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Vintage Home Computing and 8-Bit Nostalgia

The Vic 20 was an 8-bit home vintage computer and came three years after the brand's first personal computer, PET and was known to be a family version of its predecessor. Released in 1981 in North America and discontinued in 1985, it was the first computer in the world to sell more than a million units and the first from this brand to display colors. This model eventually gave way to the C-64. 

What are the Features?

While the VIC 20 is nothing like computers that we have today, at its release time it was groundbreaking. The features that you can find on this old machine include: 

  • Video Interface Chip: VIC stands for video interface chip, which is for graphics and sound. The most important silicon chip in this machine is the 6520A microprocessor, then the VIC. While it mostly concerns itself with the video output signal, the VIC has a variety of functions as an input-output chip. Its manufacturers developed it for inclusion in game consoles, but instead it went into this personal computer. The colorful graphics made it a success. 
  • Specs: The VIC 20 included 5 KB RAM, 16 KB ROM, and 22 characters per line. 
  • Accessories and parts: There was a 66 button QWERTY keyboard with multiple characters, plus you could find a cassette tape drive or datasette drive and serial printer. 

What Programs Could Run on the Vic 20?

Looking at the specs, it's hard to imagine that any programs could run on this machine. Despite the small memory size, there were a number of programs, and you could find games on cartridge and cassette forms. 

  • Cartridges: Some of the cartridges for the Vic 20 include Super Expander Cartridge, Programming Help Module, Assembler Module, Expansion Module, VIC Voice Synthesizer, and Telephone Interface Cartridge.
  • Games cartridges: Many games available on cartridge provided hours of entertainment. Some of these games included Alien, Jelly Monsters, Omega Race, Garden Wars, Mole Attack, Sky is Falling, and Mission Impossible.
  • Games datasettes: Games could also come on datasettes and included titles such as Hell Driver, China Clan, Invasion from Space, Brennball, GoBang, and Super Cobra. 
  • Datasette applications: The Vic 20 was great for learning and studying, with many educational datasettes made including Biology, Mathematics, Special Character Editor, Know Your Personality, and Typewriter Training. 
  • Software Collections: Packages were available that included both games and educational resources. 

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