As part of my research I evaluated to what extend source code can be treated through Critical Code Analysis. As a case study I used the code base of the VICE emulator. Further reading on this experiment in relation to the source code can be found in the following entries.


VICE is a program that runs on a Unix, MS-DOS, Win32, OS/2, BeOS, QNX 4.x, QNX 6.x, Amiga, Syllable or Mac OS X machine and executes programs intended for the old 8-bit computers. The current version emulates the C64, the C64DTV, the C128, the VIC20, practically all PET models, the PLUS4 and the CBM-II (aka C610/C510). An extra emulator is provided for C64 expanded with the CMD SuperCPU.

At the time of writing this entry, VICE is still actively developed, starting in 1993. The V in VICE stands for versatile, meaning it is able to emulate a set of different Commodore models. The source-code of the emulator is well commented and there is a truly expansive documentation available.

The community behind the emulator is well established and visible under Acknowledgments. Judging from the names alone, without researching every single current and past member, the contributors seem to come mostly from Europe and the US. I believe that the research on the history of VICE could be a project on it’s own. The ecosystem of information and knowledge that is accessible online is vast and feels organically grown. There are for example some hints of humor, ie the Hall of Shame (mostly the title of it) hinting to a richer social culture within the VICE developer community.

The first part of VICE was created in 1993 as an April Fool’s joke. The C64 emulator at the time was installed by Jarko Sonninen in fullscreen mode on various Sun workstations. (Höltgen, 2014)