MattPilz Posted August 20, 2021 Share Posted August 20, 2021 (edited) I first learned of Bally last year while searching Z80-related podcasts and stumbled across Bally Alley Astrocast. Despite being a longtime enthusiast of 70s-80s computers and consoles, I had never heard of it. That sent me down the rabbit hole of discovering the wealth of materials archived and preserved online, a feat that tops any other obscure system that I'm aware of (Bally Alley even got a special shout-out in a recent Archive.org special with John Carmack). It was fun reading the original home-grown newsletters and advertisements as well as more of the sporadic and mostly forgotten history of this console. Recently I got a working physical device and couldn't be any happier with it! The technical specs are very impressive compared to anything from that era, even in comparison to some home computers made half a decade later. I say that as a fan of the equally obscure Mattel Aquarius from 1983, which lacks almost every feature and capability already seen with the 1978 Bally. In particular I'm astonished with how versatile Bally BASIC is despite the unusual way of coding for it using the calculator keypad. To be able to interface with the uniquely awesome controllers (rotation, trigger, direction), graphics and multi-voice sound all from integrated BASIC syntax makes it a powerful platform for fast development. By contrast, Aquarius BASIC (which is fixed to 80x72 draw resolution, no GPU and a static character ROM) does not include any commands to interface with the multi-voice sound chip or controllers without using machine language POKE/PEEK. I am only just starting on game discovery. I will say I had a blast playing the integrated Gunfight game and even my mom enjoyed a few rounds, one of the first times she played a game since Stampede of the 2600 era. The graphics and sound really excel beyond what I would've expected for a system of this age. I have also enjoyed playing The Incredible Wizard, which I understand is one of the stand-out titles of the system. Anyway I just wanted to introduce myself and thank everyone who has helped to keep this platform alive! Edited August 20, 2021 by MattPilz 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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