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2600 Vs Vic 20

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I've seen quite a few threads regarding the 2600 Vs "..." but never for the Vic.

 

To my mind, it's quite an interesting comparison. Both machines have similar power are from roughly the same era but both machines tackle coding games in a very different manner.

 

I love the 'personalities of both machines but I'd have to come down on the side of the Vic. Mainly because it has it's own keyboard and built-in language.

 

Picking a 'winner' when it comes to games is pretty tough. The Vic has a smaller library of quality titles I reckon but some of the 2600 versions of corresponding games lack sometimes - for example, I've yet to find a better version of Omega Race than the Vic port...

 

What do you guys think? Just curious. :)

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It sucked.

 

The Vic-20 was my first home computer...bought pretty close to it's launch date. Sold my entire 2600 setup to get enough cash.

 

I'd already cut my teeth on 48k Apple II computers at school (and the school was pretty liberal regarding computer use...I'd stayed after hours many times working on my own projects)...so I got used to having a lotta resources when programming in the Basic language.

 

This did not translate too good when moving down to the Vic-20's tiny 5k of Ram. I quickly realised that it was going to basically double the cost to get it near to what I was used to using (aquiring all 3 ram expansion carts and a cassette drive...adding a Disk Drive would still be out of my reach at the time). This proved to be quite a hassle, as commercial programs were either on cartridge, or were made for a specific ram setup (constantly juggling stuff into and out of the rear cartridge port). The lack of hardware sprites meant that I'd be stuck trying to learn M/L to use software sprites...or put up with the herky-jerky action of redefined character sets. Which was basically the same thing on the Vic-20, but I won't go into that because it gives me a headache.

 

Commercial gaming: sucked.

Titles that were actually FUN to play were few and far between (unlike the 2600). This did not improve much...as devs quickly abandoned the thing and moved on to the more-powerful C64.

 

I ditched the computer after little more than a year, selling it off to get a brand spankin' new ColecoVision. After having fun with that for a little while, I traded up for a Atari 400 system. Sprites! Graphics modes! A disk drive! (oops...I wet 'em). A short time later, I'd also aquired an Atari 800, C64, annnnd (finally) an Apple II of my own. About time I could finally use the hundreds of games I had on disk from school daze at home.

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Yeah, the Vic 20 version of Omega Race is the best I've found as well.

 

Sucked? Hardly. Sure it was cramped for someone coming from a 48K Apple II, but that Apple II cost $2638 while the Vic was $299. It's features may have been limited, but not wanting to learn M/L to take advantage of it's capabilities is hardly the fault of the Vic 20.

 

I had a number of fun games for my Vic, maybe the stores you shopped at just had a sucky selection :ponder:

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OK, so we've learned that the Vic-20 wasn't as good as the Apple 2 and Atari computers... ;-)

 

I had a similar path initially, but totally different reaction than NS..

 

My first home computer experience was at my friends house with his Apple II+.

Ultima II, Cannonball Blitz, etc.. Good times...

 

But we were in a different economic bracket than my friend... ;-)

I had an Odyssey II at home, which I enjoyed gamewise (U.F.O. is still fun...), but wanted a computer..

 

Finally, when prices dropped, my parents got me a Vic-20...

 

Yes, it wasn't as powerful as the Apple II stuff I was used to playing..

Almost no memory by comparison...

Tape drive compared to a floppy...

 

But it was mine.. I loved that thing.. ;-)

I didn't have too many games, but I did have OmegaRace and GORF...

The rest of what I did with it was whatever I could do in BASIC and a few K.. ;-)

Eventually, I got a job and was able to afford a VicModem....

 

I didn't actually have 2600 experience to compare it with (I know, weird.. There must have been 2600's around, but I didn't hang out at a lot of neighbor's houses.. Living in East L.A. The friend with the Apple 2+ lived pretty far out of the area.. ;-) ).

 

I did have a neighbor with an Intellivision, and I liked my Vic-20 more than that. No idea if that was a realistic gaming comparison tho...

 

It didn't have a lot of games (and I couldn't have afforded them if it did), but it had some great games, and BASIC was enough to keep me going until I could afford a bigger computer...

 

desiv

Edited by desiv

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I had a Vic 20 as a kid and thought it was awesome. I got another one a few years ago. It was not better than the 2600, but it is my favorite old gaming computer. Probably nostalgia. I like that you can hook it up with a video cable and not fool with rf. Games are cheap. Omega Race, Raid on Fort Knox, Gorf are all great. Some good Imagic games on there. I like DragonFire on the Vic 20 over the other versions. Also some Atari games like Battlezone look better on the Vic 20 than the 2600.

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Consider these two games: Defender and Centipede. The VIC versions are very good. Great graphics, and lots of fun. The 2600 -- well... Still, given the incredible number of games, the 2600 was better. But the VIC wasn't too bad.

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I prefer Video Vermin over Centipede.

 

Bandits was really well done. This is a very short video of one wave, wish they'd recorded longer as other waves are even more impressive. Retrogaming Times did a Many Faces of Bandit back in 2007 and the Vic version snagged the bronze, just 1 point below the Atari 8-bit version(silver) and 2 points below the Commodore 64 (gold).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uLzn44kLlQ

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The VIC-20 was a really cool machine! I didn't have one but I played a lot of fun games on my friends and did a cover of one (Blitz) for the CoCo :)

 

There were a lot of awesome 5k games; the extra K of memory it's stock contemporaries lacked made a big difference; I never wrote any commercial games for the VIC but if I did they would have to have fit in 5k for a broader market.

 

Spice, was Bandits crammed into 5k? Looks a bit bigger after watching the action escalate in the clip. Curious what you use for storage on your VIC? I use a uIEC for my C64 along with a legacy device (1541).

 

Back to topic, the 2600 wins hands down no contest - hey c'mon, when it comes to colour and flexible graphic transitions it can top the 64; go ahead and put Enduro on the 2600 up against any c64 racer and the visuals aren't even close. The C64 wins on sound of course because nothing can beat the SID chip even today ;)

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Wow, the Bandits game looks and sounds great. I see elements of Galaga, Spider Fighter, and Gyruss mixed in. makes me want to get a Vic 20.

Edited by sqoon

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Spice, was Bandits crammed into 5k? Looks a bit bigger after watching the action escalate in the clip. Curious what you use for storage on your VIC? I use a uIEC for my C64 along with a legacy device (1541).

It's a cartridge game, so RAM isn't a constraint. Per this, it's an 8K game.

 

I have a uIEC, but it's plugged into my C= 128 along with two 1571s.

 

I have a Mega-Cart in my Vic 20. It has 180 cartridge games, 49 tape/disk games, a bunch of utilities (like the Super Expander) as well as menu-selectable(no dip switches!) extra RAM. I also have the matching white 1541, but seldom use it.

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I was given a VIC-20 with a few cartridges and a RAM expansion cartridge in the summer of 1983. I had fun learning BASIC and making my own games. I was learning more things all of the time. I did wish that I could have had all of the colors that my Atari 2600 had. My time was split between my colorful Atari 2600 and making my own games and playing games on the VIC-20. I played Radar Rat Race, Sargon II Chess, Jupiter Lander,

and probably a few others. We also bought a few Scott Adams adventure games (I know for sure that we had The Count and Voodoo Castle).

 

I had fun with my Atari 2600 and VIC-20 in different ways. Since I had a RAM expansion cartridge, making games for the VIC-20 was a joy and I had fun playing my own games. I didn't have that many games for the VIC-20, so I had to make games that I wanted to play.

 

Near the end of 1984, I bought a used Commodore 64. I loved having better games and all of the other cool things (such as a disk drive), but I basically became lost when I had to start over. Trying to learn how to make games for the Commodore 64 didn't become fun until I got Garry Kitchen's GameMaker. Although Garry Kitchen's GameMaker was amazing and a great help, I still never got around to making the number of games I made with the VIC-20.

 

I guess I got the most satisfaction out of the VIC-20. A kid with learning disabilities could create his own games in a fairly short amount of time without a lot of frustration.

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Bandits was really well done. This is a very short video of one wave, wish they'd recorded longer as other waves are even more impressive. Retrogaming Times did a Many Faces of Bandit back in 2007 and the Vic version snagged the bronze, just 1 point below the Atari 8-bit version(silver) and 2 points below the Commodore 64 (gold).

 

A classic.

 

Played it endlessly on my C64 back then.

 

Still recall the Stars and Stripes flags being quite difficult to defend.

 

Oddly enough, the writer of the article says: "Bandits sits near the top of my want list for home brew ports to the Atari 2600.", obviously not knowing that Bandits was a conversion of Spider Fighter (with some Centipede and Galaxian elements thrown in).

 

8)

Edited by Rom Hunter

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Apples and oranges....

The VIC has a smaller library but some real gems, especially the Atarisoft releases.

 

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I learned to program on Commodore PET computers that we had at school, so when the VIC-20 was released, I was immediately interested since it was based on the same platform, but with improved (color!) graphics and sound. But the 20-column text mode was a big turn-off. That was a step backwards even from the PET. When the Commodore 64 was released, that pretty much ended any interest I had in the VIC-20. Of my friends, I recall one of them ended up buying a VIC-20 and later replaced it with the 64. The rest waited for the 64, or did what I did: buy an Atari 800 instead. :)

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You could just say that it's a clone of Stratovox :)

 

But I stand by my previous post.

Compared to the 2600...most Vic-20 games were just not all that fun. Choplifter was, tho. So was Raid On Ft.Knox and Omega Race.

 

I'll ignore the comment about M/L :P

 

But you can't argue that buying games for it in 1982 wasn't basically a crapshoot. If that sounds a little bitter, it should. With the amount of cash I sunk into it, I could have just gotten a new Atari400 instead and enjoyed some kick ass arcade ports a bit earlier. Star Raiders alone outshines anything the Vic-20 could do. But this is a Vic vs. 2600 thread, so...

 

If a title doesn't feature smooth animation, don't bother mentioning it. It already lost points on the entertainment scale. If I was spending upwards of $20 on a game, it better not look like a type-in from Compute!.

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I'd counter that any system's games from their first year or two are also a crapshoot. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of a system.

 

First catalog of Atari games(the 1977 games):

  • Air-Sea Battle
  • Basic Math
  • Blackjack
  • Indy 500
  • Star Ship
  • Street Racer
  • Surround
  • Video Olympics

Atari's last catalog for 78 adds

  • Basketball
  • Brain Games
  • Breakout
  • Codebreaker
  • Combat
  • Flag Capture
  • Hangman
  • Home Run
  • Hunt & Score
  • Outlaw
  • Slot Racers
  • Space War

While there's a few gems there, most are pretty bad.

 

By the time you got the Atari 400 it was what, 4 or 5 years old?

Edited by SpiceWare

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See, for me, spending £2 on a Mastertronic tape versus £15-£20 for a cartridge (whether Vic or VCS) was a big tipping point. My family was pretty poor so when I saw the opportunity to buy a cheap computer that I could buy cheap games for as well as the ability to make my own and pirate my friends' games it was just to tempting!

 

It's a personal thing, I know, but I love the irony that the Atarisoft games were better on the Vic than the 2600! I mean, Donkey Kong even has all the levels in it - I don't think any other contemporary version had that...

 

As has been mentioned by others both systems have strengths and weaknesses. That's why I find the comparison interesting. :)

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Bandits on Vic20 is pretty good, sadly it's one title that isn't quite emulated properly due to some of its code, and it gradually falls apart in Vice. Pity. You really need to play it on real hardware.

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Hadn't seen Stratovox before. After trying it out in MAME I have to say that Sirius improved upon it quite a bit with the additional enemy types, shields and bombs (the centipede-like aliens drop missiles that create a deadly explosion zone on the ground that expands outward before contracting to nothing).

Edited by SpiceWare

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It's a personal thing, I know, but I love the irony that the Atarisoft games were better on the Vic than the 2600! I mean, Donkey Kong even has all the levels in it - I don't think any other contemporary version had that...

 

As has been mentioned by others both systems have strengths and weaknesses. That's why I find the comparison interesting. :)

 

Yeah, Atarisoft did a good job porting their games, even to competing systems. I believe Donkey Kong has all four levels in every version Atarisoft made (not counting the 7800 version which was made much later)

 

It does make an interesting comparison, the character-based display of the VIC-20 versus the Atari 2600 with its players and low resolution playfield.

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I'd read somewhere that the VIC-20's graphics processor was designed especially for games, which explains why it was great as a game console, and as a computer... well, it was great as a game console!

 

It's hard to compare the VIC-20 to the Atari 2600... they really are different beasts, despite having similar CPUs. The Atari 2600 could push more color and had smoother scrolling, while the VIC-20 had larger characters and more faithful gameplay in its better titles. Jelly Monsters is much closer to the arcade version of Pac-Man than any of the Pac-Man games on the 2600; even the good ones like Ms. Pac-Man. At the same time, there's rarely- if ever- been a game as deep as Solaris on the VIC-20.

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