Retrogaming for everyone!

Multiplayer Flappy Bird on the Commodore 64


The best Flappy Bird yet

Awesome Retro took the develishly simple and addicting game Flappy Bird to the next level. A game enjoyed by millions has found ports to about every platform imaginable. One of these is the Commodore 64, a port by Sos. The Commodore 64 is a home computer from 1983 boasting a high end 0.977 Mhz CPU, 64 kilobytes of ram and a stunning 320 x 200 pixel resolution with NO hard drive.

Every year Awesome Retro visits the world’s largest digital festival, DreamHack, to do something amazing on stage. After hearing that Flappy Bird was ported to the Commodore 64, we needed to bring this to the main stage. But how on earth can controlling Flappy Bird, essentially hitting one button, be fun to look at?

With this problem we brainstormed on a set of new controls: jumping, screaming, face-smashing… but the real problem was that Flappy Bird is a single player game. Or rather WAS a single player game. We’ve added a feature so two players must work together to get a high score!


Wires and gameplay

Each player holds a wire, that guides 5 volt of electricity powered by a Makey Makey. When the players touch eachother, or contact eachother via something that guides electricity such as a phone, the Bird wil Flap. So a timely series of taps, punches, kisses can make the bird fly and win the game. (This is exactly what happened. Watch the video below).

A normal controller for the Commodore 64 was modded, and ultimately completely replaced after some heavy modding and testing. It turned out the controller is nothing more than a circuit that needs to close to create an input signal. Oh those where the days: simple input without any complex protocol or hardware.


Lessons learned

During the competition, we accidentally made the large crowd scream “ass!”… when the public had to decide what Flappy Bird approach was more awesome, kissing or ass-patting. Yes someone did this on the main stage. We also learnt that giving away prizes, when asking the audience to scream, can hurt your ears.

DreamHack is a high tech event, so it’s fun to see a Commodore 64 connect to the standards of today. The composite video is a blessing, this was converted to HDMI and ultimately SDI: the professional video standard. Together with SDI of the camera’s the picture-in-picture video was achieved as you can see on the video created by DreamHack Media (below).

We harnessed the power of a relay, an electronical component that creates an closed circuit when power is applied on the relay. (it’s like a electical magnet with an on / off switch).

Together with Intel, we figured out that a transistor for the Commdore 64 would cost about 1 cent. Given the same val

ue of the Commodore 64 when it was introduced, and comparing it to a modern i7 processor, it would cost about 0.000000107 cents per transistor. (they are about 400.000 times cheaper).


Made with donated hardware

Awesome Retro is a registred non-profit organization with the mission “retrogaming for everyone”. The Commodore 64 and Makey Makey where donated to the Awesome Retro foundation so it would be given a new life. This Commodore 64 achieved stardom at DreamHack, the worlds largest digital festival and will tour with the Flappy Bird touch edition kit.

If you have old gaming hardware, games or perpherals that are standing still or collecting dust: consider donating them to the Awesome Retro Foundation.



  • Conception: Elger “Stitch” Jonker
  • Tech: Tjeerd / Diggie & Stitch
  • Competition prep: Awesome Retro & Intel Pack4Dreamhack
  • Competition stage: DreamHack Backstage crew (Hi Max!)
  • Prizes competition: Intel & MadCatz (about 750 euro of sponsored prizes)
  • Pictures: LMD, Luc Marc Dijkstra
  • Communication afterwards Intel Pack4Dreamhack
  • Competition crew: Filip Havaux, Tim Verbruggen, Elger Jonker, Bob de Vries, De Furcas, Luc Marc Dijkstra, Ruben Van Nieuwenhove and Marco Verbeeck (thanks 666-gamers)

Pictures or didn’t happen

Playing on the stage

Playing Multiplayer Flappy Bird on the main stage.


Swedish Swedes playing

Swedish Swedes playing touching to make the bird fly.


Competition Crew

The Awesome Competition Crew!


The complete set for Flappy Bird Touch Edition

The complete set for Flappy Bird Touch Edition.

More coverage


Watch the video

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