Re: 264/TED/Plus4 Story

From: Hársfalvi Levente <>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2011 21:18:17 +0200
Message-ID: <>

Do you happen to have some memories about the more exotic members of the
264-series, ie. the Drean Commodore 16 and a potentially existing (or at
least planned) Brazilian version (ie. machines for PAL-N and PAL-M
land)? I know some about the PAL-N one and its story, mostly info that's
been floating around the net for some time, but that's all, and I could
certainly find nothing about the PAL-M one (not even if a PAL-M TED was
produced or ever existed).

For one, I really enjoy reading your stories... Well.. You might already
know this one, but here it is in return anyway... :-) Commodore, then
having had slightly flopped with the 264 series in the market, seems to
have met some representatives of the Hungarian government, who were (at
the time) in constant search of a decent and affordable school computer
for elementary and secondary schools. To keep the story short, according
to data, they brought about 10000 C16s and Plus/4s to HU via that
program that all landed in the schools. (There was a previous occassion
in 1985 when the government just bought up and sold a series of C16s in
the Hungarian market; note that HUF wasn't one of the convertible
currencies at the time, buying something for USD (so-called "hard
currency") and selling for HUF was solely the business of the government
and its associates ie. companies owned by the state itself). All in all,
a great number of schools were supplied with C16s and Plus/4s; one can
instantly recognize the machines of these series, as all of them were
equipped with localized keyboard layouts and character ROMs as a
then-requirement for school computer candidates ( can sometimes
find a factory produced Hungarian Kernal PROM in them, and keyboards
that were produced to already have the Hungarian alphabet, making these
machines the possibly single occurence of nationalized 264 series
computers; most others were regular Plus/4s just equipped with EPROMs
and decals). Combined with the also reasonably large number of regular
C16s and Plus/4s that people so-called grey-imported from Austria, as a
consequence, a great number of Hungarian kids (lots of people of a
generation - those who happened to be 12-15 years of age at the time)
got their first impressions of computer tech by these computers. ...If
you ever wondered why the majority of guys at's forums happen
to speak Hungarian, a not-that common and said to be not-that easy to
learn language, well, that's probably the answer... :-) A pretty active
computer scene rose in just a couple of years, which made up the
majority of the Plus/4 demoscene that ever existed (with the German
scene being the other major side... I don't actually know the reasons,
but the Plus/4 seems to have also been popular in Germany, by itself,
just as it was, without sprites, without decent sound, just for what it
did and did not provide - someone from Germany might possibly give an
insight of that). I'm obviously from that generation; I was 12 when I
met computers for the first time in the school and started playing
around with Basic (...actually, it was some months until the school I
had attended received 2 Plus/4s in late 1986, but from that on, there
was no way to stop). I couldn't possibly describe that phenomenon, but
if you programmed computers, and you obviously did :-D, then it's
probably also unneccessary. Little did we know about how things looked
like in the West, we didn't even know who Commodore was or anything
about it whatsoever... it's unbelievable now how little information we
could get hold of even just about the computers, let alone the Inc.'s
roots and story at the time and some years to come. IMHO it's been a
great period of our lives; we did a great deal of experimenting, we all
got influenced by it and most of us who did at all, did our first steps
there on the way of becoming a programmer and/or a computer expert. The
Plus/4 definitely played a great role of that story... IMHO a fortunate
way of how things played out, since the Plus/4 was actually really good
in that role. We definitely liked its good display capabilities (...121
colors or what... ;-) ), good Basic interpreter (first), built-in
monitor (...then), physical outfit (...ever :-) ), everything that made
it feel to support (rather than obstruct... how common that was on other
platforms) you on the way.

...So if you're asking me if I'm ready to listen to some more stories of
insight / your personal point of view, the answer is Yes. With a capital
Y. ;-)

Best regards,


On 2011-08-20 18:21, Bil Herd wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> Anyone that knows me knows I love relating a story when I can about the
> little details that still make me laugh and occasionally cry these many
> years later.  CBM's engineering department was relatively small, it
> fluctuated between 20-30 people INCLUCING the technicians, engineers
> programmers, IC designers, IC layout people and PCB designers.  Needless to
> say since we all pretty much fit on a volleyball court at the same time we
> knew each other real well and the best stories assume you knew how so-and-so
> acted when drunk, etc. ....

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Received on 2011-08-25 20:00:23

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