I Still Adore My 64
By Jim Lawless
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Although it has been several years since I got rid of my eight-bit Commodore
equipment, my fondness for the Commodore 64 home computer has never
subsided. In 1994, I discovered that I could run a program on my Windows
PC that would emulate a C64. I have been happily tinkering with emulator
software ever since.
After using an emulator for only a short while, I found that developing software for the C64 could be a slow-going process. I managed to find a C- 128 system that allowed me to buy compilers still
available on 1541 disk media. I used the system to transfer
code back and forth between my PC and the C-128. The
higher-level Pascal and C compilers for those eight-bit
systems weren’t the easiest to use, often requiring one to
exit an editor so that the compiler could load into
memory and work with the source file from the disk.
The tool we’ll use to emulate the C64 is known as
VICE (Versatile Commodore Emulator). We’ll use the
Windows-specific port known as WinVICE. We’ll also use
a Windows port of the CC65 cross-compiler. If you use an
operating system other than Windows, you will need to
install VICE and CC65 for your given environment.
I later discovered CC65 — a small C cross-compiler for
For Windows systems, we have packaged the
WinVICE and CC65 together at the article link so that you
can more quickly begin writing and compiling code.
6502-based systems. CC65 is capable of producing a
finished executable file for the C64 (as well as numerous
other eight-bit computers and gaming systems). CC65 runs
as its own processor or under most modern operating
systems. This allows one to keep an editor, compiler
console, and emulator session open in their respective
windows to allow rapid edit/compile/execute operations.
If you extract the cc65vice.zip archive file to the root
folder of your C: drive, you should see the following
The VICE Project Repository
To invoke the WinVICE emulator for the C64, double-click on X64.EXE in the c:\c64\winvice folder. You should
see the introductory C64 screen, followed by a BASIC
“READY” prompt. Let’s type in a short BASIC program.
The CC65 Website
Note that the keyboard follows C64 key positioning
conventions. The equals sign “=” will appear when you
press the backslash key “\:”
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