The Commodore Vic-20 was the precursor to the massively popular Commodore 64, and indeed you can see the family resemblance as the two machines look outwardly identical, with just a change in colour from cream for the Vic to beige-brown for the 64. The Vic-20 arrived on the scene in 1980 and took it’s name from one of it’s components, the Video Interface Chip, and was my first real computer (actually, that’s not strictly true, I did have a Sinclair ZX81 for a week, but we had so many problems getting it to load we took it back and changed it for a Vic-20).
The Vic-20 was one of the first computers to have colour graphics, in this case having access to a range of 16 colours, 8 of which could only be used as the background or border colours. It also had a proper keyboard, unlike many computers of the day, which made it a joy to type on. It’s tiny 3.5K of RAM could be expanded by adding a RAM pack in a slot at the back. The one I had was pretty nifty in that it had a switch on the back that let you boost the RAM by either 3K or 16K. This was necessary because the Vic-20 remapped its memory differently depending on how much RAM was added. This meant that a program written for an unexpanded machine wouldn’t run properly on a machine with an extra 16K!