From casual reading, it seems as though many C64 titles were ported from the ZX Spectrum.

Why was this the case? Was the ZX Spectrum more popular? Or easier to develop for?

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    I think you are confusing the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum here: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81 en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Spectrum Feb 18, 2017 at 22:32
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    Please edit your question to clarify whether you are talking about the ZX Spectrum or the ZX81. Based upon the tags and the context, I assume you are talking about the Spectrum (because afaik, no ZX81-only titles were ported to C64) Feb 18, 2017 at 23:38
  • Thanks for picking this up. I did indeed mean the ZX Spectrum
    – christofr
    Feb 19, 2017 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


First, the title question: which had more games?

The lists are not exhaustive, and they only include games. It makes a lot of sense that the C64 would have many more titles, though. It was a system popular all around the world, while the ZX Spectrum was primarily a UK system.

As far as porting games from the Spectrum to the C64, software developers would have a financial incentive to have the biggest market possible for their games. The Spectrum developers would have significant desire to reach a worldwide audience, while, say, American C64 developers would have a smaller incentive in expanding to an audience largely limited to the UK. This is especially true since the C64 was already one of the two most popular systems in the UK. I.e., they already had a large number of potential customers there.

I don't know which was easier to develop for. I suspect the number of development tools and and amount of documentation and shared techniques was larger for the C64, though -- again due to its worldwide presence.

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    Strange... the WOS database lists more than 10,000 games (only games, not counting anything else) for the ZX Spectrum. worldofspectrum.org/archive.html Feb 19, 2017 at 13:54
  • Nor the C64 game list you link is complete. So your numbers are not accurate Feb 19, 2017 at 13:58
  • @mcleod_ideafix I knew the lists were not complete and stated so. Maybe I put too much faith in the Wikipedia. Still, as far as which computer had more titles, I have a feeling that those numbers are close to proportionally correct. I just found another source, gamebase64.com, listing over 25,000 entries. So compared to your count for Spectrum > 10,000, C= still has lots more games.
    – RichF
    Feb 19, 2017 at 19:11
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    To a consumer from the UK, though, it might at the time have seemed as if the ZX Spectrum had more titles. The ZX Spectrum games sections in high street shops was always bigger than that for the C64. C64 games that required a disk drive also likely didn't sell in huge numbers in the UK, as the market was primarily cassette based. Floppies and drives had a fairly large import duty, so were expensive.
    – scruss
    Feb 20, 2017 at 21:46

Depending on how far you want to stretch the meaning of the word "titles" in the question, it might be worth noting that the number of C-64 demoscene productions far exceeds those for the Spectrum (and - I think - every other platform). The vast majority of those will be original and exclusive to their respective platforms, I'd guess, although a non-trivial amount - quite possibly the majority - would have been created after those platforms' 1980s heydays.

pouet.net currently lists 752 pages of C64 prods = approx 18,800 releases versus 64 pages for the Spectrum = approx 1,600 releases.

Similarly, demozoo.org currently lists 94 pages of C64 prods (approx 4700 releases) versus 53 pages/approx 2650 releases for the Spectrum.

Obviously the demoscene is a subculture, and popularity there doesn't necessarily reflect the wider world - I certainly wouldn't care to use those stats to claim the C-64 was more popular than DOS or Windows!

Rather, I think it helps support the point already made about the C64 having a more international following than the Spectrum, given that the demoscene is/was more known/popular in mainland European countries than English-speaking ones. NB: I'm not sure how much software was produced for Spectrum clones in eastern Europe, perhaps that might impact any figures/analysis?

(Anecdotally, the Speccy was the most popular computer from about a dozen types amongst the kids at my 1980s secondary school in northern England, whereas our compatriots at a twinned school in Germany were 100% Commodore users.)

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    – wizzwizz4
    Feb 26, 2017 at 14:27
  • John, thank you for providing this info. I have to admit that I've been hiding in a mushroom or something and had not heard of demoscene until reading your answer. I checked out the Wikipedia article and one of you C64 links. Since I don't have the equipment any longer to view the files there, I searched YouTube and found lots of videos featuring demoscenes from various platforms. Cool stuff! Some of them sort of reminded me of a high-res C=128 program I wrote back in the day. It wasn't a demoscene, but it was an experimental demonstration of something that video mode could do.
    – RichF
    Feb 27, 2017 at 1:08

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