in the day and are "already in talks with a wide range of rights holders" regarding including their IP on the devices out of the box. Hopefully a decent deal will be provided to original devs as some of these retro hardware projects have not been particularly well received by the original content rights holders.
So It's been a little hard to swallow all the hardware revivals that have been trotted out lately but this one seems pretty compelling. A choice of form factors, full original size keyboard, real hardware, cartridge compatibility, respected names driving the product. Sounds like a safe bet that this one will deliver on promises.
Back THE64 over at indiegogo