In 1983, with the popularity of Commodore's breakthrough computer, the
the marketing folks at Commodore decided to pull a neat little
trick to help empty the warehouses even more quickly. By packaging
Commodore's 16k ram expansion pack (VIC-1111) with a VIC-20, they 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.
MOS Technology 6502A
Expanded to 21k though an external 16k unit
Text: 22 columns, 23 rows.
Hires: 176x184 pixels bitmaped
8 text colours, 16 background colours
MOS Technology 6560 "VIC"
3 voices (square wave), noise and volume
6522 VIA (X2)
1 Joystick/Mouse port
Round DIN CBM Serial port
Female edge-connector 'Cartridge/Game/Expansion' port
Round DIN CBM Monitor port
Male edge-connector CBM 'USER' port
Power and reset switches
2-pin DIN Power connector
Full-sized 66 key QWERTY
8 programmable function keys
2 sets of Keyboardable graphic characters
2 key direction cursor-pad