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A cartridge is a piece of electronics which plugs into the expansion port on the C64, adding extra memory and/or special hardware to the system. This provides a convenient alternative to comparatively slow and error-prone floppies and tapes: Plug it in, turn it on, and the software/hardware add-on is ready to use right away.

When plugging a cartridge into, or pulling it out of the C64, always make sure the power is turned off! Inserting or removing a cartridge while the C64 is turned on may cause one or both to malfunction!

Examples of cartridges:

Types of cartridges[edit]

Most, if not all cartridges for the C64, provide a ROM circuit to hold software. Some cartridges may also have special hardware on-board.

Standard ROM cartridges[edit]

The cartridge system implemented in the C64 provides an easy way to hook 8 or 16 kB of ROM into the computer's address space: This allows for applications and games up to 16 kB, or BASIC expansions up to 8 kB in size and appearing to the CPU along with the built-in BASIC ROM. In theory, such a cartridge need only contain the ROM circuit without any extra support electronics.

Freezer cartridges[edit]

These cartridges exploits the C64's ability to "emulate" the MAX Machine: In this mode, often referred to as "ultimax mode", all of 44 kB are "left open" so that the cartridge may map ROM, RAM and more into the system: The CPU then runs cartridge code, using RAM residing in the cartridge, and thus preserving the "frozen" content of the machine's own RAM.

Specialty cartridges[edit]

Various special hardware has been developed, which plugs into the expansion port, the Magic Voice from Commodore being one example.

Cartridge boot-up[edit]

The standard way of "hooking" software in the cartridge's ROM into the C64, is by way of pins 8 (/GAME) and 9 (/EXROM) in the expansion port: These are inputs, held high through pull-up resistors inside the C64. By connecting one or both of these lines to ground, the cartridge ROM gets mapped into the address space at certain regions (see Bankswitching). On power-up (or when reset) the C64 uses a KERNAL subroutine at 64770–64783/$FD02–FD0F to see if the address range 32772–32776/$8004–$8008 contains the "cartridge signature" (the text CBM80 in PETSCII code): If that is the case, the CPU takes an indirect jump through the pointer at 32768–32769/$8000–$8001; otherwise the C64 continues to boot up its built-in BASIC system.

All these addresses are within area that is "covered" by cartridge ROM: The cartridge just needs to have the CBM80 signature and a pointer to the start address in its software at the right places to be "booted" on power-up.

Besides the "cold start" vector at 32768–32769/$8000–$8001, there is an NMI vector at 32770–32771/$8002–$8003 — the C64 also checks for the presence of a cartridge during NMI's, e.g. caused by pressing the Restore key.

(Ab)using the cartridge boot-up system[edit]

By placing the CBM80 sequence and some pointers in RAM at the aforementioned addresses, it's possible to use the boot-up system to "divert" reset and NMI's to a specific address (so that a program in RAM just restarts if the user tries to reset the C64 or causes an NMI using the RESTORE key)




Handic Software[edit]

  • Calc Result C64 (Easy/Advanced), 1985
  • Diary 64, 1983
  • Forth 64, 1983
  • Graf 64, 1983
  • Muistio 64, 1983 (Finnische Version von "Diary 64")
  • Stat 64, 1983
  • Simons' BASIC 64, 1983
  • Tele-Data 64, 1983
  • Text 64, 1983
  • Tool 64, 1983
  • Viditel 64, 1982




S.M. Thorpe[edit]

  • Human Skeleton Tutorial, 1984
  • States and Capitals Tutorial, 1984
  • Utah Counties Tutorial, 1984






CBS Software[edit]

  • Big Bird's Funhouse, 1984
  • Big Bird's Special Delivery, 1984
  • Coconotes, 1984
  • Ducks Ahoy!, 1984
  • Ernie's Magic Shapes, 1984
  • Halftime Battlin' Bands, 1984
  • Letter-Go-Round, 1984
  • Math Mileage, 1984
  • Movie Musical Madness, 1984
  • Peanut Butter Panic, 1984
  • Sea Horse Hide'n Seek, 1984
  • Timebound, 1984
  • Webster: The Word Game, 1983


Commodore (Ultimax)[edit]

Commodore released several games and utilities for the VC-10/Max Machine computer under own corresponding product numbers. As these "Ultimax" cartridges also work in a normal C64 without any problem, some of them were also released with regular Commodore product numbers and C64 designs (and partially rereleased). Though having the same name as non-Ultimax game cartridges, there might be significant differences between the versions concerning the content (see e.g. Wizard of Wor).


The schoolbook publisher Westermann released a number of learning software products for basic primary school classes in cooperation with or respectively under the licence of Commodore, amongst others:

  • Der Rechenlöwe, 1983
  • Der Rechenlöwe - Fit in Addition/Subtraktion 2./3. Schuljahr, 1984
  • Der Rechenlöwe - Fit in Addition/Subtraktion 3./4. Schuljahr, 1983
  • Der Rechenlöwe - Fit in Geometrie 3./4. Schuljahr, 1983
  • Der Rechenlöwe - Fit in Mathematik 1. Schuljahr, 1984
  • Der Rechenlöwe - Multiplikation/Division 2./3. Schuljahr, 1984
  • Der Rechenlöwe - Multiplikation/Division 3./4. Schuljahr, 1983
  • Der Rechtschreiblöwe - Fit in der Rechtschreibung
  • Der Rechtschreiblöwe - Fit in der Rechtschreibung, Teil 1 (3./4.Schuljahr), 1984

Creative Software[edit]


Disc Company[edit]



Fisher Price[edit]

  • Alpha Build, 1984
  • Dance Fantasy, 1984
  • Hop Along Counting, 1984
  • Linking Logic, 1984
  • Logic Levels, 1984
  • Memory Manor, 1984
  • Number Tumblers, 1984
  • Sea Speller, 1984
  • Song Maker, 1985
  • Up'n Add 'Em, 1984

Handic Software[edit]


HES Australia[edit]

Next to the cartidges named here, HES Australia also rereleased several Activision game cartridges under licence (Beamrider, Decathlon, Pastfinder, Pitfall, Pitfall 2, River Raid, Zone Ranger), as well as "Frogger" under the licence of Parker Brothers. The other single games are usually only freezes of disk versions captured on cartridges.

Learning Tree[edit]


Mr. Computer Products[edit]


Parker Brothers[edit]




Sierra Online, Inc./SierraVision[edit]



System 3[edit]

Turbo Software[edit]




  • Commodore 1700 RAM Expansion
  • Commodore 1764 RAM Expansion
  • Commodore 1750 RAM Expansion
  • Commodore 64 Diagnostic Cartridge, 198?
  • Commodore 64/128/D Diagnostic Dead Test Cartridge Rev.781220; with test of the Zero Page, Stack Page, Screen RAM, Color RAM, RAM, sound
  • Commodore 64 Final Test Diagnostic Cartridge #586220 (shows defecte IC's), 198?
  • Commodore 64/128 Keyboard Dual Diagnostic Cartridge (keyboard check), 198?
  • Commodore 64/128 Dual Diagnostic Cartridge, 198?


Data & Electronics from Venlo B.V. (short Datel)

  • 256K Copyer / RAM-Disk
  • Action Replay, 198?
  • Action Replay II, 198?
  • Action Replay III, 198?
  • Action Replay IV, 198?
  • Action Replay 4.2 / Pro, 198?
  • Action Cartridge V5.0 / Plus, 1988
  • Action Cartridge V5.1 / Bacchus, 1988
  • Action Cartridge V6.0 / Plus, 1988
  • Action Replay V6.0 / Plus / Pro, 1989
  • Action Replay V7.0
  • Action Replay V7.5, 1990
  • Cartridge Maker
  • Nordic Power / Action Cartridge Plus, 198?
  • Reset Cartridge


  • Multi-function cartridge
  • S/4 cartridge
  • EPROM Brenner Dela I
  • EPROM Brenner Dela II
  • EPROM Brenner Dela III
  • Ramdisk RD.1
  • IC-Tester
  • Z80 Modul ( s.a. article in blog)
  • Profibetriebssystem

Evesham Micros[edit]

  • Freeze Frame MKz A, 1985
  • Freeze Frame MK II, 1987
  • Freeze Frame MK III B, 1988?
  • Freeze Frame MK IV, 1988?
  • Freeze Frame MK V, 1987?
  • Freeze Machine, 1989? (combines Freeze Frame MK V and Lazer MK II)
  • Lazer MK II

Final Cartridge[edit]

  • Final Cartridge 1 (H.P.Comp Holland), 1985
  • Final Cartridge Plus (Milan), 198?
  • Final Cartridge 2.x (H.P.Comp Holland / TASK), 1988?
  • Final Cartridge 3 (Riska Holland / TASC B.V. Holland), 1987

Grewe GmbH[edit]

LMS Technologies[edit]

  • Super Snapshot


  • 128'er Cartridge (REX 9521)
  • 128er Quickload+DOS (REX 9811)
  • 128er Turbo Cartrigde - DOS (REX 9604) *very rare*
  • Diashowmaker - Freezer Hardcopy (REX 9690)
  • Eprom Cartrigde Generator (REX 9506)
  • Exos V.3 (REX 9805)
  • Expert (REX 9613)
  • Goliath 1 MByte Eprom Card (REX 9600/9601)
  • Hardcopy Cartridge (REX 9629)
  • Hardcopy and Turbo Cartridge (REX 9505)
  • Hypradisk (REX 9503)
  • Hypradisk 3.0 - REX 3.0 Loader (REX 9615)
  • Hypra Tape (REX 9510)
  • IC-Tester (REX 9627)
  • Monitor Cartridge 89 (REX 9516)
  • Pictures Printer (REX 9545)
  • Profi DOS (REX 9645)
  • Print Screen (REX 9823)
  • RS-232 Interface (REX 9626)
  • Slow Down (REX 9675)
  • Super Operating System (REX 9583)
  • Userport Protector (REX 9622)
  • V-DOS (14x; REX 9805)


Modems & I/O-Cards[edit]

  • 64'er online (Dres EDV+Btx GmbH)
  • AproSpand-64; Expansion port switch (Aprotek), 1984
  • Btx-Com (Digitec-Saarbrücken)
  • C64 Ethernet Cartridge
  • Computapix IEEE-488 (Pixstik)
  • EPROM Card Hesmon
  • EPROM Burner Micro Maxi Prommer
  • 64nic+ Ethernetwork Card
  • Grappler CD (Orange)
  • Laser 64
  • MIDI-Interface
  • Modem C64+
  • Quick Silver 64 (Skyless Electric Works)
  • RAMLink (CMD), 1990
  • RAMDrive (CMD)
  • RS232 Userport Card C64/128 UP9600
  • Swiftlink RS-232 (CMD)
  • VIC REL (VIC-20, C64), Handic Software AB, 1983


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