Commodore VIC-20

vic-20A few years after the PET, Commodore released the VIC-20 in June, 1980. The system was the result of their efforts to build a computer that sold for less than $300. The machine was reportedly born mostly from an oversupply of parts. Aiming to compete with game consoles and intended as a lower-end model in comparision to the PET, which was sold through authorized dealers, the VIC was put in discount and toy stores. They launched a massive marketing campaign to support the product, including using William Shatner from Star Trek as a spokesperson, who asked audiences “Why buy just a video game?”.

The VIC came with 5kb RAM, a PET Datassette, a serial bus that supported various devices including an Atari joystick, and was compatible with hundreds of programs on the market. It’s ease of use and easily programmable BASIC language along with affordable modems gave it a library of share/freeware, which was posted on BBS’s and online services. The system was discontinued in 1985.

The VIC was the first computer to sell over a million units, and at it’s peak 9,000 a day were being produced. 2.5 million total were sold before production ended.

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