The 'tag' on this website calls it 'VIC-20', but the VIC20 user manual (Personal Computing on the VIC20) http://cini.classiccmp.org/pdf/Commodore/VIC-20%20User's%20Manual.pdf calls the VIC either VIC20, or VIC 20. The front cover is ambiguous due to the usage of the C= Commodore logo, but the first mention on page 3 definitely calls it the VIC20 with no space or hyphen, as does the subsequent mention on the table of contents page III. However, then page V calls it VIC 20 twice!

In 2021 it seems many sites have settled on the usage of "VIC 20" which is annoying as it is less efficient as a search term than using "VIC20", as "VIC 20" is treated as 2 words, and VIC-20 varies in search usage.

My personal preference is therefore to call it the VIC20 without a space or hyphen. Does anybody know what the official Commodore spelling was for the VIC?

Stickers from the actual machine show 'VIC20' for the English language version and 'VC 20' for the German version. The ones with the C= Commodore logo and the are ambiguous, as is the monochrome version. On the balance of probability it still looks to me like 'VIC20' is the most true name. enter image description here

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    All tags on this site have dashes in place of spaces, so that it is clear when something is one tag or two. For example floppy-disk is a tag.
    – David
    Mar 21, 2021 at 22:29
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    In the past, marketing departments weren't as particular about this kind of thing. Just like Shakespeare has four or five different ways tospell his own name, it's quite reasonable for Commodore to do the same with their products. Mar 22, 2021 at 6:48
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    Whichever it is, it's never what a kid at my school used to insist on calling it, which was the 'Vee Aye See Two Zero'.
    – Alan B
    Mar 22, 2021 at 8:49
  • I suggest that, rather like English spelling prior to widespread printing (and the invention of the dictionary), the need for consistency was less before the Internet was in common use.
    – Frog
    Mar 22, 2021 at 18:38
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    You can google for an exact match by using double quotes & for either of 2 terms by using OR.
    – philipxy
    Mar 22, 2021 at 19:36

3 Answers 3


To start with, it was of course VC-20:

enter image description here


In general I'd say VIC-20 would be the most consistent spelling. To start with, Commodore's own technical manual gives a good base, as here was no reason to enhance/mangle it for marketing purpose or textual handling.

enter image description here

Next, the VIC-20 was first introduced in Japan as VIC-1001. This hyphenated spelling not only precedes the use of VC-20, but it is also used for all products related to the VIC, like VIC-1540 and, not at least, all cartridges, like seen here:

enter image description here

Image is taken from the Super Expander Wiki entry, which gives another (albeit lower) indication by Wikipedia as well using VIC-20 as lemma.

Bottom line:

While next to any possible spelling has been used over time, including, but not restricted to Commodore produced items, VIC-20 seems to be a safe choice when producing new material or reffering to existing without the need to play graphical games.

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    Wasn't it VC-20 only in Germany (to avoid VIC sounding like another obscene word)? I also have always taken that the official name is VIC-20 with a dash, not with a space.
    – Justme
    Mar 22, 2021 at 7:48
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    No, no obscene word, that's an urban myth based on the idea that Americans are prudish and can't pronounce German. In reality calling it Volkscomputer was pure marketing genius.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 22, 2021 at 11:03
  • @Raffzahn Although "Vicks" (VapoRub) becomes "Wick" for exactly that reason... Mar 22, 2021 at 12:05
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    Both VIC-20 with a hyphen and the tale about rude German words come from Michael S. Tomczyk's book.
    – JdeBP
    Mar 22, 2021 at 20:04

According to this 1983 Commodore catalogue it is VIC 20 with a space. catalogue

The owner's manual also refers to the machine as VIC 20 with a space, though they seem to occasionally omit the space.

I note that by contrast the VIC-1001, the Japanese model of the VIC 20, was written with a hyphen.

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    Thanks, but that doesn't seem a very authoritative document to refer to for this. Certainly much less authoritive than what was actually on the sticker attached to the actual VIC in every customer's house, which clearly states 'VIC20'!
    – TopCat
    Mar 24, 2021 at 10:38
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    There is a list of all known VIC 20 stickers at cbmvic.net/registry which mostly have a space between the letters and numbers. Mar 24, 2021 at 12:34

According to my US programmer's manual and user's guide it's VIC-20 with a hyphen here. I'm sure that if I dug, though, I could probably find a place where Commodore accidentally omitted the hyphen in the books, since I have a feeling that even within Commodore there wasn't a single "canonical" name.

Commodore used different names in different regions, though. VC 20 was its name in Germany; it was the VIC-1001 in Japan. Canada apparently called it the VIC 20 without a hyphen.

Honestly, I know what people are talking about regardless, so it doesn't bother me when I see it written any way. It feels like a Sega Mega Drive vs. Sega Genesis argument, but even more pedantic.

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