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The Astrocade 512k bank-switching cartridge at 128kgames


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So cool, Michael! Long live the Astrocade.


The reality is, we really do have a working bank-switching board for the Astrocade. The Maxflash Flash cart and programmer exist, 4 boards were prototyped. They were originally configured with 256k of ROM when we first tested them, and now two have been fitted with 512k.


I setup a Google group (The 128k Project) and invited a bunch of users from the Bally Yahoo group to work on it. What everybody accomplished was just plain amazing.


The programmer and cart are from Steve Tucker, he modified his Maxflash software to program our board. Michael Garber (WAR, Crazy Climber) wrote a whole bunch of programs that run on it which were used to test the bank-switching.


The cart works. Michael also wrote some graphic demo programs which you can view at the bottom of the first page to show at a minimum just what kind of stuff can be done with this board.


Everything else is pure fantasy. But it doesn't have to be, and that was the point of me finally getting this out there. We could do games like I mocked up with this new board. If we incorporate any of the RAM expansions for the system we could do even more.


With the recent release of the Super Game Module for the ColecoVision and the upcoming XM module for the Atari 7800, I thought the time was right to get this info out there and see if we can't get more people interested.


There hasn't been too much progress recently due to many of us having other commitments and just plain daily life duties in general. I'd love for this project to turn into a group effort with people coming on board who just want to be part of something fantastic.


My goal originally was to fund and actually publish some incredible games for the system, which is something I still hope to accomplish. But we still have some obstacles to overcome, the least of which is getting the new board supported in Mess.


Ideally, it would be great to have our own dedicated Astrocade emulator, like so many other platforms have, with support for the board and expanded RAM in various configurations. This I believe would make it much easier for programmers to build and test their work.


I'd like to open up the entire project to everyone and make all the data and specifications available. I'm hoping to drum up interest in the community which might lead to some significant breakthroughs. I've also got two other domains with basic hosting options which could be used for a dedicated forum or additional file hosting (we're currently using one to host files for the cart).


In the meantime if anyone wants to have a look around at the files, you can access the site from here:


Bally/Astrocade Maxflash Files


If anyone is interested in reading up on the development process just send me an email and I'll add you to the Google group "The 128k Project" which details everything.



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Awesome!!! How soon will this be available? Will there be a 'bundle' to get the AtariMax Flash Programmer or does that need to be purchased separately?


You wouldn't need the programmer, its just what we use to program the cartridge boards. I just threw the picture up there cause it looked cool. You'd get a completed cart, just like any other Astrocade cart, with label, box etc.


The games at this time are just a dream, but that doesn't mean they can't be made a reality.


Now, as to how soon depends on how many people we can get interested in seeing this project get from where it is to where it should be. The list of things is many, the list of people is few.


I'm hoping people will see what this board can do and have an interest in the Astrocade to want this to happen. We need more programmers, we need people who know how to create a web site, setup a message board or forum, discuss what games to pursue and how to get them made. I'm talking carts, labels, instructions, boxes etc., all the things the other homebrew publishers are doing.


This would be a team effort, almost an open source type of production, a bunch of people who get together to make this happen. At the least, we'd get a bunch of really cool games out there for the Astrocade community.


If anyone likes they way this sounds and wants to become a part of this, please feel free to PM me.



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  • 2 years later...

Please feel free to look around at my vision for the future [of the bankswitched Astrocade cartridge]. Comments, criticisms and suggestions welcomed.


I just posted the following message concerning the Astrocade flashcart to the Bally Alley Yahoo Discussion group. Since the readers of that group and the general readers of the AtariAge forums are rather a different group of people, I figured that it couldn't hurt to "cross-post" this message.


Thanks to the kind permission of Michael Di Salvo, I have archived the Atarimax Maxflash Astrocade Cartridge website (formerly known as bally128k.com or "Bally/Astrocade Maxflash Files") to http://www.ballyalley.com. This website was previously for owners, users and developers of the prototype flash cartridge for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. Even though this cartridge has not been released (yet?), all of the documentation and programs have been archived for reference for anyone that is interested in knowing more about this project.


You can view the archived version of the flashcart site, here:




Note that all the programs on the site, the documentation and all of the other information is live. You can download it and read it all to discover what this fantastic project is all about. Note that all of the programs require the MaxFlash cart to use them properly.


Here is what Michael Di Salvo says about the public release of the documentation and programs for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade.


"Of course, feel free to add [the website to BallyAlley.com] as you see fit. Although technically its not 'defunct' in that its still online and I have never officially shelved plans for the flashcart. Same reason I've never asked everybody to mail them back to me as I still have hopes to one day do something with it.


"If you want to do a write up about it how it developed and stuff please feel free to do so. That way ten years down the road when someone posts on the yahoo group 'hey how come nobody every made a bank switched cart for the Astrocade' you can point them in the right direction.


You can visit Michael's current website that covers this bankswitched cart. His site is meant for end-users to see, rather than being directed to people who are working on the bankswitched cart project.




As Michael used to like to say in the early stages of the cartridge development, "128K. Your Life Will Never Be The Same." Now that the cartridge is actually 512K of bankswitched memory, Michael's' quote needs to be updated to something like, "512k. It's a Fat Arcade." I guess that might not make sense to many of you. It would only be funny for those that remember that the original 128K Apple Macintosh was called the "Fat Mac" when it had 512K installed into it. (Wow, it's amazing to think that ANY Mac shipped with just 128K of memory.)


Usually I don't post about the Astrocade in the AtariAge forums, so you might want to consider joining the Astrocade discussion group if you're quite interested in the Astrocade system of this project:




Enjoy the archived website. I've love to hear comments from anyone that browses through the information and files.

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