Boot it up!

Flick on your 14 inch colour television, connect your Vic 20 and get booted up! What would you like to play? Take your pick … Supervaders, Bomber Run, Cosmic Cruncher, Hoppit, Hunchback, Pit, Emmet Attack, Space Invaders, Pacman? How about Hunchback? Slide the cassette into the cassette reader and get that game loaded! The message ‘searching’ appears on the screen as the mighty Vic 20 seeks out which program is hidden on the cassette reel. ‘Found Hunchback’, ‘loading’ … success! Soon (like 5 minutes) you’ll be swaying, ducking and diving whilst attempting to rescue the beautiful lady.

The Vic 20 was cool. It was bold and proud. The beige keyboard and black keys ensured that this beast was snapped up by many wanting to own a state of the art home computer. The Vic 20 had a limited amount of available memory (very limited) but who cared? If you were one of the people who wanted to boost the memory of  the Vic 20 then you could splash out on a RAM expansion. Additional RAM means the Vic 20 is able to load more complex games with more complex levels … play until your hearts content or until you hurl the Joystick  to the other side of the room in frustration.

Talking of frustration, ever tried to load a game in the cassette reader when suddenly you get the dreaded error message? It’s then a case of re-booting and trying again.


The advantage of a cartridge game (like Cosmic Cruncher) was that the game loaded instantly … no messing.

Maybe you have tried your hand at a bit of computer programming (Basic language) so spent most of the day typing in a programme from the Vic 20 user manual. There’s only one word to describe this task … Painful! Once you’ve spent most of the day typing the programme there is no guarantee that it will work … Grrrr. I recall spending a whole day typing in a gaming programme called Killer Comet. After sorting through all the typing errors I’d made, I watched in anticipation to see what would appear on the screen. My 8 hours of programming and correcting resulted in a large white rectangle flashing across the screen from left to right. So much pain for just a rectangle.

Today the Vic 20 has serious retro status. If you want one you can easily bag one on eBay for a decent price. In the early 80s the Vic 20 was one of the earliest, affordable home computers. Looking back, the graphics were nothing to write home about but was a huge improvement compared to the earlier consoles. I loved the Vic 20 … I would play Duck Shoot until the early hours of the morning. Family members should fight over who’d be next to blast those Ducks away! When you think of retro gaming, I’m sure the Vic 20 pops into your mind. I’m sure you’ll smile whilst recalling the hours of fun spent gaming until the late hours. The Vic 20 is gone but not forgotten.

Duck Shoot