The Null Device

Brand exploitation run rampant

Tulip Computers, the Dutch company which bought the Commodore brandname, are making moves to capitalise on their brand, with portable MP3 players. The Commodore e-VIC-20 (cringe) is a 20Gb hard disk-based MP3 player/recorded, which looks not too unlike the Archos Jukebox Recorder in specs. (It's also a USB Mass Storage device, and so apparently isn't locked into what its maker considers to be good enough management software for the user, unlike some other MP3 players.) The venerable Commodore Pet line has also been reincarnated as a range of USB Flash drives and Flash-based MP3 players.

But wait, there's more! On their website, Tulip promise more to come. They have big plans for the Commodore 64 brand, with new products, both based on old C64 technologies and "new, innovative products fitting perfectly with the C64 image". (Does this mean Commodore 64-brand Windows XP notebooks or something? Maybe they'll even ship it with a dark-and-light-blue Windows XP colour theme, giving the user more of the Commodore 64 experience.) On the way is a joystick-shaped device that plugs into a TV and contains 30 C64 games built in.

Elsewhere, they promise "all sorts of merchandising available like t-shirts, caps, sweaters and lots of gadgets". I imagine rooms full of 8-year-olds somewhere in South-East Asia, busily sewing Commodore 64 trucker caps as we speak.

Also, according to the copyright notice, the official name for the Commodore logo is the "chicken head logo".

There are 9 comments on "Brand exploitation run rampant":

Posted by: Alex http:// Fri Jul 2 07:21:51 2004

As discussed on /. ... will they play SID files? MOD files? small music files ideal for portable devices ...

Posted by: toby http:// Fri Jul 2 07:27:25 2004

I want to know if they'll be big and beige, and have buttons that go 'clack' and a harddrive that goes 'tick...tick...tick', and whether you'll have to list your music by typing 'load "$",8'...

Posted by: burgatron http:// Fri Jul 2 10:55:24 2004

they should just print C64 t-shirts and make a mint of all the kids

Posted by: burgatron http:// Fri Jul 2 10:56:03 2004

oh wait. they are. That'll teach me to not read all the post. tsk tsk

Posted by: Graham Fri Jul 2 16:07:54 2004

FEh. I'm not buying until they come out with a Plus 4 branded dildo.

Posted by: acb Fri Jul 2 18:53:46 2004

When I went to London in 2002, there was some bloke at Camden Market selling Commodore 64 T-shirts. I bought one from him (I believe it was 12 quid).

But yes, that's one of the things that irks me; that it's not so much Commodore fan geeks resurrecting their old platform, but marketing weasels latching onto a "retro" brand and slapping it on generic shiny crap. I mean, come on; Commodore-brand MP3 flash players are about as much effort to make as Commodore-brand ballpoint pens.

Posted by: Richard Sat Jul 3 00:03:53 2004

"Next thing you know some French gaming giant will acquire the rights to the Atari brand and smear it all over a bunch of middling quality videogame titles."

-- gizmodo

Posted by: mark Sat Jul 3 17:06:19 2004

Now, now, Richard, CivIII was awesome.

Posted by: Graham Sun Jul 4 15:27:46 2004

I've been having trouble keeping track of that, too, what with Microprose and Hasbro getting folded in at some point.

Though in that case, Atari titles for the 2600 tended to lack the spark that Activision cartridges for that system had.

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