Commodore 16 / Plus 4
The Commodore 232 was to be a 264 (Plus/4) with half the RAM, and the Commodore 364 was to be a 264 (Plus/4) with built-in speech capability (over 250 words), a 64K ROM and a 19-key numeric keypad. Both of these machines were never released - Commodore instead decided to keep just the C116 (later called the 16) and C264 (Plus/4).
Unfortunately, Commodore failed to notice that they would also be competing against their own very successful computer, the Commodore 64. Eventually, only two of this family made it into production - the C16 and the Plus/4. The Plus/4 had some advantages over the C64: BASIC 3.5 has real graphics commands in it, and it used a dynamic ROM banking scheme, so you got nearly 64K in BASIC (this was later used on the Commodore 128).
The Commodore 16
A slightly modified version of the Commodore 16, the Commodore 116, was released only in Europe in December 1984. This computer was essentially the same as a Commodore 16 inside (also with 16K of memory), but in a smaller case similar to that of the Plus/4 and with chicklet-style rubber keys. It was able to run all Commodore 16 software, and Plus/4 software if memory was expanded to 64K. The C116 was priced cheaper than even the Commodore 16 to try to attract newcomers to the budget home computing market. Commodore stopped sales of the 116 in 1985 after only 51,000 were produced. Approximately 44,000 of these were sold in Germany.
All computers in Commodore's 264-range used the same peripherals, which were different to the VIC-20 and C64 (although with adapters you could get them to work on the VIC and C64). The datasette model for the 264-range was VIC-1531, and the floppy disk drive was the VIC-1551.
By September 1986, the 264 line were in full liquidation, with the Plus/4 being sold for $79, with the 1541 floppy drives selling for $149 (down from their original price of $269), and printers selling for $119 (down from $200).
Using One Today
Making use of these computers today is made much easier through the use of the SD2IEC interface. SD2IEC emulates the basic functions of a Commodore 1541 floppy disk drive so you don't have to wear out your old original tapes and disks. Simply plug it into your Commodore's serial port, prepare an SD card with some menu software on it and you're ready to go! , It's as slow to load and save as the 1541 floppy drive, but does support fast loaders like JiffyDos, Final Cartridge III, TurboDisk and Epyx Fastload. It supports files in the following formats: D64, D81, D71, M2I, and PRG. Sadly it doesn't support tape image files, e.g. T64 or TAP. The device typically draws its power from the cassette interface port More info here.
Commodore 16 & Plus/4 News
14 October 2016New game for C16 and Plus/4
264er_Fan just released his 4th game that runs on a C16/Plus4. Following Hitball and Brickhunter (released earlier this year), it’s his biggest effort so far. The gameplay is simple: run and pick up the bombs before the time runs out, and don’t get caught or hit any obstacles! Be sure to check it out and give it a spin!
14 September 2016Commodore Free Issue 94
Issue 94 of Commodore Free, the magazine dedicated to Commodore computers is now available for download. The magazine is available in the following formats; PDF, ePUB, MOBI, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image.
17 August 2016Pentagram for the Plus/4!
This late Ultimate Play the Game title was originally ported from Z80 to the 6502 (Atari 800) by Mariusz Wojcieszek (mariuszw), and converted to the Plus/4 by Emu.
02 August 2016Reimplementing the TED chip of Commodore 264 series in FPGA
István Hegedüs has developed a cycle-exact FPGA core for the MOS 7360/8360 TED chip written in verilog. The final goal is to have an FPGA core that could be used as a drop in replacement for the MOS 8360 chip which is the heart of the Commodore 264 series 8 bit computers, namely the Commodore 16, Commodore Plus 4 and Commodore 116.
This core can be the basis of a complete C16 or Plus 4 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) implementation.