A COMMODORE 64 WALKABOUT: V3 (RETROCOMPUTING WALKABOUT BOOK 1) BY ROBINSON MASON

Is there a nostalgic urge inside you that makes you want to revisit the 8-bit era? Perhaps you want to re-discover or, indeed, discover the C64 home computer and its many thousands of games? 
As someone who grew-up with the Atari 8-bits, I was always a little envious of C64 owners who had a much bigger choice of games to play back in the 80s. So I was intrigued by A Commodore 64 Walkabout, which aims to teach you how to join the current C64 scene and actually play those games and enjoy them once more, or play those games that you may never have had the opportunity to play back in the day.
Of course, you can just by a C64 Mini which comes pre-loaded with 64 games. However, it's basically an expensive VICE emulator with a very limited number of games and a rubbish joystick. 
So whether you aim to download an emulator, or maybe buy an original C64, this book is aimed at you!

Review

The book is written in a very engaging style, and I found myself totally engrossed and unable to put it down and actually review it for this post! It's very comprehensive, and certainly the only book I've seen which covers the present day scene in so much detail. 
Emulators are covered in great detail, and given that many people find them complex to use, this guide will lay your fears to rest and help you to use one and download games and other software. The books also reviews many games (particularly adventure games) and has plenty of info on where to download them - there are actually 1000's of free games available online that can be run in an emulator.
If emulation isn't your thing, you'll also find info on buying and maintaining hardware, too, and nothing beats the real thing, of course, especially as the SID sound chip is difficult to emulate properly, given that it was an analog synth.
If you're looking for info on the history of the C64 then you will be disappointed. It is covered in chapter one, but the main focus is on emulation and the current scene - there are countless other books and articles about the history of the C64.
It was refreshing to read something that actually shows you in great depth how to actually enjoy playing those old games again in the present decade. You will also discover links to brand new games. Yes, you read that right, there are games still being made today!

Mark's rating:

 

Chapters

1. The C64 Then and Today. Discusses emulators on your PC and C64 retro computing today.
2. Emulation. Reveals how it is no longer a complex process to run a C64 game via an emulator. Includes in-depth info on setting-up and using an emulator on a Windows or Linux PC, Android and Apple. Plus, troubleshooting and getting joysticks to work.
3. Productivity, Art and Music. Discover why the C64 is far more that just a gaming system. Indeed, many people overlooked the fact that this was a very capable home computer. Features details about GEOS, C64 bitmap graphics, playing SID chiptunes, c64 sheet music and MIDI conversion, and C64 remixes.
4. Adventures and Role-playing Games. Remember those old interactive text adventures? This chapter is dedicated to them, including games such as Castle of Spirits, The Lurking Horror and Crime Time. Plus, computer role-playing games, including Lords of the Baltogs, Phantasie, Berlow the Root. There is also info on The Adventure Construction Set and where to download the software and games.
5. Action Games. Lots of games featured here with links to downloads.
6. Strategy and Puzzle Games. Yep! Pretty self-explanatory!
7. Original Hardware and Software. Nothing compares to actually owning the original machine. Online Mega Repositories Vs. Personalised Collection, Collecting Utilities, Preserving Media, Collecting for Profit and Completion, Make Local Hard Copies, Collecting for the Vic-20, Collecting for the C64, Collecting Other 8-Bit Commodore Computers - C16 and Plus/4, 128, Collecting Software for Archivalk and Print Documentation, Donating Commodore Parts, Sharing with Friends and User Groups, Hardware Troubleshooting and Other Hardware Maintenance.
8. Programming for the C64. Why Learn to Program the C64 Today? Guides for Learning BASIC, Your First BASIC Program, Assembly and Machine Language, Convenient Modern Tools for Writing CBM Code. Turtle Graphics and Adventure Writer software.
9. Commodore Lives On! Discusses why the scene is thriving, accessories and tools, new games with links to purchasing them. There are also interviews with C64 remixer "Amok", and Cracking group member Mustaine of Hokuto Force. The chapter ends with What Will Your Contribution Be? 

Book Details

Title: A Commodore 64 Walkabout: V3 (Retrocomputing Walkabout Book 1)

Author: Robinson Mason

Publication Date: 19 Oct 2012

Formats: Paperback or Kindle edition

Print Length: 206 pages

Publisher: Robinson Mason

The2 A-Z of Commodore 64 Games

 

The C64 Mini