Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Commodore C64 emulator - playing games using laptop keyboard

VICE is finally working on my laptop and games are playable without joystick - just with keyboard !
This seems to be pretty obvious, but I had hard time configuring it, plus I did not find any tutorial besides numerous posts from people complaining that it's not working.

First you have to download the emulator itself, for example from here. After installing it, download game disk images. Clicking on image file will start emulator and load game. You will also notice, that keyboard is not working at all ..... Let's configure joystick keyboard emulation ;)

First enable joystick emulation by opening Options menu and selecting "Allow Keyset Joystick":

Now configure joystick itself by choosing Settings ->  Joystick:

  • Joystick is connected to port two (#2) because most games expect it there.
  • Not all keys are set, because they are simply not required. There is no need for dedicated right-upper key, because you can just press two arrow keys, which is natural anyway.
  • Key-codes are taken from mac book directional keys, you can also provide any key codes. Just make sure that you are not using reserved keys like esc, space or enter.
  • In order to set key code first press key that you would like to assign, and than click on corresponding button. For example to assign fire button to key X, press X and than click on button marked as "Fire" on picture above
  • I've assigned X as fire, because you will need space, for example to throw grenades ;)


  1. Useful information shared. I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk through. I appreciate this post.
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  2. good blog and good nformation. If you're a gamer, you take your choice of keyboard seriously. When your keyboard doubles as your game controller, it's more than just a tool for typing.