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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:12 pm

Trying to explain to someone who has never seen the USA network’s acclaimed show Mr Robot what it is about is not an easy thing to do.

But at a high level, it is about computer hackers. At a slightly deeper level it is about a fictional world (which feels certainly plausible at times) in which hackers wreak havoc on the world’s economy to push back against powerful political forces.

At an even deeper level, without giving away any spoilers, the reality distortion shared between the main character, Elliot (a cyber security engineer) and the viewer is something never seen before on TV at this level. Before too long you’ll be questioning everything and trusting nothing. And that’s exactly the point.

In terms of all things Retro, however, something happened in the show that nearly made my eyes shoot out of my head and fly around the room.

In season 2, episode 11, there is a very bizarre scene between one of the key characters, Angela, and a young girl, probably about eight or nine years old, who is her apparent interrogator.

Except the young girl asking the questions is reading them off a Commodore 64 monitor. We get to see her load a game off the gorgeous blue-on-blue screen before getting to business on the breadbox computer keyboard. She reads the questions from what appears to be a graphical text adventure called Land of Ecodelia (which looks pretty cool), and enters Angela's responses into the game. She even saves the game data to 5 1/4” floppies on a trusty 1541 drive, with a gorgeous close-up of the disk insertion, the Commodore logo twinkling slightly in the darkness.

According to GQ the Land of Ecodelia is “a reference to a relatively obscure scholarly argument that psychedelic drugs should be regarded as a technology that gave rise to the era of computers” which you can find here.

I won’t share any more info than that in case you are watching the show, but take a look at the spoiler-free "Commodore porn" below. When was the last time you saw shots like this devoted to the C= on TV? Quite possibly never. At least, not in this reality.
Angela, trapped in a dark room, that only consists of a large fish tank, a table with two chairs, a Commodore 64 system (monitor, computer and diskdrive), a red phone and the paperback novel, "Lolita".

Mid-range shot of Commodore 64 system.

Close-up of the legendary C64 boot screen.

Commodore 1541 close-up.

Partial title screen of "Land of Ecodelia", a fictional game seen in Season 2, Episode 11, from Mr Robot.

Close up of interrogator loading a list command before loading the program. Or, is that a young Angela about to ask old Angela about herself? Don't think so hard.

Screen from the game/interrogation questions "Land of Ecodelia".

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Posted Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:34 pm

Actually there have been many episodes of the TV show The Americans which have showed The Commodore 64. My organization VCF supplied the Commodore 64 to the TV show. I personally prepared this machine and delivered it to their prop department. There is an episode at the end where it is on screen for a full two minute or so. They have shown it many times in the last season. I also supplied them with the Commodore PET that is in their travel agency.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:42 pm

@Arkaxow, that is amazing!
There is an episode at the end where it is on screen for a full two minute or so.
Is that from the current season? Which episode? I'd love to check it out.

I, too, have a "museum quality" C64 with tons of gear. It's one of my most prized possessions as I gain so much from using it to this today.

And, welcome to the site! I'm so intrigued by what you do now. I apologize for my ignorance, but what is VCF?

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