It was chunky, a hideous tan color, and, by today's standards, ridiculously feeble.
It was limited to 64 kilobytes of memory -- about the equivalent of one long e-mail.
And yet 25 years ago, almost everyone seemed to have one.
It was the Commodore 64, an 8-bit, mass-produced machine that brought personal computing into the home for millions of users in the early- and mid-1980s. People used their C64s, as they were known, for everything from basic office functions to primitive games like "Impossible Mission."
Commodore sold more than 17 million of its C64 systems, according to the company. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Commodore 64 as the best-selling single computer model of all time.
"Spent hours and hours writing little programs for my then very young kids .... happy days," wrote Ian Mumby last month on a Commodore 64 Facebook page. "Still have the c64 in the loft, may have to go dig it out and play."
Now, nearly three decades after it debuted in 1982, the Commodore 64 is making a comeback. The company that built it, Commodore International, went bankrupt in 1994. But a revived outfit, Commodore USA
, plans to release a line of retro-looking Commodore computers this month that have modern components inside.
On the outside, these self-contained "keyboard computers" will look as they did back when Ronald Reagan was in the White House and "Miami Vice" was bringing moody pastel hues to TV. Under the hood, however, they will be very up-to-date.
The new Commodore 64's hardware includes a dual-core 1.8 Ghz Atom processor, Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset, up to 4 GB of RAM and HDMI output for desktop viewing on TV. It also features USB connectivity, a multi-format memory card reader and Wi-Fi capability.
Prices start at $595 -- the same as the original machine. A monitor and mouse are sold separately. Pre-sales are under way, and Commodore is promising delivery by early June.