Commodore 128

System Overview

The direct successor to the Commodore 64, the Commodore 128 was released in 1985, three years after the C64.

One of its key features is the backward compatibility with most C64 software. Not able to natively run C64 software from its own ROM, you can easily switch between modes. This is achieved by simply holding down the Commodore key when you boot the system.

As its name suggests, the system comes with 128k of RAM. It is powered by the MOS 8502 processor which runs up to 2.04mhz. This is supplemented by a Zilog Z80, enabling the system to run the CP/M operating system.

The Commodore 128 is technically superior to the C64. However, this contributed towards its short life. Its increased price over the established C64 did not deliver much-improved gaming experiences. Since the C64 was already Commodore’s leading gaming system, customers did not see any value in the more expensive system. Especially since the C128 provided backward compatibility, customers just ended up buying the C64C rather than the C128.

Later in 1985, Commodore released the C128D, a Commodore 128 in a desktop base unit that included a disk drive.

This is the last 8-Bit system Commodore developed (excluding the C64GS). The company was now moving into the 16-Bit era with the Amiga.

How to Emulate this system?

Commodore 128 emulation is reasonably well catered for, we recommend taking a look at RetroArch if you are seeking an all in one solution. RetroArch emulates a large number of systems including the Commodore 128. RetroArch is a front end that utilises emulator 'cores', it is reasonably easy to use and has lots of good supporting documentation on how to use it. RetroArch is available across a number of platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many consoles.

Check out RetroArch here

The king of Commodore emulation has long reigned in the form of VICE (the Versatile Commodore Emulator). VICE provides emulation of pretty much all of Commodore's systems except the Amiga.

It is the most complete all in one Commodore system emulator package available. We definitely recommended VICE as a single point to emulate most Commodore systems.

Emulator Description Platform
VICE The most configurable and advanced Commodore emulator, emulating a number of Commodore systems including the Commodore 128. Certainly recommended if you want to play around with more in depth settings. Windows / OSX / Linux / Android

Emulating the Commodore 128 using a Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a compact single board computer which has become very popular for emulating retro computers and consoles. You can buy the Pi very cheaply and has a whole community supporting and building accessories and applications that are compatible with.

Significantly, for Retro Gaming enthusiasts, the Raspberry Pi offers fantastic all round emulation of many systems. It offers the ability to output games on HDTVs via HDMI or older CRT TVs via composite outputs. Combining the Raspberry Pi with Retropie, you have a device capable of emulating anything from the Atari 2600 to the Sony PlayStation.

Check out the different Raspberry Pi packages you can pick up on Amazon using the button below.

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