Sonic the Hedgehog on the C64 mini
New software for an old platform brought to life hobbyist style
Thirty years after Sonic the Hedgehog was released it was ported to the Commodore 64. It’s a marriage of hit franchises, even if the couple is mismatched by a generation.
The C64 was released in August 1982 at $595 USD and dominated the low-end of the 80s computing scene in part because its low cost and era-leading graphics and sound. Estimates are that at least 12.5 million were sold.
Sonic the Hedgehog was released almost a decade later in June 1991 for the Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive) and is estimated to have sold about 24 million copies. It launched one of the most recognizable video game characters after Mario.
Sonic the Hedgehog for the Commodore 64 came out in December 2021. It’s free and you can snag a copy right here. To be specific, the author Mr. SID, said this version is a direct port of the 8-bit version that Sega made for the Master System in late 1991.
But how are you going to play it?
Here’s the thing: The 64Kb of RAM in the C64 isn’t enough for this game. By the mid-80s Commodore had released RAM Expansion Units, or REU, to boost the memory of the C64 — and by that time, even the memory of the C128.
Sonic requires an REU with at least 256KB. If you have a C64 in your collection but not an REU, then buckle up. Always on the rare side, this game release has driven REU prices to hundreds and even thousands of dollars on eBay.
Yes, one may play on an emulator, but sometimes things are more fun with hardware involved.
Enter the C64 mini, which is super cute, and has modern niceties such as USB (for keyboards and memory sticks) and HDMI. It’s a miniature, lovable tribute to the C64. There’s also a full-size version with a working keyboard, if you prefer. It’s obviously less… mini.
The C64 mini was released in 2018 and continues to be in active development. With a ROM update in 2021 it gained the ability to run software that requires an REU simply by setting a flag in the filename.
Supporters, forge on and I’ll show you how simple it is to run Sonic the Hedgehog on the C64 mini.