Exploring 8BitDo’s Newest Geekiest Mechanical Keyboard Yet

8BitDo, renowned producers of gaming merchandise with a retro aesthetic, have announced their most recent creation: a nostalgic mechanical PC keyboard. Be aware, it’s considerably more geeky than their NES-styled version.

This recent release is certain to resonate with enthusiasts of a certain era due its aesthetic inspiration drawn from one of the most legendary home computers ever made.

We’re talking about the Commodore 64, of course. This was a personal computer, equivalent in size to a ‘bread-bin’, embedded in a keyboard. This 8-bit marvel, introduced in 1982, was the first computer to be both budget-friendly and user-friendly. It instantly became popular and it is estimated that approximately 17 million units were sold.

The C64 has earned a significant reputation for its impressive gaming library. Despite being primarily cherished for this aspect (much to my annoyance as an Amstrad CPC fan), it was without a doubt a genuine computer. There’s no shortage of accounts within the open-source community of the C64 serving as the primary instigator for numerous programming careers.

8BitDo’s C64 Keyboard

The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard C64 Edition doesn’t follow the actual footprint or shape of the original C64 keyboard, which contained the PC components, instead it reimagines it for modern tastes.

Featuring Commodore-esque branding with 8BitDo’s logo at the forefront to sidestep legal issues, the device mimics the iconic brown color of the microcomputer’s key, not to be confused with brown switches. The keyboard utilizes Kailh Box White V2 switches, and its keys are even shaped like the original ones.

Just like the version inspired by Nintendo, the keyboard consists of 87 keys in total. The keys and switches are swappable to other types if you prefer. With commendable connectivity, the device works over Bluetooth, 2.4Hz, or can be attached by a USB cable—with USB dongle included.

The real highlight? You may remember that 8BitDo included two large red buttons with the Famicom/NES version — those are incorporated here, but there is also a joystick — indeed, a genuine 1980’s style joystick. It might appear more ATARI than Commodore but when mimicking classic games, it is bound to be superb!

Regrettably, the 8BitDo Ultimate Software V2 used for customizing/programming keys and buttons (including the new “super stick”) isn’t accessible on Linux. However, a multitude of apps, scripts, and tools are available on Linux to bind keys to custom- made commands/actions — it might require some work, but is certain to be worth it in the end.

For more knowledge about the device, visit the 8BitDo website, and you can view a professional advertisement for it on YouTube.

Where to purchase the 8BitDo C64 Keyboard

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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