Commodore 64

Past, Present, and Future of a Home Computer

© S. Höltgen


Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter:
Dr. Dr. Stefan Höltgen:

Spronsors & Supporters:

University Bonn
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Digital Humanities im Deutschsprachigen Raum e.V. (DHd)

No other computing platform has become such a well-known cultural icon as the Commodore 64 (also known as the C64, Cevi or affectionately known as the »breadbin«). The figures vary between 11 and 30 million units produced, which were sold between the appearance of the 8-bit computer in September 1982 and its (premature) end of production in April 1994. Already during this time, a rich culture developed around the system in numerous countries – first in the West, but after the end of the Cold War also rapidly in the East. Countless peripherals and hardware extensions, software, especially games, books, magazines, clubs, scene meetings and much more were developed for the C64 during this time. All of this forms a cultural history of computing that is unsurpassed in diversity and of which the Commodore 64 became a symbol.

The symposium "Commodore 64 – Past, Present, and Future of a Home Computer" aims to discuss some of these even less illuminated or almost forgotten historical discourses and objects. The fact that the C64 still plays an important role in the present, not only in retrocomputing communities, but also in research and teaching in various disciplines, will also be discussed and demonstrated with examples. However, the fact that a computer, more than forty years after its release and thirtyfive years after its production stop, still has such a lasting effect on culture, education and science also suggests that the C64 will continue to play a role in the future. The symposium also aims to draw attention to this in lectures and discussions and to outline perspectives.

The international plenary session of the symposium brings together collectors, museum curators, retrocomputing enthusiasts, computer scientists, historians, media scientists, artists, hackers and nostalgics who will discuss their work on and with the C64. After two days of lectures, game evenings and a SID chiptunes lecture performance (where dancing is allowed), the organizers offer a C64 hackathon on the third day, where various coding contests, experiments and applied hacks can be implemented on the original systems in BASIC and Assembler.

The symposium will take place at the Department of Media Studies at the University of Bonn from July 5 to 7, 2024. All presentations will be held in English and will be streamed over the Internet. It is open to the public and admission is free.


Universität Bonn
Abteilung Medienwissenschaft
Lennéstraße 1
53121 Bonn

[Open Street Map]


Fr., 05.07.2024, 14:00-20:00: Room 3.016 (C64/CI-Lab, 3rd floor)
Sa., 06.07.2024: 10:00-20.00: Room 3.016 (C64/CI-Lab, 3rd floor)
Su., 07.07.2024: 10:00-15:00: Room 3.016 (C64/CI-Lab, 3rd floor) & TBA


Friday, 05.07.2024
Saturday, 06.07.2024
14:00 Start 10:00-10:45 Prof. Dr. Melanie Swalwell: Theorising 1980s Homebrew Game Development
14:00-14:15 Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter & Prof. Dr. Dr. Stefan Höltgen: Welcome 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break
14:15-15:00 Michael Steil: Ultimate Commodore 64 Talk 11:00-11:45

Dr. Martin Wendt: How the C64 started Point-and-Click adventures. A journey through the history of technical achievements on a guided tour

15:00-15:15 Coffee Break 11:45-12:30 Dr. Torsten Roeder: Notions about the Past, Present, and possible Futures of Disk Magazines
15:15-16:00 Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter: Freeze Frame. Cracking between Practice and Technology. 12:30-14:00 Lunch Break
16:00-16:45 Prof. Dr. Michael Engel: The Search for Perfection. MOS65xx and C64 Emulation Over Time 14:00-14:45 Jun.-Prof. Dr. Melanie Fritsch: Me and My Brotkasten. Adressing Fannish Affect and Nostalgia in Historical Platform Research
16:45-17:00 Coffee Break 14:45-15:30 Dr. Patryk Wasiak: The C-64 tools in gamedevs and crackers’ toolkits
17:00-17:45 Prof. Dr. Christoph Hust: Cultures of Home Computer Music. Exploring 1980s Computer Sounds 15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
17:45-19:00 Prof. Dr. Jesper Juul: Keynote The Five Lives of the Commodore 64 15:45-16:30 Aurelia Brandenburg MA: Mapping the past: possibilities and boundaries of creating and using a historical DACH games database
19:00-20:30 Dinner 16:30-17:15 Christoph Hahn MSc: Possible uses of retro computers in university teaching: Focus on the Commodore 64

20:30-0:00 Malte Schulze BA: Music for the masses (not the classes) – Exploration to Synthesizer Soundchips 17:15-18:00

Dr. Dr. Stefan Höltgen: A Localization of the Past, Present, and Future of Commodore

18:00 Closing Discussion
18:30 Dinner
Sunday, 07.07.2024
9:00-13:00: Room 3.016 Prof. Dr. Dr. Stefan Höltgen & Dr. Torsten Roeder: C64-BASIC-Hackathon: BASIC-10-Liner, Code Golfs
9:00-13:00: Room TBA Prof. Dr. Michael Engel: Tutorial “Writing your own 6502 emulator”
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