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Connecting a C64 to WiFi | Nostalgia Nerd

February 8, 2020


These days we can connect almost all of our
digital devices wirelessly to some form of connection, whether it’s 3G, 4G, Wifi, or
whatever you care to use. The data for this very video could be passing
through your head right this minute. But rewind just a couple of decades and the
scene was very different. Cables were king and the internet was new. Rewind another decade and the internet as
we know it, is no where to be found. Instead we either dabbled digitally alone,
or huddled together in Bulletin Board Systems; seeking like-minded human connection at 2am
in the morning from our trusty 2,400 baud modems hooked directly into the phone line. Well, forget all of that, because it’s time
to combine the best of all these worlds. Enter WiFi64 from Shareware Plus. Developed and designed by Urko Eyuzal. Inside this box is something of wonder and
mystique. You can see the Wifi logo in the lower left
corner, right next to a Commodore 64 expansion connector. I don’t need to explain any more, you already
know what this does. So let’s plug it in… baby. Now to facilitate a WiFi connection, we’re
going to need an appropriate program. This stuff isn’t built into the Commodore
64’s ROM you know. I’m using a digital tape deck to load up this
particular application, mainly because I’m from the UK, and tape decks – even in digital
form – feel more homely, than those fangled disk drives. Ahhhh, a terminal interface. What a lovely feeling. This is CCGMS version 6 by Craig Smith, with
mods by Alwyz. It’s the splendid tool which will bring life
to our WiFi64. The process is pretty simple. Add the SSID of the network. Enter the password, use the command atc1 to
connection, and Bob is your frickin’ Uncle. We have WiFi connection. I feel there should be a more dramatic sequence
to illustrate this. That works. Now, you may be thinking this is some kind
of Witchcraft or Wizardcraft, but fear not, having made his own version called the RetroNet,
which I’ll be featuring in a separate video, Dr. A from the Back Office Show is on hand
to explain the gubbins. Now let’s explore. Handily, with the WiFi64, is a deck of BBS
Top Trumps. So by typing the command ATDT, along with
the BBS address and port number, we can connect to all kinds of excitement. Clearly, this isn’t how we’d have connected
in the past. Back then a BBS would have its own number
(or set of numbers) which we’d dial using a modem, hopefully obtaining a connection
– if it wasn’t engaged – whereby we could then go about our pre-internet affairs. Now, these archaic boards simply have their
own web addresses, which can be connected to using a Telnet protocol, and are then re-directed
through to the Bulletin Board hardware often using a virtual modem to interface the two. It’s the same experience as old, just without
the expensive phone bills. But it’s the reason why many bulletin boards
will still ask for your phone number upon registration. We can choose to connect up in either graphics
or ANSI mode. Most boards will supply graphics, but otherwise
we’ll get a text interface, but it’s still pleasant none the less. I managed to hook up my 64 to a BBS a couple
of times in the 90s, and it was an incredibly exciting experience. Just to know you were connecting with other
people, at any time of day, without leaving the house was incredible. I felt like a god damn hacker, stealing glimmers
of information that the rest of the world were blissfully unaware of. I mean, usually it was that Sebastian from
Morocco had lost his cat, or perhaps a short work of fiction from Malcolm in Florida, but
it was still bloomin’ exciting regardless. These cards are now a year or so old, so some
of these boards have since closed down. Which is a shame. Piece by piece the past disappears. But others are fully operational. I signed up to quite a few boards here and
there, before rooting around for snippets of information, or interesting files to download. You can even grab segments of code into a
buffer and save them for later, like these sound effect programs. But, by far the best BBS was Commodore Image,
run by X-TEC. Here, we have a wealth of information, lotteries,
messages, games and even movies. Ohhhh, yes. Well, I say movies. Although, I did dig up one entitled Atari
vs. Commodore. You can see the full version of that on my
extra channel, otherwise we’d be here all night. If you somehow get bored of the film selection,
then games might be your ticket. Most are text based. We’ve got simulations where you speak to a
therapist. A quiz which determines if you’re addicted
to computers, which apparently, I somewhat am. A graphical lazer game in the style of snake,
which is monumentally hard with the 64’s directional arrows, given you only have two keys for four
tasks. There were also tonnes of door and adventure
games, along with some beta titles, which seemed to crash the whole system. Anyway, before we get too bogged down in the
world of Bulletin boards. This video was about the WiFi on the trusty
old Commodore 64, so let’s get back to that briefly. One of the great things about the WiFi64 is
that, even after powering everything down, the adaptor will remember your WiFi details. So next time you boot up your trusty 64, you’re
ready to connect to where-ever you please, without hassle. I love it when a piece of hardware or software
pops up which drags a machine almost 4 decades old, into our current age. The initiative, scope and excitement of the
people behind these creations is infectious, and it makes me want to do, THINGS with my
Commodore all over again. Things such as logging onto Twitter using
a client such as Bread Box 64. Unfortunately recent Twitter API changes mean
it doesn’t work anymore. So how about browsing the actual World Wide
Web or accessing email using something like the Contiki operating system? Well, Contiki is better suited for cartridge
port devices like the RR-Net, TFE and ETH64. But there are still more options and more
programs we can look at in the future. For now, it doesn’t matter, we’ve got this
64 hooked up to Wi-Fi, and I’m more than happy with exploring the wealth of Bulletin Board
Systems still running. There’s no doubt that connecting your Commodore
64 up to the internet opens up a whole new world of old. Thanks for watching.

10 Comments

  • Reply Pawel Janowski October 11, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Hi!,
    I have JVC TM1000ps with YC358 connector (pre era of S-Video) – http://barrys8trackrepair.com/Y-C358.html . How You connect it with C64. The YC358 plug is very rare ;(

  • Reply Zombieish _____ October 12, 2019 at 12:13 am

    0:56 i thought i accidentally clicked on repzillas video XD

  • Reply Higher Gamer November 6, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    i need this, i've done dialup on a c64

  • Reply Paul Stubbs November 9, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    I found the WiFi64 code on the internet a while ago, and built it with an RS232 interface to suit my TRS-80 computer. With RS232 it should work with any machine sporting a serial port.
    Most BBS seem to support either Commodore or IBM PC graphics, so the good old TRS-80 is a little left in the cold here (Maybe I should just start up my own BBS) however all the BBS's I visited had the option to skip graphics.
    Now if I could just figure out how to 'dial into' my NAS with this device and save my software etc to my local network I will be extra happy.

  • Reply patrlim December 3, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    9:11 he fucked his computer didnt he?

  • Reply Amalasan December 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    The thing is that adapter probably has more computer power than the 64, by a large margin.

  • Reply Tom Towers December 28, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I'm surprised at the nostalgia, Why use a old computer or bother to rehab one? Hobby, Easier to work on?

  • Reply Julia Ponce January 14, 2020 at 4:50 am

    But why though???

  • Reply lwvmobile January 26, 2020 at 7:14 am

    Did you play a game of Lord? Perhaps get a chance to flirt with Violet?

  • Reply Jayson Cowan January 31, 2020 at 2:05 am

    Well i would be more interested if in 80 column mode it was able to log into a bash prompt and act as a terminal when logging on to unix servers.

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