Saturday, May 5, 2007

The VIC-20

In 1980 Commodore introduced a new 6502 based $299 home computer called the VIC-20.

It was essentially a version of the Commodore PET that plugged into a TV set. For the price there was nothing like it. It had Commodore BASIC built-in, color and sound, a joystick port, and a cartridge expansion slot. It didn't have graphical sprites, but it was still capable of video games and it cost about half the price of an Atari 400.

I wrote a lot of software for this machine at NEECO where I hung out. It didn't have full screen graphics, but you could program the graphics characters on the fly. It did have a very low screen resolution (22x23 text mode, 176x184 graphics mode) and it only came with 3.5K of available RAM out of the box, but we were very used to limited memory back then.

Compute! magazine had some really great software listings for this machine, like a graphics character editor for example and a machine code monitor. Just type it in and go. :-)

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