Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Just got done reading "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore", by Brian Bagnall. As someone who grew up right outside Commodore headquarters and learned to write code for both the C64 and Amiga computers, it brought back a lot of memories. If you ever read a copy of COMPUTE!, played a game by Epyx, or experienced a Guru Meditation Error, you'll get a kick out of this book.
The book paints a detailed picture of the various eras of Commodore technology, but it also provides compelling portraits of the engineers and executives responsible for Commodore's successes and missteps. You can really feel for the engineers who invested so much of their lives into the company with seemingly so little in return.
Some interesting factoids are revealed as well. The stories behind why C64 games took so long to load, how the Amiga chips got their names, and why so many Commodore computers were DOA are all covered in the book.
One particular thing that jogged my memory was the descriptions of the various marketing campaigns. I can still recall the strains of J.S. Bach's Invention #13, which was featured in one of the early Commodore commercials. So after finishing the book, I checked to see if any of these commercials could be found on YouTube. YouTube did not disappoint - enjoy the VIC-20, C64, and Amiga commercials in all their 80's glory...