64/128 view. (decreasing popularity of software for the Commodore 64 and 128)
by Tom Netsel
Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch her poor dog a bone, but when she got there, the cupboard was bare--even the 64 products were gone.
A funny thing happened today at our cupboard for new software. When I got there and opened its doors, the cupboard was bare. There was no new software for the 64.
Uh-oh! How can I fill all those gaping review pages, when I don't have software to review? There must be something in there that I've overlooked. Desperation does wonders for one's powers of observation.
Aha! There's a package! It's a little dusty, but I haven't seen it before. Surely it's something worth reviewing. We can give it a good workout and milk it for a few thousand words. It's bound to be of interest to millions of Commodore users around the world.
As I wiped the grime from the faded software box, my hopes for filling the review section faded about as quickly as a smile appears on the face of a software rep when I ask, "What do you have new for the 64?" As I struggled to stay afloat in the cruel waters of the publishing business, I realized that this thin yellow package I was grasping was made of straw--and waterlogged straw at that.
The product must have slipped from the shelf above. That's where we put the software that never quite made it into Gazette review pages. That's the shelf where we stash titles such as Great Moments in Bowling for the Adam Coleco or the VIC-20 version of Thermodynamic Equations for LAN Designers.
In this case, the program turned out to be a spelling program from a guy in a small California town who worked out of a post office box. Unfortunately, it was published in 1984, and was not the stuff to fill my review pages.
It's amazing how things have changed! A few years ago, when I assigned reviews for COMPUTE and Gazette, new software titles vied for attention on several shelves. The 64 titles were king. They filled several shelves at the top of the cabinet. Down near the floor, occupying half a shelf, were the IBM titles.
The 64 was at its peak. Dozens of new titles came in every day. An IBM still cost megabucks, and its software consisted of monochrome productivity titles that cost $495 each. There were a few games that utilized CGA graphics and managed a puny beep or two, but they paled next to the 64's 16 colors and three-voice SID chip.
As the jiffy clock ticked away, and months turned into years, we had to reallocate shelf space. New titles for the 64 arrived steadily, but IBM products hit us with all the subtlety of a flash flood. Today we have a whole room reserved for IBM software, and the 64/128 shelf resembles Mother Hubbard's cupboard.
A few reviews are in the works, but it'd be nice to see more new things for the 64 again. So take note, software developers: If you have a Commodore product that's never been reviewed, now's a great time to let us and the rest of the Commodore world know about it. Send us a review copy; don't keep it a secret.