Vice – autostart with a directory

Vice, the Commodore 64 emulator is a cross platform emulator that works on Windows, Linux, MacOS and other operating systems. It also allows you to emulate the Vic 20, C128 and other early Commodore machines.

Double clicking on a Commodore d64 disk image file will load x64, the Commodore 64 emulator and load the first programme on the disk image.


Quite often I want to look at a D64 image directory listing instead of running the first programme on the disk.

You can do this by unchecking the “autostart” box on the file open box of course but it’s not as convenient.

So, last Friday I asked on Twitter if it was possible to drag and drop a D64 image onto Vice to display the disk contents. Logiker replied and helped me by DM to handle double clicking on a C64 disk image.

What I needed to do was load the disk image and then feed the directory listing command to the C64.


Getting MacOS to accept the command line was harder to achieve. In Windows you can change the start up parameters for a programme. In MacOS it should be possible to modify the emulator “package” with a script that calls the real executable but I couldn’t get that working.
In Linux I would have just created a shell script that called the emulator. 🙂

What did work in MacOS was using Automator. I created a “Run Shell Script” action and filled it in with the following. If you want to follow along at home you’ll have to change the path to x64.

/Applications/Vice64/ -8 "$@" -keybuf load\\"$\\",8\\nlist\\n

I saved that as a new app in ~/bin/ called “Vice64”, and associated all D64 images with that application. Now double clicking on a disk image shows me a directory listing!

It doesn’t work unfortunately when I have an Action Replay cartridge loaded. Maybe I need to add F3 or F7 to the keyboard buffer?

One of the advantages of looking at the directory structure is the directory art some demos have. Here’s one from Pearls for Pigs, a D64 I happened to use while testing this but there are loads of them. I saw that Logiker has a page dedicated to directory art!

Happy times! 🙂

Megablast Banjo Remix

Here’s rather impressive remix of the Xenon 2 Megablast main title tune created by a talented banjo player!

Long time readers may remember I used the original music in a video for a short but fun game of Bad Company 2. We joined a game with nobody on the other side so we had fun with the crates, grenades, bullets and smoke. Looking at the date on the video I can’t believe that was almost six years ago!

A C64 intro in CSS

CSS3 C64 is an old school C64 intro created completely in CSS, the technology that is normally used to style web pages. You can read more about it here, and the source code is available in your browser, but also on Github. No need for an Action Replay cartridge to peek under the hood this time!

Thanks Commodore is Awesome for the link.

17,827 Euro for a Commodore 65 on Ebay

The Commodore 65 was a prototype computer produced by Commodore between 1990 and 1991 to be an improved Commodore 64. I’ve hardly ever come across it online and never heard of it back in the day, but when Commodore was liquidated they sold the prototype machines. If you have one and are willing to part with it you could be in for a nice surprise!

c65 on ebay

This one on Ebay went for €17,827 last month. It’s not as if much can be done with it as it was never official released but I guess you can run it in C64 mode.

Anyone got one or played with one? (via)

Happy Birthday Commodore 64!

issue 50 of Zzap 64!
Issue 50 of Zzap! 64

The Commodore 64 is 30 years old this year and it went on sale in August 1982 so I think it’s about time I wished it a happy birthday. Back then I was messing on a Commodore Vic 20 (or more likely it was 1984 or so), then I had a Speccy and I didn’t get my hands on a C64 until 1989. It was already declining somewhat but it still had a few years of life left in it. Issue 50 of Zzap! 64 was the first issue of that famous magazine I owned. My brother and I bought it in Paul’s Street Shopping Centre! The newsagent is long gone but I have that issue around here somewhere ..

Matt Allen visited a primary school and a secondary school and asked kids there what they thought of the Commodore 64. I don’t think they were impressed by loading errors and long loading times. He probably should have brought a 1541 disk drive and an Action Replay cartridge!

Continue reading “Happy Birthday Commodore 64!”

My early memories of programming

My earliest memories of programming are directly related to the pain of not being able to save my work.

The first proper computer my family owned was a Commodore Vic-20. I guess my parents bought it in 1984 or 1985 but it might have been earlier. The Vic-20 came out years before but this was recession hit 80’s Ireland. I’m pretty sure the computer was bought in O’Callaghan’s shop, where the betting shop is now on Pembroke Street.

I remember copying a flying bird BASIC listing from the Vic-20 manual one school morning, and I think I made it fly left and right too. What made it stick in my mind was the anguish I felt because I couldn’t save it. We had a Vic-20 you see but we didn’t have a datasette that could record or play back data on cassette tapes. I left the machine on while I went to school which was risky because they had huge heavy power supplies that had a tendency to overheat (not that I knew that then!) Thankfully we did get a datasette later because I remember playing Wacky Waiters on it. Or it might have been some sort of interface that let me plug a regular cassette player into the Vic-20. Chip Electronics sold them in clear plastic bags I think. All a little hazy now unfortunately!

So, thanks to this site I was able to track down a scanned copy of the Vic-20 manual and immediately jumped to the Flying Birds bit. A little bit of rose tint nostalgia on a murky Friday evening almost 30 years later.

What got you into programming?

RIP Jack Tramiel

Jack Tramiel, the man who founded Commodore and brought Atari back from the dead died on Sunday at the age of 83. RIP.

lemon64 thread.

Here’s a great Cringley post on Jack Tramiel.

What I learned this week that I didn’t know before was that the people who worked for Tramiel really loved him. Jack Tramiel was no Steve Jobs: he was better.

The Commodore 64 was a phenomenal success. People forget that in the early 1980s the C64 outsold the Apple ][, IBM PC, and the Atari 400/800 combined. Commodore was the first to sell computers through discount retailers, opening whole new distribution channels. And don’t forget it was Jack who saw the value in Amiga, which in many ways set performance targets that took Apple years to beat. It would have been very interesting to see how the Amiga would have faired had Jack Tramiel stayed at Commodore.

I should have written more in this post yesterday but I didn’t have time. The Commodore 64 was the first computer I really obsessed about and learned loads about. Previously I had dabbled in BASIC using the Vic 20 and then a 48K Spectrum but after I got a C64 I learned how games were coded, learned quite a bit of assembler and produced and distributed my first software. That software wasn’t amazing or anything but I was always learning new things.

So, thanks Jack for creating the company that created such an amazing computer that had a huge influence on my life. When Steve Jobs died last year there were glowing blog posts about his machines. I vaguely recall an Apple II in a school lab but I hardly ever used it. The C64s in the same lab were much more interesting!

Every OS Sucks

I’m sure I’ve heard this before but the video is new to me. Enjoy!

Odd that their C64 isn’t plugged in. The power cable went in at the side. The joystick ports are strangely blacked out too. Gosh, might it not be a real Commodore 64? (via)