VirtualC64 for Mac OS X

VirtualC64 is a new Commodore 64 emulator for Mac OS X. It’s a promising project, let down by the fact that it’s still in beta but by the looks of things development is moving at a steady pace.

When you first run the emulator it will ask you for C64 roms: basic, kernal, chargen and vc1541. Ironically, you can find all these roms inside Vice, another C64 emulator. Look in /Applications/VICE.app/Contents/Resources/ROM/. The 1541 ROM is DRIVES/dos1541.

Loading a game or demo is as easy as dragging the d64 or t64 image into VirtualC64. When you do you’ll see a dialog like this.

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“Flash file into memory” works great for single load programmes but multiload could be a problem. I tried Armalyte. Mounting the d64 as a disk didn’t work. I couldn’t type anything. Loading the first file on the disk by flashing it brought up the crack intro but failed to load. The neat integrated debugger (click “Inspect”) showed the emulator had died doing jsr $2020 and unfortunately at 2020 was another jsr … ($20 is the character code for a space if memory serves, and the machine code for jsr was $20, so memory was full of spaces!)

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Blue Max worked much better, as did a 3D Pool game I tried. the crack by Remember included the documentation and again using the debugger I watched as the programme checked for the various key presses. Geeky I know but it brought a smile of recognition to my lips. Here’s that debugger in all it’s glory. Anyone familiar with the C64 should recognise the code beginning at 1AA0. (I had to look up what D016 does. It’s the screen mode. I had completely forgotten. It’s only been 16 years.)

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One thing it has going for it over Vice, is a real fullscreen mode. The current version of Vice uses some dodgy resolution changing in Linux (that I rarely got to work properly without screwing up my desktop) and I couldn’t get to work in Mac OS X at all. Fire this baby up in fullscreen mode and you’ve got your very own C64 laptop! Cool or what eh?

As luck would have it VirtualC64 has blown a fuse just as I finish this post. If you have a usb joystick plugged in and activated in port 2 it does strange things. First the keyboard wouldn’t work, and flashing a file didn’t run it automatically. Then the keyboard sort of worked but the left arrow character appeared for most key presses. Odd stuff. Unplugging the joystick and restarting the emulator fixed that problem.
Even my Bits ‘n’ Bobs demo worked in it! (Bah, all my screenshots failed. They only show white. I wonder if the emulator does strange things to the Mac while emulating mixed video modes? I mixed character and video modes in the screens I tried to capture, ah well.)

VirtualC64 is a very promising C64 emulator, and it’s GPL too! I’ll certainly be keeping an interested eye on it, and I wish Dirk and the other project members the best of luck with it.


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8 thoughts on “VirtualC64 for Mac OS X


    1. Yeah, wtf? where the hell is it. Been looking in package contents of vice but it’s not there. I have the rest, just not this one. Torrent anyone?


    1. WHERE IS ALL THE COURTESY.

      Thank you kindly for this, Donncha – nice one. I appreciate it and found everything/had up and running in minutes.

      Netman, with a name like that I’m sure you know how to use Google. Might I suggest a name change to surfthenetformeman. Its illegal to host ROMS and emulators in the same place, and always has been. This is why you never see MAME nicely packaged up – its a dark art.

      Game ROMs etc are at c64.com (took me 1 second to Google that) and the main bootROMS are on the zimmers site. Just drag them into the main window like the software tells you to, and press the help link like the software tells you to.

      Use the net, man.


  1. Do you have any documents about the keyboard layout and joystick mapping for this emulator. Overall its very nice but I have problem controlling the games or writing programs. Thank you in advance. :)

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