Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Commodore VIC-20

Commodore VIC-20

Speed1 MHz
Memory5 KB

What's this?

Flash is required to use this audio.



Release Date: 1/1/1981
Manufacturer: Commodore
Original Retail Price:
Adjusted Inflation Price:
Commodore once again had a number of firsts with the VIC-20. It was the first computer to sell more than a million units, and it was the first color computer to break the $300 price barrier. The "20" in the VIC's name was just abritrary as the machine only had 5K of RAM and a 22 column display. It was family friendly however, and caught on with people of all ages. The mold that the VIC-20 was made from would be repeated with the Commodore 64 and even later with the Commodore 16. The VIC had built in BASIC v2.0 and ran a 6502A microprocessor at 1MHz. It had 16 colors and 3 sound voices.

VIC Trivia

  • In Germany, it was rebranded the VC-20 because of the play on the popular VW cars, and VIC when pronounced is very close to a swear word
  • The last VIC-20's were produced in January 1985, giving the VIC a full 4 year life cyclce


This computer is currently interactive in the Museum.

User Comments
JF on Saturday, May 5, 2018
The Vic20 was my 1st computer, My brother and I programing on it all the time in Basic but some times MAchineCode. Used it for sound and a counter for many home made Pinball machines in the 80s
The Mad Russian on Monday, September 21, 2015
The VIC-20 was the first computer I owned or even had any interaction with. A friend of mine had purchased one and invited me over to see it and show me how it could be programmed to show on the screen, what else, “Hello world!”. I was fascinated by the concept of programming and my friend gave me a challenge to use what he had shown me to write a simply Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion program for when we would get together the following week. I wrote it out on paper, but couldn’t wait the week to see if I had understood the concept of programming properly, so I ran off to Canadian Tire, where they were on sale luckily, purchased one and entered my first attempt at programming. It ran like a charm! Although I never became a profession programmer or IT person, I did end up doing a lot of programming for my own purposes both on the VIC-20 and later on my upgrade to a Commodore 128, as well as on PCs once they became an everyday item that one could own for their own. All because of that one day, I was inspired to learn the basics of several programming languages, learn the ins and outs of computers so that I could troubleshoot and even build them from scratch and I used that knowledge to my benefit when PCs first started to make their way into my workplace. And it all started with a little old VIC-20!
Vicman on Sunday, May 5, 2013
Hi guys, i've made many short game-video-snaps for the VIC-20 look on my YT channel. Maybe you want to link the videos to your game entrys... cheers, Vicman
Anonymous on Sunday, May 5, 2013
Bruce on Saturday, April 21, 2012
Back in the early 1980s, this was the first computer I did any programming on. I recently found one at a garage sale with the cassette recorder and a few games. I hooked it up to a TV and it still works great - I was just playing GORF on it last night!
Rob from Victoria BC Canada on Thursday, June 16, 2011
I remember when I got my first computer....this was it. I also remember it was the day before my brother was born January 9, 1983. The first game I played on it "Froggee" (not a typo...just a knock off frogger game. Very fond memories
Norm M. on Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I bought a VIC-20 at Canadian Tire back in the '80s (on sale for $80.00). My sister had one first a couple of years earlier (when it cost a lot more). I thought it would be great as a video generator I could use for TV repairs and adjustments. Those units were in the hundreds of dollars back then. I ended up programming in BASIC to generate labels and for inventory control purposes. I bought specialized cartridges for it to make programming a bit more streamlined and efficient. My kids loved the "babysitting" cartridge and "Serpentine" game. I even had a great personal accounting program which I used for years. I really got my $80 bucks worth out of this machine!
Fsporsche on Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I got my vic-20 in 1981 and learned to program on it. Since than i have been into computer and technology. I currently work in the Information Technology field as a Director. I owe it all to my vic....I still use it to program and brush up on my basic, Machine Language and Fourth.
Anonymous on Thursday, June 3, 2010
This was the first computer i owned! i paid 20 bucks for it at a rummage sale. i think vic is the roman numeral for 20 but roman numerals are not well known to me. it had a tape drive and a memory expansion card. I think it had am archaic form of ANSI graphics.
Harry on Thursday, May 17, 2007
Bought a Vic-20 in March, 1981 at K-Mart for $97.00. It was supposed to replace the kid's atari2600 but I kinda took it over when I discovered you could write your own programs. Have one in the closet but the power supply doesn't work.
Have a comment about this Computer (personal stories, additional information)? Post it here (no registration required).

Share |

* Inflation data courtesy of Values are approximate using our own calculations.