LEGO Technic and the Commodore 64 – Part I

Being a teenager back in the 80s my home computer of choice was the Commodore 64. It stayed in my old room at my parents house long after I moved to my own place. I sold it over a decade ago when I got my parents to learn how to use a PC with an Internet connection and they needed a place to put these new devices. I saw no further use for it because I could emulate the C64 for free on my PC using e.g. CCS64, Hoxs64 or the Commodore 64 Emulator (written in WPF and Silverlight that also ran on a Windows Phone 7). I even bought a Competition Pro USB joystick to get that same micro switch game feeling of the mid 80s while playing those emulated games on a modern PC…

Recently I stumbled upon a forum post entitled Make And Program Your Own Robots (1985 Lego!). The book mentioned there is basically about creating LEGO Technic models and operating them using LEGO 4.5 volt motors controlled by a CBM 64. This is made possible using a relay controller called the VIC REL, created in 1983 by Handic Software AB. This hardware interface needs to be put physically into the so-called user port of your Commodore 64. So now I am regretting ever selling this beautiful device 😦

Due to sentimental reasons I searched for this book (ISBN 10: 0099426609, ISBN 13: 9780099426608) and bought a copy via Amazon in the UK. And although it was published in 1985 it looks as if no one ever really opened the copy I received. Here is a picture of the cover:

Make And Program Your Own Robots For the Commodore 64 and Vic 20
There is also a version of this book “… For the Sinclair Spectrum”

At first just for giggles I started looking for such a Vic Rel relay cartridge… but you guessed it… I finally ordered this one via eBay, sold by a user called freeweb. So now I am waiting for its arrival. To be continued…


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