Among the Commodore news from the Summer CES 1984 was the renaming of the C=264 to Plus/4. This renaming came along with a slight change in the built-in software: you could not choose between many different programs anymore, but each Plus/4 was delivered with the 3-plus-1 software.
The built-in software is not worth the silicon it is etched in: a word processor (only with 40 columns and can manage documents with only 99 lines of 77 columns), a very small spreadsheet (only 17 columns and 50 lines), a poor graph generator program (which can graphically display data from the sheets, but only in text mode) and a small database (999 records with 17 fields each and only 38 characters by field).
Most of these programs can only be used with a floppy drive.
The Plus/4 can use some of the peripherals of the C=64 or the VIC-20, like the famous MPS-801 dot-matrix printer and the 1541 Disk Drive run well with it but it can't use C=64 programs (unfortunately, it cannot use the same joysticks & Datasette as the C=64/VIC-20).
This machine wasn't built to be a competitor of the C=64, but it wasn’t meant to replace it either. It has an improved BASIC compared to the C=64’s, this one features graphic and sound instructions and a built-in assembler, but has lost lots of interesting C-64 features like great sound chip (SID: Sound Interface Device) or hardware sprites.
The Commodore Plus/4 was an error in the Commodore marketing policy and had no success.
It was my second computer (bought in 1985 for about 540USD with 1702 CRT and 1541 floppy) after a self soldered Z80 clone. From the usability surely limited but it contained every software I wanted/needed in ROM. The spreadsheet was low compared to the competitors, but enough for me to do my stuff. Word editing was very simple (more like a simple editor) but great (compared to my Z80) and I learned how to use the printer ESCape sequences. I''d even use the colour plotter printer (Casio afair) I bought for my Z80 years before. I even wrote a fantasy book on it (1987) with about 400pages. It was very hard to get the data''s I wrote converted from Floppy to PCs afterwards and a lot is still trapped on bad floppies.
Sunday 18th June 2017
Michael Samer (Germany)
Oh boy, that was my first computer. Failure for Commodore - maybe - but not for me it wasn''t. Thanks to relative lack of games it allowed me to start programming, hacking and cracking (thanks to the built in asm/debug tool). I have a lot of great memories. And there were games, too. I remember playing Mercenary, which was a proper 3d FPP game, with cool wireframe graphics.
Monday 14th November 2016
I bought a used one for a hundred francs ( 15 euros) in 1989 2 years after my brother destroyed it. I was sick I would have killed him for that lol