Frequently Asked Questions
The most frequently asked questions about THEC64 Mini are answered here.
# Why isn’t <insert the name of your favourite C64 game here> included on THEC64 Mini?
A huge amount of time has been spent officially licensing the included games from their respective IP owners. Sadly, some IP rights prove to be prohibitively expensive to license and others are untraceable or too complex to untangle. We believe there is a good mix of game genres in the supplied titles, and all of them were highly rated upon original publication. There’s something for everyone!
# Can I attach <insert your favourite C64 peripheral here> to THEC64 Mini?
THEC64 Mini uses modern USB ports for attaching keyboard, controllers and memory sticks. That unfortunately rules out connecting with any of the original C64 peripherals like cassette decks, disk drives, printers, cartridges and so on.
# Are there any two-player games included?
Yes. A number of the supplied games can be two-player. Some require two joysticks for a two-player game, whilst others can be played between two players using just one joystick and taking alternate goes. The remaining supplied games are for one player. See games for details of each game.
# Can I buy a second joystick?
Yes. THEC64 Joystick can be purchased separately. Please check with any retailer that stocks THEC64 Mini.
# Does THEC64 Joystick use micro switches?
No, THEC64 Joystick uses tactile switches. However, if there is enough demand then we will certainly consider producing a joystick that uses micro switches in the future.
# Is the keyboard on THEC64 Mini functional?
No, it isn’t. If a functional keyboard was to be included, the size of the Mini would have to be significantly larger to reproduce the original computer’s keyboard. It was decided to include an on-screen virtual keyboard instead, and allow full USB keyboards as well. Having said that, a full-size THEC64 is on its way, and that does include a fully functional integral keyboard as part of the package.
# Can I add my own keyboard?
Yes. Connect a USB keyboard to THEC64 Mini whilst on the HOME screen. Specify your keyboard layout from a selection including UK, US, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Other layouts maybe added to THEC64 Mini in future, via a firmware upgrade. Please see the section on Keyboards for more information.
# Can THEC64 Mini be upgraded?
There are no user-serviceable parts inside THEC64 Mini, but the firmware can be upgraded via the upgrade page. New features, changes in software and other improvements can be delivered using the ‘System Information’ option on THEC64 Mini and a downloaded firmware update file saved onto a FAT32 formatted USB memory stick. When formatting, please ensure that your stick is formatted with MBR rather than GPT, otherwise the stick won’t be recognised by THEC64 Mini.
# Can I load other programs onto THEC64 Mini?
There are two ways to load other programs. They both involve files on a USB memory stick. Please see Loading Programs in C64 BASIC for further details on loading from within BASIC, or see File Loader for details on auto-loading directly from a USB memory stick on the HOME screen.
# Can a USB hub be used on THEC64 Mini?
It’s impossible to guarantee that they will all work, but in general you should be able to connect a USB hub and use it on THEC64 Mini. We would recommend a powered hub (one that uses a separate power supply).
# THEC64 Mini is behaving oddly!
If you have problems with sound, games quitting back to the HOME screen unexpectedly, freezing (press and hold the power button for approximately six seconds to reboot), this could be a power issue. Out-of-the-box THEC64 Mini requires a 5v/1A supply. Add in additional USB devices (e.g. hubs, second joysticks, memory sticks) and the power requirements could increase. If THEC64 Mini needs more power than it receives, then any or all of these symptoms could happen. If possible, use a powered USB hub rather than one that takes power via THEC64 Mini. Also see Troubleshooting for further details.
# Why am I seeing a delay between my joystick actions and the screen?
A number of HD TVs apply image processing to the image output from THEC64 Mini before displaying it on the screen. This introduces a slight delay, which makes it look like games are slow to respond to your movements or button presses. There is nothing wrong with THEC64 Mini, the joystick or the TV. However, to reduce or eradicate this problem requires you to change image processing options on your TV, or engage ‘Game Mode’ on the TV. Please refer to the manual for your TV for further information.
# Can I use my own USB controller as well as – or instead of – THEC64 Joystick?
Yes, you can. We can’t guarantee they all work but other USB controllers can be connected.
THEC64 Mini expects a controller to have a minimum of eight buttons. When you connect a controller, THEC64 Mini will attempt to automatically configure the controller, assigning the left FIRE, right FIRE, TL, TR, A, B, C and MENU buttons for you.
Typical USB gamepad shoulder buttons are usually assigned as left FIRE and right FIRE by THEC64 Mini. The SELECT button is typically assigned as button C, and START becomes the MENU button, giving access to all of the expected menu options that THEC64 Mini needs. Most controllers will have their X and Y buttons as THEC64 Mini’s TL and TR buttons, leaving their A and B buttons to be A and B.
Having connected a USB controller to THEC64 Mini, it should only take a second or two for THEC64 Mini to register the controller. You can then use the controller to navigate the GAMES CAROUSEL and the OPTIONS windows on the HOME SCREEN and play games. When there are two control devices attached, either one can be used to navigate the screens and menus on offer and select and play games.
To further test an alternative USB controller, launch a game and check each button’s functionality against the online instructions for the game found at games.
# Can I change how THEC64 Mini displays on my TV or monitor?
There are six different display modes available on THEC64 Mini. Pixel perfect, European 4:3 and North American 4:3. Each mode can then have a CRT filter applied, to match how the C64 games displayed on older TVs. You don’t have to adjust any settings on your HD TV or Monitor when switching between these display modes.
# Why am I seeing odd things at the bottom of the screen when I assign certain display values to the V: entity in my CJM files?
This will happen if the C64 program is running on an NTSC C64 and you have a V: entity value higher than 7 or 8 (depending on your TV or Monitor). An NTSC C64 has less room above and below the main C64 display than a PAL C64, so the display can only be shifted up part-way before you begin to see a part of the C64 display that you were never meant to view. To avoid this, don’t go above 7 or 8 when assigning a vertical shift value for any NTSC C64 programs loaded from USB. See File Loader for further details about CJM files and the V: entity.
# Can I program on THEC64 Mini?
You have access to BASIC via the Games Carousel specifically to allow programming. Attach a USB keyboard to enhance the experience. Add a USB memory stick and you can also save and load your programs as well. See Programming in C64 BASIC for more information.
# Why am I seeing a READONLY disk in BASIC when I have a USB memory stick connected?
Your USB memory stick isn’t detected. There are a few possible explanations. The USB memory stick wasn’t inserted before BASIC was launched from the GAMES CAROUSEL. Another explanation is that the memory stick isn’t formatted to FAT32. A third possibility is that the memory stick is faulty. Memory sticks up to 64Gb have been tested and confirmed as working on THEC64 Mini, but it’s not possible to test every single brand and size available. Please try a different memory stick. If you are using a USB hub, try accessing the memory stick by directly connecting it to THEC64 Mini, rather than using a hub. See Programming in C64 BASIC for more information on programming in BASIC.
# Why isn’t my THEC64-drive8.d64 file detected by BASIC?
Apart from the USB memory stick issues mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ, it could be because your file is incorrectly named, especially if you named the file on a Windows-based PC and don’t have the file extensions shown. This could result in your file actually being named THEC64-drive8.d64.d64 (for example). Double-check that the name is correct by showing file extensions in Windows, so you can see the exact full name of the file before you try running it on THEC64 Mini.
# Do you use any Open Source code in THEC64 Mini?
Yes, some. You may obtain the corresponding Open Source code from us for a period of three years after our last shipment of this product, by sending a money order or cheque for 5 GBP to: GPL Compliance Division, Retro Games Ltd. Suite 112, Crystal House, New Bedford Road, Luton, England. LU1 1HS.
Please write “source for <firmware version number>” in the memo line of your payment.
# I need help playing one of the games supplied on THEC64 Mini!
Have you read the instructions at games? There are plenty of web sites that give hints and tips for playing the games included on THEC64 Mini. YouTube is also a very good source for tutorials and solutions.
# The joysticks have changed over when in a two player, two joystick game!
You just need to be aware that some games switch the joysticks on THEC64 Mini, so what would be player one’s joystick becomes player two’s joystick in a two player, two joystick game and vice versa.
# Why have some of the games been altered?
A small number of games have been slightly amended to improve your game playing experience when using THEC64 Mini. Any changes have been kept to an absolute minimum and have only been made when absolutely necessary. We have endeavoured to keep THEC64 Mini as authentic as possible.
# I can’t overwrite an existing file when saving in BASIC to my USB memory stick!
To save over an existing file with the same filename, add @0: to the front, like this: SAVE “@0:RGL”,8 (replace RGL with your chosen filename). Please be aware that C64 BASIC won’t give any warnings that you are over-writing the file when you do this.
# I think I have found a problem on THEC64 Mini. How do I report it?
We always welcome feedback. To report a potential problem, please go to the Contact page and complete the online form. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.