News about the VIC-20 and this web site
Written by Ward Shrake

Years ago, this web site used to be updated almost daily. Over the years the
amount of new information coming our way slowed to a trickle, then all but
stopped. At that time, I wandered off into "Emerson Arcadia 2001" territory
 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 Guide.
 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 I'm obviously
 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 "". 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 of work!
  • 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 useful.
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 to.  :-)
  • 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 e-mail link.
March 23, 2002
  • The meeting today of the "SC3" folks (Southern California 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 well.
  • The message 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 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 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 cart lists.
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 check 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 multicart projects 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, please!
  • 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 named "Amoeba".
  • 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 ""? 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 this one.
  • 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 pics.
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 for?
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 history, unfortunately?
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 happens...
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 behind on.
  • 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., about how to hook up an Atari 2600 style joystick to an IBM PC. (Off-site links.) And on my own scale modeling web pages, I have an article about how to 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, contact 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 "Video Game 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 myself.
  • 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 hoping?
  • 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 "Pussyfootin'".
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 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 "". 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 "". 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.
July 1997
  • 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.
September 1995
  • 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 and 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.)

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