The Commodore Vic 20 was the Arduino of the Early 1980s?

I learned something very interesting about computer history in this 8-Bit Guy video. In it, he travels to a computer recycler in Oklahoma City to examine a cache of odd, customized Vic 20s that the owner had found. They appear to be largely unchanged expect for a custom keyboard.

Dave, The 8-Bit Guy, explains that, in the early 80s, if you needed computer control of a machine, A/V equipment, or for some industrial application, there was no equivalent of a RBpi or Arduino (or similar) to turn to. The Vic 20 was often the cheapest, most reliable choice. In this instance, the Vics were customized to be used as audio editing systems.

When he gets these custom Vics back to his shop in Ft. Worth, he finds them in great physical shape, bootable, and capable of playing game cartridges.

From the recycling center, he also manages to acquire an extremely rare Kim-1, the Commodore equivalent of the Apple 1. He’s still deciding what to do with that.

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  1. Hopefully he doesn’t stick a paper clip in the power supply like he did a certain other ultra rare vintage computer -_-

  2. Hence VIC-20 is the Arduino around 80′, why not we build modern VIC-20 with popular components based on Arduino-liked development boards. Make it becomes a kit so people can choose what they need then?

  3. I remember building a circuit that plugged into the expansion port of the Vic-20 to control things on my model train layout! This is spot on!

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