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.
My dad found one of these on the top of a trash bin. It was meant to be found by someone who could put it to good use. He took it and gave it to me. It sat on the top of my cupboard for a decade. After watching videos of people like The 8-Bit Guy, I decided to refurbish it. I cleaned it, added heatsinks, and so on. I managed to track down a 1531 datasette and a 1551 disk drive, both of which I refurbished myself. It was only the beginning of my Commodore refurbish mania :D
Thursday 1st August 2019
David from Hungary
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.