Q1: What do I do with this game file? When I tried to open it, Windows asks me which program to open it with.
If you tried to open a zip file, then I assume you have an earlier Windows like 98, because the current Windows is able to unzip such files. (A zip file is a data-compressed file made smaller to make downloading and storage more efficient.) If you had the ability to unzip, then you would be able to rightclick the zip file and see a choice such as Extract to..., or be able to open the zip file and see the choice "Extract all files" in a Folder Tasks list (as with Windows XP). I have Windows 98SE, and I had to get a separate program for zip files. I got WinZip, at:
Click Download Evaluation Version to choose the free version.
When you have WinZip, you will be able to unzip a zip file by rightclicking and choosing Extract to... (choose file location) or Extract to folder of the current file location.
If you tried to open a game file that is not a zip file but is d64, t64, tap, crt, prg, or some other file, then you either don't have the necessary software (called an emulator) or you don't know how to use your emulator. Read the information about the emulators.
Q2: What do I use to play the games?
You need a program called an emulator. Run the emulator and use its menu to get at your games.
Get the favourite, named WinVICE, at:
Scroll down and look for
Binary for MS-Windows 32bit (Pentium-optimized): WinVICE-1.20.zip (Rightclick and choose Save Target As... to download.)
To install the emulator, unzip the file into a new folder. Inside the folder, find x64.exe, and doubleclick that file to start the emulator. You will see a Windows-style interface with a menu bar to operate it.
Get the other favourite, named CCS64, at:
The two latest versions available are different enough that you might like to try both.
Look for CCS64 V2.0 B Win 95/98/NT - DirectX, click DOWNLOAD in that row.
Look for CCS64 V3.1 and click DOWNLOAD - (No Installer) in that row. Version 3.1 is not intended for Windows 95/NT, since it requires DirectX 9.
To install CCS64, unzip the file into a new folder. Inside the folder, find CCS.exe, and doubleclick that file to start the emulator. Press the F10 key to get the menu screen, and use the arrow keys to choose options.
Good help page for CCS64:
Q3: How do I load and run the games with the WinVICE or CCS64 emulator?
For the most part, you don't need to use the commands that you would use with a real Commodore 64. You can get to your games with the emulator's menu system. (Alternatively, you can rightclick on a file, choose Open with..., click the Other... button, and find the exe file of your preferred emulator so you will be able to activate files by doubleclicking their icons.) The instructions here are not complete, but are enough to get you started with most games.
For the WinVICE emulator, you can activate games in d64, t64, and tap files by clicking File of the menu, then "Autostart disk/tape image...", finding your file in the Explorer-style window that appears, and doubleclicking a game file name in the Image Contents window. To activate a crt file, click File, "Attach cartridge image...", "CRT image", find the file in the window, and doubleclick the game file name. If the crt game doesn't appear, then press the Alt with R keys together to reset the emulated Commodore 64 so the game will appear.
To activate prg, p00, or similar files, click Settings of the menu, Peripheral settings..., then the Drive 8 tab. If there is no black dot in the circle to the left of the word "Directory", then click the circle to make one appear. Click the Browse... button to get an Explorer-style window, find the folder you've stored your game file in (you won't be able to see the file here), click the OK button, and click another OK button to return to the Commodore 64 screen. Using the Shift with the 2 key to get the quote symbol, type LOAD"$",8 (press Enter) then type LIST (Enter) to see the contents (pressing Ctrl with Shift can make any odd symbols go away), type LOAD"name of program",8 (Enter) to load the program file, and type RUN (Enter).
For the CCS64 emulator, you can activate games in d64 or t64 files with this procedure: press the F10 key to get the menu, choose the highlighted words "1541 Device 8" by pressing the Enter or right arrow key, locate and highlight a game file using the arrow keys, press the F1 key to "Examine" the file's contents, use the down arrow key to highlight a program in the list, and press F1 to run that program. To activate a tap file, press F10, highlight the words Tape Device 1 and press Enter, locate and highlight the tap file, press F1, and wait. To activate a crt file, press F10, highlight Cartridge... and press Enter to get the cartridge menu, press F1 to choose the highlighted Insert..., locate and highlight the crt file, and press F1. To activate prg, p00, or similar files, press F10, highlight "1541 Device 8" and press Enter, locate and highlight a game file, and press F1.
Q4: Can I play these games on a real C64?
Yes. To do that, you need special software and a cable to connect a C64 disk drive to your PC. Then you would be able to transfer a disk image file to a floppy disk. (You can also take a floppy disk and make a disk image file from it, then use the file with an emulator on a PC, but the file might not work if there is significant copy protection involved with the disk.)
One application to use is called Star Commander. Read about it, and how to get a connector cable, at:
You can also read people's suggestions about it at the forum at www.lemon64.com if you search the forum for "star commander" or "starcommander".
Another application available is called cbm4win, at:
Available for cbm4win is a frontend GUI to make it simpler to use, at:
Q5: How do I make the games work with my PC game controller?
Look at your settings for input. You need to have your PC game controller set as if it was in one of the Commodore 64's two game controller ports. Whatever emulator you use, it's not a good idea to set the same PC game controller to both ports at the same time, because many games will not work properly. Some games use just the Commodore 64's port number 1, some use just port number 2, and some use both ports.
For the WinVICE emulator, click Settings on the menu, and see Joystick settings. Click the down arrow in the field below the words "Joystick in port #1" and choose PC Joystick #1 (assuming you want to use the game controller you have listed in Windows Control Panel as controller #1). If you find that you can't do anything in a game, it may be that the game requires Joystick in port #2. You can press the Alt key with the J key to move the PC controller setting to Joystick in port #2 (and you can repeat those key pressings to switch the setting back).
For the CCS64 emulator, press the F10 key, use the arrow keys to choose Options... (highlight then right arrow or Enter key), Input..., then Control Port 1. Use the right arrow key or F1 key to see each next choice for Control Port 1, and leave it with Joystick. Use the down arrow key to highlight Mode under Control Port 1, and use the right arrow key or F1 key to see the choices, and leave it with PC Gameport 1 (assuming you want to use the game controller you have listed in Windows Control Panel as controller #1).
Before the emulator will let any game controllers work, you need to do the Calibrate Joysticks procedure (highlight those words and use the right arrow key or F1 key to get to the Joystick Callibration screen). Use your game controller so that the direction words and button words change colour, and the emulator will then allow the controller to work. Press the Esc key four times to get out of the menu screens. If you find that you can't do anything in a game, it may be that the game requires Joystick in Control Port 2. You can press the Alt key with the F10 key to move the PC Gameport 1 setting to Control Port 2 (and you can repeat those key pressings to switch the setting back).
Q6: How can I connect my Commodore 64 joystick (or Atari or Amiga joystick - they use the same plug) to my PC?
You will need some kind of special adaptor that translates the digital signal provided by your joystick into an analogue signal that your PC can process. Here is a source where you may pay to have one made for you (it allows connection of two joysticks to the PC gameport) at a cost of 34.90 euros plus postage:
Another source sells an adaptor that connects to the PC parallel port for £10:
The software to drive the PC parallel port adaptor is at:
AtariAge sells the Stelladaptor (which uses a PC USB port) from time to time for about $30; check for availability at:
This source might eventually sell an adaptor that connects to a PC USB port:
Q7: Can I use my keyboard to play the games?
Sure, you can set up your keyboard to act as the game controller in the Commodore 64's two game controller ports. Whatever emulator you use, it's not a good idea to set the same key set to both ports at the same time, because many games will not work properly. Some games use just the Commodore 64's port number 1, some use just port number 2, and some use both ports.
For the WinVICE emulator, click Settings on the menu, and see Joystick settings. Click the down arrow in the field below the words "Joystick in port #1" and choose Numpad + RCtrl. That setting will let you use the number keys at the right side of your keyboard for direction control, and the right Ctrl key for the action button (such as fire or jump). You can rest three fingers on the 4, 5, and 6 keys for left, down, and right motion, and use your middle finger also for the 8 key for up motion. You can also use the 7, 9, 1, and 3 keys for diagonal motions, or just use combinations of the 4, 5, 6, and 8 keys. The 2 key is also for down motion. You can set different keys if you like, with the settings Config Keyset A or Config Keyset B, and choosing any of those for Joystick in port #1 and Joystick in port #2. If you find that a game won't respond, then press the Alt and J keys together to switch your keypad control to Joystick in port #2 and see if the game can now be controlled.
For the CCS64 emulator, press the F10 key, then (with down arrow key and Enter key) choose Options..., Input..., Mode beneath Control Port 1 and press Enter to go through choices, and stop at Key-Set 1, 2, or 3. Be aware that Key-Set 3, which uses the arrow keys for joystick directions and the right Ctrl key as the action (fire) button, is not a good choice if you still want to use the arrow keys for their ordinary typing usage. Any Key-Set can be viewed and changed by highlighting Define Joystick Keyset, using the right arrow key or F1 key to get to the Define Joystick Keyset screen and then to show information for Joystick Keyset 1, 2, or 3. Use the arrow keys to highlight a joystick direction or button, press the F1 key, and you will be asked to press a key that you want to set for that direction or button.
If you later try to play a game but find that it won't respond to your key pressings, press the Alt and F10 keys together to switch your Key-Set control to Control Port 2 and see if the game can now be controlled.
Q8: I loaded the game but I'm stuck on a screen -- how do I make the game start?
There are a few possible ways to solve this problem. Are you stuck at the "cracktro"? Most of the game files have an extra introduction (or "intro") made by whoever "cracked" (defeated the copy protection of) the game. There is usually music, bouncing words, and scrolling words, but there may also be instructions. To continue to the actual game, usually all you need to do is press the spacebar. Sometimes, there is no way to get to the game without resetting the emulator, listing the disk file contents, and finding a different file to load and run. See my notes on running game files for details.
Have you gone into the emulator settings to define how you control games? Some games use only one of the game ports, either #1 or #2. Some games don't work if you set the same PC game controller as both #1 and #2 at the same time. As for starting a game, many start when the Enter (C64 RETURN) key, F1 key, or fire button is pressed. If your keyboard has an F-Lock key, then you need to have the F-Lock set on to enable the standard usage of the F1 and other function keys. (An LED indicator on the keyboard should indicate that the F-Lock is set on.)
Games may not work on the VICE emulator unless you have True Drive Emulation set on (Options in menu) for d64 files, or set off for tape files. With CCS64, you may have to use F3 Boot (Normal) instead of F4 Boot (Fast), and the Maximum 1541 speed may have to be set to "off" (Special... in menu). Loading games in these ways will be slow, so you may have to look at the same screen for a while before the game is ready to run. If you want to make the loading faster, you can speed up the emulator with Alt and W keys together for WinVICE, and Alt and F3 keys together for CCS64. Repeat those key pressings to slow back down to normal.
Some games will work for one emulator but not the other.
You may have bad game files. Try downloading files from another source.
Q9: What do I do when a game wants side B (or side 2) of a disk, or some other disk?
You should have another d64 file that represents another disk side or a different disk. Some games have more than two d64 files to use. If your d64 files are named well, you should be able to tell which one you need. Otherwise you'll have to guess.
For the WinVICE emulator, click File of the menu, Attach disk image, and Drive 8. Then locate where the needed disk file is, click that, and click the Attach button that will be at the middle right of the dialog box. It's just like one of the ways to get the first disk file (but not using the Autostart feature).
For the CCS64 emulator, press the F10 key to get the menu, choose 1541 Device 8 (press Enter), find the desired d64 file with the arrow keys, and then press the F4 key to Select Disk.
Then you press a fire button or a key such as the spacebar or RETURN (Enter) to continue.
Q10: What do I do when a game wants me to insert a blank disk? Where do I get a blank disk from in the first place?
You can download a blank disk image or make your own with an emulator. Download from:
For the WinVICE emulator, click File of the menu, Attach disk image, and Drive 8 so that an Explorer-style window appears as a dialog box. Use the window to find where you would like the blank disk image to be created. Type a name for the blank disk in the "File name" field. Click the Create Image button at the lower right of the dialog box. If you next click the Attach button at the middle right of the dialog box, then that new blank disk image will be made the active disk file. To insert the blank disk later, just attach the disk image in the normal way: Click File, Attach disk image, Drive 8. Then locate where the blank disk file is, click that, and click the Attach button.
For the CCS64 emulator, press the F10 key, choose 1541 Device 8 (press Enter key), use the arrow keys to get into the directory (folder) where you want to create the blank disk image, use the down arrow key to highlight the bottom item of the directory "(Dir).", and press the F1 key to Create New D64. The default name of the blank disk file will appear at the bottom of the emulator screen, "ccs0.d64". You can type in a different name, but be sure to have the ".d64" part at the end. When you have the name you want, press the Enter key, and the blank disk image will be created. That disk image will automatically be the active disk file until you get another file or close the emulator. Be aware that if you want information to be stored to that disk image, then you need to have a special setting. Press the F10 key, use the down arrow key to highlight Options..., press the F1 key, highlight Saving (the third item under 1541 Emulation), press the F1 key to get the Continuously setting, and press the Esc key twice.
To insert the blank disk later, just activate the disk image in the normal way: use the menu with the F10 key, choose 1541 Device 8 (press Enter key), find the disk image file with the arrow keys, and press the F4 function key to Select Disk.
Q11: I want to download a certain game, but I can't find it anywhere, or I can only find versions that don't work. Where can I download the game file that I want?
You are most likely to find a working game from the GameBase64 collection:
Another good source is the Magyar Commodore 64 HQ, a Hungarian site. Many games are listed with more than one version to download and try. The game links are named according to cracking group, or named "eredeti" for original, "ismeretlen" for unknown cracker, or just "letoltes" [accent marks on letters o and e] for download. There may be one or more document links for a game also.
Alternatively, you can try searching with the help of a search engine such as Google, with these search terms along with the name of the game you want: C64 download
If you can't remember the name of the game, try asking at the forum at www.lemon64.com, where there are many regular visitors with a good amount of Commodore 64 knowledge.
Q12: Where can I get instructions to use a real Commodore 64? How about game instructions?
Commodore 64 manual, on-line version:
Game instructions source:
At the bottom right, find a link to games manuals, and a link to game maps.
Click a letter to locate a game. If documents are available for a game, you will see links like "doksi", "terkep" (map, accent marks on letters e), "leiras" (solution, accent marks on letters i and a) and others. The site is Hungarian, but most documents available are in English.
Documents for games by the Infocom company:
Also, the games available at this link have instructions built into the game file:
Edited by nicknicknickandnick, 21 December 2006 - 04:06 AM.