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Finally dug out my Astrocades.


simbalion
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Today I finally dug out my two Astrocades. One has the Bally label and the other one has an Astrovision label on it. The first one still works perfect and looks great on the little RCA Colortrack TV I just bought for $10 today. The second one works pretty good as well, but it initially comes up garbage on the screen and I have to hit Reset. After that, it works fine. I think it was always that way and I can live with that as long as it doesn't get worse. Now, I need to find some more games. I only have 8 carts, counting my Bally Basic and I know more were made. Also, I need to find a place that sells stick on, rubber feet as each unit has one foot left and I want to get those air vents higher for better breathing!

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Today I finally dug out my two Astrocades. One has the Bally label and the other one has an Astrovision label on it. The first one still works perfect and looks great on the little RCA Colortrack TV I just bought for $10 today. The second one works pretty good as well, but it initially comes up garbage on the screen and I have to hit Reset. After that, it works fine. I think it was always that way and I can live with that as long as it doesn't get worse. Now, I need to find some more games. I only have 8 carts, counting my Bally Basic and I know more were made. Also, I need to find a place that sells stick on, rubber feet as each unit has one foot left and I want to get those air vents higher for better breathing!

 

I "think" I found feet that were almost an exact replacement, I want to say "Radio Shack" but it could also have been "Home Depot" for all I remember. Try searching online and see what comes up.

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The second [Astrocade] works pretty good as well, but it initially comes up garbage on the screen and I have to hit Reset. After that, it works fine.

 

Most of my Astrocades, past and present, have come up with garbage when they first get turned on. This is actually normal. I think the Astrocade manuals even mention this. Also, at least one game I can think of, ICBM Attack, comes up with a black screen. You have to hit Reset for the game to come up with the title screen. This is normal for the game, and it also functions this way under emulation.

 

Now that you've got an Astrocade up and running (and handy), why not stop by and play some Astrocade games in the Astrocade High Score Club.

 

Adam

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Ok, first off.. I sort of ruined my birthday gift for this year. I placed a want ad on CL to try and find some more Astrocade carts and mentioned it to my mom while I was talking to her earlier today. She suddenly asked that I take the ad down immediately! I was a bit baffled, but I did and soon found out why. Turned out she had been slowly gathering up Bally Astrocade carts for me over the past five years and was going to give them to me as a birthday gift this year. Well, happy early birthday to me now. I now have 25 Astrocade carts, including three complete in box. The current state of the collection is now those, some manuals, including the owners manual, two working systems with two working controllers each. Not bad. I also have a spare power supply put away somewhere...

By the way, the manual does indeed mention the screen garbage issue and my main machine did that once today. I like the fact you can 'hot swap' the carts in this system as that saves on having to power it up and down, which in turn saves on the components.

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Here's one of my Astrocades set up for play.

 

Cool picture! I really dig that TV-- and the fact that you have the three sealed Astrocade cartridges set out near the console. Hopefully, you have an opened version of Pirate's Chase around someplace and a friend. Pirate's Chase is a really fun game when played with someone else (it pales in comparison when played alone). The graphics are quite primitive-- but the gameplay is great-- and with two players it's really quite competitive. Electronic Games reviewed Pirate's Chase in the November 1982 issue:

 

http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/Pirates%20Chase/Pirate%27s%20Chase%20%28Electronic%20Games%29%28Review%29%28Nov%201982%29.pdf

 

Tonight my friend is coming over and we're going to work on-- I think-- episode 1 of the Bally Alley Astrocast (we recorded episode 0 back in October). If we don't record tonight, then we'll at least get some work done toward it. I think I'll have to request that we play Pirate's Chase.

 

Adam

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Actually, all the games are opened. They were open when I got them, but the boxes are in decent shape. :)

Oh, the 'table' my Bally is sitting on is actually a complete, 1949 RCA TA-129 radio/phono/TV combination.

 

Edit: The Sea Wolf/Missile cart is still sealed. Luckily, I have a loose Sea Wolf/Barrage cart to play. ;)

Edited by simbalion
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the 'table' my Bally is sitting on is actually a complete, 1949 RCA TA-129 radio/phono/TV combination.

Does that TV work?!? If it did, would there be a way to hook a videogame up to it?

 

Back in the early 80s my Atari 2600 was hooked up to a B&W TV. I remember that playing my own games on someone else's color TV was always a treat.

 

The Sea Wolf/Missile cart is still sealed. Luckily, I have a loose Sea Wolf/Barrage cart to play. ;)

 

Sadly, "Sea Wolf" is a rather boring cartridge. It's from among the first crop of Bally Arcade games (it's only 2K). I had more fun creating a partial disassembly of the game then I did actually playing it. You can view the disassembly of "Sea Wolf" here:

 

http://www.ballyalley.com/ml/ml_source/Seawolf.asm

 

The disassembly is pretty rough-- but, then again, so is the game.

 

Adam

 

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Yeah.. Sea Wolf is one of those arcade conversions that just doesn't work on any system. Nothing beats the actual Sea Wolf cab! But, since I can't find anyone to repair the boards in mine, the conversion will have to do for now. The RCA is still barn fresh, so isn't working. It would be very possible to run a game system through it as long as the tuner is ok. I have a 1947 GE tv that my late friend restored, but we had to bypass the tuner with an AV hook up.

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Sea Wolf is a good game but it's kind of pointless without a second player to compete against. That actually describes several of the earlier Bally games.

I agree that Pirate's Chase is a really good game as well, kind of a sleeper title. It makes me think of Solar Fox, and I like that there are "levels;" the background color changes when you cycle through all the treasures (but only twice, first to green, then to black), giving a game a little bit of a deeper feeling, like you're getting somewhere in it.

A game I've actually been playing a lot of lately is Star Battle. I thought it was kind of weird at first but it grew on me in a hurry. Even though it's kind of an anticlimactic game, it's fun to play, and it feels like it could have been the basis of a more advanced space shooter--rather than being a duel, it could have been your X-Wing versus waves of multiple TIE fighters of ever-increasing difficulty. Even as is, I like the core gameplay.

Edited by BassGuitari
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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, first off.. I sort of ruined my birthday gift for this year. I placed a want ad on CL to try and find some more Astrocade carts and mentioned it to my mom while I was talking to her earlier today. She suddenly asked that I take the ad down immediately! I was a bit baffled, but I did and soon found out why. Turned out she had been slowly gathering up Bally Astrocade carts for me over the past five years and was going to give them to me as a birthday gift this year. Well, happy early birthday to me now.

 

Just had to drop in and comment here... this is simply incredible for a number of reasons: 1) your mom buying you video games, 2) your mom knowing what an Astrocade is, and 3) your mom acquiring and keeping them over a 5 year time span! wth??? Your mom is awesome!

 

I think the last game my mom got for me was Life Force on NES!

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