8BitDo, makers of retro-themed gaming goods, have unveiled their latest nostalgia-indulging mechanical PC keyboard — and fair warning: it’s way nerdier than their NES-inspired one.

The new edition is sure to press all the right buttons for geeks of a certain age as it pays visual homage to one of the most iconic home computers of all time.

Yes, the indomitable Commodore 64 — a ‘bread-bin’-sized home computer packed into a keyboard. The 8-bit machine launched in 1982 and was the first affordable and accessible computer for the masses. An immediate hit, the Commodore 64 went on to sell an estimated 17 million units.

Although the C64 is (these days) mostly revered for its gaming library — fairly excellent, annoyingly (I was an Amstrad CPC kid) — it was very much a real computer. You don’t have to dig deep in the open-source world to hear stories of the C64 being the catalyst for for many careers in programming.

8BitDo’s C64 Keyboard

The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard C64 Edition (to give the thing its official title) doesn’t adopt the actual footprint or shape of the original C64 keyboard (which housed the PC components) rather it reimagines it for modern tastes (and desk sizes, heh).

This, the device is topped by Commodore-esque branding (albeit with 8BitDo’s logo taking centre stage to avoid litigation) and uses the micro computer’s iconic brown coloured keys (not brown switches; the keyboard uses Kailh Box White V2), which are even shaped like the original.

As with the Nintendo-vibing version there are 87 keys in all, and the keys and switches can be hot-swapped for other types if you’d rather. Connectivity is decent as the device works over Bluetooth, 2.4Hz (with included USB dongle), or attached by a USB cable.

8BitDo’s New Mechanical Keyboard is their Geekiest Yet

The real treat? You may recall that 8BitDo included two giant red buttons with the Famicom/NES version — those are included here, but so is a joystick — yes, an actual 1980’s style joystick. Okay, it looks more ATARI than Commodore but when emulating old school games, it’ll be ace I’m sure!

Alas, the 8BitDo Ultimate Software V2 used to customise/program keys and buttons (including the new “super stick”) isn’t available on Linux. On the upside, plenty of apps, scripts, and tools exist on Linux for binding keys to custom commands/actions — effort, but sure to be worth it.

You can also learn more about the device on the 8BitDo website and watch a slick promotional video for it on YouTube.

Where to buy 8BitDo C64 Keyboard

8BitDo’s New Mechanical Keyboard is their Geekiest Yet

Interested? The price for the this retro bit of kit is $110, which will likely cause a SYNTAX ERROR or two! Given it’s a fairly niche product, and the fact 8BitDo build quality is pretty good it’s not that out of kilter with mid-tier mechanical keyboard brands like NuPhy.

You can pre-order the 8BitDo C64 keyboard on Amazon US (affiliate link) from today, with shipping set to start in May. UK buyer? Keep an eye on Amazon UK as the Famicom and Nintendo versions got added a few weeks after the US and I expect that will happen again.

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retro gaming