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Hot-Swapping Carts to Cheat!


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While reading back issues of Astrocade newsletters, or files from my extensive collection, I'll often come across interesting articles and tid-bits that I think others would find fun or interesting. I'm going to start posting them here on AtariAge when I find them.


Most Astrocade users are aware that the Bally Arcade/Astrocade system does not have to be turned off when switching cartridges. Just take the cart out that your done playing, insert another cart and press Reset. Pow! You're in business playing a new game and there was no need to reach around to the back of the system, find the power switch, and fiddle with it.


Back in 1982, a method was devised and published in the "Arcadian" that allowed many tricks to be done while hot-swapping cartridges. There is an article about the most common use of this trick here:




I'm quite familiar with the above trick, and I've even done it myself. It's pretty neat. I was rather surprised a few weeks ago when I ran across this clever trick to swap carts WITHOUT resetting the system. I've not tried this yet, but I think that you'll find the following short article quite neat-- and I've love to hear from anybody who tries this method.


"Cartridge Swapping"
"Niagara BUG Bulletin," vol. 2, no. 2 (1983)
By Kevin O'Neill

The first episode to an interesting sidelight. The menu sequence for the selection of game parameters in the cartridge games is the perfect opportunity to swap carts. The following are little "tricks" that I've discovered that get some interesting results.

Play "Incredible Wizard" and write down your score. Now, without resetting, put in the "Blast Droids" cart. From the menu, pick Blast Droids, Training sector. Swap to "Incredible Wizard," now choose 2 players, and the rest of the options as requested, and needed. Now, when the game begins, you should be starting with the score as you last left the game. But with a full supply of men! Hacking does have its rewards, folks!

For a neat little "glitch", put in "The Incredible Wizard," choose whatever options you wish, up until it asks "# of players?" then swap carts to "Astro Battle." And choose whatever # you wish. The color will be distorted. And the play level is (I think) equivalent to four.

If you put in the "Muncher" cart and choose (from the menu) Muncher, then at the prompt for "# of players?" swap carts to "Ms. Candyman." Enter whatever you wish. Then respond to the next few prompts any way you wish. As the game begins, you should see the full roll-call of monsters in a row near the bottom of the screen. Also, the monsters will tend to stray from the checkerboard movement layout.


If you know of or find a useful or interesting "glitch". Tell us, and we'll print it.


(As far as I can tell, no other mention of this trick was made in the same newsletter, or anywhere else for that matter.)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Huh, I never would have thought to try something like that. I always wonder how people figure out these elaborate "cheats."

Like some of those "hacks"/"cheats"/glitch exploitations in Super Mario Bros.; there's no way some of those were found out by pure accident.

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