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$20 Commodore 64 toy that can be modified for so much more

Commodore 64
Radio Shack sells a $20 joystick toy that plays video games on your TV and it contains a full C-64 on-a-chip which you can hack.

A kind reader shared a link (thanks David!) to a site with information on a $20 Radio Shack toy which has a nice little surprise inside: it’s a full-blown Commodore 64 reduced to a single chip. Better yet, it’s the infamous chip which was designed by Jeri Ellsworth and is considered to be probably the best implementation available. The chip offers several benefits over the original C64 such as Svideo output and additional RAM, for example.

Gamers in Europe have had access to a similar joystick gadget called a DTV for some time. It’s also based on the same chip and has quite a following in the retro-gaming circles. As such, there are a number of tools available which can be used to re-program the DTV, enable various goodies, and other fun stuff.

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Photo of the Hummer game toy containing the C64 from Radio Shack
Now, thanks to the ever wandering eye of the Radio Shack buyers, those of us here in the States can get a similar toy which can be used with the DTV community tools as well. The C64 is masquerading as a “Hummer action video game” and you’d be fully excused if you blazed right by it in the store as just another gimmicky Radio Shack piece of junk. Here’s the link to their online catalog, but it does say “in-store only” for availability.

This site describes the various hacks and mods you can do to the “Hummer DTV” which includes adding ports for disk drives, enabling new video modes, and re-flashing the software.

There is a similar “30 games in 1” joystick available, which might be the original DTV and if so, for the same $20, it might be as good or better to get. I’m sure some readers can clarify the details on this particular model in the comments below.

There is likely to be many an hour of entertainment in this neat “toy” for any Commodore fanatic or retro-gamer. I just might have to pick one of these things up and see what it’s about. It’ll certainly be smaller and easier to put on a shelf than the original C64 and 1541 drives I used to keep around for my nostalgia kicks!

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3 replies on “$20 Commodore 64 toy that can be modified for so much more”

It appears that the site with the info that I linked to above is offline due to traffic. I guess it’s been featured on Make and several other high-profile sites causing a traffic surge.

Just remember – if you read this article yesterday here on micsaund.com, you’d have beat the crowds 😉

Mike

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