While many of us are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Amiga – I will have to fire-up the ones sleeping in the garage –, I decided to play with the Commodore VIC-20 a.k.a. a friendly computer. Yeah, the successor of the PET and the precursor of the famous C64. The very same computer Captain Kirk was advertising on TV (https://youtu.be/MxkiXp70mTk).
Released in 1981, the Video Interface Chip (VIC) 20 essentially added colors to the PET (with a much affordable price tag of ~$300) and made the home computer really easy to use, assuming you wanted to give up your TV while you were messing with the machine (this was more an issue in Europe than in the US, were having multiple TVs was not uncommon). Nonetheless, it was a pretty limited system. With 5KB of memory out of the factory, once the system has loaded, you really had only access to 3583 bytes to write your programs in Commodore BASIC 2.0 or 6502 assemblies.
Luckily, one could buy memory extension cartridges (the later ones were pretty advanced and packed with tricks in addition to an amazing 64KB if RAM). But of course, the expansion port was mostly used to snap-in game cartridges. The other cool aspect of the machine is the use of an Atari 2600 9-pin joystick port.
Now we can argue on the quality of the games (I will let you judge by yourself, see the short videos – I need to find a good way to capture these movies in the future, without using an emulator of course 😉 –, but I am still having fun trying to land that damn spaceship on Jupiter!