User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:12 pm

The company Creative Micro Designs (CMD) holds a legendary status in the minds of many Commodore 64 and 128 fans.

CMD is THE top-shelf Commodore hardware designer and manufacturer that provided powerful solutions for a platform most considered dead at the time. In fact, even today many of its creations are given the moniker of “Holy Grail.” And they made more than one grail. Some of its most innovative creations came out not only after The C64/128 had been discontinued, but even after Commodore itself had died in 1994.

Here’a quick historical timeline of some of CMD’s greatest hits.

JiffyDOS 1985-1989
RamLink 1990
CMD Hard Drive 1990
CMD FD-2000 3.5” floppy drive 1992
Commodore World 1994
SuperCPU 20Mhz 1996
SuperRAM-Card (16MB) and SuperCPU 128 1997

Now, some of you might be looking at that list with a tear for times gone by and a longing for some of those devices. But “Commodore World” might stand out as a confusing addition to the timeline. What the heck is that? It’s not a hardware device that’ll turn your old breadbin into a muscle-bulging monster, right?

The fact is that when Commodore died in 1994, most 8-bit focused Commodore magazines were long dead, too, at least in the USA. (Even ZZap!64 in the UK market died in 1992.) There was still a strong yet drastically smaller Commodore 8-bit fan base even then - a dedicated fraction of what had been in the 1980s - but not enough to move markets.

As a result, the publishing world had long since moved on as well.

Compute!’s Gazette was one of the the last US-based mags to cover the Commodore scene. It’s final issue came out in February of 1995.

Between October 1990 and December 1993 it was combined with COMPUTE! in a separate section of that magazine. It then switched to a disk-only magazine format in January 1994 and ceased publishing entirely after the February 1995 issue. In other words, if you wanted to find a print pub on the magazine rack in 1994 that contained Commodore 8-bits content you were pretty much out of luck.

CMD was still devoted to the Commodore 64 and 128 even by the time Windows 95 launched, yet they had no way to easily market themselves. Remember this was pre-Internet days for the vast majority of humanity, or at least the earliest dawn of it for most. None of the serious tech magazines looked at innovative and powerful hardware for 8-bit machines at that stage, even though what CMD was building and delivering was truly jaw dropping if a bit late to have the history-changing impact it might have had. At the time, most thought Commodore was a story that had been already told, and put to bed.

Thus, CMD created and published their own bi-monthly magazine: Commodore World. It cost $4.95 ($5.95 Canadian). It was published from 1994-1999. Think about that for a second. A professional magazine for Commodore 64 and 128 users, printed until 1999! Now think back to where you were in 1999 and what you were doing at the time. And now consider what computer you were actively using day-to-day. Be honest.

For me, I had one foot on a Windows XP machine at work, and an iMac Ruby at home running OS 9.2. Just 2 years later I was on OS X (the same year CMD finally shut down) and never really turned back. But in 1999, to think CMD was 1) still in business and 2) still trying to print a publication for 8-bit Commodore folks totally blows my mind.

I acquired seven issues of Commodore World in pristine condition this week.

The interior pages are not glossy and they are all in black and white. But the content is 100% incredible with a focus more on the programmer/hacker/hardware and "professional" users. This was not a magazine for gamers or children, it was aimed at adults who really wanted to continue to use and leverage the systems they loved and still enjoyed.
This is one of the most amazing issues I received. Take a closer look at the computer on the cover here. It is a REAL tower computer, with a C128 on the inside and completely hacked into the ultimate CMD-upgraded machine I've ever seen. At least, like this! The only thing it lacks is a SuperCPU and that's only because it hadn't been invented yet.

This page is from the same issue and these computers were created by the same hacker whose work was featured on the cover. This was back in 1995! Can you imagine how much these machines would go for on Ebay in 2020? Holy smoke! A dual 1581? A dual C128?? What does that even mean?!

This magazine is a fantastic page-turner just filled with history. This particular article was written by Retro Innovations legend Jim Brain!

You'll find others by dignitaries such as Jim Butterfield, Doug Cotton (CMD co-founder), and others.


I don’t think many of these magazines were ultimately sold even though it existed for 5 years all after the demise of Commodore, which is hard to overstate how impressive a feat that was. However, a nice collection is on for browsing online or downloading. But I highly recommend the print version if you can find it.

I actually seem to have one issue not in the archive's collection: Issue 11, Volume 2, Number 6.

User avatar
Zippy Zapp

Posted Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:30 am

Nice write up. I never read a Commodore World magazine as by 1995 I had switched over to a Power Macintosh and a PC, of course, with Windows 98, mostly for games. When Windows XP came out in 2001 I did not use it and stayed with (Gasp) Windows ME. XP in the beginning was not the greatest OS for games. That changed, obviously.

Oops a little off-topic there, sorry those dang nostalgia bones keep popping up. :lol:

However, Bombjack has the complete collection of Commodore World Magazine.

I would love to add these to my collection but I have far too many mags and not enough space. At some point soon I will be selling off a decent amount of COMPUTE! and COMPUTE!'s Gazette.

I know all these mags are available as PDFs but I still prefer the print versions.

User avatar

Posted Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:36 pm

That is damn interesting. And it just goes to show how it is what you do with a mchine that really matters. To be honest, most of our computers today sit around doing nothing or just move windows around. It is only 30 years after having a C64, that I am startign to see some of its power.

Return to “The Lounge”