Interesting information from Taneli Lukka (Finland):
The C=16 is a machine that should have never been
released. When you look at the specs it doesn't look like a bad machine for
its time, but in reality the design and time of release were both huge
The machine was designed to replace the cheap range Commodore computer, the
VIC-20, but in reality the high-range computer, C=64, had already taken
VIC's place in common households despite the higher price so there was no
room left for the C=16 or Plus/4 for that matter. C=116 barely made it out
the factory and can be considered very rare today.
Marketing was also very bad, at least here in Finland. Soon after the
machine's release, Finnish computer magazines were full of readers letters
asking why their new C=16 wouldn't load VIC-20 and C=64 programs and games
and why the peripherals didn't fit either. Even the computer store
sellers were not aware of the differences between the machines. Advertising
didn't start until long after release and was far from good.
For some reason Commodore wanted to make this range of computers as incompatible
as possible: the machine doesn't really obey a single standard, not even
Commodore's own. The cassette player is diffirent giving digital signals
instead of analog and is coloured in black. Some of these seem to have been
converted to normal C2N-model players when the machine bombed. Joysticks
were not Atari standard, but had special DIN-sockets so that only
Commodore's crappy joystick could be used, this was just crazy, because in
1984 the Atari standard was already the one and only to go for. Disk drive
is the only peripheral that was the same for all C= machines, but the C=16
also was given a new drive in a black case that was faster than the
ultra-slow 1541-model, but most people only ever saw it on the pages of the
machines user manual, it was released in very small quantities mainly in the
UK. Most people used the 1541 instead.
This line of computers, C=116, C=16 and Plus/4 were the first Commodore
computers to fail miserably and they were later joined by the C=64GS and
from Australia adds:
The C16 retailed for only $70 Australian in a time when the C64 was $400+
Australian (1985). Due to the flop of sales, it was barely impossible to
purchase peripherals such as the tape drive or disk drive listed in the
manual. One alternative was that the cartridge slot was had pretty much the
same pin out as an Atari 2600 games console, and a 'small' basic program
(Small being less than 1000 lines) could launch it away to run in BASIC 3.5
- just so long as you had enough RAM left for it to even start.
About the Austrlian version, Lewin Edwards
This computer was introduced in Australia
already at a closeout price of AUD$129 (approximately US$75 at the time),
in a pack that included one joystick, the "Jack Attack"
cartridge, and a cyan sports bag with white piping and the C= logo printed
in white on the side. The bag was big enough to hold the whole system; I
guess the rationale was that you would take it to your friends' houses to
play games together.
Carlos Perez-Chavez from Mexico remembers:
I am from Mexico City, here the first home
computers were from Commodore...
In the early eighties a company named Sigma Commodore started selling these
machines and a local supermarket chain named Aurrera started selling them in
all their stores. So thousands of Mexico City inhabitants knew computers for
the first time at Aurrera stores.
The wonderful thing was that at Aurrera you could use the computer as much
as you wanted to. The first time I saw one I was buying some food and there
I found a friend from school. He told me that there were computers on
display and he showed me a Commmodore C16. The first computer game I used
was "nibbles". I spend almost two hours playing.
The next day I got there early and discovered that you could program the
computers by using a "language" called "BASIC" (I knew
nothing about computers, we were all learning everything on the fly). In the
book department you could find a couple of books about BASIC and the C16.
That day I found my then best friend trying to make a program. We spent the
whole day learning about commands, syntax, languages, BASIC and stuff.
We were not the only boys there. Everyday you could find many curious boys
(and some girls) trying their luck with "nibbles" and
The programming passion got me there. My friend and I learned fast about
programming and everyday we tried something new. The C16 for display did not
have a diskette drive so we had to learn our programs and write them from
memory every time we wanted to use them. We developed a "nibbles"
clone for two players. The day that my friend was out of town for holiday I
developed my frist IA program: the computer played nibbles against me!
This experience was shared by many lucky boys that could afford to have a
C16 at home but that came to the store to meet other computer enthusiasts.
The ones that could not afford a home computer were there everyday to use
them at the store!
So, later when the IBM PC arrived many of us were veterans of personal