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Keyboard/Cart Port Cover and Unmarked Controllers?


BassGuitari
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I bought a Bally system a couple of weeks ago that turned out to include some unusual (I think) items that I'm hoping some Bally experts might be able to shed some light on. 🙂

 

Firstly, there is an acrylic plate that fits over the front of the console, over the keyboard/cartridge port area. I don't think I've heard of this before, and I didn't have any luck finding any references to it when I went to research. I wondered if it might be homemade, but it fits the front panel of the console *perfectly* and seems too well-finished.

 

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The system also came with a boxed (and apparently very lightly used, if ever used at all) set of #3 and #4 controllers. While these aren't unusual in and of themselves, I noticed that they lack any of the "Bally" markings typically embossed on the sides of the controller above the grip and on the plug. In fact, they lack any markings at all, having only blank flat surfaces where the Bally logos would normally have gone. (Note that the plugs lack any kind of grip texture, as well.) I've never seen these before either, but I assume they must have been produced by Astrocade Inc? 

 

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Any info is appreciated! 🙂

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The keyboard/cart cover is home made. Contemporary pictures of the system have never shown such a cover. Additionally,  I doubt (difficult to tell from the pics) the keyboard cover has the same smoked-plexiglass color as the game-holder on the back of the system. The controllers without "bally" are likely from when AstroVision acquired the rights to it, and needed to remove the Bally trademark. 

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1 hour ago, CapitanClassic said:

The keyboard/cart cover is home made. Contemporary pictures of the system have never shown such a cover. Additionally,  I doubt (difficult to tell from the pics) the keyboard cover has the same smoked-plexiglass color as the game-holder on the back of the system. The controllers without "bally" are likely from when AstroVision acquired the rights to it, and needed to remove the Bally trademark. 

Completely agree with your assessments; the Astrocade controllers were no longer labelled "Bally" at some point, most likely a change was made to the controller mold.  At what point they were introduced is unclear, as we know Astrovision and then Astrocade sold the remaining stock acquired in the purchase from Bally before changing over to the Astrocade - The Professional Arcade branded systems.  

 

The 4 Astrocade branded consoles I own have the blank control handles. 

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22 minutes ago, CapitanClassic said:

The keyboard/cart cover is home made. Contemporary pictures of the system have never shown such a cover. Additionally,  I doubt (difficult to tell from the pics) the keyboard cover has the same smoked-plexiglass color as the game-holder on the back of the system. The controllers without "bally" are likely from when AstroVision acquired the rights to it, and needed to remove the Bally trademark. 

That's correct, it doesn't. It's just clear.

 

I suspected it might be home made. I've never seen or heard of it, either. Whoever made it did a very nice job of it, though. The edges are very clean, straight, and well-finished. And it fits perfectly!

 

43 minutes ago, CapitanClassic said:

The controllers without "bally" are likely from when AstroVision acquired the rights to it, and needed to remove the Bally trademark. 

That's what I figured as well. Of course Astrovision/Astrocade changed their boxes, manuals, and cartridge labels to phase out "Bally" labeling, but I didn't know they went so far as to change the molding on new controllers. For some reason I thought they just sold old Bally-produced controllers in Astrovision boxes.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/21/2022 at 2:15 PM, BassGuitari said:

That's what I figured as well. Of course Astrovision/Astrocade changed their boxes, manuals, and cartridge labels to phase out "Bally" labeling, but I didn't know they went so far as to change the molding on new controllers. For some reason I thought they just sold old Bally-produced controllers in Astrovision boxes.

I had read somewhere a while back that Astrovision/Astrocade was permitted to use the Bally name for one year as part of the deal with Bally. So the same reason why you see Astrocade game boxes with stickers across the top replacing the Bally references is the reason why the latter-produced controllers omitted the Bally branding.

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24 minutes ago, sixersfan105 said:

I had read somewhere a while back that Astrovision/Astrocade was permitted to use the Bally name for one year as part of the deal with Bally. So the same reason why you see Astrocade game boxes with stickers across the top replacing the Bally references is the reason why the latter-produced controllers omitted the Bally branding.

Well really, it's because Astrovision wanted to save money and use existing stock 😉  I doubt the box sticker had anything to do with the license agreement but boxes cost money and they wanted to use up the existing inventory 😁

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4 hours ago, 128Kgames said:

I doubt the box sticker had anything to do with the license agreement but boxes cost money and they wanted to use up the existing inventory

Wouldn't it make sense for it to have been directly tied to the licensing deal? After the clock ran out on Astrovision's right to use the Bally name, they had to rebrand the console and cover up all Bally references, including on the boxes. Though that was certainly a very, very tacky decision imo. The stickers look awful on the front of the game boxes in particular. 

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20 minutes ago, sixersfan105 said:

Wouldn't it make sense for it to have been directly tied to the licensing deal? After the clock ran out on Astrovision's right to use the Bally name, they had to rebrand the console and cover up all Bally references, including on the boxes. Though that was certainly a very, very tacky decision imo. The stickers look awful on the front of the game boxes in particular. 

The fact that Astrovision then Astrocade basically went and threw whatever stock they had in a box to get it out the door lends more to someone saying let's print some stickers and slap them on the Incredible Wizard boxes to get some cash rolling in! Hence why we've seen so many console variations in the wrong box, wrong labels and wrong controllers just thrown together at times, and I'm confident they went out the door that way.  Not to mention where things went sideways when they went bankrupt 🤣  But these are all hypotheses on our parts, the history after Bally is so crazy its not even funny.

Edited by 128Kgames
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Some of the cartridge packaging itself had to be changed as well, of course. Astrovision evidently didn't get the rights to retain the titles of Midway arcade games as part of the deal, even though three had already been translated for the system back when Bally still owned it. Galaxian became Galactic Invasion, Space Zap became Space Fortress, and Wizard of Wor became (as mentioned) The Incredible Wizard. What's strange is that the BPA version of Space Invaders was renamed Astro Battle, even though it came out in 1978, a few years before the sale to Astrovision.

 

 

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