Iconic all-in-one personal computer 'Amstrad CPC 464' turns 30
The Amstrad CPC 464 was launched in 1984. (Wikipedia / Bill Bertram)
Published Monday, April 21, 2014 8:22AM EDT
This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic ancestors of today's tech gadgets, the CPC 464.
Launched in the spring of 1984 by British manufacturer Amstrad, the "color personal computer" (CPC) was a success in its home market and across the European continent.
An all-in-one personal computer (keyboard, monitor and data storage), the CPC 464 operated using the BASIC language. The model was equipped with a cassette tape deck, a Zilog Z80A processor running at 4Mhz, and 64KB RAM. The first devices came with monochromatic monitors (green), although color screens were soon introduced. Amstrad launched the computer to compete with the market leaders at the time, the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum.
The CPC 464 quickly became a reference among an emerging community of programmers and gamers in the U.K. and Europe, sparking the creation of specialized magazines such as Amtix! and Amstrad Action.
An entire generation of gamers, now in their forties, grew up with the device and its titles including "Target Renegade," "Gauntlet," "Barbarian," "Arkanoid," "Bubble Bobble" and "Captain Blood." In addition to providing a gaming platform, the Amstrad CPC 464 allowed budding tech enthusiasts to try their hand at coding by learning BASIC and creating their own programs.
One year later, Amstrad launched the CPC 6128, an updated version of the CPC 464 with a floppy disk drive and 128KB RAM. In 1990, the manufacturer introduced the next-generation CPC 646+ and 6128+, both of which were seen as technical and commercial failures.
Thirty years after its launch, the Amstrad CPC 464 can still be purchased on second-hand on sites such as eBay, usually for just over €100. Collectors can even buy a number of games for a small sum.