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How to Use a Commodore 64

So, you suddenly remember your old Commodore 64 or C64, as people used to call it, and are eager to play on it? But you don’t remember how to use a Commodore 64? That’s nothing strange, considering how fast technology is developing.

And if you’ve never used a Commodore 64, this is not your usual device. C64 is a computer built inside the keyboard, and even though you might need some time to get used to it, soon enough, you’ll see how simple it is. We gathered all the information you’ll need to properly use this device, so keep reading.

How to Use a Commodore 64

How to Use a Commodore 64

Commodore 64 is a retro computer, one of the most popular, so using this device is slightly different from other devices. And even though the first time this computer was introduced was in 1982, some people still have it and want to play on it. And if you’re interested in its history, you can learn more about it here.

So, to be able to use this best-selling computer of all time, first, you must properly connect it to a monitor or a TV. Secondly, you need to use an emulator that will allow you to find all the games you want. To be able to play, you should also need to connect a joystick. You can even connect two and play with a friend.

As with any other device, Commodore 64 has a user guide, and you can find many books explaining how to use it, but who has time to read them all? That’s why I have made this guide, covering the most important things, so let’s start.


So, before learning how to use a Commodore 64, you must first connect the computer. To do that properly, you’ll need a 4.3 amp power supply. Try to find one because if you use something else, you might damage the Commodore 64.

Plug the power supply into the port located next to the power button. You can find that on the right side of the computer, and then you’re all set.

Turning your PC into a Commodore 64

To play the Commodore 64 games, you’ll need to use an emulator. VICE is the most popular one because it’s suitable for many operating systems. We recommend you download the VICE emulator, but also, there are plenty of others. So, for example, you can use Hoxs64, C64 Forever, CCS64, or Gamebase. They are all similar.

Finding the C64 games

If you decide to go with VICE, you must download and install it. Then download the game you want to play. www.c64.com is the website from which you can download many games for your Commodore; however, you can also find many other websites.

California Games, Armalyte, Defender Of The Crown, and The Bard’s Tale are just a few of the many Commodore 64 games. Once you dive into this gaming world, you’ll want to open and play every game.

So choose your favorite, drop it into the VICE main window, and start playing.

Finding the Commodore 64 Games

Connecting joysticks

Commodore 64 has two Control ports that allow two players to connect: Control port 1 and Control port 2. They’re located on the right side of the keyboard. You can use Controls 1 and 2 for joysticks or mice and connect a light pen. As long as the device comes with a female connector, you won’t have any problems attaching it to this computer.

You’ll need to enter into the VICE settings, then click on the Joystick settings, through which you can easily connect two joysticks.

Cursor keys

As you’ll immediately notice, the keys on the Commodore 64 keyboard aren’t quite the same as those on your usual keyboard. For example, the cursor keys are a bit different.

You have one cursor key with two arrows pointing up and down, and this key is meant for vertical navigation through your games. Then next to it, you have a key with two arrows pointing left and right, which is meant for horizontal navigation.

So this is a bit unusual compared to the keyboard we use today, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it, and navigating through the games will come naturally to you.

Other important ports for beginners

If you’re a newbie regarding the C64, let’s take a quick look at the ports, so there won’t be any confusion when using them.

Because C64 is a computer built inside the keyboard, the ports are placed on the sides of the keyboard. So, on its right side, you can find two Control ports which we’ve explained above, an on/off switch, and a power port.

On the back of the Commodore 64, you’ll notice seven ports. There’s an expansion port, channel selector, RF audio/video jack, video port, IEC serial port, cassette port, and user port.

Expansion port

You can use the expansion port to upgrade your computer; for example, you can plug in games, cartridges, etc.

Channel selector and RF audio/video jack

You probably won’t need The Channel selector and RF audio/video jack. They were critical years ago because they made connecting the C64 with an antenna connector or the TV’s RF very easy. You can try to do the same, but you’ll get a low-quality video even if you succeed.

Video port and IEC serial port

The video port will provide you with better video quality than the RF output, and you can use the IEC serial port to connect printers or disk drives.

Cassette port and user port

Datassette is a cassette tape recorder, and that’s the device you can connect to your C64 using the cassette port. You can use the User port as a parallel port.

Also read: Why Was the Commodore 64 So Popular?


So, now that you know how to use a Commodore 64, you’ll have lots of fun with this device. There are many more things to learn, but once you start using the C64, you’ll discover everything slowly. You’ll undoubtedly find the device entertaining and be delighted by the simplicity and practicality of the Commodore 64, so enjoy!