VIC 20 (PET keyboard)
This is the first edition of the VIC 20 and is identified easily by its
sci-fi font on the keyboard, the original one used on the first PET computers.
The VIC 20 was truly the first affordable micro computer around and a revolutionary
product for its time. As Zimmerman writes on his web pages, there is something
magical about these computers and their wide fonts (22x25 character screen) and very
limited memory (5KB). This is truly the right retro-experience and has all the basics needed
to make all kinds of applications as well as games. It was very popular for games and
sold millions over its lifetime, nearly half of the releases was on cartridge simply
because there wasnt enough memory in it. Many cassette releases required the user to have
a memory expansion cartridge installed.
When the C64 came, the VIC 20 was totally overshadowed by its success, many making
jokes about the terrible graphics and sound on the VIC 20. But in essence, the VIC 20
is as retro as you can get in terms of micro computers.
The VIC20 came in at least 4 versions from what I know. The versions differ somewhat in their
appearance in the US compared to Europe. Basically the US had a logo with no colors on
their first models, but later got the one with horizontal stripes which was also found on the
later european models. I suspect this latest model was the cost reduced one since it also
used the same PSU as the C64. So in Europe I have seen 4 versions:
-The original one with PET keyboard and colorful VC20/VIC20 lettering, beige function keys, 2-pin power
-A second one with C64 style font on keyboard (still beige function keys) and same logo, 2-pin power
-A third with C64 keyboard and horizontal stripes in logo, DIN power plug (C64 PSU)
-A 4th version with the C64 keyboard, C64 PSU, C64 like extruded logo and grey function keys
VIC20 on Old-Computers.com Online Museum
VIC20 on Denial Wiki
I got my VIC20 with pet keyboard on ebay UK. I was quite surprised to see that the keys come off very easily
and when I got it the box had keys all over the place. It seems to be a weakness in how it was designed. Also
you can clearly see that the keyboard was not made using any advanced production because every key holder has
been soldered onto the board at slightly different angles which makes the keyboard look a bit odd. But this is
the true retro feeling, the keys themselves make a loud clicketyclack sound just like an old scifi movie.
Serial Number: WG B 14395