The Commodore VIC-21

cbm/VICnTED/vic21.gif In 1983, with the popularity of Commodore's breakthrough computer, the VIC-20 waning, a retailer decided to pull a neat little trick to help clear those shelves. By packaging Commodore's 16k ram expansion pack (VIC-1111) with a VIC-20, Boston retailer Lechmere could claim to be selling a 21k computer. On this premise, the VIC-20 very briefly resurfaced as the "VIC-21", also known as the "SuperVIC". This package amounted to little more than the standard VIC-20 and ram expansion pack mentioned above. The VIC-20 box was modified with a sticker to make it appear to be a new product. The computer itself had the words "VIC-20" cut from the top label. It appears that this little maneuver was only pulled on the Boston area before being abandoned.

The VIC-21, 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 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-21 resources:

CPU: MOS Technology 6502A RAM: 5 kilobytes
cbm/vic/vic21screen.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/carts/vic1111.gif Interviews: Gamer Resources:

Personal Note:The VIC-21 came from a nice fellow in New England.

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