ITS HERE, whoops did I shout that, sorry but I’m super excited to have received the much talked about The C64 Mini, I was that excited I had to slow myself down and look at this in a more mature manner (for the purposes of the review you see, lol!) anyway, the packaging is what you would come to expect of a premium product and clearly modelled on the original C64 packaging which is a nice touch, on opening the box you have the C64 Mini itself, a USB Joystick, a manual (again modelled on the original manual) plus a power lead and HDMI cable, I was somewhat confused by the lack of an adapter for the power supply but a standard mobile adapter will suffice.
I knew the console was going to be small, but blimey it really is small, easily fitting into your hand, great for portability I thought, the build quality is another big plus for me, sadly the keyboard is non functional and perhaps my biggest gripe but the cost would have been hampered with the addition of a working keyboard and therefore priced itself out of the market but more on that later.
Below are the key specs on the C64 Mini, the output gives a lovely crisp image and the CRT filter works well on my 4K TV and a joy to behold with those sublime chiptunes.
- High Definition output at 720p via HDMI
- Pixel Perfect graphics at 4:3 ratio, with full width, CRT filter and US/Europe display mode options
- Save game function
- 2 USB ports: plug-in a USB keyboard and use as a fully functional home computer with C64 BASIC, or add a second joystick for 2-player games
Supports software updates via USB flash drive.
The main screen for selecting games is via a carousel across the bottom of the screen, as you scroll through them a game preview and summary appears. Simply select the game you want to play and it loads.
Loading is instant and while there are many classics missing like Bruce Lee, The Last Ninja & The Sentinel there is still a very good selection here for you to get your teeth into. Importantly, in addition to the games supplied with THEC64 Mini, you can also run your own legally obtained C64 programs, including demos, utilities and homebrew games, this is a huge feature for me as I’m a huge fan of the homebrew scene. We have you covered there as well, please visit our homebrew forum for links to games for you to try but be warned the process is a bit fiddly but it does the job good enough for those that want to expand the useability of the system.
As I mentioned earlier the The C64 Mini’s keyboard is purely decorative, so if you want to write your own code in BASIC – you’ll need a spare USB keyboard which most people have these days. Alternatively you could use the virtual keyboard on screen but that would be very slow and laborious work. Perhaps a version with a fully functioning Keyboard may be released in the future if sales of this one are good.
The joystick is well built considering the cost of the overall package sadly its hit and miss at times, I have since found out about the iNNext controllers work pretty well and so I have a set on order.
Overall I am impressed, the fiddly part of adding games is perhaps an oversight, this should have been sorted way before release and not in future updates. That said, this is well worth a purchase at £69.99.
Retro head and key holder of RVG.