Machine Learning with the Vic-20!

Dear 8-bit friends,  prepare yourself, since today we do something totally different.

Now we hear  the term “Machine Learning” everywhere, to the point of some sort of fashion.

Well, we want to show you that we can use our beloved Vic-20 exactly for that: it’s machine learning time!


Since the micro is known as the “friendly” computer, we of course concentrate on something fun: a game! (George Clooney now would say: “what else!”)


We provide a disk image for you, ready to download, at the end of the article.

It can also be nice to have some young kids play the game alone with the “little big” machine and see what comes out 🙂


The rules of this game are simple: we think of an animal and the Vic will try to guess what we think.

In case he cannot come up to the solution, we train him by letting him know what we where thinking about and then we write an attribute or something unique that the animal has/does/is.


The original game was written in 1973 by Arthur Luehrmann.

Back in year 2000 we played a version of the game for the first time in a web browser; you can still play with it today!  (by the way: we love a lot the fact that we are preserving old systems, books and info for posterity and for their intrinsic “value”. But ok this is another story…)



We were almost forgetting to tell you that yes we are doing machine learning in… Basic! On unexpanded Vic-20s!


Another screenshot, using Vice emulating a green monitor (palette by Orion70, from the movie “the man who loved green monitors”):


Grab the downloadable game (zipped .d64): Animal for the Vic-20 (please note that there are some things to fix and improve, as this is intended for the specific purpose of this article and for preservation).


Happy machine learning with your micro! See you the next time.


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