How to play Commodore 64 games on your modern Mac

Bought a couple of games for the Commodore 64. Sam’s Journey seems a very nice Warioland/Mario based platformer with very interesting graphics. Here is how to play it on the Mac.

You need to download VICE for the Mac. The latest version is 3.1 and you want to grab the Cocoa version called vice-macosx-cocoa-x86_64-10.12-3.1.dmg. Create a folder in your /Applications and dump everything in there.

You can now start the emulator by clicking on x64.app. Here is what you need to set up in order to play from the keyboard. First, go to “Settings” and check “Save settings on exit”. Now set up the joystick emulation. Go to “Settings – Joystick” and then “Keyset” and select “Keyset B”. This is a very confusing UX, but what you need to do is press a button that you’d like to map the joystick to and then set it to a direction. Middle one is the fire button. I use the left Alt for fire and the cursor keys for directions. You don’t need to set the NE, NW, SE, SW directions. Here is what it looks like:

Games usually use the joystick port 2, so I set Joystick #2 to Keyset B. (Don’t use the default Keyset A because it maps to regular keyboard characters and you won’t be able to type. Just set it up like the screenshot above.) Quit VICE, restart it and make sure that your joystick emulation parameters are correctly set.

Now, it’s time to load a game. Go to “File – Attach Disk Image” and point to the disk image into disk unit 8. In the C64 screen type the famous LOAD"*",8,1 line, then when it loads, start by entering RUN. You can usually skip waiting screens by pressing space or pressing the fire button. There is nothing left but to enjoy some 8 bit retro game action!