Raspberry Pi Is at the Heart of This Portable Commodore 64 Cyberdeck

CBM X64+ Commodore 64 Cyberdeck
(Image credit: crookedmouth1971)

The Raspberry Pi is great for many things, but emulating old computers and creating cyberdecks have be en vogue since the Pi was released. This Hackaday project, from crookedmouth1971 merges the two into one glorious retro gaming experience.

CBM X64+ is a cyberdeck that emulates the popular 1980s Commodore 64 home computer. The emulation side of things is provided by BMC64, a bare metal Commodore 64 emulator which boots in around four seconds. Emulating the Commodore 64 using BMC64 is pretty accurate. There is low latency and games can be quickly loaded from virtual cassettes, floppy disks and cartridge ROM images.
The two controllers, use Sanwa style joysticks and arcade buttons which are wired directly to the GPIO of the Raspberry Pi 3A+. In one picture we spotted a Commodore 1351 "Tank" mouse, we're not sure if this is a modern reproduction, using USB, or a period accurate model using a DE9 port.

The cyberdeck is housed in a custom wood enclosure which offers strength and durability. Sure you could laser cut your own case, you could even use one of the best 3D printers to construct a case. Given the size though, you may need an Elegoo Neptune 3 Max to print it in one go. Inside the case is the Raspberry Pi 3 A+, along with an Anker PowerCore battery. An 8 inch 4:3 aspect LCD screen rises majestically from the case, giving us a faux CRT experience. A 68 key mechanical keyboard (Gateron brown switches) is embedded into the case which appears to feature custom keycaps with facsimiles of PETSCII (PET Standard Code of Information Interchange) characters. These characters were popular in the era to recreate graphics in BASIC programming projects. Topping off the build are reproduction case badges of the "Chicken Lips" Commodore logo, and a rather pleasing power LED badge.

This is a fantastic build to showcase Commodore 64 emulation on the Raspberry Pi. All of the details and bill of materials can be found on crookedmouth1971's Hackaday project page.

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".