WinVICE Commodore 64 emulator

WinVICE is the best Commodore 64 emulator we have seen so far, for playing C64 games on a Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7 PC.

WinVICE Commodore 64 emulator.

  • Latest version 3.1 (31 March 2017)
  • Works on Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7 (32/64 bits)
  • Emulates C64, C128, PET, CBM II, VIC20, PLUS/4
  • Supports X64, D64, G64, D67, D71, D81, D80, D82 disk image files, T64 tape image files, P00 program files
  • Comments: WinVICE has a nice windows interface (pull down menus) and a full screen option (ALT+D), but you might just want to resize the program window (which is possible since version 2.2, at last!) without losing image quality. You can make snapshots from your game (savegames) which are about 80K, which is a lot less than the snapshots of CCS64 (1MB).
  • Known problems: WinVICE 3.0 does not seem to load .t64 images. It says "PRESS PLAY ON TAPE", but you can't start the tape with File - Datasette control - Start. Solution for now: use WinVICE 2.4.
  • Project website

Play Commodore 64 games with WinVICE on Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7

So, what to do to play C64 games such as Impossible Mission with WinVICE?

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  • Download WinVICE
    • 32 bits Windows: WinVICE-3.x-x86.7z
    • 64 bits Windows: WinVICE-3.x-x64.7z
  • You can use 7Zip to extract the contents of the 7z archives
  • Copy the contents of the WinVICE 7z file to an empty folder of choice
  • Start WinVICE with x64.exe
  • While in WinVICE x64, go to Joystick settings (Settings - Joystick settings...)
  • Set Joystick in Port #1 to Keyset A
  • Press the Config Keyset A button, configure the desired keyset and press Ok
  • Close Joystick settings by pressing the Ok button
  • Make sure True Drive Emulation is enabled. Check Options - True drive emulation.
  • Save your settings by either clicking Settings - Save current settings or Settings - Save settings on exit (recommended)

  • Download a C64 game, for example Impossible Mission
  • Copy the contents of the game zip file to a folder of choice
  • Start Impossible Mission in WinVICE with File - Autostart disk/tape image
  • When the controls you've set up don't work, try swapping the Joystick ports with ALT+J (Joystick port 1 becomes port 2 and vice versa)

Playing games with multiple files

The Last Ninja.Some C64 games came on more than one floppy disk, like The Last Ninja or California Games. When you download these games, they'll consist of several files (1 file for each disk). So what to do with those?

  • Make sure True Drive Emulation is enabled. Check Options - True drive emulation.
  • Start the game by loading disk file 1 or the disk file that is called "bootdisk" or similar, with File - Autostart disk/tape image. Virtual Drive 8 will be used.
  • When the game asks for disk 2 (or 3, or 4, or whatever), attach the disk file to the emulator with File - Attach disk image - Drive 8. Press space, or the key that is configured as the joystick fire button to continue.

Keyboard mapping

If you want to get serious with your virtual Commodore 64, you have to know about the keyboard mapping. Default mapping mode is positional. That means that when you press a key on your keyboard, a character shows up that should be there if it were a C64 keyboard. For example, when you press shift and 2, a double quote will show. If you press the minus key a plus sign will show. We don't think that's workable.

Hence we'll use the symbolic mapping mode. All characters on your keyboard represent the corresponding keys on a C64 keyboard, if available. You change the settings as follows:

  • Click on Settings and choose Keyboard settings...
  • Choose Symbolic US and press the OK button
  • Save your settings by either clicking Settings - Save current settings or Settings - Save settings on exit (recommended)

Your keyboard will work as expected now, provided you have a keyboard with a US layout. However, there are certain keys on a C64 keyboard that are not on yours. Those keys have been mapped as follows:

  • Left CTRL is the Commodore key
  • ESC and Caps lock keys are the Run/stop key
  • Tab key is the CTRL key
  • ` (single quote) key is the Left arrow key
  • \ (backslash) key is the Pound sign key
  • Home key is the CLR HOME key
  • Page up key is the RESTORE key
  • Arrow keys represent the CRSR keys

Keep this in mind when you're choosing the keys which represent your virtual joystick. Some menus require the CRSR keys to scroll through them. By default, the arrow keys represent the CRSR keys. If you've assigned the arrow keys to joystick, you won't be able to navigate through the menu.

The screen looks blurry!

International Karate Plus: WinVICE with CRT emulation.As of version 2.4, CRT emulation is on by default. That means that when you start WinVICE, the screen looks like a CRT television: kind of blurry and full of horizontal lines. Just like in the old days! CRT emulation was available in version 2.3, but it looks much better in 2.4. However, "much better" could be interpreted as "way worse" when you like clear graphics. In that case, turn off CRT emulation:

  • Click on Settings - Video Settings
  • Click on the VICII Render Filter tab
  • Choose none at Render filter and click Ok
  • If you'd like WinVICE to remember this, click on Settings - Save current settings.
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