Platform: Commodore Vic-20
The VIC-20 (Germany: VC-20; Japan: VIC-1001) is an 8-bit home computer that was sold by Commodore Business Machines. The VIC-20 was announced in 1980, roughly three years after Commodore's first personal computer, the PET. Focusing on low-cost and user-friendliness, the VIC-20 was the first computer of any description to sell one million units. Commodore made advertisements for the VIC-20 featuring actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame.
Its operating system was Commodore KERNAL/Commodore BASIC 2.0, it had a MOS Technology 6502 CPU 1.108404 MHz (PAL) or 1.02 MHz (NTSC) and memory of 20 KB ROM + 5 KB RAM (expandable to 32 KB), 3.5 KB for BASIC (expandable to 30.5 KB). Its retail price was just US$299.95, making it highly affordable compared to its competitors. In 1982, the VIC-20 was the best-selling computer of the year, with 800,000 machines sold. That summer, Commodore unveiled the Commodore 64, a more advanced machine with 64 KB of RAM and considerably improved sound and graphics capabilities. While sales were slow at first due to reliability problems and lack of software, sales sharply accelerated by mid 1983 and VIC-20 sales abruptly plunged. The VIC-20 was discontinued in January 1985.
A large part of the success of the VIC-20 can be attributed to the peripherals that were sold separately. Because of the VIC's many connector ports, a whole range of devices could be attached to the computer. This allowed the VIC-20 to expand its abilities and far beyond that of the basic stock model. This included:
- a port at the side for a Joystick, Paddle or Light Pen
- a port for program cartridges or RAM cartrides (to expand RAM up to 32kb) (image: 1)
- a 5-pin video port to connect the VIC20 to a TV or monitor (image: 2)
- a serial bus for a disk drive and printer (image: 3)
- a cassette port for a cassette drive (image: 4)
- a user port for a modem (image: 5)
Commodore VIC-20 software came on three possible types of media: cartridge, cassette or floppy.
For more information on the Commodore VIC-20, including history and peripherals, see Wikipedia.
Emulating the Commodore VIC-20
VICE, standing for VersatIle Commodore Emulator, is a free and cross platform emulator for Commodore's 8-bit computers, running on Amiga, Unix, MS-DOS, Win32, Mac OS X, OS/2, RISC OS, QNX, GP2X, Dingoo A320, Syllable, and BeOS host machines. VICE is free software, released under the GNU General Public Licence. You can get VICE from the developer's site here.