Where Commodore 64 Fans Came to Work and Play for 22 Years
It began on a table-top in 1982, when a young couple saw a great need for excellent, affordable software for Apple II computers. JIm and Judi Mangham sent out disks of programs to all their friends - and soon SoftDisk Magazine was changing computing.
In 1984, the company decided to branch out to the growing audience of the Commodore 64, and decided to name the publication after the command that started a disk:
Loadstar grew with the C64. In 1987, Fender Tucker became the Managing Editor, and brought a certain style to the magazine. Fender turned over the editorship to Dave Moorman in 2001, who continued publication until 2007.
Loadstar arose in the midst of many paper consumer magazines that helped new users discover the power of the C64. However, Loadstar had a great advantage over the type-in offerings: being published on a disk allowed large, complex programs with graphics and auxiliary routines. Loadstar was targeted to the beginning and moderately skilled programming hobbyist, with tutorials and and machine language routines to extend the ability of even the stock 1982 machine.
A total eclectic, Fender gave up the glamorous life as a bar-band musician (no - he played a Gibson) in New Mexico to resettle in Shreveport, LA, and take the reins of Loadstar. With Jeff Jones and Scott Resh, he shaped the tone and texture of the magazine with a clear sense of style. He married Judi Mangham and they split Loadstar off from its mother company - SoftDisk - and published it from their home for several years. In 2001, Fender moved on to his hand-crafted book publishing concerns - Ramble House - and turned the magazine over to Dave Moorman.
Dave's first published program was Sea to Sea, a Transcontinental Railroad game, in 1994 and went on to provide a number of games, puzzles, and utilities to Loadstar. In 1999, he brought the World of Loadstar to the PC with eLOADSTAR on the VICE emulator. Sheri and Dave enjoyed to work so much that when Fender and Judi were ready to let go of the magazine, they jumped in. From 2001 to 2007, Dave edited and added his own various entertainments to the legacy. A tornado and the lack of new material brought the magazine to an end, though Dave, Lee Novak, and Alan Reed put together the last, great language Extension for C64's BASIC 2.0.
Now we have 170-250!
Ricky Derocher beta-tested Issue 250 (it was never published) and we have added 249 and 250 to our Library. Thanks, Rick. I also got busy and took the issues back to 170.
Running Loadstar on your PC or Mac
You don't need a real C64 to enjoy these issues. An emulator called VICE is ready to make your modern machine take a giant leap back to the days when a programmer was just a few centimeters above the raw silicon.
Downloading and installing VICE and adjusting it to your preferences is something of a computer game unto itself. But the results will be a window into a day when software was not controlled by huge companies and half-billion dollar budgets.
I have put together a special version of VICE which has vivid colors and a PC keyboard. (Other key arrangements were great for people who touch-typed on the real C64.)
The files are all zipped, so extract them to
Then double-click x64.exe to begin. The rest is up to you. .