There have been a few retro/homage products released in recent years for the Commodore 64, famous to many for being the best selling personal computer of all time. Jeri Ellsworth’s C-64 Direct to TV project from 2004 being one of the first, if not the first, and last year’s C=64 Mini. It was a cool little system-in-a-stick that could plug directly into a TV set and play a selection of built-in games that could be played with the joystick, but lacked the keyboard and floppy drive, making it a limited re-creation of the original at best.
A “C=64 Mini” that came a couple years ago was kindof a disappointment; it had a collection of built-in games, but not a working keyboard, or interface for installing/running other titles. I guess if you really wanted to, you could hack them, but that was well beyond what someone with a casual interest of re-living the C64 with their favorite games and programs would be likely willing to pursue.
A new TheC64 Mini project has been announced which will be full-size and include a working keyboard, and HDMI output, which should ship in December 2019. I don’t have details on the internals, so whether it will be some kind of C64 SOAC or a FPGA-based system, or what, is anybody’s guess for now.
It will come with an improved joystick as well, and apparently will have USB ports, which means it may be possible to run software beyond the 64 built-in games that it will come bundled with, but that’s not clear at this time whether it will actually have any such capability. It would be ideal if you could mount a microSD card with disk images of games that came on floppy, or ROM files for cartridge-based games, and play them on this new system. Due to copyright, it’s unreasonable to expect every software title ever released for the system to be included out-of-the-box, but wouldn’t it be nice if copyright were reformed to allow obsolete software that is no longer marketed to be distributed freely so that this could be possible?
The C64 had a fantastic library of software, and has been a demoscene favorite for decades, and it would be amazing to see a modern, fully featured re-issue. I don’t think that this will quite be that, but it may be the closest thing we get for the forseeable future.