Jump to content

Top Ten Bally Astrocade Games


Recommended Posts

Back in 2006 I made a list of my favorite cartridge games and asked for others to reply as well. A couple of weeks ago I went ahead and found that list for someone that asked for a list of favorite games. I've added most of the comments and lists that other people made too. It's long, but a fun read. I hope that I can make a posting this long...


Top Ten Astrocade Games


(May 1, 2006)

By Adam Trionfo


There are FAR, FAR less games for the Astrocade than other consoles (if you dismiss the tape games). If you had to make a top ten list of CARTRIDGE titles, in order of preference, what would be your games of choice? Here is my list (with a BRIEF explanation as to why) :



1) Astro BASIC - It gives you access to SO much more software. Even if you never have programmed in your life, you can load other people's work and check it out.


2) Dogpatch - Super simple, yet fun. Too bad it is two-player only. I wish that I could play this well on the emulator with the mouse, but it just is unplayable. That seems to be the case with 'paddle' games for many emulators.


3) Space Fortress - Easy to learn. Hard to master. The Astrocade hand-controller works quite well with this.


4) Checkmate - With two players, this game is fun; with four human players it is fantastic.


5) Artillery Duel - Simple and silly. A one-player version of this would be boring. It is the look of anticipation as the bomb drops on your opponent that makes this great! Is the bomb going to hit or just barely miss? I could do without the introduction every time. It's cool once or twice, but it gets old quickly (and it's time consuming).


6) Ms. Candyman - A great semi-original game. If Muncher weren't just Pac-Man, then it would be here instead.


7) The Incredible Wizard - Another great game that is okay with one-player, but REALLY shines with two people. Stabbing people in the back is part of the fun of this game!


8 ) Galactic Invasion - This is Galaxian. It has great graphics for the Astrocade. Also it is FAR better than Astro Battle (aka, Space Invaders).


9) Treasure Cove - Fun. The idea of using the joystick button for speed adds to the game. Great, colorful graphics.


10) Life - This isn't a game, but I guess I like the pretty pictures? Really, sit down with the instructions for this and just try it out. You'll enjoy it (and may even learn something too). Leave your Astrocade (or emulator) on for awhile and check out what happens. I know, there are faster modern versions, but this version, to me, beats the crap out of modern versions that are finished in seconds. Also, I like that the colors fade away when they die.



Of the ten games I've listed, only two are original to this system (Ms. Candyman and Treasure Cove), the other eight have versions that can be played elsewhere. However, Dogpatch is superior to the arcade version and Life is better here than anywhere else. As for the other games, you can find better versions on other (later) systems or in the arcade. It's too bad that there weren't more original cartridge games. However, there was a TON of original BASIC software, and one of these days there ought to be a top ten list of THAT!


So, go ahead, send your lists, with explanations if you can. Many people intertwine favorite games with memories of them... so send those in too. When I get the time, I'll make an article with reader contributions for Ballyalley.com



People's comments follow:



Ben Bauer says:


Ok here is my shot at this...


1. BASIC - While I never would call myself a master at this. This was my first computer that I learned to program on. It was awesome in its day. I remember writing some program that made alternating boxes slightly larger then the last. Starting with several seed boxes located at different parts of the screen made some pretty interesting effects. Kind of like a simple scribble running by itself.


2. Football - It was amazing how the controller made this game more interesting. Nobody at the time had a joystick and knob controller working in the same game. Also there is a glitch on this game if you can get your 2 defensive men overlapping on the screen you could really make up some ground on the receivers. I used to play this with dad for hours.


3. Space Fortress - Truly addictive game play and better then the arcade version, Space Zap!


4. The Incredible Wizard - A game that was as good as the arcade. Truly impressive for it's day!


5. Galactic Invasion - Very intense for a home console machine in it's day. Just turn the skill level to 9 and keep up. There were probably more movement on this game then anything else in it's day.


6. Artillery Duel - What else can be said? This was a program that started off as a BASIC game and was released as a cartridge. That was very rare for a game to do. I believe this was also released on other computers but I think it was an original game for the old Bally.


7. Scribble - This was the inspiration for my start in programming!


8. Pirates Chase - About the last cartridge that I was able to get my hands on. While it might have lacked in graphics, the gameplay was extremely fun and fast for it's day! If I remember correctly I think this was billed as one of the fastest games in its day


9. Pinball - Absolutely without a doubt the best console version of Pinball in its day. The use of 2 controllers was absolute brilliance for its time.


10. 280 Zzzap/ dodgem - This was as good or better then the arcade versions!


Honorable mention goes to Munchman - while never officially released it was available and it kicked the doors off of the Atari version, no comparison. It was a shame that Bally was too scared to market it properly.



John Mezzacappa replied:


Nice list. However, released or not, I'd have to put Munchman way up there. I'd also have to have the Incredible Wizard at number one since it is the best adaptation of Wizard of Wor I have ever seen for any system.



Lance F. Squire wrote:


First, I'll not list BASIC [because] 1. it's not a game and 2. It's every game and anything else you could think-up in 1800bytes! :)


My List


1. Galactic Invasion - I never tire of playing this game, and love the way they loop and lean.


2. Bally Pin - Best pinball I played on any system until Alien Crush on the TG16!


3. Space Fortress - The game that convinced me I wanted a Bally! I had seen similar games on other systems (usually as a sub game to the main game), but only the Bally could keep-up with me. That is, It responded instantly to my commands and I KNEW it was ME that missed the shot, not the system lagging behind my commands.


4. Incredible Wizard - Loved it in the arcade! Unfortunately, never got it for the Bally till recently... :(


5. 280 Zzzap - AKA Night Driver. Again loved to play the arcade and Bally did this well. Back in the day Compucentre (HudsonsBay center Toronto) had a Bally Pro Arcade system and a Vic 20 set-up side by side and both playing this game. The Bally was way better!!!


6. Amazing maze - My brothers and I would try to beat each other through the mazes all the time! Much fun.


7. Muncher - Would have been much higher if I had gotten it in the day... Bally Really should have gotten this out ahead of Atari.


8. Clowns - Another game I loved to play in the arcades. Way better than the Atari Circus version.


9. Cosmic Raider - I like defender! And my ship doesn't disappear when I shoot! :P


10. Red Baron - My brothers and I would blast each other out of the sky for hours. Hiding in the clouds was fun! More fun was shooting the hiding plain out of the clouds! :)


Astro Battle (Space Invaders) would have made it to the list if it didn't start the invaders on the ground in the seventh wave! I SO want to fix that. (The game had other glitches, but that one just ruins the game!)


I've noticed that 'Pirate Chase' is 'Look out for the Bull' on a cart! Same game play different graphics and name.


Didn't know about that Football bug! Never played sports games much.





Paul Thacker wrote:


This discussion makes me realize that I haven't played enough cartridge games. I think I've at least started everything up in an emulator, but I definitely haven't really gotten a feel for everything. But with that noted, I'll see what I can do.


1. AstroBASIC / Bally BASIC. This is definitely the cartridge I've used the most. The possibilities are nearly infinite.


2. The Incredible Wizard. I was really drawn to this game when I first started playing with the system. With two players it's especially good.


3. Checkmate. Not exactly a cartridge [...]. This is crazy with four players.


4. Treasure Cove. Probably the best graphics of any game on the system, and a fun concept as well.


5. Pirate's Chase. Fun and fast paced.


6. Tornado Baseball / Tennis / Hockey / Handball. Good use of the paddles, and multiplayer support.


7. Ms. Candyman. An interesting take on the maze game genre, with great animations.


8. Artillery Duel. Best use of physics in an Astrocade game.


9. Sneaky Snake. A very competent Centipede clone.


10. Gunfight. This makes great use of the controller--move with the joystick and aim with the paddle.





Adam replied:


I like reading what other people have to say about favorite cartridges. This discussion group has 3000 messages and I don't remember this ever coming up before. I notice that a lot of the same games are popping up. I was surprised to see Football (and even more surprised to see that there is a bug in it).


So, is The Incredible Wizard better than ALL home versions of Wizard of Wor? I always thought that both the C64 and Atari 8-Bit versions were good. Is the Bally version closer to the arcade or something (of which I only have some experience from MAME).





John Mezzacappa replied:


I notice someone listed Life. I have a cartridge of that one and know it's quite rare. It is indeed pretty, but I'm surprised it made a top ten list given how many great games and applications were made for this system. I am also surprised to see Bally BASIC as it is not an actual game.



Adam Trionfo wrote:


John Mezzacappa wrote:


I notice someone listed Life. I have a cartridge of that one and know it's quite rare. It is indeed pretty, but I'm surprised it made a top ten list given how many great games and applications were made for this system.



I listed it because of its depth and how interesting I find it. It is also neat since the history of "Life" (the program) is talked about quite a bit in the books "Hackers." While it has been a very long time since I read that book, I found the description of way that the early programmers "played" Life interesting. There is a tape version of Life for the Astrocade by Jay Fenton, but I have not seen it. It is supposed to be faster-- but that isn't what I find interesting about Life.



I am also surprised to see Bally BASIC as it is not an actual game.



It is not. But it does give ACCESS to games, that's for sure! I noticed that every single person listed it. Also, if you base a game on how much fun that you get out of it, then BASIC proves to be a game for many people.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...