12 Things You Didn't Know About the Commodore Vic 20



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Thanks for posting the information about Commodore Vic 20. It is awesome to know these things. The comparison provided is relative.

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 "President Ronald Regan is shot and takes his frustrations out on Libya..."


Gimme a break with the dimwitted political commentary.


Evan Evans

First thing I noted about this article.



I remember the day I upgraded TO my Vic20 from my Commie PET which I had first. Of course, I was also playing with a Timex Sinclair and running a 110baud duplex coupler for getting "online". :)




Never had a VIC but I did have C64.  Holy crap did it seem like years to load a program from the tape drive.   I had an older cousin (he was in High School, I was only 9) who "knew a guy" and he got the newest games which I would borrow and make copies of.   I think my mind would explode if I went back in time and explained downloading torrents to my young self. 


Keith E. Whisman

I remember having to type RUN at the end of all BASIC programs to make the programs run. 



I had a Vic-20, C=64 and an Amiga 500. The problem with the tape drives is that the counters weren't all the same so if you wrote down where a certain program was on the tape and tried to find it using another persons tape player (dataset actually) chances are you wouldn't find it.



I seriously have a Vic 20 sitting behind me in still working/good as new condition in the original box with the styrofoam and everything haha. I have the manual as well and financial II cartridge for it.



You poor soul. Hauling and storing obsolete technology has wasted time and space, two things that are unique to human worth. Recycle all the crap in your house before your heirs has to dumpster the stuff when you die.



Never had one myself, but a couple of my friends did.

Oh, the tape drive. Just thinking about it makes me antsy.



The comparison table is flawed, both machines shipped with BASIC as their OS.

Disk drives were a very expensive option when the 5150 was released, and it's true that IBM bundled DOS with them.  However, if the DIP switches inside the 5150 were configured for no bootable expansion cards, IBM BASIC would be loaded from ROM and the motherboard supported any cassette recorder with a remote jack as the default storage medium.



Good point Flare. Floppy disk drives were very expensive at the time. But my first computer, a Heathkit H-89 all in one system came standard with one SSSD 5-1/4" disk drive. Of course the system set me back almost $2000.00 in early 1981. I remember seeing the first IBM PC's that didn't have a floppy drive and I thought "It'll never fly." How wrong we can be at times!

In early 1985 I picked up an external dual DSQD 5-1/4" subsystem and controller for my H-89 and thought I had found the bargain of the year at $490.00. Each disk would hold 800K of data.  It required me to modify the CP/M BIOS (the source code was included with all CP/M versions) and reassemble it so my system would recognize the new drives.

Computers are much easier to use now and the capabilities are light years ahead of those days but I did enjoy working at the hardware level writing programs in 8080 assembler and making modifications to my system with a soldering iron. There was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Kind of the same feeling I get now when I overclock my CPU and GPU by 20% and it hardly breaks a sweat.



The VIC-20, I loved mine.  Used to spend hours typing in those magazine Star Trek games written in BASIC, (GOSUB ERROR)




I remember writing a program that would randomly generate a number between 1 and 44 I think, for NYS lotto.  Then it would increment a place holding number that corresponded.  I ran it a million time over a 3 day period, and used those numbers that came up the most, unfortunately I did not win :(

Three days to generate a million random number, awsome...



Was the C64. I got the tape drive then the floppy drive boy was I styling then. I also remember typing in the BASIC games from the mags and spending the next few hrs bug hunting. Then I started to get the mags on a floppy. Had to give it away after I started to build my own computers starting with a 386 proc. More into the hardware than the software.



"President Ronald Regan is shot and takes his fustrations out on Libya"  Can you back up that statement or are you just another left wing wanabe journalist?   How about keeping politics out of clealy nonpolitical articles.



We used to buy magazines that had game code in them and we would type the code in. We'd freak out when my mom would turn it off because we would lose everything. My dad was a God the day he came home  with the tape drive recorder. 

Messing with these magazine programs is how I learned to program, all trial and error we had no other resources than other programs we had from previous magazines. Started making multiple choice pop quizzes for my friends and family with funny messages, this computer was just plain fun.





Ahh, Moon Patrol, my very first computer game addiction! Kind of amazing to think how little I've grown emotionally between Moon Patrol on the C64 and Angry Birds on the iPhone.



Never had the Vic 20. I actually started on an Apple ][+ and then went to a //e.

However, my older brother purchased the C64 for his kids and when I would visit, I would be playing on that as well.

Still, I loved my Apple. It's what started me into programming. I learned basic and then went to 6502 assembler using the Orace macro assembler. Finally, my parents purchased me the Aztec C Compiler and from there, that's when I really loved to program.

But still, if it weren't for Commodore and Apple, who knows what I would have ended up doing?

Oh, and I did program a Trash 80 but only because that is all our school had. I didn't know about the infamous wiping of floppies if you left them in the Trash 80 drive when turning it on or off. I learned that one the hard way. Wow. Really slick, Tandy! ;)




Never had the VIC, I went straight to the 64 and could not wait to get home and play another InFocom text adventure game. I also had Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari2400. Those were the days.



I look back fondly on the Vic20,  It was my first PC as well.  My dad bought it for me and I remember the old tape drive, transcribing game code from books in BASIC and playing those cartridge games.  Raid on Fort Knox was my favorite game.  Also another one called Radar Rat Race.

At school, we had Commodore 64's but the Vic20 was the beginning of my love affair with the PC.



Tape drives, and ballpoint printers. O the memories my Commodore 64 and I have. I remember the last few years of it and f15 strike eagle.




While I never used a VIC 20, I had heard much about them. My first computer was a Ti 99 4a which as well hooked directly up to your TV and used a cartridge system as well as a tape system. We did upgrade to a Commodore 64 after a while though. Fond memories of both those computers. My dad also had a TRS 80 from work that he would bring home often. I credit all three of those computers with my fondness and comfort level in computers today.



The Commadore 64 was my first computer. Never got into programming, but I did love that thing. Still had it in a box somewhere until I was 20 years old. Don't remember what I did with it. One of my fondest gaming memories on it was "Cave Man Ugh-Olympics". Ah, tasty flashbacks.



It was my first computer too! Not only did I teach myself BASIC, but I went on to learn assembly language as well, and ported both skills to the C-64. It also helped that we had PET computers in school at the time, so getting my own Commodore machine was a no-brainer.

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