News about the VIC-20 and this web
Written by Ward Shrake
Years ago, this web site used to be updated almost daily. Over the years
amount of new information coming our way slowed to
a trickle, then all but
stopped. At that time, I wandered
off into "Emerson Arcadia
to do some researching there, with great results. I then
did a bit of work on
the AdventureVision and Coleco Telstar Arcade systems. I
next got involved
in research efforts related to
the Bally Astrocade
machine. As a result of all
of this, I now write multiple sections in the
Digital Press Collector's
I've just begun a
new web site related
to gaming hardware and tech projects.
I still update this site from time to time -- mostly here -- but
spread pretty thin, so don't expect too much new content
to be found here.
|August 22, 2002
I uploaded this site, as is, to the servers over at Digital Press.
I intend to make them fit the look and feel of the rest of the Digital Press
web site, over time, but for now, personal issues prevent me from
doing that. Once they match the rest of the site, they will be officially
announced and so on. Till then, they're here, but on an unannounced and
unofficial basis. (Beats them not being online at all!)
|June 30, 2002
After much thought, over almost a year, I decided that I would be happier
if I had my gaming web sites hosted by someone other than "ClassicGaming.com".
It was fun while it lasted, but it was simply time to move on to other
pastures. I wasn't sure if I'd have a place to put my Arcadia 2001 and
VIC-20 web sites, besides my own private ISP's servers, but under the
circumstances I wanted to make the move anyway. I wished CG well in their
future endeavors, and "moved on".
|June 18, 2002
I posted something
humorous that you may want to check out... just be warned that it
might be considered sacrilege by some fans of classic gaming!
|May 24, 2002
The folks that host this web site have decided to add more ads to all of
their hosted web sites, throughout their network. They say it won't
be all that intrusive. This is their decision, not mine. Just be aware that
I have no control over it.
The site is now up over 43,000 hits spread across its five-year lifetime.
|April 27, 2002
I just turned in my VIC-20 section of
the Digital Press Collectors
Guide. I still have to finish up my Arcadia 2001 section... no rest
for the weary, for awhile.
|March 27, 2002
Still working hard on updating my sections in the DPCG guide... lots
Even though I'm currently a lazy bum in regards to the
CD-ROM Project that I myself began in what now
seems like six eons ago, other people with an actual work ethic are quietly
plotting amongst themselves,
over on these message
boards on Yahoo!, with the intention of actually accomplishing something
|March 26, 2002
Things are progressing well in regards to that new "Tac-Scan" cart. The author
of the game contacted me, and we're discussing the things you'd expect me
I'm working hard on the revised edition of the
upcoming "Digital Press Collectors
Guide" version 7. I have less than a month to finish up all of my updates
to the VIC-20 section before the deadline rolls around in early May.
In addition, I have massive updates to do to the Emerson Arcadia 2001 section,
and related chores.
One of the many small but important changes that I am currently making to
my Commodore VIC-20 section in "DPCG 7" is to add proper notices to
any game that was "legalized" by the program's author. I think it is only
fair to recognize the kindness of the people that wrote these games, when
they "legalize" them for us.
After far too many pointless and somewhat rude e-mails from people
that do not value my time (but expect me to value theirs), I changed
each and every page of this web site. At the bottom of each page, there is
now a direct link to the very helpful
"Mini-FAQ" I wrote up years ago, to
save me from such headaches. I made substantial changes and additions to
the Mini-FAQ, modernizing it. I also put my latest grumpy ramblings
into the section discussing incoming e-mails.
All in all, after doing all of this I figure I've done everything
I reasonably could to get people to spend their own time to make their
own wishes come true. I've done my part... if some lamers are
not willing to do a little research, that's entirely their problem. I have
better things to do than to hold the hands of lazy people. From now on, failure
to act in a civilized and respectful manner gets e-mails deleted on
a case-by-case basis. If that doesn't solve the problem, I'm deleting the
|March 23, 2002
The meeting today of the "SC3" folks
Classic Collectors) was a lot of fun. It had been most of a year since
the last one, and I for one was feeling the withdrawal symptoms! I brought
my Bally and Emerson multicarts so people could see them and play the games,
and I brought my VIC-20 prototype multicart. The feedback on it was reasonably
good, all things considered, so it looks like I'll be adding a third type
of cart to my list of home made multicarts. I still have some work to do
on it, to finalize the design, but that's normal. It is kind of funny how
this is working out... I sort of debut my hardware projects at SC3, then
do them later as production items if they go over reasonably well. My blue
prototyping breadboards are starting to become a fixture of sorts, at
the meets! If you look through the pictures from past SC3 meetings,
my very early Emerson breadboard ended up becoming a multicart, not
too many months afterwards.
|March 22, 2002
I didn't want to say too much about this publicly, at least too early,
but I now have a working prototype of a VIC-20 multicart. That does
not necessarily mean I will end up making copies to sell, but it is a potential
step towards that. I plan to show off this limited prototype during the
SC3 meeting, tomorrow,
to get feedback on it. (It "only" includes 78 games so far, and uses
DIP switches to select games.) I am sure a number of SC3'ers have not
seen many of the games so just having them get the opportunity to see and
play some VIC-20 cart games will be cool in itself. Any future developments
will end up being reported on
my new "Tech Corner" web
site, and will probably also get at least a brief mention here as
boards over at Digital Press are reporting that a new VIC-20 cart may
soon be finding its way onto the rarity lists, in some form or other...
Sega's "Tac-Scan". More news here, as the
situation better develops and clarifies.
|February 6, 2002
I just added a written endorsement of Tim
Denning's archiving work, to the links page section where his web
site is listed. Someone had asked me in e-mail if I was willing to vouch
for Tim's honesty and/or technical ability, and I figured it was probably
a good question to answer publicly. I hope others help Tim's efforts out?
|February 5, 2002
Those two new carts arrived, and I've archived them both. One is a utility
by Handic in Sweden, the other is a game called "Tank Wars" by OEM /
Machine Language Games. Because the folks that run the ClassicGaming.com
servers will no longer allow any ROM images to be stored on their machines
by hosted sites such as this one, I've sent the images to Marko over
at ftp.funet.fi in Finland. It may take
awhile for them to show up there as he's often busy, but they should show
up over there, relatively soon-ish. I'll add the news into the online
|February 3, 2002
I thought I posted this news earlier, but I guess I had a "senior
moment"... I am supposed to get a cart or two on loan, for archiving.
More news as it happens.
|January 26, 2002
There are now about half a dozen people involved with the sort-of-cancelled
CD-ROM Project. Things are still very much in
the early reorganization phase, but it may lead to something
rising from the ashes, at some future point in time.
|November 26, 2001
Check out Arma's Place to see
all of the new tape games that Tim Denning has archived. (And
please consider donating software to his efforts, if you can?)
I went through my "to do" lists from months ago and made some
cart list updates.
|October 29, 2001
The web site's visitor counters just went up over 40,000 hits.
|October 25, 2001
I am going to loan Tim Denning, a tape archivist, some of my rare games
on tape. He plans to add them to his web site, over time,
for everyone to download and enjoy. Please
check out his web site. If you
have any game tapes that he has not already archived, please consider
donating or loaning them to that worthy cause.
|October 24, 2001
I did a bit of work on the links page. Tape
game archives now have their own section; they are not buried in amongst
the more general Commodore archives.
|October 21, 2001
I just put four rare VIC-20 cartridges up for sale on eBay, out of my
own private collection. You may want to
those auctions out if you want a chance to bid on a very rare
pre-release demo version of "MasterType" by Broderbund, or a boxed copy
of Commodore's "Star Battle," or loose carts by Epyx and Xonox.
|October 5, 2001
|October 1, 2001
Those interviews are taking place, and will eventually show up on this
site. But to be honest, I've been pretty distracted with the
I'm working on for two other classic gaming systems; the Bally Astrocade
and Emerson Arcadia.
|September 17, 2001
I have recently been contacted by someone with ties to UMI and others,
from back in the VIC-20's heyday. Over time, I'll try to interview this person,
with the intent of adding what he has to say to the
interview section of this web site.
|August 8, 2001
Check out the web site for the "Classic
Gaming Expo" if you have not already done so. The event is this
weekend, and they have a lot of cool things planned. I cannot attend this
year, unfortunately, but I am sending some rare VIC-20 items along with some
friends, for possible display in the Expo's museum area.
I just had an early report on a Commodore Test cartridge... more
as it happens.
Sneaking up on 40,000 total visitors... 39,080 total right now, and counting.
|July 29, 2001
Made a minor change to the cart list,
to add in a cartridge Voice Synthesizer by Protecto Enterprizes. Internally,
it appears it was made by someone else but that's expected, as Protecto was
a clearing house for all sorts of heavily discounted VIC-20 items, toward
the end of its lifetime. I did know about the cart before, and had pics,
but for some unknown reason, didn't have it listed on the cart list?
Thanks to "Dr. Shock" for correctly pointing out that I didn't have it listed.
For what it is worth, I am beginning to find some motivation towards
getting some more VIC-20 stuff done, once again? Don't expect anything too
much to change for quite awhile, but the last part of my "burn-out" towards
this machine is slowly fading, and I'm finally finding the idea of doing
more with unfinished projects to be attractive again. I finally hooked up
the CD-ROM burner on my IBM, and began to start using it. Once things get
rolling again, one of the many projects that I plan to catch up
on is going to be the CD-ROM project for the VIC-20. My initial
plan is to just create "as is" discs, for distribution only to
the people that helped me in the past, sort of as an interim reward for all
their help. That way, at least their efforts won't seem completely wasted?
(But please; go easy on me. If I find myself feeling pressured to work on
all this stuff, all of the time, I know what that will do to my motivation,
and it will not be a good thing!) Part of all this is coming about because
I feel like my work on two other systems -- the Emerson Arcadia 2001
and the Bally Astrocade -- is more or less coming to a close. The way I see
it in hindsight, I did quite a bit of VIC-20 stuff, for quite a long time.
So much that I was burning out on it badly, then took a year off from
gaming completely. When I "came back" I still wasn't really willing
to tackle VIC-20 stuff, but I wanted to keep doing the things I had been
doing. I jumped from the VIC-20's library over to the Emerson's, which
was much more "untouched" archiving territory. And then I felt the urge to
go do some Bally archiving, as well. Many moons passed. Now I am feeling
like all three systems are at the same point -- diminishing returns -- as
far as archiving goes, or making informative texts about their libraries
goes. This opens up a new phase of things for me; wrapping up loose
ends wherever I can. I am playing with multicarts right now, then I'll
get moving on other projects again.
|July 12, 2001
Here it is... Neil Chriss' video game "D'fuse"
for the Commodore VIC-20. Written towards the end of the VIC-20's
commercial lifespan, the game may or may not have been released in stores.
At least one mock-up copy was made, with full packaging, and given to Neil
as a sample of what the end result would look like. There could be a warehouse
full of these somewhere, but I doubt it? Until I see proof to the contrary,
I'm counting this cart as one of the rarest of them all.
Updated the cart rarity listing, basically to add my thanks to Neil
for loaning me the cart, and allowing others to freely download
and enjoy it.
Thanks also to Rob Lewis, for confirming a RAM expander part number.
|July 10, 2001
That "D'fuse" cart arrived. I've archived it. Will post it up in
the "starter kit" area, as soon
as I get some text from its author to put with it. (Cute game, by the way.)
|July 9, 2001
Check out the "starter kit" area of the web site...
that's where Ron Wanttaja's "IFR Flight Simulator" is now currently
available for legal download. A big "thanks" to Ron, for being cool enough
to let us all enjoy his program!
I've updated the cartridge rarity listing,
putting "D'fuse" as a confirmed cart.
|July 8, 2001
I didn't forget the IFR Flight Simulator info... I'm just slow. Patience,
There have been a few recent announcements in regards to carts. I just heard
from Neil Chriss, who wrote a program called "D'fuse" that never
saw the light of day. (Written too close to the end of the VIC-20's
lifecycle, apparently? It is on the rarity
list, under the vaporware section.) Chriss plans to loan me his
copy of the cart for archiving purposes, and says he will be glad to allow
distribution of it. He didn't like seeing it in the vaporware sections, any
more than we did. :-)
Roger Sinasohn just bought a few carts, one of which wasn't anywhere
on the rarity listings. More news as it happens, on a cart apparently
I just wrote a letter to CMD, politely asking if they'd allow the copyrights
to revert to me, on some programs I wrote
for the C64 back in the mid 1980's. If they are kind enough to do that,
I will definitely distribute them here on this site. They were cute utility
programs that helped organize disk collections, and so on.
|July 5, 2001
Stupid, stupid me... I'm in the process of fixing something that should never
have become broken in the first place. Ron Wanttaja, author of "IFR Flight
Simulator" for the VIC-20 and the Commodore 64, wrote up a nice long
text, telling others about the experience of writing and selling that program.
Quite interesting stuff. I just found out that although the file is still
safely stored on this web site, there is no link to it anywhere. How that
happened, I have no clear idea? I can only guess it got killed during the
transition period, when I moved to "ClassicGaming.com"? In any case, I'm
fixing the mistake. Here is the missing story.
And Ron's web site. I will keep working
on this situation... the ROM image should be online soon-ish. My deepest
and most humble apologies to Ron for this embarrassing situation!
|June 25, 2001
Tony Lammi sent me a link to
some info and pictures he put online. It is about the VIC GRAF utility cartridge.
You may want to check that out.
|June 6, 2001
|May 17, 2001
I updated an ancient text I wrote, about how to straighten bent legs
on chips. It is much more informative this time around. You can
check it out here, or go visit the
technical section of this site, where lots of
other useful texts are to be found.
There honestly isn't much going on right now in the VIC-20 world, on
this site. My two new multicarts are eating up my "computer / video
game hobbies" time, but they are coming along nicely. My Bally Astrocade
cart's PC board has been designed, and I've etched a prototype copy. Next
I'll assemble it and test it. I hope to have one ready to show to the
locals at the SC3
meeting, during June.
|April 16, 2001
It doesn't impact the VIC-20 scene directly, but some news over on my
Emerson Arcadia 2001 web site
may interest a few of you? (Basically, I got a multicart up and running,
for the Emerson system.) I'm thinking in terms of designing it using
modules, so that I can more easily design multicarts for other systems, later
on. I will keep working on the Emerson design, then a Bally Astrocade
design. Where it will go from there is hard to say, but a VIC-20 multicart
is remotely possible, in terms of me getting off my behind and doing it,
at a much later date. (But I have a number of other projects I want closure
on, before committing to any new ones!)
|March 17, 2001
After eons of procrastination, I finally got another
account on AOL... just long enough to delete the older version of this
web site, which was still there. That makes this the one and only version
of this web site now. I posted appropriate notices at the older site, pointing
to this new one, so that everyone can find us.
The web site's visitor counter will shortly jump by 5499 to reflect the number
of people that visited the older, now-closed sites before they knew about
Personally, I wish to say "thanks" to those very loyal folks that kept
visiting the older site, despite the lack of any new content over a period
of almost 2 years! I can only hope they feel that their loyalty was rewarded,
when they find this site?
|March 12, 2001
Added one new link... Tim Denning's site, with
a tape archiving focus.
I created a
small web site
that links to all of my different hobbies, so that I could stay on topic
a little bit better, while still letting interested parties know what
I was up to, in my other hobbies. (Acting, scale models, etc.)
Some things still fall into grey areas, like this news bit about the Bally
Astrocade. Fans of that system will be glad to know that six new carts have
been archived over the last few days, and there should be more in the coming
weeks. Check out this discussion group for more
Bally archiving info,
or see some SC3 meeting
|February 15, 2001
Just got in my copy of the
Digital Press Collector's
Guide, version six. It rocks! I am saying that as a fan of various
retro-gaming systems, not just as a person that contributed to this version.
(For those who don't already know, I have sections in this version on
the VIC-20 by Commodore, the Emerson and its clones, and one small section
about the Telstar Arcade machine by Coleco.) The folks
at Digital Press have certainly
outdone themselves with this version!
I made a small change or two to the cart
rarity listings. ("Mission X" was apparently once considered, and was
started, but never completed.)
Off-topic, but some of you may find this interesting... one of my other hobbies
is working as an extra on TV and in movies. An episode of
"Charmed" is coming
up on the 22nd (called "Just Harried"), and I was one of the background folks
in it. I am in my favorite trouble-maker outfit -- long hair down, leather
jacket on -- and was having fun playing a mean biker type in a rough
bar that Shannen Doherty's character is playing pool in.
This old picture
should give you some idea of what to look for, if you want to try
to see if I'm visible in any of those scenes... add about six inches of hair
to it, subtract the beard, add a leather jacket, and that's me.
January 18, 2001
I got in a note from a former VIC-20 programmer, looking for a
copy of his old program.
"I am Siva
R. Krishna. I wrote "Shooting Gallery" in "Compute's Second book of Vic-20
Games", around 1982? I sure would like to find this article or program and
run it on my emulator, and let the public see it. It may have repeated in
one of the other magazines. I saw one program on the net (VIC-20 Shooting
Gallery) written by someone else and it was bad. My program was a basic program
but had machine code data (hybrid). Interrupt driven music and targets. The
gun at the bottom moved like the one for space invaders." He says the one
on funet is not his program. Can anyone help him find the one he's looking
|January 17, 2001
Here it is... "Crater Raider" by Boone, thanks
to a cart loan by Albert Yarusso. It is sort of a cross between Moon Patrol
and Pitfall, with some asteroids and other things flying at you every once
in awhile. Not the fastest paced game for the VIC-20, but a genuine
rarity, to be sure. We know just about nothing in regards to this cart's
|January 15, 2001
The visitor counter just rolled past 31,000 today. ;-)
|January 9, 2001
Excellent news! Albert
Yarusso has one of the only known copies of "Crater Raider" by Boone.
He has just offered to loan it to me for archiving purposes! More as it
|January 6, 2001
I am happy to announce that Rick Melick's very cool and interesting
web site about the Commodore VIC-20 is now a part of this one, in a sense.
(Rick's web site was going to go down soon, so I've mirrored it here
in its original, unedited form.) You
can click here to see
why I like his site. It pre-dated my site, and served as one of
my inspirations for making a site in the first place. Spend some
time checking it out! You may also want to bookmark it, so you
can come back and visit it again at any time.
|January 2, 2001
I added a link to a non-gaming site that
I feel may be interesting to those of you that dabble with electronics...
the Seattle Robotics Society.
They have a section on basic electronics that I think could be very useful.
|December 28, 2000
I made some small changes to the cart rarity
list, in the "vaporware" section. (Recent magazine buys gave me further
confirmation that "Wizard of Wor" and "Space Vultures" were definitely in
the planning stages.)
Check out the Digital Press web
site, if you are interested in finding out about the latest version
of their "Digital Press Collectors Guide". (I wrote their VIC-20
section, and the guide has many more sections on many more cart-based
systems of this era.) It is at the printers right now,
and should be available in a matter of weeks. They are accepting pre-orders
now, and have a mailing list to keep folks informed of their progress.
|December 20, 2000
Still nothing new here. My Emerson
web site has some new stuff, and I'm playing with some hardware projects
related to classic gaming, FWIW.
This web site just went past 30,000 total visitors a few days back. Cool.
|November 18, 2000
No, I didn't drop dead or anything. Just working a lot, during the week.
As time permits, I do plan to take my old AOL web sites down, and put
up redirection links to this site. That's one of many chores I'm
I didn't forget about the CD-ROM Project either, but I need
(a) to get more free time, (b) do a hardware upgrade on
my computer to get more hard drive space, before I can do
anything serious along those lines.
I'm spending some of my free time, messing about with the idea of being able
to make up multicarts. (No promises, and please don't ask "when and how much"
questions.) I also play
around with stuff for the Emerson Arcadia and/or MPT-03 systems, and
I'm experimenting a bit on that system, to get things moving along. But I'm
keeping in mind that I want to be able to apply what I learn to other systems,
so I'm trying for a generic approach to the hardware. What will all
this end up doing for you readers, you ask? At the moment, nothing.
Down the road, I plan to at least put up some semi-interesting "how to"
texts, for other techie folks. (I don't want to promise anything more than
that, for the forseeable.) Sort of like the text I put up before,
on how to make
a datasette copying device.
For now, you can check out what
Bob Colbert and
Randy Crihfield have
to say on this subject. There is also an interesting article by Hernan C.,
to hook up an Atari 2600 style joystick to an IBM PC. (Off-site
links.) And on my own
web pages, I have an article about
photo-etch things, that applies to circuit boards.
|October 25, 2000
There is some interesting news over at the
"Giant List of Classic Game
Programmers" web site. (See October 12.) The owner / programmer of Nufekop
had some interesting things to say about his own programs, plus added some
news I didn't know about Atari's many Pac-Man copyright infringement lawsuits,
from back in the early 1980's.
I would like to buy a few more Commodore magazines, for my own personal
collection. Here is a list of my haves and
wants. If you can help me fill a few holes,
me by e-mail about it. Please note that I am NOT willing to sell any
I already have... don't waste my time by asking. But the list itself will
probably be informative for other collectors, as I've sprinkled various notes
throughout it, on what was published when, etc.
|October 3, 2000
|September 18, 2000
Added "Project 64" to my links page.
Thought it was there already. Doh!
My new day job isn't giving me weekends off, lately, or much hobby time during
the week, for that matter. But I didn't forget the site or anything....
|September 5, 2000
Not much going on at this site, due in part to working on various other classic
gaming projects. I just started at a new day job, too, so that will slow
things down a bit in the future, as I adjust. Gotta pay those bills!
The DPCG text is being "beta-tested" over the next few weeks. Then it
goes to the printer. Once that is done, I can take some of the updates
I've done to it, and put them into "Cartzilla!"... it is overdue for a tune-up.
You may want to check out the
Archival Movement" web site. (Well, actually an eGroups discussion
forum, for the most part.) I've done some work there, towards pushing other
classic gaming systems a bit further, towards eventually having them archived
and emulated, too. I put up a long list of all the Bally Astrocade carts
and tapes, and more.
The site's counter just rolled past 29,000 visitors... makes me smile! :-)
|August 27, 2000
Added two links to the links page:
Raymond Carlsen's own web
site, and a collection of his CBM repair articles, stored on
Bo Zimmerman's site.
Ray has been a "sick computer" guru for many years, over on Usenet's
comp.sys.cbm newsgroup. His articles have
always been very useful.
That new cart, "Mario's Brewery," is NOT a VIC-20 cart after all. It is
for the Commodore 64 instead. It was sold to a prominent collector as
a VIC-20 cart, but upon arrival, that turned out not to be the case. Sorry
for any raised hopes in this matter, from both the collector and
If nothing else, now we know the company that made that cart -- OEM
/ Mr. Computer -- went on to continue making things for the C64 market?
|August 25, 2000
Ages back, I obtained permission to type in the
manual to an EPROM programmer that was once made for the Commodore computer
line. I just noticed that I didn't have it linked into the
contents page, although it was technically
here all along. Oops! I fixed that just now.
The device was called the Promenade. I used one myself, for
quite a number of years. It was made by the
Jason-Ranheim company. The company
is still in business, but they no longer support Commodore products. Hence
their having given me permission to offer the manual.
Raymond Carlsen sent me
the "PROMOS 2.0" software that went with the
Promenade (it is for the C64, mind you!). Thanks to him for that!
|August 23, 2000
I just found out about a cartridge that I had never heard of, before
this. It is called "Mario's Brewery" and it is by "OEM / Mr. Computer". I'm
in the process of bugging the owner about it, so that we can at least add
it into the cartridge list with confidence. It has been a long
time since I've learned of any new carts, so this news comes as a pleasant
surprise! [False alarm; see news on August 27, 2000. -- editor]
While I'm thinking about it.... I was also told about a few rumored
carts, recently, but tracking the info down has proven to be more difficult
than I'd hoped. Oh well... patience is a virtue in these matters. Check
out the Eclectic Games
web site. (Click "history" then "see the excitement".) They
claim to have created "Track & Feild" and "Jungle Hunt" and
"Donkey Kong Jr." for the VIC-20, way back in 1983. Only "Jungle Hunt"
saw the light of day that we know of. It would be interesting as
could be, to see and play the other two games after all these years? Here's
Another interesting story from an ex-programmer can be found on the
web site of Ray Hogue,
with more info on the Giant List
of Classic Game Programmers web site. It's the story of the unreleased
|August 22, 2000
That about wraps it up for the first draft of the DPCG section. What a lot
of work that was! Whew... While you won't see it until the guide comes out
later this year, you can still benefit from my research and tweaking.
Check out the latest updates to the cartridge
rarity listing, for instance. It now includes suggested prices for each
cart, along with revised rarity, etc.
|August 16, 2000
The site's visitor counter just rolled up to 28,500 folks. That's 2,000 new
hits in 12 days. Not bad, for a web site about a long dead computer! ;-)
Not much new on the site itself, but I'm slaving away in the background on
the VIC-20 section of the upcoming
"Digital Press Collectors Guide,"
version 6. If you're familiar with
the DPCG -- and
you should be, if you consider yourself a serious video game collector
-- you will likely be glad to hear that the little VIC-20 is now getting
its own section, alongside the more common Atari 2600 / 5200 / 7800,
ColecoVision, NES, etc. game listings. All in all, this guide is supposed
to be over 300 pages, this time!
You may be interested to know I'm totally revamping the
DPCG part of the
Emerson Arcadia 2001? (Insert
gratuitous plug for my web site here.)
|August 13, 2000
|August 11, 2000
Nearly 600 visitors in one week, so far. Not too shabby, especially considering
that the site was just officially announced on the
Classic Gaming headquarters site,
as of earlier today. Enjoy the site, folks!
|August 6, 2000
One of the VIC-20 games that has long eluded collectors was a cassette
tape based game called "Escape from Mt. Drash". Edwards Franks (a.k.a.
Fortran Dragon) finally found himself a copy. I congratulate him! If you
want to see the box art and a screenshot,
check out his web site.
He plans to see if he can get permission from the copyright holders, so that
fans of the game can legally get copies of it made for them. I wish him well
on that project! (It has happened before; check
out this section.)
|August 4, 2000
Working to get ready for the official "site opening" announcements.
Checking and rechecking all the links on the site, using a cool program
called CyberSpyder that I downloaded from
www.tucows.com earlier. It reported
over 1,250 links checked, with none of them currently broken, and only 24
minor warning messages which I plan to fix over time.
Also asking the tech guys at the GameSpy Network to set the
new site's counter value to 26,500 total visitors, to account for the
old site's hits.
I do plan to put up redirection links at the old sites, and to
take those old sites both down. But that can wait for a little while.
|August 3, 2000
Getting ready to launch the new-and-improved VIC-20 web site, also on the
servers of "ClassicGaming.com". Lots
needed to be done to the web site framework, since it had evolved rather
than was planned up front. A number of changes were made that may not be
noticable to visitors, but which make it a lot easier to maintain the site
and add any new content.
23,640 visitors at the old site location, is what the counters read
now. In addition, an authorized mirror site's counters show an additional
14225 visitors. (The 14k is inflated since that counter increments every
time the front page reloads, but even if you divide that number by five,
it is still an additional 2845 visitors.) 26,485 total visitors
so far? Not too shabby!?
|July 6, 2000
After taking a year off from video gaming in general, Ward felt ready to
return to the classic video game scene. He had been lurking online for a
short while, and felt sufficiently rested up at this point. (He had
picked up an alternate hobby -- scale modeling -- and promised himself to
balance things out more in his own life, to avoid getting too close to burnout.)
Ward announced the return of his
Emerson Arcadia 2001 web site,
over at its new home, on the servers
of "ClassicGaming.com". The folks over there had wanted to host some
of the best sites for various systems, and they were kind enough to consider
Ward's site probably the best one out for that particular system. It just
seemed like a win-win deal all around.
June 25, 1999
After two years of constant work on this web site, and a total of five
years of hard work on this gaming system's history and software library,
Ward badly needed a rest! He decided to take a break and get
away from all video games, so that he would not burn out on them completely.
Ward was also very unhappy with his original Internet Service Provider: "America
Online". He planned to change over to another ISP
when he went back online. (And to take a break from the Internet, as well.)
This resulted in an announcement: Ward's web sites were all going to go down.
(By now, I had three: this one, one like it except for the Emerson Arcadia
2001 game system, and one for the "A#1 Fancy Label Club.") I didn't
want it this way, but it seemed like the only
wise choice, overall.
Ward had no way of knowing it would happen, but when he cancelled his membership
with the original site's ISP, they left all of his web sites up and running.
They could no longer be updated, but they were still there.
This site won a "Totally awesome! site of the
day" award on January 9th.
"I.C. When" bestowed one of their "Eye Site Awards"
on this web site.
January of 1998 was when the "CD
Project" kicked off. A lot of effort was put into this Internet-based
project over the next year and a half, by Ward and many other people from
all over the world. The project was meant to archive all of the VIC-20 pictures
we could find: carts, box art, magazine covers, and so on. (It was inspired
in part by the awesome two-CD set put out by Digital Press for many classic
game consoles, and also by the awesome effort of the CyberPunks team for
the Atari 2600.)
Towards the end of 1998 Ward had begun to add to the number of
interviews that had been done, regarding
original VIC-20 programmers.
Somewhere in this same general time frame, some of the original VIC-20
programmers begun to allow fans to legally download the games they had written.
We began a new section on the web site for
this to take place.
This web site was born. Ward had begun studying HTML, and he put together
a web site designed to give fans of the system a home. Since we had the best
cartridge rarity and gameplay list ever
made for this system, and the only FAQ
ever written, it seemed only natural to extend that into a place
where fans of the system could go to rekindle old memories.
"Cartzilla!" was born. It was a very large
text that had the ambitious goal of reviewing every single VIC-20 cartridge
then known to exist.
|December 25, 1996
The first VIC-20 "Frequently Asked Questions"
guide was released. It was written by Ward Shrake. There were others
helping from time to time, but by and large, this was a solo project. It
weighed in at over 100 kilobytes of raw ASCII text. It was very complete,
even at that point.
|August 19, 1996
After Ward responded to some Usenet postings from Paul A. LeBrasse, Paul
and Ward had teamed up to work together on an archiving project. We both
wanted to find and digitally copy every cartridge ever made for the VIC-20
system. We were "trying to save all of the Vic20 software from extinction;
sort of a rescue operation / Digital Archeaology effort."
On this date, we released our first joint-effort cartridge list. This list
not only gave our opinions on individual cartridge rarity, but also listed
our opinions of relative game play ratings, and gave an archival status code.
After having spent a ridiculous amount of time and effort obsessing on this
project, Paul and Ward were proud to be able to say that over ninety percent
of the cartridges then known to exist, had all been archived. (Not bad for
two people, especially when you consider that we had never met each other
in person! Others helped us, but this was largely a two man effort.) All
of our communications had been done over the Internet, mostly by e-mail.
Paul lived in England and Ward lived in California, USA, so having such
excellent results should be all the more impressive.
This was when Ward released his first version of the
VIC-20 cartridge software rarity list to
the public. Dean Dierschow had begun listing the titles, but never finished
the list. (He made a lot of game lists, for a lot of different game machines,
at one point.) James Carter added to that list, improving it quite a bit.
I took the list at that point, added to it, and made it available on Usenet's
comp.sys.cbm newsgroups. (In other words,
this was before the World Wide Web was as commonplace as it is today. Most
people used Usenet and FTP then.)
- Top of this
- Rarity list
Carts A to C
Carts D to L
Carts M to R
Carts S to Z