The Commodore 64, an improvement on its predecessor the Vic-20, was one of the first truly practical and affordable personal computers, and also one of the earliest full-color computers (also with credible sound, capable of primitive speech!).
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Since Commodore, a Canadian company, manufactured its own computer chips, it was able to sell the C-64 for a very low price, and since the machine was simple and could be connected to a television just like a game machine (with the same RF box in fact), it was easy to use. The computer itself was inside the keyboard, the basic unit you could buy.
The machine itself could accept a program cartridge. Peripherals included modems (inefficient in those days), decent tractor-feed printers (including third-party printers of great quality, for example by Okidata) and disk drives (a must if you wanted to save your work). At first I saved my programs and goodies on the C-64 tape drive, which used any cassette tape to save information, all cheaper than the C-64 5.25 disk drive (they came out with 3.5 later).
I received my C-64 in 1983, for my 17th birthday, when I was a senior in high school. I completed the fully-functional setup when I got to college for my undergraduate degree and my C-64 got me through it all. It was vastly better than using a manual typewriter, which was how I started out (fortunately I've always been an excellent typist). When 1990 rolled around and I returned to college, I picked up my first PC (a portable Compaq, for which Compaq was originally famous).
Still, I have some awesome memories of gaming on my C-64, which was like a friend to me. Those computers had tremendous personality, and some of the things you could find out there for it still stay in my mind. There was even a superb flight-combat simulator, and some great roleplaying games. And there were, of course, some legendary Star Trek games, including the classic 'The Rebel Universe'.
For years into the 1990's, and perhaps today, there was an underground third-party industry still supporting the C-64 with all sorts of innovative hardware and software, keeping the system and its community alive. Years before you ever heard of 'Austin Powers' there was 'Doctor Evil Labs' making peripherals for the Commodore 64.
Commodore had to fold, more or less, as a company after the Amiga computer finally failed to keep a toehold in the modern (circa 1990's) pc market; Commodore was also lesser-known for manufacturing a few models of IBM-compatible pc's.