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Video of Bally BASIC Demo Cartridge


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I have finally managed to get my Hauppauge! HD PVR (model 1212) to work correctly so that I could capture video from my Astrocade. As a test, I captured the Bally BASIC Demo cartridge in action. This is what the cartridge looks like:


The three-minute video of the cartridge running is on YouTube, here:

On real hardware, if you were to run the Bally BASIC Demo cart again, then it would be a little different because the video art sections of the demo are random. Neat, right?

Here's what Mike White wrote about this cartridge in the Bally-Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ:

Bally BASIC Demo By Bally Mfg. Corp. Functional Series 8K cart 1978.


This cartridge has a small (about 6") chain attached to the top-front. This cartridge was made in limited quantities and only distributed to dealers, as was also done with the Dealer Demo cartridge. This 8K cartridge (a rarity in the old days) is very hard to find, but has appeared on eBay. The first 4K is a "crippled" version of Bally BASIC that doesn't have access to the keypad or hand controllers- except #3: all the inputs are disabled. The remaining 4K of the cartridge is a program written in BASIC! This was in 1978, EIGHT YEARS before Basicarts appeared! This cartridge may have sometimes been accompanied by a 300 Baud Demo Interface. This cartridge might be #6003 (it fits there), but there is no proof of this part number assignment. (Arcadian 1, no. 6 (May. 4, 1979): 39-46.)


Back in 2001, Mike White sent me a print-out of the BASIC program that is contained on the Bally BASIC Demo cartridge:




For those that are curious, I captured this video from an Astrocade equipped only with RF-out. The RF-out was fed into my Ambery "Professional RF Coax To Composite Video Audio Demodulator TV Tuner For NTSC System" (model RFDM2). I highly recommend this clever device. You can buy it here:




I plugged the composite output of the Amberly demodulator into the Hauppauge! HD PVR model 1212 and captured the video as 720x480 at 30fps using Hauppauge! Capture. I then trimmed the M2TS video to its current length using the freely distributable Videopad by NCH. I exported the video (as an mp4) from Videopad, in the process trimming some of the overscan area that was originally captured. The final exported video is 640x480, and it looks pretty good considering that the video is plain RF and not true composite or S-Video.

As for this BASIC demonstration that someone may have seen running in stores in 1978/79, it only shows the most rudimentary features of BASIC. Realistically, what more could you expect in 1978?

Now that I've been able to capture video, maybe I'll learn how to make a video review. That's something that I've wanted to try doing for quite a few years. I've always wanted to review Bally BASIC with the tape interface and also review "AstroBASIC." Maybe I'll do that over the next few months.


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