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Commodore VIC-20

The Commodore VIC-20 is an 8-bit home computer developed by Commodore. It was released in 1980.

In Germany, it was known as the “VC-20” instead, due to the rather unfortunate similarity between the pronounciation of “VIC” with another certain German word…

The VIC-20 was succeeded by the Commodore 64 two years later.

This system scrapes metadata for the “c64” group and loads the c20 set from the currently selected theme, if available.

  • Emulator: VICE
  • Core: VICE: xvic
  • Folder: /userdata/roms/c20
  • Accepted ROM formats: .a0, .b0, .crt, .d64, .d81, .prg, .tap, .t64, .m3u, .zip, .7z

This needs confirmation.

No Commodore VIC-20 emulator in Batocera needs a BIOS file to run.

Needs polish/alternatives/automated script(?)

Place your Commodore VIC-20 ROMs in /userdata/roms/c20.

For now, ROMs must be manually specified in VICE in order to use them with its VIC-20 emulator.

  1. Launch the game, and you will be greeted with the following screen
  2. Open VICE's menu with [START].
  3. Go to CartridgeAdd to generic cartridge.
  4. Choose the cartridge type appropriate to your ROM (“4/8KiB” is fine for most).
  5. Select your intended ROM.
  6. Exit the menu with [START].

A “program” is a C64 executable file that you would LOAD and then RUN on a real C64. Using it with an emulator usually bypasses the loading process, injecting the file directly into the memory, and then automatically runs it (so there is no tape, disc or cartridge inserted). Emulators can also run programs that could not work on a real C64 because they use memory that can not be accessed during the real loading process. The most famous example is the “Oneload” collection of C64 games, which are very emulator friendly as they bypass all loading and unpacking times.

Most PRGs are “crunched”, meaning they have been optimized to use the least possible amount of disk space in order to fit more games on one disk or reduce loading times. Decrunching usually takes up to 20 seconds and is identified by wildly flickering color bars in the border area.

The C64 has a cartridge port and .crt files emulate these cartridges.


Enter VICE's menu with [START], then CartridgeAttach CRT imageSet current cartridge as default. Back out to the main menu, Settings Management and finally Save current settings.

Loading from tapes is a long process and if you want the full experience, there are .tap images for many games that are representations of the audio on the tape and therefore you enjoy the same load times of several minutes for one game. As many later C64 games actually include extra music and graphics during the load, these large (several 100 KB) files are important for digital preservation. If a tape file is smaller than roughly 40KB most likely it is actually just a PRG file hiding inside a wrapper that can be loaded instantly.



Many games use two sided disks or more than one disk. A two sided disk must be flipped manually on a 1541, so you would eject the disk, flip it around and re-insert it. The standard naming convention for such disks is Disk 1 - Side A and Disk 1 - Side B, followed of course by Disk 2 - Side A and so on.


VICE configuration

Standardized features available to all cores of this emulator: c20.videomode, c20.ratio, c20.padtokeyboard, c20.decoration

ES setting name batocera.conf_key Description ⇒ ES option key_value
Settings that apply to all cores of this emulator
ZOOM (HIDE BORDERS) c20.noborder Hides borders on many games. Some games used the borders.
⇒ NO (DEFAULT) 0, YES 1.


Here are the default Commodore VIC-20's controls shown on a Batocera RetroPad:

VICE itself has an extensive user manual.

For further troubleshooting, refer to the generic support pages.

  • systems/c20.txt
  • Last modified: 16 months ago
  • by atari