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No other computing platform has become such a well-known cultural icon as the Commodore 64 (also known as the C64, Cevi or affectionately known as the »breadbin«). The figures vary between 11 and 30 million units produced, which were sold between the appearance of the 8-bit computer in September 1982 and its (premature) end of production in April 1994. Already during this time, a rich culture developed around the system in numerous countries – first in the West, but after the end of the Cold War also rapidly in the East. Countless peripherals and hardware extensions, software, especially games, books, magazines, clubs, scene meetings and much more were developed for the C64 during this time. All of this forms a cultural history of computing that is unsurpassed in diversity and of which the Commodore 64 became a symbol.
The symposium "Commodore 64 – Past, Present, and Future of a Home Computer" aims to discuss some of these even less illuminated or almost forgotten historical discourses and objects. The fact that the C64 still plays an important role in the present, not only in retrocomputing communities, but also in research and teaching in various disciplines, will also be discussed and demonstrated with examples. However, the fact that a computer, more than forty years after its release and twenty years after its production stop, still has such a lasting effect on culture, education and science also suggests that the C64 will continue to play a role in the future. The symposium also aims to draw attention to this in lectures and discussions and to outline perspectives.
The international plenary session of the symposium brings together collectors, museum curators, retrocomputing enthusiasts, computer scientists, historians, media scientists, artists, hackers and nostalgics who will discuss their work on and with the C64. After two days of lectures, game evenings and a SID chiptunes lecture performance (where dancing is allowed), the organizers offer a C64 hackathon on the third day, where various coding contests, experiments and applied hacks can be implemented on the original systems in BASIC and Assembler.
The symposium will take place at the Department of Media Studies at the University of Bonn from July 5 to 7, 2024. All presentations will be held in English and will be streamed over the Internet. It is open to the public and admission is free. For more information, see http://rtro.de/c64.