Education, Entertainment, Gaming, News, Virtual Reality (VR), Wearables

Commodore 64 is getting VR-ed

While VR headsets like HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift require a somewhat expensive ‘VR-ready’ gaming PC, all you really might need to enjoy the pleasures of pure immersion are a battle-worn Commodore 64 and a 10 dollar pair of VR goggles. Yep, that’s right – a true Commodore 64 fan actually created a pair of virtual reality goggles for the classic 8-bit computer, that can be easily found for just a few dollars at thrift shops around the country. Jim_64 added an LCD display to a cheap pair of VR goggles that mirrors what’s seen on an old CRT TV connected to his Commodore 64.

Not surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of people still producing games and content for the C64, so Jim_64 had to code his own virtual reality (a term used very, very loosely here) adventure game called Street Defender. As Jim Happel states:

“The project started with my 12 year old daughter’s science fair.  She studied VR goggles.  We were able to make our own “Google Cardboard” style goggles, 3D images, and even a 3D movie.  Of course we used our smart phones as screens and video cameras.”

Commodore 64 meets Virtual Reality in a cardboard experiment.

It fits on a single 5.25-inch floppy, and judging from the video below, it doesn’t look too shabby. It’s kind of a horde mode, with the player defending their position from an ever-advancing mob of insect-like ninjas.

Impressively, when you play the game with VR goggles, the ninjas actually appear to come towards you and it has been achieved by creating a program that splits the game into two images, one for each eye, then slightly tweaking each image until a field of depth was accomplished.

Ellen Commodore C64 VR

Is Ellen an engineering star of the future? Judging by the effort put into the science fair, we’d certainly think so.

So, if you’re a kind of a hipster who found some working Commodore 64 around, there is your chance to enjoy VR world in cheap, and most of the all – very original way. It goes to show what kind of love does a father passes on to his daughter, who just might be an engineering star of the future. We wish Jim and his daughter Ellen Happel all the best in future endavours.