Commodore VIC 20: A Visual History (PDF edition)


A book about the computer that made Commodore enter the home market (PDF edition). Many pictures of the VIC 20 revisions and peripherals, plus restored box art images of all the cartridges sold by Commodore for the system.




Commodore VIC 20: A Visual History is a book about the computer that made Commodore enter the home market, with all its early peripherals. The VIC 20 was the first colour home computer to cost less than $300, the first to sell one million units, the first to have a modem for under $100, and the first approach to personal computing for a whole generation.

The book, with a foreword by “VIC Czar” Michael Tomczyk, features a few contributions by Tomczyk and other people that contributed to the launch of the VIC 20: the VIC Commandos Andy Finkel, Neil Harris, Eric Cotton and Sue Mittnacht, and Andrew Colin – the author of the successful “An introduction to BASIC” series.

Commodore VIC 20: A Visual History has been funded by a Kickstarter campaign that ended on 29 June 2016.

Language: English
Pages: 256 (245 pages of actual content)
ISBN: 9788894222821


The first half of the book shows all the VIC models and revisions, from the Japanese VIC 1001 to the cost-reduced VIC 20 sold worldwide; there are pictures of all the peripherals that Commodore released for this computer such as drives, printers, the VICmodem, expansions, joysticks and paddles.

Spreads - hardware


The second half of the book presents all the Commodore games on cartridge, with cover scans, descriptions and screenshots.

Jupiter Lander

A few games feature a double page image, with all the text patiently removed in Photoshop to reveal the beauty of the original illustration.

Jupiter Lander poster

The scans have been professionally color corrected to remove the ink fading and the yellowing of the cardboard (all the games are more than 30 years old); every scratch has been removed to present the covers in their original splendour.

Road Race before/after restoration


  • Foreword by Michael Tomczyk
  • Introduction
  • The Genesis of the VIC 20
  • VIC Commandos (memories from Andy Finkel, Neil Harris and Sue Mittnacht)
  • The VICs
  • VIC 1001
  • Early NTSC VIC 20
  • Early PAL VIC 20
  • Cost reduced VIC 20
  • Motherboard
  • Cases
  • Keyboards: VIC 1001, PET Style, Eurostile, Cost Reduced
  • VIC 1010 Expansion Module
  • VIC 1020 Expansion Chassis
  • VIC 1515 Printer
  • VIC 1525 Printer
  • VIC 1540 Floppy drive
  • C2N Cassette Unit
  • C2N Datasette Unit Model 1530
  • VICModem
  • Developing the VICModem, by Michael Tomczyk
  • IEEE-488 Interface
  • RS232C Interface
  • Paddles and Joysticks
  • Packaging
  • The User’s Manual
  • Programmer’s Reference Guide
  • An Introduction to BASIC
  • Teaching to program, by Professor Andrew Colin
  • Advertising and Commercials
  • The VIC 20, Captain Kirk and me, by Eric Cotton
  • Cartridges
  • The Cartridge Development System, by Andy Finkel
  • Super Expander
  • Programmer’s Aid
  • Machine Code Monitor / VICMON
  • 3K / 8K /16K RAM
  • VIC Avenger
  • Star Battle / Galaxian
  • Rally-X
  • Superslot
  • Jelly Monsters / Pacman
  • Super Alien
  • Jupiter Lander / Super Lander
  • Draw Poker
  • Road Race / Midnight Drive
  • Radar Rat Race
  • The Sky is Falling
  • Mole Attack
  • Raid on Fort Knox
  • Converting Scott Adams’ Adventures on the VIC 20, by Andy Finkel
  • Adventureland
  • Pirate’s Cove
  • Mission Impossible Adventure / Atomic Mission
  • The Count
  • Voodoo Castle
  • Sargon II Chess
  • Pinball
  • Super Smash
  • Cosmic Cruncher
  • Gorf and Omega Race, by Andy Finkel
  • Gorf
  • Omega Race
  • Money Wars
  • Menagerie
  • Cosmic Jailbreak
  • Home Babysitter
  • Personal Finance
  • Visible Solar System
  • Clowns
  • Garden Wars
  • Speed / Bingo Math
  • Commodore Artist
  • Sea Wolf
  • Tooth Invaders
  • Star Post
  • Number Nabber / Shape Grabber
  • Cassette 6 Packs
  • Games and Recreation
  • Home Utility
  • Math Improvement
  • Sampler
  • Acknowledgements

What people say about the book

What I especially love is your attention to detail in the layout. All the box scans are perfectly aligned along with the text and the screenshots. Not one thing is even a millimeter out of place.
J. C., Kickstarter backer

Holy cow, this is awesome.
E. P., Kickstarter backer

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Not so in depth as to become too technical but no so light as to lose interest. Pitched just right and a very interesting read.
M. D., Kickstarter backer

Got my copy and couldn’t put it down. Great quality images and print. A retro classic book for a classic retro computer. Congratulations on a fantastic job.
S. P., Kickstarter backer

Everything is even more amazing than I had imagined. I am not only speaking about the overall quality of the material. It really shines from concept to realization.
L. P., Kickstarter backer

I must say, for me it is the most interesting book about 8-bits in the last months (I am regular 8-bit books backer on Kickstarter).
P. A., Kickstarter backer

For me this is the best experience had with crowdfunding. Quick updates, great item, impressive contents.
A. F., Kickstarter backer

I have already gone through the book 3 times in mass desperation to pick up any additional piece of information I might have blink skipped!
J. I., Kickstarter backer

[…] looking at those pictures and reading the excellent texts really made me eager to resurrect my pristine VIC setup, and fire it up again – sell everything non-VIC and spend a fortune in restoring my collection.
Denial (The VIC 20 forum) user

I’m very pleased with the quality of the book: the paper is quite heavy and the prints came out very nicely, and the cover is also rock solid and well bounded. It’s definitely amongs the best illustrated books that I own, a pleasure to touch and to browse.
Denial user

Mine arrived and I love it. I have dozens of classic computing and gaming books and this is definitely one of the most impressive.
Denial user


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