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The Commodore

cbm/VICnTED/vic20.gif In 1981, Commodore dropped a bomb on the home computer market, releasing the inexpensive 3.5K Commodore VIC-20. A computer for the game console buyer! The computer was even more successful than Commodore predicted. At its height, the VIC-20 had a production run of over 9000 units a day!

The VIC-20, like all other Commodore 8-bit computers, greets the user with a flashing READY prompt. The operating system is built into the hardware of the computer, and the user interface is BASIC 2.0, a programming language Commodore purchased from Microsoft in the late 1970s. The VIC featured 5 kilobytes of memory, and color graphics at a time when that was very uncommon, though it's display is only capable of 22 characters per line. The joystick port and game cartridge port are prominent features, as Commodore meant to market the VIC-20 as a game console/computer hybrid. The cartridge port could also be used to expand the VIC's memory up to a whopping 28/32 kilobytes.

Statistics, features, and VIC-20 resources:

CPU: MOS Technology 6502A RAM: 5 kilobytes
cbm/vic/vic20screen.gif ROM: 20 kilobytes Video: MOS Technology 6560 "VIC" Sound: MOS Technology 6560 "VIC"
cbm/vic/vicback.gif Ports: 6522 VIA (X2)
cbm/vic/vic20kybd.gif Keyboard: Full-sized 66 key QWERTY Resources:
cbm/vic/vic20sidenew.gif Help: (materials below thanks to Ward Shrake)
cbm/VICnTED/vic20euro.gif Interviews: Gamer Resources:

Personal Note:The Commodore VIC-20 is a machine that exudes both charm and warmth. The large fonts, the simple, happy graphics, the friendly CBM Basic prompt.. they all contribute to a yearning for a long-gone simpler time in computer history. I do play with my own VIC-20 quite a bit, and its hard not to be drawn in by it. It was designed to be a game-playing computer, and it does this well. My own VIC-20's were obtained through my arrangment with the Austin Good Will Computerworks.

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