Secret Weapons of Commodore - the VIC-20 Remixes

The VIC-20 Remixes: The VIC-21/SuperVIC, "VIC-TV", Silver VIC, Gold VIC

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The VIC-21/SuperVIC
Images of the VIC-21 (.jpg, courtesy Bo Zimmerman)
Box (45K) | Badge with Cut Edge (15K)
aka SuperVIC
Introduced January 1982
Hardware VIC-20 but with 16K RAM expansion (21K total).
Graphics and Sound Identical to original unit.
Eventual Fate Local release as the VIC-21, sold until mid-1983. Known only in NE USA.

Why was this thing even made? What could it possibly have, besides a 16K RAM expansion out of the box, that a regular VIC-20 with RAM expansion didn't? An early example of Commodore marketing balderdash, the VIC-21 was nothing more than a VIC-20 with a stock 16K RAM expander (5K + 16K = 21K) and was quickly brought to market probably to hold up the low end of Commodore's computer line as the flagship Commodore 64 was released that month. Not even the box was remanufactured; to give the unit its new name, Commodore USA simply slapped VIC-21 stickers on the box and, in a most barbaric fashion, cut the words "VIC-20" off the unit's badge. Bo Zimmerman, this unit's owner, has the original sales receipt for his VIC-21 that shows it originating from Lechmere, Inc., a major NE USA electronics discounter based out of Woburn, Massachusetts. At the time of its purchase, it cost US$120.

The VIC-21 should not be confused with the VIC-10, which is really the UltiMax series, with the VIC-30, which was the code name for the C64 during development, or with the prototype VIC-40.

.jpg Image of the "VIC-TV" (32K, courtesy Bo Zimmerman)
Monochrome .gif Image of the "VIC-TV" (117K, original picture courtesy David Vohs)
Monochrome .jpg Image of the "VIC-TV" (41K, original picture courtesy David Vohs -- identical image)

aka This prototype never got an official name. I'm calling it the VIC-TV for sake of convenience.
Introduced January 1983
Hardware Standard VIC-20 (expansion?), function keys moved above the number keys to make room for a 2" (yes, you read that right: 5cm) Sony Watchman TV, mounted in the computer on the left edge.
Graphics and Sound Identical to the VIC-20.
Eventual Fate Scrapped prototype.

David Vohs notes that the TV could be used separately of the VIC-20, and had a built-in tuner. It may also have sported a headphone jack.

If the VIC-TV sounds ridiculously impractical, it was. Commodore executives were quoted in the March 1983 COMPUTE! as saying the "VIC-TV" was merely "an example of what could be done, not what will be done." Of course, Commodore was not finished with trying to make portable versions of their immensely popular 8-bits ... see the SX-64 and friends.

The Silver VIC
.jpg Image of the Silver VIC-20 (23K)
Introduced CES 1984
Hardware, Graphics and Sound Identical to original unit.
Eventual Fate Commemorative item only.

The Silver VIC, a contemporary of the American Gold 64, was a silver-dipped VIC-20 created to commemorate the two millionth VIC-20 off US Commodore production lines. (Jim Butterfield states that the gold and silver commemorative models are dipped, not plated or spray-painted.) The Silver VIC, like all other Commodore commemorative models, is fully functional but extremely rare. Appearing at CES 1984, it was placed under a Plexiglas shield for better protection (and guarded by mimes in Commodore T-shirts who passed out Commodore balloons and buttons to attendees).

The Gold VIC
.jpg Photo of a Likely Suspect to be the Gold VIC (32K, courtesy Bo Zimmerman)
Introduced January 1983?
Hardware, Graphics and Sound Identical to original unit.
Eventual Fate Commemorative item only.

Known to exist, but not for what purpose it was made. Possibly for the one-millionth model sold; if so, that's the Gold VIC in the above image, which was a contemporary of the "VIC-TV" and the HHC-4 at Commodore's new product roll-out bash in January 1983. Unfortunately, the details of the unit are difficult to make out in this photograph, and neither Bo nor I are sure the pictured VIC is even golden.