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The many faces of Bally Arcade and Astrocade: a gallery of styles and colors.


Gunstar
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22 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

[Here are some pictures of Bally Arcade/Astrocade] Base systems [and] Unreleased/prototype/custom computer systems with keyboard and expanded memory

 

This is a great idea for a thread!  Here are some pictures of the various versions of the Viper/ZGRASS.

 

This version of the Viper was released (the Viper keyboard is extremely rare!):

 

Viper_grayscale_vol-4.thumb.jpg.bf9f342962542ffe2e27b6452634b03f.jpg

 

Here is a color picture of that same keyboard:

 

1032433958_ViperKeyboard(Top).thumb.jpg.b695f8749993d1c607096cdd7f57329f.jpg

Here is a version of the Viper that was never released.  Notice it has two 5 1/4" disk drives!

 

294341231_VIPERSystem(Glossy)(ARCADIAN5no12October241983pg174).thumb.jpg.1bac5ae01312b876d74168c959827d64.jpg

 

These pictures are from here:

 

https://ballyalley.com/pics/hardware_pics/viper/viper.html

 

I probably have some pictures of weird Astroade systems that I've never posted to BallyAlley.com.

 

Perhaps this thread will spur some folks here to share pictures of their personal Bally Arcade/Astroade setups.

 

Adam

 

 

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The disk drives would have been nice...but, luckily, the Bally has about the fastest transfer rate of any 8-bit computer & data recorder. (well, with the 2000 baud BASIC). The only other I know of as fast is the TRS-80 Coco line. I'm not sure how fast the Adam turbo tape decks were though, I'll have to look into that. But just for a frame of reference, The Bally & Coco's can load tapes about 3 times as fast as the Commodore 64's stock 1541 disk drive can! (the slowest 8-bit drive ever)

 

I upgraded my Atari tape decks years ago and I can load tapes at 2000 baud on them too now (original speed was 600 baud). So my Coco 2, Bally Arcade Computer and my Atari 800&1200XL all can load tapes at 2K baud. Of course my Atari disk drives are also upgraded from the original 19K baud to 57K baud.

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18 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

the Bally has about the fastest transfer rate of any 8-bit computer & data recorder.  [...] I'm not sure how fast the Adam turbo tape decks were though

 

The Astrocade's 2000-baud tapes also seem fast because they're only loading 1.8K of RAM unless the user has a RAM expansion (which were quite rare).  The Adam's Digital Data Packs are probably the fastest of the 8-bit computers; they're an amazing 19.2K baud!  In around 1984, my buddy had a Coleco Adam and I had a Commodore 64.  His Adam computer could load software faster than my Commodore 1541 disk drive.  Of course, my disk drive was not a serial device; it had random access to jump to any area of the disk "instantly."  Although, I seem to recall that the Adam's tapes could store a directory of sorts called the catalog.  I think you could automatically load a program... but I don't remember how it worked.  I think that the tape player fast-forwarded (quite loudly!) to the tape and then loaded it as normal.  Ah, this makes me sort of miss tape drives...

 

Adam

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That is an incredible speed for tape. That's as fast as a stock Atari disk drive!

 

I intend to get an Adam one day myself. I had it, the C64 and the TRS-80 Coco on my alert list on ebay, and fair priced ones on my watch list. Waiting on a real deal and not the outrageous prices that are the norm, and the Coco 2 I have now was the first one I was offered a good discount out of them all, so it's the one I bought first. I'll still get a C64 and Adam hopefully one day, and I'll be satisfied with my 8-bit collection/selection with them and the 3 different brands I own now (including the Bally Arcade Computer, Atari 8-bits and the Coco 2). I'll have 2 6502 machines, 2 Z80 machines and one 6809 machine.

 

The Bally will be the only one without a disk drive (assuming I can get my hands on the rare Adam drive too), but then I only need to be able to save and load my own BASIC programs on it. I have the UltiMulti for most everything else, and a eprom cart. I have an eprom burner on my Atari that is quite capable of burning roms for any system that can use 27xx(x) series eproms from 2732-27512, for putting my own machine programs on rom.

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Well, it might be a great idea for a thread, but we need more images of Bally/Astrocade machines that are different that what the two of us have already shown. Unless the thread just carries on discussing the differences in the machines in the image posted already. But the point of the thread was just to show that there are quite a few major and minor variations to the Bally/Astrocade as I had no idea until I got one and started investigating them and coming across photos and ads for them. So I figured this might be true for other Bally/Astrocade owner or other just interested in seeing the variations too.

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The version that interests me the most, mainly because I've seen no more images of this model outside of the ad, is the one in the very top image I posted, that shows the Bally with a gold/silver colored inlay and trim on the Bally's "fins" to either side of the face where the keypad and cart port are, as well as the brown/woodgrain (can't tell from picture) surrounding the keypad and cart port. All other Woodgrain versions have black in those areas. I'm curious to know if Montgomery Ward ever sold it with that styling, or if that was some pre-production proto type and they decided to stay with the normal Bally Arcade colors of the Woodgrain models.

 

This ad is from a Montgomery Wards Christmas catalog and if you look closely at the picture there is a Montgomery Wards imprint on the tinted compartment cover like on my Montgomery Ward model Bally professional Arcade.

 

2049865566_GoldBrownFaceWoodgrainBally.jpg.075e242e34293b94fdc383986a02c4ad.thumb.jpg.f3df8cbb3724e98dd8773f4fbd06471f.jpg

Edited by Gunstar
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1 hour ago, Gunstar said:

The Bally will be the only one without a disk drive (assuming I can get my hands on the rare Adam drive too), but then I only need to be able to save and load my own BASIC programs on it.

 

The Bally never had a disk drive available for it.  I guess it sort of had one, if you count the UV-1 computer, but that only uses the Bally Arcade's custom chips.  The UV-1 was very expensive and not truly related to the Bally computer.  Here is a price list for the UV-1 computer:

 

https://ballyalley.com/documentation/zgrass/Price_List_Revised/Datamax_UV-1R_Price_List_Jan_15_1983_Revised.pdf

 

Notice, that before the price dropped, in 1983, you could pay $10,000 (yeah, you read that right: ten-thousand dollars) for a complete system.  The systems did sell and were sold for special applications, but they're so rare that the ROMs in them have not been dumped, and thus you can't even emulate a UV-1 computer, which ran Z-GRASS as its native language.  In my eyes, I think of the UV-1 computer circa 1983 as an Amiga with a Video Toaster, circa 1990 or so.

 

The beauty of the using tape drives is that many of the 8-bit computers used standard tape drives, so you can just substitute WAV files for a "tape."

 

Adam

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46 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

The version that interests me the most [...] shows the Bally with a gold/silver colored inlay and trim on the Bally's "fins" to either side of the face where the keypad and cart port are, as well as the brown/woodgrain (can't tell from picture) surrounding the keypad and cart port. All other Woodgrain versions have black in those areas.

 

I think that ad is a trick of the light.  I used to own the Bally Home Library Computer and other early versions of the Bally Arcade.  None had the woodgrain that you're describing.  I did have the one with the red "Insert Cassette" (meaning "Insert Cartridge" area).   Stupidly, I threw that system away in around 1994 because it was dead.  Little did I know that only about 5,000 of those consoles were made.  Also, I never thought of the Bally as having "fins" but I love that term!

 

I'm going to point the groups.io Astrocade discussion group to this thread to see if anyone posts some pictures of their own systems.  Maybe tomorrow, or over the next few days, I'll see what weird pictures of people's systems I can find that were sent to Bob Fabris (the publisher of the "The Arcadian" newsletter) in the early 1980s.

 

Adam

 


 

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If it only looked brown/woodgrain around the keypad/cart port area, or, the insides of the angle area (triangle case area that are like "fins/wings" ) on either side of the plate only looked metallic (I think a light gold) ,one or the other, I might agree with your trick-of-the-light theory, but since the faceplate is brown AND the angled area of the case are both different colors, being a photographer and artist, and having an eye for these things, I have to disagree to the trick of light theory.

 

If you look close (click on the image to get the slide show mode and then click on it again for a separate page of the image and zoom in), you can also see that there is an area around what looks to be brown/woodgrain on the face plate, also accented with the metallic color, "framing" the brown, which also rules out a trick of the light from a light reflection to just the inside angle/triangle part of the case, if it's a trick of the light, that outer metallic "framing" would look brown too, IMHO. Even the thin black strips that are normally to either side of the Gold trimmed edge appear metallic gold in the picture, again discounting any trick of the light.

 

 Maybe it was just never sold that way and it was an early variation that they didn't go with, but I'm sure in that picture it is color styled differently than any other Bally/Astrocade.

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This thread seems like the perfect place to add oddball pictures of hardware which I've scanned from the Bob Fabris Collection.  Here are three Polaroid pictures of the Viper.  I don't know anything about these pictures; they were just in one of the boxes that is in my collection now.  These appear to be pre-production versions of the Viper System 1 with 32K RAM.  These have not been added to BallyAlley.com, so I think this is the first time I've posted these photos anywhere.

 

Here is the keyboard and memory expansion:

 

947343559_ViperPhoto_03.thumb.jpg.ac4a6a73e298ac64e9143421812a4ffa.jpg

 

Here are two close-ups of the RAM expansion (check out the size of those caps!):

 

719637767_ViperPhoto_01.thumb.jpg.50a3ce32da568c6272b8009ec047e9c1.jpg

1277332148_ViperPhoto_02.thumb.jpg.407e11749f6da3a1f39034caf43deafc.jpg

A few times a week I'll try to look through my directory called "Astrocade\To_Upload\Pictures (Hardware)" to see what else I can add here.  If I don't post here for awhile, then please feel free to bump this thread to remind me to browse my collection.

 

Keep in mind that while I've never added these photos to the website, anyone has access to these, and many more that aren't on BallyAlley.com, from the large downloads on archive.org, which you can see here:

 

https://ballyalley.com/documentation/Archives/Archives.html

 

I hope people enjoy these unusual pictures.

 

Adam

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