Quick App: C64 Commodore 64 Emulator for iPhone -- Can Hack Basic!

c64 Basic

C64 ($4.99 - iTunes link], a Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone (and iPod touch) is now available from the App Store, despite having been previously rejected by Apple. FCC spotlight? Phil Schiller intervention? Simple change of heart? Sounds more like a slight change of code, says the C64 blog:

Ultimately, BASIC has been removed for this release; however, we hope that working with Apple further will allow us to re-enable it.

(If you're dying to get your BASIC on, however, reader Stooovie let us know you can still access it by enabling "always show full keyboard", starting a game, paging over to the EXTRA keyboard, and then tapping RESET. Boom, dropped into BASIC with a ready-prompt -- though we clearly don't remember enough C64 BASIC to see if it actually does anything or just sits there blinking. Commenters?)

But, as they say, who cares about BASIC, C64's focus is games and it ships with Dragons Den, Le Mans, Jupiter Lander, Arctic Shipwreck and Jack Attack. More games will be available in the future (via in-app purchase, we believe).

The interface is gorgeous, the passion level obviously high, and the C64 is a classic (as is the Amiga, cough, want-it-next, cough), so for fans of any of those qualities -- or more likely all of them -- check it out and let us know what you think.

Demo video and more screen shots after the break!

[Thanks Stooovie for the tip!]

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Quick App: C64 Commodore 64 Emulator for iPhone -- Can Hack Basic!


LOVE IT....LOVE IT....LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bought instantly...now where are those old Compute Magazines!!! HAHAHA :) ??????

Boom, dropped into BASIC with a ready-prompt —

How long does that last?
Apple has a policy about executing code that was not part of the app itself, such as downloaded programs or keyed in ones. I bet they can't get their next update thru till they plug that hole.

The point is, the sole reason Apple didnt approve it tthe first tme was the BASIC intrpreter. But now, it´s still there. Theres no hack involved, no plit editing, it´s all in the GUI. What is the point off the approval process, then?

Very nice app. Works nice. Basic works too. I wonder if you can upload games to it on a jail broken phone?

Better than just hacking basic people. I have the emulator running any disk image I want. I have installed a whole pile of games and can direct launch them from the 'My Games' screen.

TKO where is the ; and : ?
Zaxon how did you get the games onto the iPhone? Mine isn't hacked but I'm guessing there would be apps to add stuff to the iPhone.

As of 9/7 10:17 pm PT, I get a "not available" error when I try to buy this app. Did Apple notice the ability to break into BASIC (perhaps via this article) and pull the app?

Zaxon, what do you need to add to the games folder for this to work? i have added disk images to this, and although they show up in the "games" menu in the app, they dont run

Yeah it's gone from the Store here in Australia. Got it just before. Touchy lot the Apple people over such an old thing.

itsolittle I can tell you what you need to do to get the images working.
Put them in their own folder in the install directory.
Get a copy of the "gameinfo.plist" file from one of the other folders and open it in notepad.
for example i've used the one from the dragonsden folder.
There will be a line in the file which reads as follows.
All you need to do is edit that to read whatever the name of the image is you are trying to run. Copy it back accross from the PC to the appropriate folder on the iphone and you can then run the game ;-)

Not at all surprised it was pulled. Still, the working BASIC was a next to useless toy, so I wont really miss it when it's locked up again.

I bought this under the impression that I'd be able to play that karate game they show in the video. I was duped! Where the hell is that game!?

Yes it works, see the screen flashing writing this short program: 10 FOR I = 1 TO 16 20 PRINT "HELLO WORLD!" 30 POKE 53281,I 40 NEXT I you may only need to enter RUN and that's all!

Aftershock, thanks for the tip... i've managed to get it working.
however, some games .plist didn't have a .d64 file in them, only a .state file, and that was throwing me off. on mine, only one game had the .d64 file, so i just copied that .plist and it works

Good Stuff. I still cant get some images to work.
International Karate for example I get an error message saying "Enable full 1541 emulation". I will have to do some more digging around.

Found it,
"make sure to change the string Emul1541Proc in the gameinfo.plist from false to true to support full 1541 usage"
Happy days.

AHh well done Aftershock... I saw that in the plist file... didnt think much of it... my version of Exploding fist doesnt work, hope thats why... also the png I put in there doesnt appear.. I made it the exact same size ( 113x140x24bpp ) I think.. doesnt appear..
Any ideas?

Anyone know how to make a original tape game tap image to load on this? Renamed the tap to .t64 and altered the plist file and put 1541 to true, but just says cant find file error

I had that error a couple of occasions and it wss because I was using a capital "D" on the "d64", extension. I've not tried it with and tape images though, but it may be a similar issue.

Tried renaming file to all sorts, maybe this emulator just does not support loading a game from tape in its original format, or there is something else you have to do in the plist or to the file itself to be compatible?

As I read this app is based on Frodo 64, I downloaded the mac version of that and getting the same error, so it seems this app wont load original tape games, and have to be in whatever format or tape loader version that Frodo accepts, shall have to look into it more.

Seems downloading .D64 games work, although some that work in Frodo wont work in the iphone version, it would have been nice to see some of the old tape loaders, some used to be pretty good, maybe we might see that in the palm pre or android phones, or maybe via Cydia for those who have jailbroken there phones at some stage ;-)

Graz, is your file .t64 ? Three of the games included with this are .t64 files... And I think they were also the ones whose .plist referenced the .state files instead of the .t64 files. Does frodo run your game? If so, could frodo be used to create a .state file? Just some thoughts...

AHH my C64 app just bombs back to springboard! I was adding games last night fine!.. must admit I was looking at the other plist files... when you view them in winscp if copies them locally to view.. so by me viewing them I dont think Ive broken it that way... well Ive done something :( thought that I might of added too many games... but I read that some guy has added 17 ! Ive only added 6. :( not sure what to do now... can`t re-get it from the appstore !!

Hmmm I put a demo on the phone.. think that was the last thing I did before it stopped working..
I changed the plist file from game to demo in the type STANZA I think... maybe that has something to do with the app now not working..

Aftershock.. I bought it.. I have got it from appulous.. but my mate says it doesnt work.. he clicks on a game and it boots him back to desktop...
m not sure whether I can install the dodge version over the top of my legit version.. or remove it and try and install the dodge vers...

HELP !!!!!!!
I added games to the app games folder when i start the emu i go to my games none of the ones i added appear just the ones that come with it HELP !!!!!

10 PRINT "Hey Apple, stop being such a control freak on the apps."
20 PRINT "Let us have a BASIC interpreter. You won't go bankrupt by letting it happen."
30 CLS //Before Steve reads this and has a cow

I wanted to hack ASM on it, attaching a cartridge image.. but nooooo.. If I might not access the basic, I can figure out how well attaching a cartridge will work.
So, why why is apple not allowing an Emulator for a 64K machine? .. How could that compete in any way. Apple you are all losers!

Just stopped by to let you all know that I have been working around the clock on this project and have posted details on my site on how to get Custom Games and Basic working as well as enabling the keyboard & more.. in the NEW version 1.1.11
I'll have some tools up as soon as possible to make everything easier. Screen Shots & Video on the site.

Guys, I used to be a massive C64 programmer back in the day...(wrote PowerDrive disk editor and HMBBS - His Majesty's BBS) I now author and host PC websites (php/etc) and my old FILE-OP is puttin' together ALL MY OLD COLLECTION of C64 soft, and FTP'ing it to me! We'll be making download pages soon... email me and I will put on you a mailing list to notify you when the files start becoming available! I could even use suggestions on how to format it online.

Thanks for you sharing this project.I plan to add this C64 Commodore 64 Emulator for iPhone soon,because i am a small pelletizing machine designer and i should notice the wood pellet making technology news every day.Can you help me how can i do it?

The games in that megaupload are great but can someone please tell me how to get autoduel to work in the c64 iphone emulator? Its 2 disks that you have to flip between and i cant figure out how to do it? Thanks for any help you can offer.

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