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8Bit computers

Retro computer history from Atari 2600 to NES (1980-1985).


This is the story of the 8bit microcomputers, from 1980 to 1985, from the first mass-market console (Atari 2600) to the Video Game Crash of 1983, up to the NES success in the following years.

In this story companies like Atari, Commodore, and Nintendo are the game changer, together with other players like Mattel and Texas Instruments. Atari created the market, Commodore pushed the 8-bit computer era, Nintendo rescued it.

In the hype (mid '80) I was eleven years old in a little country called Italy when the 8-bit computer era was growing.

I was able to get a Vic20 and after that, the C/64, thank you to the Jack Tramiel's idea to sold computers into the retail stores instead of only electronics or computer hobbyist specialty stores. Commodore computers will change my life forever.

So I decided to run through again that years adding my experience: this is the book you are reading, for less than a Starbucks' Frappuccino.

Editor note

This book is still in draft form and will be released at no charge for a limited period of time. Please feel free to add comment on the following page


This December 2021 version spots:

  • A Search bar on the right (try it!)
  • A new pleasant theme based on Docusaurus engine

Please refer to the Changelog for more information.

Alive and kicking

It is interesting how the retro computer like NES and C/64 are still alive. On April 2019 ZeroPaige announced a Super Mario Bros port for the C/64, then Nintendo sued in a rush.

Considering C/64 birth date back to 1982, it is impressive how long a 37 years old platform is still getting software for it, although authors are enthusiasts and somewhat described as "nerd".

This book is dedicated to the Men and the Women who built the Commodore Vic20 and changed my life forever.


This books uses material from the Wikipedia articles listed below, which are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

See for more information.

This book is an experiment. I want to review a huge corpus of product sold between end of seventies and the eighties, without letting my personal sentiment obfuscate the reality of the facts.

After reading a lot of Wikipedia article, you tube videos and so on I decided to write this small book. Then I added my experience, because I have the luck to be a small child in the '80.