The Commodore Gaming party officially happened on Thursday, July 12, from 6 p.m to almost midnight. First, we gathered at the presidential suite (room 710) of the ultra-chic, beachside Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Charles Gutman of 8-Bit Designs and I were the first to arrive, just after 4, early to the party because we were bringing in a C64C set-up and a PET 4032 set-up for the party-goers to see and use. The Commodore Gaming people were seeing news reporters at that time, but we hung out until they finished. When the reporters left, the Commodore Gaming people gave us their full attention and showed us the Commodore XX gaming PC and its interchangeable "skins". After 6, more party-goers started to filter in. The main salon of the suite got quite crowded with everyone talking and in high spirits. After an hour or so, we went off to where the party was to continue, the Monsoon Cafe about a mile away. A Commodore girl (!) met us at the door of the restaurant, directing us upstairs to the private banquet room where we were greeted by another Commodore girl (!!). In fact, there were 2 more Commodore girls inside, mingling with the crowd.
Cameron Kaiser was already there at the restaurant, and it seemed that several people had bypassed the social greetings at the hotel and went straight to the restaurant. Drinks from the bar were paid by Commodore Gaming. The food was paid for Commodore Gaming. Commodore Gaming CEO Bala Keilman gave an opening welcome and not long after, Seth Sternberger of 8-Bit Weapon started playing live music on his Commodores, amplified to fill the banquet hall with sounds of SID. Everybody talked and drank and munched down the hors d'oeuvres (chicken-on-stick, spring rolls, and more). After awhile, the Commodore girls urged us to start on dinner, and we ate pad thai noodles, fried rice with chicken and shrimp, stir fry with green beans, shrimp, and tofu, chicken stir fry with mushrooms and green beans, and/or orange chicken. Yummy!
About 9 p.m., CEO Bala gave some more words of his plans for Commodore Gaming (a separate entity from Commodore, Int'l.), followed by CBM engineer Bil Herd who spoke about Commodore of old, and then followed by Jeri Ellsworth who spoke about her association with Commodore. After the short speeches, it was back to the 8-Bit Weapon music and more talk. News reporters were there, asking questions and taking pictures. Charles, Cameron, and I shot photos and video. The partygoers played with the fancy, top-of-the-line Commodore XX gaming PC and with the C64 set-up (the PET 4032 was put up on continual demo mode); they marveled at the speed and quality of the first-person shooter on the Commodore XX; they marveled at Super Mario Bros. (Giana Sisters hack) and other games on the C64. Near the end of the party, Commodore Gaming distributed to gifts to select attendees and Commodore Gaming t-shirts to everybody.
There's more, but I have to review the photos and my video...
I'd like to thank Commodore Gaming CEO Bala Keilman, Michiel Kroder, Taco van Sambeek, and the rest of the Commodore Gaming crew for making it a fine night. I very much appreciate their hospitality, their friendliness, their honesty. They want to move ahead with their gaming PC's but not forget the heritage of the classic 8-bit Commodore computers. I want to thank them for the open invitation to visit Commodore Gaming in Amsterdam when I'm in Europe next year.
I'd like to thank CBM engineers Bil Herd and Terry Ryan (Bob Russell is recovering from a water-skiing accident and couldn't make it), Jeri Ellsworth, Dave Warhol (music composer to classic C= games), Seth Sternberger and his wife, and that other Electronic Arts guy who came for a few minutes at the suite.
Nice to see all of them again or for the first time.
I'd like to thank those who came with me to the party: Charles Gutman of 8-Bit Designs, Cameron Kaiser, Cameron Bean, and Oldergames.com's R.W. Bivens, John Campbell, and Christina Noriega. Lots of business and personal connections made! Lots of fun!