Commodore 64 Christmas Memories

When I was a kid in the 1980s, our first computer at home was a Commodore 64. Before that, our English-teacher Dad would bring home an Apple II+ for the summer from his high school, but although that was the same kind computer we had at school, it wasn’t ours. So when my twin brother John and I were confirmed, we pooled our money and bought a Commodore 64 from the local Toys R Us. We hooked it up to an old black & white 13″ television and borrowed a Vic-20 tape player from our friend who has upgraded his C-64 with a floppy disk drive. That Christmas, my brother and I asked Santa for a joint gift of a 1541 floppy disk drive of our own. and Santa not only came through with that, but ALSO a genuine Commodore 1701 color monitor! I still remember how blown away and excited we were; I’m sure my Dad’s desire to use the setup for making tests and quizzes for school had something to do with it, as well.

Commodore 64 - The Interface Experience: Bard Graduate Center
Stick an Okimate 10 thermal-transfer printer on the right side of this picture, add two Atari joysticks, and it’ll look like our childhood setup.

I’ll leave the tales of epic video game battles, writing my first “real” computer program (a database for the NCSF), and trials with Dad working on a 40-column screen but printing on an 80-column printer for another time. No, this blog is dedicated to the first electronic music playlist I’ve ever had: the Commodore 64 Christmas Demo program of 1982.

The C-64 has a lot of things going for it, and two of them were Sprite Graphics and their SID chip for sound. This made the C-64 superior to the Apple II+ for many home applications — including games. To make the less-expensive and retail-friendly C-64 appeal to the more technically-minded, Commodore created a program to show off the C-64’s capabilities with a holiday-themed demo program, which ran on the floor models in the stores. Of course, people wanted this for their own home setups, and we managed to procure a copy of the program, which we played and played every Christmas season. Thanks to the modern Internet, it’s easy to find video captures of the C-64 Christmas Demo, and I present it here in this blog for your enjoyment. Happy holidays!

Commodore 64 Christmas Demo program of 1982 — my first electronic “playlist”