The Commodore 64 mini (C64 Mini) was released in October 2018. I’m not the biggest old school retro gamer and my passion for gaming started with the PlayStation 1 but there’s one thing that always stands out when thinking of gaming when I was younger. The loading music of Dominator on the Commodore 64.
My father owned an original black Commodore 64 with only one game. Dominator. It was something that my family and I played but could never beat. It brings back great memories (and frustration) of hours trying to beat the level bosses.
I was browsing reddit and seen that there was a price drop to €39.99 so I decided to purchase it for old times sake and me and my father can try beat the Dominator once and for all.
The packaging for the C64 mini is well done. Upon opening it up, everything is seen to fit snug and brings back some real nostalgia. The joystick is way bigger than the console itself but more on the joystick later.
It’s a relatively straight forward set up with no USB adapter included. So once you find a spare USB adapter, connect HDMI and joystick you’re good to go.
All the preloaded games are visible on the carousel and load quickly. This is great but for me, I bought the mini for one game and it wasn’t included in the list so I had to side load it.
Upgrading the firmware is a straight forward process but side loading games is a hit or miss. Fortunately, I found a dominator .tap file that plays perfect. But when you’re adding multiple ROMs, some load, some don’t. The C64 mini by default uses port two so configuration is needed for certain games and it’s a real pain. I just want something simple, basically a plug and play. For games like street fighter II, multiple ROMs are needed and the process between swapping between the two is not as straight forward as I would like.
The joystick is a strange one. It’s huge for starters. Way bigger than the C64 mini. The buttons on it are okay but the biggest flaw is the joystick itself. There’s not much room to move it around. It’s not satisfying to move it and it feels like If you move it too much in one direction it will snap. I’ve tried alternative controllers too but once again these are hit or miss and if they do work, the default mappings are totally different to what you expect.
All in all, I’m happy that I paid €39.99 for it as anymore than this, I would have felt ripped off. I’m happy that I got Dominator to run as it was the sole reason I bought it.
The joystick is poor so an alternative will need to be purchased. Side loading games is very poor. An example, you could download a “legally” obtained C64 ROM list. Out of let’s say 100 games, maybe 10 will work, the others will hang, not load or else the controller/virtual keyboard just won’t work. If you are huge into old school retro gaming, I would suggest a raspberry pie emulator.
For me, once Dominator is beaten and some time has passed, it will look real nice on a shelf in the collection.