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host: Randy Kindig
twitter: @floppydays
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Jan 29, 2017

The Commodore Vic-20 - History, with Brian Bagnall, Michael Tomczyk, and Neil Harris

Welcome to episode 69 of the Floppy Days Podcast, where our computers may be old, but that’s why we love them.

In the vintage computer timeline, we are in 1980.  The next computer I want to discuss that debuted that year is the Commodore Vic-20.  The Vic-20 is significant because it was the first color computer to sell for less than $300, at a time when other home computers with color graphics were 2 to 4 times that amount.  It also was the first home computer of any type to sell over 1 million units.

In this first episode about the Vic-20, I want to cover the history of this machine: why it was developed, some of the stories around its development, what happened after its release, and when it was canceled.  To that end, I contacted some notable persons that were involved with the roll-out and support of the Vic-20, as well as a person who was involved in documenting Commodore’s history.  The first person I contacted was Michael Tomczyk, who was an assistant to Jack Tramiel at Commodore and who led the so-called “Vic Commando Team”.  Michael was intimately involved in the marketing and support of the Vic.  In addition, a key member of his team, Neil Harris, agreed to help with this episode as well.  And, finally, I talked with Brian Bagnall, who you might recognize as the author of “Commodore: A Company on the Edge”.  This is an amazing line up of people who are very familiar with the Vic-20 and its history and I’m very lucky to have been able to get their assistance with telling its story.

Before we jump into that, I will cover a few new vintage computer items I’ve acquired, cover a bit of news, and cover a bit of feedback I’ve received.

Links Mentioned in the Show:

New Acquisitions




Brent S
almost five years ago

Why is Michael Tomczyk talking about the VIC-20 having sprites and SID chip at 39 minutes? That was the C64. The VIC didn't have these features.
(I'm only about 1/2 way through the podcast so maybe it will be explained later).