In 1983, with the popularity of Commodore's breakthrough computer, the
a retailer decided to pull a neat little trick to help clear those
shelves. By packaging
Commodore's 16k ram expansion pack (VIC-1111) with a VIC-20, Boston retailer Lechmere could
claim to be selling a 21k computer. On this premise, the VIC-20 very
briefly resurfaced as the "VIC-21", also known as the "SuperVIC". This
package amounted to little more than the standard VIC-20 and ram expansion
pack mentioned above. The VIC-20 box was modified with a sticker to make
it appear to be a new product. The computer itself had the words "VIC-20"
cut from the top label.
It appears that this little maneuver was
only pulled on the Boston area before being abandoned.
The VIC-21, like all other Commodore 8-bit computers, greets the user
with a flashing READY prompt. The operating system is built into the
hardware of the computer, and the user interface is BASIC 2.0, a
programming language Commodore purchased from Microsoft in the late
1970s. The VIC featured 5 kilobytes of memory, and color graphics at
a time when that was very uncommon, though it's display is only capable
of 22 characters per line. The joystick port and game cartridge port
are prominent features, as Commodore meant to market the VIC as a game
console/computer hybrid. The cartridge port could also be used to
expand the VIC's memory up to a whopping 28/32 kilobytes.
Statistics, features, and VIC-21 resources:
CPU: MOS Technology 6502A
RAM: 5 kilobytes
- Expanded to 21k though an external 16k unit.
ROM: 20 kilobytes
Video: MOS Technology 6560 "VIC"
Sound: MOS Technology 6560 "VIC"
- Text: 22 columns, 23 rows.
- Hires: 176x184 pixels bitmaped
- 8 text colours, 16 background colours
- 3 voices (square wave), noise and volume
Ports: 6522 VIA (X2)
- 1 Joystick/Mouse port
- Round DIN CBM Serial port
- Female edge-connector 'Cartridge/Game/Expansion' port
- Round DIN CBM Monitor port
- RCA-Style RF Audio/Video port
- Male edge-connector CBM 'USER' port
- Power and reset switches
- 2-pin DIN Power connector
Keyboard: Full-sized 66 key QWERTY
- 8 programmable function keys
- 2 sets of Keyboardable graphic characters
- 2 key direction cursor-pad
Help: (materials below thanks to Ward Shrake)
Personal Note:The VIC-21 came from a nice fellow in
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