Las Vegas-area Commodore club members bond over vintage computer system

Updated May 22, 2017 - 2:18 pm

The Commodore International computer and electronics company’s machines are upgradeable and still can be used, more than two decades after the company went out of business.

Once a month, a group of enthusiasts known as the Clark County Commodore Computer Club, or the 5C’s, meets at vintage video game store Grand Line Games in the north valley. Members range from about 40-70 years old, and children have attended, club President Forrest Nettles said.

On a recent Saturday, club members brought unique Commodore computers and gadgets, including an Amiga VR (virtual reality) headset manufactured in 1987 and Super Sketch for the Commodore 64, which allows users to trace drawings and pictures, then put them onto a screen.

The club has been meeting since 1983 and, at the height of the technology’s popularity in the late 1980s, the group attracted 200-300 members, Nettles said. For 30 years, the group met in the NV Energy building in the southwest valley. It moved this year to the game store, which one of the members owns, Nettles said.

With nearly 20 members, Nettles said, the club is the largest Commodore-focused group in the Southwest. Some out-of-state members participate in meetings via livestreaming, he added.

Nettles, 67, of Summerlin, joined the club in the mid-1980s. He left after taking an interest in personal computers but attended a technology convention and reconnected with the group nearly 20 years later.

“(PCs were a) newer format and newer technology, but it was never as much fun as Commodores,” Nettles said. “The games were fun, the utilities and applications, and there’s still stuff coming out for it to this day.”

Club Vice President Keith Greene said some people have re-engineered the technology, “so they fixed a lot of things that were wrong with it. It’s completely new hardware.”

Modern games such as “Flappy Bird,” which was created four years ago, have been adapted so they can operate on the 30-year-old system, Greene said. The Commodore 64 also can store music and games through a secure digital, or SD, card. Saj Awan, who has been a group member for about two years, demonstrated by playing Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit “Billie Jean” on the computer.

Awan said he appreciates that vintage computers require creativity.

“(Commodores) have limitations, and that’s where the artistry comes out of, because you’re hacking the system,” he said. “It’s very primitive. It’s all machine language.”

Awan had an Atari system while growing up, he said. He discovered Commodores when he bought a game that had Atari functions on one side and Commodore on the other. He said he visited a neighbor who had a Commodore computer to try out his game on that system.

“I inserted the disk and I heard a digitized voice,” he recalled. “I was like, Wow, my Atari doesn’t talk … I have to get myself a Commodore.”

Awan met Greene, who had a Commodore collection, a couple of years ago through Craigslist. After discovering the group online, they decided to attend together.

Yul Haasmann of the southwest valley has been a member of the club since the early 1990s. He said he joined because he wanted to learn the fundamentals of technology.

“Some of us want to go back to the very basics of the electronic universe in order to be able to figure out the advanced machines into things we want to do in our minds,” he said. “The new generation becomes just players, but at some point there’s nothing else to play because they’re not building stuff. We need to fill this gap and go back to the basics.”

It has been difficult for the group to make its presence known, Haasmann said.

“There are many isolated enthusiasts, but they don’t know we exist,” he said.

The club plans to hold its Commodore Retro Expo July 28-30 at Alexis Park Resort (375 E Harmon Ave.), featuring presentations, lectures and demonstrations. The location is pending, Nettles said.

Contact Kailyn Brown at kbrown@viewnews.com or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

Local Videos
Dog Yoga At Hydrant Club
The Hydrant Club in downtown Las Vegas, is a social club for dogs and their people. Recently the club started hosting dog yoga. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Butterflies At The Springs Preserve
The butterfly habitat is now open at the Springs Preserve. Learn about butterflies and take in the peaceful surroundings. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Conservatory's spring display has a Japanese theme
The Bellagio's conservatory is hosting around 65,000 flowers, to form a Japanese theme this spring. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs closes (Caroline Brehman/Kimber Laux)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas officially closed its gates Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring a fallen North Las Vegas Police officer at his namesake school
The 20th Annual Raul P. Elizondo Honor Day celebrates the fallen North Las Vegas Police officer's legacy at his namesake school. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Windy day in Las Vegas Valley
The Review-Journal's camera on the under-construction Las Vegas Stadium the was buffered by high winds on Wednesday, March 14, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
March gloom falls on Las Vegas
After a rainy overnight, gloomy skies hover over Las Vegas Tuesday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
John Katsilometes gets his head shaved at St. Baldrick's
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes gets his head shaved by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman during St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York in Las Vegas Friday, March 8, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Blue Angels take flight over Las Vegas Strip
The Blue Angels’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron flew their signature Delta formation over a part of the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and east Las Vegas and were scheduled to fly over Hoover Dam. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Gross World Records
A group of about 20 children gathered around a TV at Sahara West Library on Feb. 27 for a history lesson on the most disgusting world records.
Graduation for Renewing HOPE program
The Renewing HOPE program graduation for homeless who spend nine months in Catholic Charities program. Graduates are preparing to enter the workforce. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Car crashes into Starbucks near Las Vegas Strip
Lt. William Matchko of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police gives details about a car crashing into a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, near the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Car crashed into PT’s Gold
A 60-year-old man who police believe was impaired drove into a PT’s Gold at Silverado Ranch and Decatur boulevards Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. William Matchko said. The driver was hospitalized and is expected to survive. A man inside the bar was hit by debris but drove himself to the hospital, Matchko said. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (part 1)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (pullout)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids Read Books To Dogs At The Animal Foundation In Las Vegas
Kids from local Las Vegas elementary schools took part, Thursday, in a program at the Animal Foundation, where they read books to dogs. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pioneer Trail highlights historic locations in West Las Vegas
The Pioneer Trail, a 16-site route of historically significant locations in Las Vegas, starts at the Springs Preserve and snakes east until it reaches above the brim of downtown. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutefsya
Vegas Warm Weather Hits Las Vegas Valley
Between Feb. 20-21, parts of the Las Vegas Valley were hit with 7.5" of snow. Less than a week later, it was sunny with temperatures in the 70s. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest at the VA Hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II Army veteran, was arrested in November after he caused a ruckus at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas and stole his driver's car keys. He was arraigned on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, and the charges will be dropped after 60 days. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Claytee White talks about Black History Month
An interview with Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reflecting on the Moulin Rouge and a segregated Vegas
Former employees of the Moulin Rouge, the first integrated hotel-casino in Nevada, talk about what it was like in the brief six months the casino was open. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices
Home prices rose in every ZIP code in the Las Vegas Valley in 2018 for the second year in a row, according to SalesTraq. Prices grew fastest in older, more centrally located areas. But prices were highest in the suburbs. The top three ZIP codes for price growth were 89119 (29.8%), 89146 (25%) and 89030 (24.6%). The top three ZIP codes for median sales prices were 89138 ($464,500), 89135 ($420,500) and 89052 ($370,000).
Wagonwheel Drive overpass reopens after ice closure
Overpass at Wagonwheel Drive reopens after ice on the onramp caused the ramp to be shut down, Feb. 22, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Keeping warm at the city of Las Vegas’ homeless courtyard
With help from the city of Las Vegas, a Salvation Army shelter stays open during the day Thursday and Friday, offering a safe place for the homeless to find respite from freezing temperatures and snow. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sloppy, Slushy Road Conditions Lead to Slow Traffic
Traffic slowed to a crawl on Jones are near Russell as conditions worsened Thursday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing