Among the Commodore news from the Summer CES 1984 was the renaming of the C=264 to Plus/4. This renaming came along with a slight change in the built-in software: you could not choose between many different programs anymore, but each Plus/4 was delivered with the 3-plus-1 software.
The built-in software is not worth the silicon it is etched in: a word processor (only with 40 columns and can manage documents with only 99 lines of 77 columns), a very small spreadsheet (only 17 columns and 50 lines), a poor graph generator program (which can graphically display data from the sheets, but only in text mode) and a small database (999 records with 17 fields each and only 38 characters by field).
Most of these programs can only be used with a floppy drive.
The Plus/4 can use some of the peripherals of the C=64 or the VIC-20, like the famous MPS-801 dot-matrix printer and the 1541 Disk Drive run well with it but it can't use C=64 programs (unfortunately, it cannot use the same joysticks & Datasette as the C=64/VIC-20).
This machine wasn't built to be a competitor of the C=64, but it wasn’t meant to replace it either. It has an improved BASIC compared to the C=64’s, this one features graphic and sound instructions and a built-in assembler, but has lost lots of interesting C-64 features like great sound chip (SID: Sound Interface Device) or hardware sprites.
The Commodore Plus/4 was an error in the Commodore marketing policy and had no success.
I got one of these for Christmas in 1984 along with a 1541 disk drive, a 1702 monitor and an MPS-803 Printer and some C64 games. I was seriously bummed when the games wouldn''t work. My folks bought it because the store was out of C64s and he said that this would fill the bill. It didn''t. It was just as limited as the description states. I did like the default color scheme (blue border, white background, black cursor) better than that of the C64 (pale blue boarder and cursor with a light blue background), however.
I found one of these in the trash today...took it home...hooked it up and it worked...never seen this old of a computer in person...its pretty awesome.
Saturday 21st April 2012
Colton (Kentucky, USA)
Sweet memories! I bought this computer together with cassette device 1988 from Germany. It was very nice ... I even got some magazines with software. Later I also got floppy 1541... You may not believe, but I still have them!!!