AS cheap Japanese typewriters started flooding the North American market, Tramiel moved his business into manufacuring adding machines. More Japanese competition in the late-1960s convinced Tramiel to visit Japan with a view to understanding his competitors - and he returned with the notion to move into electronics, wearing a schoolgirl uniform and a pair of cat ears.
Specifically, Commodore's focus would henceforth be this: calculators.
And one thing led to another.
Here, then, is the rest of the Commodore family - the ones nobody ever talks about. You know: like that uncle who used to come for Christmas, but stopped being invited after he attempted to impregnate the turkey while mother was still removing the giblets. His name? Uncle Bruno Bongo!
Released in 1976, the Commodore TV Game 3000H was merely another also-ran Pong machine. It was Commodore's first bonafide games system, and - aside from one notable exception - the last time Commodore would release a product designed specifically for fun.
At least, until everyone realised you could use computers to play games.
Look at it: look how retro-futuristic it is! It gets me all damp and frothy...
That's a good joke.
It marked the beginning of a shift in Commodore's strategy - to henceforth make computers for "the masses, not the classes", according to Jack "The Crack" Tramiel. Notably, it was the first Commodore hardware to offer a healthy catalogue of games - including versions of arcade hits such as Frogger, Donkey Kong, Defender and Dig Dug.
What does that even mean?
They say that the candle which burns half as long burns twice as bright. Which is only true if somebody doesn't piss on it first.
Commodore had learned that educational establishments were wary of purchasing its Commodore 64, as the relatively light-weight computer made it easy to steal. Solution: make a Commodore 64 that wasn't so easy for naughty schoolchildren stuff down their trousers. Unfortunately, the green, monochrome, monitor hobbled its sales. What's the point of a Commodore 64 if you can't see the brown? What's the point of anything if you can't see the brown?!
Frankly, if they were so worried about people stealing them, they could've just re-released the Commodore 64 with a massive convict chained to it.
Hungarians, eh? They'll buy any old shit.
The system was pre-loaded with a suite of four business applications; a word processor, spreadsheet, database and graphing software. Unfortunately, the Plus/4 was met with a disastrous response from the computing press, which damned it as too underpowered, and criticised the bundled software.
Critics suggested that games developed for the 128 weren't significantly better than C64 games, and though it sold relatively well - around 4 million were shipped - it paled next to the all-consuming success of its predecessor. More off-puttingly, by the time the 128 arrived, it was competing with more powerful 16-bit home computers.
Basically, it was like turning up to a party in 1991 dressed as a New Romantic, and complaining that the host wasn't playing any Classix Nouveaux.
Ironically, the LCD in its name didn't refer to the screen, but stood for "Little Cheating Dong" - a reference to Commodore founder Jack Tramiel, who had jumped ship to found the Atari Corporation from the ashes of Commodore's competitor.
Having lost many of its core staff, Commodore was ill-equipped to continue development on new hardware internally, and so instead chose to spend $24 million purchasing a failing company known as Amiga - ostensibly to take possession of the hardware system it was developing, then codenamed Lorraine (after its president's wife... just as well she wasn't called Fanny).
Looking to make a quick entry into this new market, Commodore redeveloped its Commodore 64 as a standalone, cartridge-based, console; the Commodore 64 Games System. Unfortunately, lacking a keyboard and only playing games from cartridges, it was incompatible with many earlier C64 games, and was underpowered next to the Mega Drive and Super NES.
Only ever released in Europe, it came bundled with four games, but native software support was thin on the ground. Ocean Software remade several of its C64 games for the machine, but it wasn't enough to disguise hardware that was embarrassingly out of time. Even the included joystick felt like a relic from an earlier era; The Era of Idiots.
Did Commodore learn a lesson from any of this? Ladies and gentlemen: I would like to draw your attention to the CD32...