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bluejay

Got a VIC-20! Recommendations?

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I would not record anything on comercially released game tapes. Blank tapes are so easy to find and some stores still sell new ones. I once got like 20 sealed blank tapes from Goodwill.

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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That's why I was asking how to delete stuff on tape. All goodwills near me don't sell cassette tapes. I really don't have a choice.

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Ok, if you're really short of tapes I suppose that is better than nothing. However some sources claim that the compact cassette is getting a comeback, I once saw a figure that in 2017 or if it was 2018, there had been more worldwide sales of newly made tapes than there were of newly made vinyl records. Unless that was a joke posted as serious news, we ought to see brand new recordable tapes in most well sorted stores by now.

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You should get Cheese and Onion, a modern platformer for the VIC-20. It's simple, but it's super polished and smooth.

 

image.png.a1c84afcb1c0c12d72d95d9c8fa9a238.png <-----Cartridge

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I just purchased one of these:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Commodore-VIC-20-35K-switchable-ram-expansion-with-intergrated-SD2IEC-VIC20/283662850809?hash=item420b9f9af9:g:tkYAAOSwa7Rcefr7

 

You might want to consider this. This design is the best I have seen thus far in terms of SD2IEC and cart in one solution...and the price is definitely right. 

 

I would also suggest the "Behr Bonz" cart if you can get one. It has 127 cart games built in. Just turn it on, choose a game and play. Although the maker of the Behr Bonz cart has been MIA (I have been trying to contact him and no reply). I have one of his carts and it is great, but I wanted to get another one for someone and he is no longer replying :(

Edited by eightbit

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When I took my c2n apart, a really tiny and firm spring popped out from somewhere. I thought it went under the azimuth screw but it was to firm and pushed the head way up. So I removed it. Where does it go?

Also, how come I need to adjust the azimuth every 10th of a second?

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49 minutes ago, bluejay said:

When I took my c2n apart, a really tiny and firm spring popped out from somewhere. I thought it went under the azimuth screw but it was to firm and pushed the head way up. So I removed it. Where does it go?

Also, how come I need to adjust the azimuth every 10th of a second?

 

When a spring pops out it is never a good thing ;) Honestly I would not even bother with a C2N nowadays. It's cool for nostalgia (if you have nostalgia to waiting for tapes to load...I don't!) but I would highly suggest going a better method of loading software like the ones previously mentioned. 

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10 hours ago, eightbit said:

 

When a spring pops out it is never a good thing ;) Honestly I would not even bother with a C2N nowadays. It's cool for nostalgia (if you have nostalgia to waiting for tapes to load...I don't!) but I would highly suggest going a better method of loading software like the ones previously mentioned. 

As I said multiple times to people who suggested a "better method of loading software", I prefer to use original, authentic hardware. Otherwise I would just use an emulator instead of spending hundreds of dollars in computers and consoles.

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8 hours ago, bluejay said:

As I said multiple times to people who suggested a "better method of loading software", I prefer to use original, authentic hardware. Otherwise I would just use an emulator instead of spending hundreds of dollars in computers and consoles.

Huh? You are still running on authentic hardware. The method of software transport makes no difference other than a serious convenience factor. 

 

Suite yourself and get some tapes then, or as a matter of fact since you need to be entirely authentic you should only purchase original Vic-20 game tapes and not make copies ;)

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I ordered a bunch of cassette tapes to use with my TI 99/4A from Amazon pretty cheaply I think.  I think it came in a pack of about 20 tapes.  So if you can’t find something locally, it’s a good option.

 

There are some reasons a person may need/want to use tape.  Not sure how it is with the VIC 20, but several of the very earliest TI games have a game save feature that only will read/write to tape, even if you have a disk drive or something more modern attached to the system.  (Video Chess is one of these).  I could see the VIC having some like this also, since most software was on cartridge or cassette.  

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On 11/3/2019 at 6:23 PM, bluejay said:

Also, how come I need to adjust the azimuth every 10th of a second?

Hm, it sounds like the R/W head is not properly attached if it moves out of position by having the tape pass by it. I once had a C2N where the head was tweaked so it nearly came loose. As far as I understand, adjusting the screw tilts the head ever so slightly which is why it gets a different angle towards the tape, but it should not come loose. There are two screws on the R/W head, perhaps tightening the second and secure it with some lacquer or glue.

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8 hours ago, Casey said:

I ordered a bunch of cassette tapes to use with my TI 99/4A from Amazon pretty cheaply I think.  I think it came in a pack of about 20 tapes.  So if you can’t find something locally, it’s a good option.

 

There are some reasons a person may need/want to use tape.  Not sure how it is with the VIC 20, but several of the very earliest TI games have a game save feature that only will read/write to tape, even if you have a disk drive or something more modern attached to the system.  (Video Chess is one of these).  I could see the VIC having some like this also, since most software was on cartridge or cassette.  

 

 

Yep, some Vic cartridge software actually used the datasette to store savegame data. All of the Scott Adams text adventure titles used this method and it is how I used to save my progress. I believe it was the first time I ever used any method on anything to actually save progress in a video game. It felt so advanced :)

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On 11/2/2019 at 6:06 PM, PixelCrunch said:

You should get Cheese and Onion, a modern platformer for the VIC-20. It's simple, but it's super polished and smooth.

 

image.png.a1c84afcb1c0c12d72d95d9c8fa9a238.png <-----Cartridge

Just watched a video on YouTube of this... fairly amazing for a VIC-20 game!

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On 11/6/2019 at 10:11 PM, adam242 said:

Just watched a video on YouTube of this... fairly amazing for a VIC-20 game!

It evens run good on stock VIC-20 Hardware! They limited the playing field to 4 colors so you would not experience any nasty color clash. *coughcoughZXSPECTRUMcoughcough*

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Cheese and Onion is available as a digital download for those with an SD2IEC and 32KB ram cart:

 

https://www.thefuturewas8bit.com/c-o-dl-121.html

 

USD conversion ended up being $5 and change. Since I have a SD2IEC/32KB cart solution it was a much better deal as I just want to play the game and do not care about owning the cart. Might be useful for someone else who also has the hardware already to run it!

Edited by eightbit

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I have the Behr-Bonz cartridge, and I can ABSOLUTELY recommend it, it's fantastic in all possible ways!

 

It's very fast, too. You turn the computer on, the list of games is immediately there. You choose a game, it's immediately running! I don't know how they did it, but even when you press reset, it's instant, and choosing another game - immediate. Using this wonder is 'zero waiting' at all times.

 

The game selection is also sublime; pretty much almost all the best games are there, just one or two keypresses away.

 

The only downside is, the games are fixed, you can't customize it, and there are many great classics missing, that I would really love to play from time to time. Some of the better Defender-clones, for example.

 

You also can't boot to a 16k, 8k or any other memory configuration for your own programs or loading games from disk or SD2IEC.

 

I have a 16k memory expansion that would let me play some of that stuff, but it would be a hassle to do the 'remove-n-insert-n-remove-n-insert' every time I want to switch between Behr-Bonz and the expansion. So I am also looking for some kind of "super solution" that would let me play ANY game I want with the least hassle possible.

 

I am aware that some games I might never be able to play on my real VIC-20, because they only exist as .TAP-images or such.

 

Cops 'n Robbers is one of my favorites - I know it's not technically a very good game, but we played it on C64 a long time ago, and always told ourselves, we would be happy, if we could create a game like that (and nowadays, I might, but I am not sure).

 

I am also wondering if it would be possible to have some kind of 'extension' for the cartridge port, that could fit two (2) or more cartridges in it, that could then be switched easily instead of having to do the whole 'remove-n-insert'-routine.  I know those used to exist in the past, but I mean - would such things be available these days, and what might the price range be..

 

VIC-20 is an excellent computer, and a lot of fun to use. It has a 'smooth'-ish square wave, and a very quirky and unique noise wave, which is why I sometimes even use VIC-20's sound capabilities for my own programs, demos, games, etc.

 

Some of the game versions are not quite up to par, when compared to Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit computer or C64 versions, but some games are surprisingly good. Demon Attack is great, but Atari 2600 version is just that much better (it's fun to use the same TV for both and switch between the systems for comparison).

 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/7/2020 at 1:47 AM, Monk said:

So I am also looking for some kind of "super solution" that would let me play ANY game I want with the least hassle possible.

While I've never used one, you might be interested in the Penultimate cartridge or perhaps the Final Expansion 3, which is a bit more of a DIY job regarding loading it with programs of your choice, but it has a lot of capacity. There is also Jim Brain's UltiMem which is even more DIY but also even more capacity. He also used to sell a cartridge Xpander but it seems no longer for sale. Perhaps @brain has something left in storage? Otherwise I think you should be able to find either old hardware or someone else who makes new expanders if that is your thing. Note that those usually came in two variations: either without switches which means all cartridges are enabled at the same time, or with switches so you can only use one at a time. On the VIC-20, there are situations where you'd want either of these modes of operation so the ideal would be an expander that lets you toggle ports on/off individually.

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On 2/8/2020 at 4:42 PM, bradhig1 said:

I have been thinking about grabbing a vic20 but the prices on ebay are crazy.

They aren't these days. You should be able to snag an untested one for less than $100 today, which is pretty cheap. Guaranteed working w/ power supply can be anywhere between $70 and $90, which is sad, since I paid almost $100 for mine.

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Of course, you also have the issue of shipping on ebay, which at a quick glance seems to be high to me on a lot of them.  $60 or more for shipping...

In fact, there is a Vic20 BOX only for like $25, with over $40 in shipping.  ;-)

(I do get it, you want these things packed really well, but...  It does raise the price way up at times..)

Remember when you search ebay to look for misspellings and/or missing/alternate search words.

If most people are searching for Vic 20 computer, you can try just searching for Commodore computer or CBM computer.  Or even C64.  I have seen people mis-list auctions.  (maybe try "console" instead of computer?)

I just got a decent deal on a Model 100 that I think didn't get a lot of hits because TRS wasn't in the auction listing.

You can also look for things like "retro computer lot" or other more general searches...

 

That said, it is getting more and more difficult to get decent deals for retro stuff on ebay.

You might want to add "-rare" to your searches.  When people put the word "rare" in the listing, that generally means they are asking more than I am willing to consider.  And it is usually not, IMHO, rare...  ;-)

 

I did prefer craigslist for a while.  Local removes a lot of shipping hassles.  But I find more and more craigslist postings (at least around here) are for people wanting to sell for too much money or they want to BUY retro items, probably to resell on e-bay.

 

Garage/estate sales, goodwill (hit/miss), etc are still decent options.

And/or posting your interest in forums (a wanted post in a marketplace or ?) can net you results.

 

The best results I have had (where I got my 2 Vic20s) are from friends who knew I was into old computers.

Most of the time, they are offering "old" PCs or PPC or newer Macs (which aren't what I am interested in), but sometimes they have interesting items.

 

The most important factor.  Persistence.  Keep looking, and something WILL show up in your price range eventually.  ;-)

Good luck...

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