From Video Game Music Preservation Foundation Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Platform - CP4.png
Commodore Plus 4 - 01.jpg
Released: 1984-??-??
Discontinued: 1985-??-??
Developer: Commodore
Type: Hardware

The Commmodore 16 and Plus/4 are low-end 8-bit home computers created and released by Commodore.

Contrary to popular belief, the Plus/4 line was not created to supersede the earlier high-end Commodore 64. Commodore's founder, Jack Tramiel, wanted a low-cost computer to replace the VIC 20 and compete with Sinclair Research. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1984, Tramiel posed with two models of the 264 series: a 264 and a V364. However, on the 14th, he left his company in dispute, and his marketing department clueless.

Nevertheless, the Plus/4 line became highly popular at Kingsoft, Mastertronic, and in Hungary.


Started up, every model looks a lot like the Commodore 64, but sports 121 colors (instead of 16), BASIC 3.5 (instead of BASIC 2.0), primitive sound, and no sprites (which usually shows in coarse movement).

Software is either typed in BASIC or loaded from a tape cassette or two-sided 5'25" disk. A C64 game and a C16 or Plus/4 game can be stored on the same disk side. Several game companies sold RAM expansions, hence the C16 is often listed as Plus/4 as well.


Commodore 116

The C116 has 16 KB RAM and a cumbersome rubber keyboard like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

It is closest to what Tramiel wanted, but was only released in PAL regions. An NTSC machine is said to be fanmade.

Commodore 16

The C16 is a C116 that looks like a dark VIC 20 or Commodore 64. It adds a Shift Lock key.


The Plus/4 has 64 KB, a typewriter keyboard that adds a right Control key, an userport, and an office suite called 3-plus-1.

Commodore spelled Plus/4 in lower case on their covers, and capitalized in their manuals. Users and game companies have occasionally spelled it without slash or +4.

Commodore V364

The Commodore V364 is a Plus/4 with a built-in Magic Voice and a 19-key numeric keypad.

It was never officially released. In January 1984, Tramiel posed with one. At least three exist: one bought by a collector through eBay in the 1990s, one bought by another collector from a Commodore employee by February 2002, and one presumed in possession of another employee.

Commodore 232

The Commodore 232 is a Plus/4 with 32 KB, no userport, and no office suite.

It was never officially released. It was being planned in February 1984. At least 14 exist. A German collector sold one by December 2000.

Commodore 264

The Commodore 264 is a Plus/4 without office suite.

It was never officially released. In January 1984, Tramiel posed with one. In February, it was being planned to have the office suite. Commodore sent Infocom one, they gave it to someone in Rhode Island, USA, and he sold it through eBay by July 2015.

Commodore 216

The Commodore 216 would have been a C116 that looks like a Plus/4.

Whether it was built is unknown. It was being planned in February 1984.

Music and Sound

Every model has a TED chip, a 6502-based CPU, and two BASIC commands called VOL and SOUND. The unofficially released V364 also has a Magic Voice.

The TED has two voices, three timers and also handles graphics. Each timer can be used to play music and samples at any desired rate. However, several music drivers are instead synchronized with the screen refresh to avoid irregular skips through graphics. Therefore, several song tempos are (examples given for PAL and 4/4 time) 93, 125, 150 or 187 BPM rather than anything between.

On the wrong region's machine, pitch is off by unremarkable 1% (16 cents) and speed by up to 20%. The clocks are:

Region Chips Screen refresh
NTSC 894886 Hz 59.923 Hz
PAL 886724 Hz 49.861 Hz

During blank screen areas, the CPU is automatically clocked twice.


Several game songs were arranged in 6502 assembly, a few in Music Master: Nick Higham. The shares and other off-the-shelf music editors are not yet known to the VGMPF.

Several C16 and Plus/4 games have their sound ripped and can be downloaded from the following sites:

Since 2012, a rip standard (complete with format, guidelines and player) is under construction. However, as of June 2022, it is still not finalized. Currently, every available rip is a program that you run on a C16 or Plus/4 (or emulator thereof) and where you press different keys to play another track. Some rips garble the screen, and on some tracks, you have to wait till it finishes.