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The Commodore Vic-20 Computer


Description
Manufacturer Commodore Business Machines
Model Vic-20
Date Announced 1981
Date Canceled 1985
Number Produced One million plus
Country of Origin USA
Price $300
Current Value $0-$25
Specifications
Processor MOS 6502
Speed 1 MHz
RAM 5k
ROM 16K
Storage Optional external tape drive, 5.25" disk drive
Expansion None
Bus N/A
Video Up to 184x176x16 color
I/O Parallel
OS Options N/A
Notes The Vic-20 was a predicessor to the Commodore 64. It was relatively underpowered but it was cheap. It proved to be a good "gateway" computer in that users would get frustrated with the Vic-20 limitations and upgrade to a Commodore 64.
Related Items in Collection Manual, other commodore equipment including Commodore 64, Commodore Plus Four and Commodore Pet 2001
Related Items Wanted Additional software (ROMs and disk based)


In 1980, Commodore Business Machines, building on the success of their PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) line of computers entered the home market in force with the introduction of the Vic-20. This little machine, basically an oversized keyboard with a computer stuffed inside, was sold as an alternative to the gaming systems that were popular at the time (Atari 2600, etc.) The Vic-20 was actually more powerful then the game systems and had the ability to do more then just play games since it was, after all, a full computer.

The machine accepted cartridges for much of its programming with an optional tape drive being the most commonly used “mass storage.” The machine is, however, compatible with the disk drives that came along a bit later with its big brother, the Commodore 64.

The VIC-20 in my collection comes with its original box and power supply.

The Commodore 5.25 inch disk drive model 1541

It also comes with a Commodore 1541 5.25" floppy drive.

The Commodore 1541 disk drive box

The disk drive is also boxed.

I've also got the original VIC-20 manual (not pictured. . . yet) but no cartridges or software for this machine.

The VIC-20 in my collection was donated by Rick Collette along with several other very nice items!


(Submitted July 24, 2012 13:48:54 by Leda)

I have a Vic 20 with cassette player, cassettes, instruction manual and power supply that I would like to sell together. Can e-mail me


(Submitted May 22, 2012 15:50:05 by Cliff )

Had one of these when they first came out. It was the coolest thing at the time. I did my first basic programing on it. And saved my work to the tape drive. Couldn't have been more thrilled.


(Submitted January 8, 2012 10:38:26 by dorian)

Pirate Cove aka Pirate Adventure by Scott Adams. Text only adventure. Just played it again after 25 years. Bought back so many memories. My dad and mum around my vic20 helping me with my spelling 'drop parrot'&'take mongoose'. I did what I could not do when I was six, I completed it, mainly because I still remembered some of it. This game conjured up so many adventurous yearnings in my early years that it introduced me to Treasure Island and then a lifetime of great literature. Thank you Scott Adams!


(Submitted October 13, 2011 11:11:11 by Leonard)

Hello:

I write from the NBC show 30 Rock Art Department. We are looking for an old computer to use as a Super COmputer like an Apex VR 1200, or an old IBM Mainframe. Would you where we would begin acquiring something like this? Thanks in advance,

Leonard Bruno, Art Coordinator 718/906+2475


(Submitted June 6, 2011 08:16:00 by Charles Patridge)

Looking for a computer such as commodore VIC-20 with tape drive.

I have 24 CNC (Computer Numerical Control) tapes (exactly like audio cassette tapes) that I need to convert to digital media such as CDs or DVDs.

Have been trying for 3 months trying to find a tape drive unit that will use these tapes in hopes I convert to digital media. No luck as yet.


(Submitted December 30, 2010 11:09:33 by chris brookes)

vic 20 my very first ever comp, then it was playin imogen on the bbc micro at school then moved on to the atari 520 st ,, yer i remember new york blitz well,


(Submitted December 6, 2010 16:20:29 by David Tong)

Mickey the Bricky was my favorite game, i can still remember the theme tune!

I can't, and I wrote it! I still have a copy of it somewhere, though sadly I sold my VIC for 20 quid many years ago.


(Submitted December 4, 2010 14:41:30 by greg anderstein)

I remember this one. If only a nice set of samples of it's audio chip were freely available. I find it hard to believe no one has one to sample some pokes or peeks.


(Submitted November 2, 2010 18:45:27 by Pete)

In reply to some of the posts regarding Power Supplies, the Vic & C64 both use the same one.


(Submitted October 2, 2010 13:41:53 by SR)

If you are missing the power supply to your Vic 20. You can do what I did. Look up the specs of the power supply in the manual (I'd tell you but all is is buried in boxes right now), look for Volts (V) and Amps (A) ratings. Then go to your local radio shack and buy a variable AC to DC power supply that will deliver the Volts and Amps you need. Then buy an adapter that will fit the connection you need. You might have to rig something, but should work. Otherwise look on Ebay for an original.


(Submitted June 13, 2010 10:36:56 by Bev)

My house was broken in to a while back and the VIC 20 etc. were stolen. I got everything back except for the power supply. Does anyone know where I can get a VIC 20 power supply? I'd love to play the games again.


(Submitted March 8, 2010 16:56:09 by Dave D)

Hello all I too have not only the Vic 20 still but also a C64. I have several cartiridges and about 40 Cassettes with programs on I typed in from the Compute and RUN magazines, as well as programs I just created myself. I can't even imagine the number of hours I spent parked at those computers which I had hooked to a 20 inch TV which I sat 2 feet away from( Probably the reason I wear glasses today lol) I still have the manuels as well. Also to the person looking for Pirates Cove and the COUNT I have them Both! :) Ahhh the memmories.. COMMODORE, YOU ROCK! I also have the Joystick and paddles. Cheers


(Submitted January 2, 2010 14:11:11 by Ted)

Great memories, my first computer. i was 14 in 1983 and they had been recently discontinued and Zellers (in Canada) had them on sale for $99. I bought one and saved up for the datasette, a joystick and some books. I used the PET's in highschool and this VIC was similar so I had a lot of fun buying cassettes and programming from books and on my own. COMPUTE! magazine was also awesome to get monthly. I ended up selling everything after a couple years for $200 and my plan was to upgrade to something better, I saw that Atari computers had great success, I shoulda gotten a 64 but instead got a 600xl (atari). i never really got into it. Until finally, 5 years later I got an IBM compatible laptop with page white VGA. Years later I found a C-64 with disk drive and tons of games that someone dumped. GREAT FUN, the PET, VIC, 64 and Amiga were great in their time !!!


(Submitted November 23, 2009 12:34:33 by JC)

I have a VIC20 that my Grandfather gave me that doesn't work :-(. It has a blank screen when it plugs in. I believe it's a problem with the logic circuit. Does anyone know where I can get one repaired or trade a broken one for a working one?


(Submitted May 17, 2009 21:08:29 by (a href=mailto:)Mickey(/a))

My first computer! My dad bought it for me when I was nine years old. He didn't know anything about computers but he knew they were the future. I taught myself BASIC on it, spent countless hours programming. I must have burnt out 2 or 3 power adapters from using it so much. I love this computer, brings back memories. It was the beginning of my life long computer programming career. I miss my dad.


(Submitted April 23, 2009 20:27:51 by richard)

wow, I just found an old vic 20 in my garage. Still in the box. Must have had it back in the early 80s. LOTS OF MEMORIES.


(Submitted April 21, 2009 11:00:27 by (a href=mailto:)Mortar(/a))

Althought the cartridge slot was primarily used for...well, cartridges, it can pass data out as well. It's a popular port for hams who are into RTTY and other data modes. So it caould be considered an I/O port.


(Submitted April 3, 2009 17:44:30 by Shinda)

I have a commodore vic 20 with original box manuals/instructions and cables. box is a little weathered, but system brand new. Email for details


(Submitted January 28, 2009 15:13:29 by Joseph Salazar)

Still in it's original box VIC-20 (serial# P694028) and C2N DATASETTE UNIT (Model# 1530) Games-VIC-1923-GORF, VIC-1913-RAID ON FORT KNOX And SNAKMAN on DATSETTE...E-MAIL ME IF INTERESTED...


(Submitted September 27, 2008 03:47:29 by MICHAEL GRELEWICZ)

IM LOOKING FOR A VIC 20 FOR OLD TIME SAKE MISSING THE PEEKS AND POKES LOL

WOULD LOVE TO SHOW MY GRAND CHILDREN HOW IT WAS BACK IN THE DAY WITH OUT A MOUSE LOL

THANK YOU

MICHAEL R. GRELEWICZ


(Submitted May 21, 2008 12:07:44 by (a href=mailto:Bennington)Erich(/a))

Got my Vic out, plugged it in and my son asked where's the mouse? boy how things have changed !


(Submitted April 27, 2008 10:45:52 by Crozbow)

I've been having a lot of fun flipping through your site looking at the computers that I learned to program on. Sinclair, Vic20, C64... It's a trip down memory lane. I never should have tossed my old equipment. Thanks for keeping the memories alive.


(Submitted April 17, 2008 20:37:03 by PETER )

I'M LOOKING FOR ONE GOOD WORKING VIC20 COMPUTERS.

PRICE $0.00


(Submitted April 3, 2008 13:29:45 by jason bishop)

I live in warminster and looking for a vic 20


(Submitted March 27, 2008 20:34:21 by LSU_tigerfan)

OMG, my first computer! I too remember countless hours of typing BASIC to make the jumping jack stick figure. AWESOME, went along great with my Atari 2600 and Intellivision


(Submitted October 13, 2007 11:07:04 by Daniel Branconnier)

The Commodore VIC-20 had some really great games. Two of my favourites were 'Radar Rat Race' and 'Clowns' which I still play via emulation on a PC. The only real limitation was the RAM, back in the 80s you needed at least 16 Kilobytes to do anything useful (wordprocessing, database etc..) on a computer. Without a RAM expansion, you would quickly run out of memory typing half of a 1 page document! Other than that, it was great fun and introduced many of us to computing.


(Submitted September 13, 2007 20:42:12 by superman2521)

My first computer too, it was the bomb! I spent hours typing in code to make the simplest of animations, and I would do it all over again. I would love to have one again to teach my kids what it was like back in the day.


(Submitted September 9, 2007 15:20:12 by Wagsy)

The VIC20 was my first PC. I thought it was the dogs - all 3.5k of it! i remeber tying in code for space invaders for hours to find multiple syntax errors - gr8 when finally worked though. Mickey the Bricky was my favorite game, i can still remember the theme tune! I'd buy another.


(Submitted September 2, 2007 07:03:49 by (a href=mailto:)Griffy(/a))

Really, this is, like, my FAVORITE old computer. I mean, THIS, IS, LIKE, AWESOME! I had one that my family pulled out one day. We hooked up the 25-year old thing, and it fuses up and stops working. We bought another on eBay, and someone saved it in the box for 24 years. I ripped the box open, and it works fine! WHOEVER YOU ARE, I THANK YOU DEEPLY, WONDER-MAN FROM MASSACHUSETTS!


(Submitted August 30, 2007 11:16:11 by cathy)

i have a commodore vic plus multiple games for sale know anyone looking for any please email me if do my email is rconley1@adelphia.net


(Submitted August 29, 2007 14:32:31 by steve)

I was helping this old guy move from his house where he lived all his life. His brother work at for sears. well long story short I came found a Commodor 64 never been used. I opened the box and it was in the the origenal selafain bag as just pulled off selve. What do you think it is worth.


(Submitted August 22, 2007 11:10:40 by Ron )

Here's a good side note. The TV ad campaign for the Vic-20 wes done by William Shatner, fresh from playing Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series. (who could be more hi-tech?) The script gave a very in your face message that if you didn't buy your kids one of these, you were a bad parent, because they could never keep up with other kids and as a result, never go to college, never get a good job, etc...

Look up the as on youtube... it's interesting.

Ron


(Submitted June 26, 2007 18:32:48 by Jeff)

Please check out Denial, the Commodore Vic 20 community at sleepingelephant.com/denial


(Submitted June 26, 2007 12:32:11 by Becky)

Please help!! I am trying desperately to play Blitz on my Vic 20 Emulator but don't know how to start the game. Obviously pushing F1 on my keyboard doesnt work. Would really love to relive my childhood! - Thanks for any help


(Submitted April 10, 2007 18:51:23 by julian)

I got VIC20 in original working condition incl the box it came in 2 paddles a joystick a cartridge heaps of software manuals tape drive and i think a tape with programs on it as well. i learned a lot on it and gave me a glimpse into the workings of a computer.i kept it for nostalgia and sentimental value. but yehh at the moment its all packed away god knows for how long


(Submitted March 26, 2007 10:05:44 by Marcus )

I purchased a VIC 20 circa 1983. this one was assembled in England,later on I added a tape drive to it after a couple of months it malfunctioned it just went dead on me. I sent it back to the store to get it repaired.It was unbelievable I waited six months after complaining to get it back in working order it return back to me and I finally sold it to my nephew.He just had for a week and it broke down on him and after that I had to refund his money and it was once again returned to me.This VIC 20 was assembled in England during that period it was built(1982),Britain was involved in a war with Argentina therefore the workforce was reduced there was work stoppages at the factory due to supply and demand shortages,and also quality control at the plant.So therefore you had poor build quality.


(Submitted March 7, 2007 19:19:04 by peter knutson )

Anyone got one good clean working vc-20 computer complete with some manuals (books) buy from you 5 to 10 $


(Submitted January 9, 2007 09:58:21 by Fabar)

I've bought the VIC-20 in january 1984, at 11 yrs old, and as Don wrote, it was the seed of my life in computer science. Now I'm trying to use some emulator to re-run my old programs written on tape. I would like to record old cassettes on my PC using a normal hifi, connected to the line- in audio port and saving into WAV files. The problem is: what frequency, and number of bits should the samples use? E.g: 22050MHz, 8 bit? Less, more? Any hint is well considered. Thank you.


(Submitted December 7, 2006 14:47:32 by Don)

The Commodore VIC20 was the first computer I ever owned. My parents bought it for me in 1983 for Christmas. I was 14 and we had moved to a new town. My VIC20 was the only friend I had at the time. I spent many a sleepless night programing in basic and playing games. Today I am a System Technician in the IT department for a large international comany. I owe it all to the seed that was planted during those lonely days I spent on my VIC20. I still own it and take it to show my kids where it all began.


(Submitted October 18, 2006 23:37:06 by ChewChew)

That drive doesn't seen to match the box. The disk mechanism is different.


(Submitted October 17, 2006 18:57:32 by GOTTI)

Looking for COUNT and Pirate Cove ROM


(Submitted July 18, 2006 09:46:28 by Bruce LaBonte)

My first computer was a Vic-20 that I bought at Toys-R-Us. I used a 13 color TV as a monitor, and a standard cassette tape drive and a disk drive (a 1540, I think) for external storage. It did have an expansion port on the back that would accept cartridges for memory or programs. I remember hearing about a multi-cartridge card that would plug into this port, but I could never locate one. I did buy enough memory cartridges that if I had found this card, I could have boosted the memory to 16K. Unfortunately, I tossed this computer several years ago when I was cleaning out a closet after my wife and I bought an IBM Aptiva. It would have been fun to play with it some more.


(Submitted July 5, 2006 09:07:07 by (a href=mailto:)Aaron Maynard(/a))

i remmeber propping them up on the old vic 20 box when i was banging em in the old rag shed, then a quick trip behind the muffler shop! ;) ;) ;) ;) blowing loads like it was grade 7 all over again


(Submitted June 29, 2006 13:23:48 by Booch)

I have a working VIC-20, with a tape unit, and an older VIC1541 (white) drive (All works fine). I'll keep 'em forever.. I'm a PackRat!

JB


(Submitted May 22, 2006 11:38:53 by chris Francois)

im just curious i was looking thru my attic and i found a commaodore vic 20 in its box and i don't know were it came from nor do i know its current value i just know thats its old


(Submitted April 12, 2006 12:25:41 by David F Harris)

Does anybody want a vic 20? has 2 cassette players, 1 mdoes work 2nd not sure, may need rf convertor, can not mget a display on tv, all original books and tapes, all very good, some games and program books. Can submit photos. Send an offer


(Submitted April 2, 2006 03:48:29 by Andrew Hodson)

Up to 184x176x16 color In fact it can have 256x)200 but not all different 9 colours @ 1 time?


(Submitted March 17, 2006 10:18:10 by Juan Maestre)

Or maybe you are asking for this:

http://www.timsplace.plus.com/ntaps.html


(Submitted March 17, 2006 10:00:11 by Juan Maestre)

Ryan, just take a look to this page:

http://www.timsplace.plus.com/btaps.html

and click on Blitz or Blizkrieg screenshot link.


(Submitted March 12, 2006 16:58:04 by Ryan)

Just wondering if anyone else remembers a game by the name of New York Blitz. That game was pretty fun, until you know. But I would just like to know if anyone else but me remembers this game? Can't seem to find it anywhere online...Just bizare if you ask me...


(Submitted January 12, 2006 01:28:17 by Andreas)

Sehr gut! i think it's very amazing with ĺ speed on 1Mhz. I myself have a speed on 0.3 mhz.. very Exiting! Keep up the good work!


(Submitted December 31, 2005 01:18:00 by Peter Timusk)

I have a joy stick for this model. Some old software on tape that may still be accesible. Many Compute magazine games may be on the tape. I also have some programming manuals and hand books. Contact me price cheap to nothing but shipping.


(Submitted December 16, 2005 22:31:58 by Alan)

Hello-does anyone know if the Vic 20 power supply is compatible with the Commodore 64. What is the part #? Thanks.


(Submitted December 16, 2005 08:47:36 by Patrick)

I have a Commodore Pet 2001 with bad RAM chip, where can I buy the replacement chips.


(Submitted December 1, 2005 15:30:28 by isa)

i am interested in purchasing a commodore vic 20 for a friend for this x-mas....u can reach me at 917-209-6227...i am in nyc area


(Submitted November 17, 2005 05:11:19 by tony)

I would like to purchase a working Commodore 64 with a cassete tape drive, power supply and manual. I work in small computer school and I teach computer technology. I would like to show it to my students. I appreciate if you could help me out on this as it would help my students in understanding more about computers. Thank you.


(Submitted August 3, 2005 08:06:07 by mike preston)

The Vic-20 had plenty of expansion, even though it is listed as having none.

It had a rs232/parallel port running from the second 6522 VIA 0.156 pitch iirc, a proprietry tape connection, a video connection, a predecessor to the scsi bus which could take diskdrives and other peripherals (it featured disconnect and other nifty features), and expansion port which was a direct connection to the data and address buses of the cpu which could be used to add memory, rom cards and specialist interfaces, a joystick port was also present on the side which could take a digital joystick and/or two paddles/analog joystick (370Kohms only iirc)

This is all off the top of my head. But I used to know the vic inside and out including using it for many robotics projects when I was much younger.


(Submitted July 24, 2005 16:23:07 by Dave McLain)

Didn't the VIC 20 originally come with a disk drive called the 1540. From my understanding it ran at a slightly faster data rate than the 1541, which replaced it. The reason was because the Commodore 64 ran just a tiny bit slower due to the fact that it had more screen memory to refresh and it was therefore not compatible with the 1540. This is also why many of the fast load utility programs for the 64 would blank the screen during program loading. I think it's possible to make the 1541 run at the 1540 speed through some sort of software utility so they must not be all that different. Great site too by the way...


(Submitted July 3, 2005 14:29:19 by Ronald)

Hi, I also have my 'VIC'. I'm looking for some leftover cartridges and originals joysticks. Mail me ! Thx


(Submitted June 29, 2005 09:58:55 by (a href=mailto:)Scrounger(/a))

I still have my C64 with lots of games, still works ok, I drag it out now and then and give it a spin...Cool webpage keep up the good work....


(Submitted June 16, 2005 09:22:44 by Jerry Electronics Guru)

I have a beat-up but functioning commodore 1541 disk drive my uncle left it behind when i was little and i took pretty good care of it even though i have no use for it... anyone know how to interface one of these baby's up to a coleco ADAM computer system? (help would be apperciated thanks!)


(Submitted April 30, 2005 01:35:27 by Giaka)

I have a vic 20 with cassette reader, joystick and five games (Gorf, Alien, Jumping frog, Slot Machine, Poker) + manual with programs in Basic + transformers and plugs. I sell the whole package at EUR 250. Mail me if you are interested.


(Submitted February 22, 2005 12:06:41 by Shon Powell)

I would like to have an original Vic 20 shipped to me at 4020 Marguerite St. 33603. Bill to NAACP Hillsbourgh County Branch. Add a Hard drive and CD read/Write Burner


(Submitted January 25, 2005 10:22:51 by ade)

hi im 31 and after games / roms for vic 20 emu just want to relive the good old days,hope you can give me some good links ta ade


(Submitted October 19, 2004 11:30:20 by Sam)

I still have one with the cassette tape drive and the aftermarket 14K expander card. It came with a basic game on tape called Paratroopers which featured shooting at helicopters. The package cost $400 and was soon replaced by the Commodore 64. The original Pong game sold at Sears for $378 and also used a TV monitor, but I lost it over the years.


(Submitted August 4, 2004 20:47:59 by jf)

i ave a vic-20 with about 20 games...what can i do with that


(Submitted July 9, 2004 07:12:13 by Cassie)

Hi, My cousin is kindly giving me his Vic 20 and i was just wondering if its possible to play Commodore 64 games on it. If anyone could, please email me. Much appreciated.


(Submitted June 14, 2004 09:46:11 by Erik)

Thanks for the input, Paul!

I've corrected the information on the PET machines as well as here.

Erik


(Submitted June 14, 2004 09:04:23 by Paul Schmidt)

PET style Commodores were made in a US factory, not Germany. The 6502 was made by MOS Technology, not Motorola.

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