I thought the Vic was lost beyond the sands of time, as is Monster (his reconstruction in my piece is only pictures of computer parts of his era), but my mother actually kept the Vic, our friend (my programming friend, her game friend...) in her basement, through three successive houses, right next to the (also still working) Commodore 64.
My first real program, (created with my father in 1985) was a game called "Bug and Spray," written on the Vic in Basic with a machine language main loop to speed it up. Ah, I remember the days. When children sat innocently next to their Papas and answered questions like "what's the opcode for LDA immediate" with zeal, delving into manuals (on paper) and replying in Hex. That was before obnoxious teenagerhood (or any kind of teenagerhood at all), rebellion, or worrying about one's hair or clothes. Oh, how I'd go back if I could!
|Notice how the disk drive box is almost the size of the computer. And this was for a 5 1/4 inch floppy, not a hard disk! Also, from the shelf packing, you can see that I had the Vic at the same age as I was into balsa wood airplanes. "Sky Travel"(blue box shown) was a really cool electric planetarium for the 64 -- you could put in your location and time and it could show you what was in the sky, in real time or accelerated, and it showed deep space objects like galaxies (I had spent a summer photographig M31, the Andromeda galaxy), and you could turn on and off the trails of the planets or the constellation lines.|
To show you the size of a Commodore box (if you happen to know the size of my mother's cat :-) you can look at the following:
Open the box and wires jump out, but not as bad as monster. I only had to open the Vic once, to replace a broken 6526 chip, the one driving the keyboard. An entire line of keys: N, R, V, , (comma), B, M, and so on stopped working, and, recognizing the sequence as a line in the key recognition matrix, my father and I deduced that either the line or pin was physically broken or that the chip was defective. We checked the lines but it was the chip. Replacing it cost $18, And gave us a lot of satisfaction! Of course we knew this from the manuals we devoured.
|My Mother even kept the serial number in case I need to order a new Vic on Warranty (does Commodore even exist any more?) or get customer service:|
Photographs by Martha Deed