I have previously written about my memories of the wonderful computer that I grew up with, the Commodore 64! In this post I will be listing some of my favorite games for the system that also are some hidden gems. But this list will be a little different then other lists on the net because I will be listing games that are actually still fun to play today! Let me explain..
The Commodore 64 is an very old system and has sooo many games released, but to be honest.. most of them suck. Back then you purchased games (mostly based of the very cool cover art) and played them over and over even though the game where poorly designed, frustrating, unforgiving and ugly! Today we know better. I have been looking back on the games I played and put my nostalgic feelings aside and just focused on the games that actually where good on the system, and that people still could enjoy today. Thinking, Would a person who never played a game is his life enjoy this game?
Ok enough talk, here is some of my favorite games on the Commodore 64 that I think are great and should be in everybody’s collection!
You have to win the game (2012)
This is an amazing port of a pc indie game. The original game (available on steam) also has this retro pixel design so the game converts very nicely to the c64. And this game is just amazing! Its an open world exploration game with metroidvania mechanics, where you have to revisit old places once you have found different objects and powerups. Great graphics, fun game play, tight and responsive control. I cant believe that this game has not gotten a physical release on tape/disc as this wipes most of the new games that gets physical releases today. Jet Set Willy is overrated, this game is not! Play this now! 🙂 Download
Bruce Lee II (2015)
One of the best games in the platformer genre for the c64 is without a doubt Bruce Lee released in 1984. Bruce Lee is a very fun an challenging game. But not so challenging that you cant finish the game, and that is rare for a c64 game 🙂 But im here to talk about the fan made sequel to the original game created by Bruno R Marcos for the pc back in 2013. He kept the feeling of the original game but added new sprites, enemies and new challenging levels! I was not alone thinking that this game would have been awesome to have on an original c64. In 2015 Jonas Hulten released the converted version of Bruce Lee II for the c64, and he did an amazing job! If you like the original game you really need to go and download Bruce Lee II now!
Bouncy Cars (1994)
There are many overhead racers for the c64, like Rally Speedway or the Super Sprint games but one game that i think beats those games in both control, level design and fun factor is Bouncy Cars! The thing that makes this a more fun game is the car handling, this is a drifting game. Yes a drifting game for the c64! And who doesn’t love drifting 🙂 So this game is all about mastering the controls and the drifting technique to get head of your opponent. You really need to be 2 players when playing this game. Oh and there is a sequel called Bouncy Cars Revenge which is essentially the same game but with new levels.
International Karate – Time Trainer Version (1986)
Int Karate is a real classic game for the c64! With a total of 16 moves this game beats all other fighting games on the system! And it have aged well, still looks great and is still so much fun today as it was back in 1986. But this version that im talking about here is the Time Trainer version released by The Fall Guys giving the game a much better scoring system! The original version had that “best 2 out of 3” scoring system which i never liked. Instead the Time Trainer version has a scoring bar with 12 points. The player that gets all 12 points of the respective players color is the winner! And the system can get really intense and fun as you “steal” points from each other trying to get all points of one color. This version makes an amazing game even better! (There is a far more superior version released called International Karate Ultimate, read more about this further down in this post!)
Guns ‘n’ Ghosts (2013)
Two player games cooperative games are always so much fun, my obvious choice would be Bubble Bobble but this newly released game deserves a place in the list! Basically all you have to do is kill all the zombies that spawn on the level. Go to the next level and try to survive as long as possible. One thing I like in particular about this game is the asymmetric game play with the two different characters you play as in the 2 player mode, they have different ways to kill the monsters which makes this a very good cooperative game. Available to purchase from Psytronik.
Super Bread Box (2012)
This is a conversion of a fantastic indie game called Super Crate Box released on PC back in 2011 and ported by Paul Koller to the C64 a year later. Try to survive all the waves of enemies that spawn at the top of a one-screen arena. There is always one crate box on the level an every time you pick one up you get a new weapon, and there are maaaany fun and crazy weapons in this game! As you pick up new boxes you eventually unlock more weapons and levels, which makes this game super addictive! The game is released by RGCD and is available for free or you can order the cartridge from RGCDs store.
This is a great 2-player competitive game that mixes both strategy and quick interaction. Each player has a set of magical monsters and creatures with different strength and weaknesses, some are slow but have ranged attacks and some are fast but only uses melee attacks. You can win by controlling the 5 dots on the board or wiping the opponents monsters of the board. The chess-style moment is slow and has strategy, but the fun is when you go into combat and you can move your monster in real time. So much fun! There is also a great web-based version of Archon that you can play here.
This is a great port of the original arcade game developed by Namco that was released 1985 in Japan. The game is very simple, all you have to do is to avoid all obstacles by moving up and down and jumping to reach the goal in time. There are powerups that temporarily makes you faster and invulnerable. But its very tough as you need to be very fast to avoid the obstacles and to catch those valuable powerups to make it to the goal before the time runs out. Very addictive!
Back in 2010 Terry Cavanagh released the game VVVVVV and it was amazing! A huge open world to explore with many challenging rooms, and the game only uses one button that switches the gravity, flipping the character up side down. The original game looked like a c64 game with the simple pixel graphics and it had the same feel as Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy with multiple rooms (no scrolling levels) and they all had clever names. So this game just had to be ported to the c64! And this was finally achieved in 2007 by “Unctiover” the port is really good. But sadly it does not feature sid version of SoulEyes amazing soundtrack from the original version. This game really need to be in your c64 collection!
Now this is impressive! LUFTRAUSERZ is a Indie Pc game that was released back in 2014 and this is a conversion of that game. The C64 version of LUFTRAUSERZ was done by Paul Koller and it took 3 years to finish. The game runs at 50fps and four thousand unique player sprite frames are used. And the game is so much fun and addictive! The control you have over your plane is perfect and super smooth. And you always have different goals to complete to unlock more upgrades to outfit your plane with new weapons, bodyparts and engines that can create a total 125 different planes! You can get the physical cartridge version from RGCD och purchase the digital version from itch.io
International Karate Ultimate (2017)
One of the best games for the C64 became even better! A team of programmers took International Karate and implemented a lot of great options and tweaks to make it even better, and im telling you.. this is truly the Ultimate version! Some of the stuff added is many new areas you can visits, the original from Ik1, ik2 and 8 new levels. also there are 17 hidden levels as easter eggs! (Hold down RUN/STOP when you see the logo screen of the guy doing a karate kick to unlock the IK+ Levels or hold down the C64 key during the logoscreen to unlock Way of the exploding fist levels. There is also another button you can hold down to unlock even more levels but I sadly forget which button it was) You have the option to change the speed and colors of the players. They also implemented the new scoring system from the “Time Trainer Version” that i talked about earlier in this post in the two player mode. You can choose the original music or the new remixed tunes. And also you can remove those pointless minigames between the fights. And a lot more! If you have an Easyflash you can save all these settings and they will be automatically loaded the next time you play. You can download v1.1 here!
Update: A while after this release the developers held a Graphics Competition and released a new version called IK Ultimate Competition Edition with 8 new levels and some other nice updates to the game. Be sure to check it out!