CommVEx 2015

We were celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Bil Herd’s masterpiece, the Commodore 128 at CommVEx 2015 in Las Vegas this year. Bil Herd showed some slides of awesome hardware that was never released by Commodore. Then Bil Herd and Leonard Tramiel answered all of our retro questions. We learned that Commodore founder Jack Tramiel actually walked away from Commodore during CES in 1984, not a few months later as was always believed. The disagreement with main Commodore investor Irving Gould that caused his exit was also revealed. Leonard Tramiel explained that his father was angry that Gould was using Commodore funds as his personal piggy bank.

Contemporary Programming & Software Design

Another programming course frequently advertized in Compute’s Gazette or Compute Magazine was McGraw-Hill’s Contemporary Programming and Software Design Series. Their catch phrase was Make Any Computer Do Exactly What You Want. I have archived all 10 modules for the Commodore 64 or 128 here. In the photo gallery below I have included the full page ad that you would have seen in Compute or Compute’s Gazette.


Step by Step: An Interactive Course in BASIC Programming for Beginners

I always saw Step by Step: An Interactive Course in BASIC Programming for Beginners from PDI advertized in the pages of Compute’s Gazette. There was a Step by Step Two for the Apple II advertized in Compute magazine but I have never seen one in the wild and I am not sure if Step by Step Two was ever produced for the Commodore 64. I have archived the entire package here. In the photo gallery below I have included the full page ad for Step by Step that you would have seen in Compute’s Gazette.


Beach Head II: The Dictator Strikes Back (rare cover variant drawn by Doug Vandegrift)

I am so happy to have finally found the rare Beach Head II box cover drawn by Doug Vandegrift. Besides his fantastic work in the computer gaming industry with Access Software and currently Big Finish Games, Vandegrift is known for his work on popular cartoons of the 80s and 90s. He was the storyboard director and artist for the legendary cartoon, GI Joe. If you would like to know more about Access Software’s history, Jimmy Maher wrote an excellent article on his personal blog, The Digital Antiquarian.



Raid Over Moscow. This Year’s C64 Month Present to Myself. (1984)

Released by Access Software (Bruce & Roger Carver) in 1984, Raid Over Moscow became one of my favorite games of all time. Most game companies would have been happy with one hit like Raid Over Moscow, but Access also brought us Beach-Head, Beach-Head II, and Leader Board Golf and World Class Leader Board Golf. The Leader Board games eventually became Links Golf which Microsoft (after buying Access Software) continued to produce until 2003. The design still defines Golf video gaming today.