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Is the Bally Astrocade worth getting, or is it just a novelty?

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#26 BassGuitari OFFLINE  


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Posted Mon Dec 1, 2014 2:29 PM


Are you talking about cartridge labels?  Yeah, mine are discolored......some more than others.  Guess it is the glue they used back then to put the labels on.  I think it is pretty common on old cartridges of most any retro system, although my SCV carts don't really have that problem.

Yes, the labels. I ask because most of my labels for other systems are pretty clean (I'm kind of a freak about label condition), but the Astrocade ones really went south on me for some reason. Bally must have gotten their glue from the same people Activision did.  :-D

#27 Keatah OFFLINE  


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Posted Mon Dec 1, 2014 6:16 PM

I enjoyed the little time I spent with the Astrocade back in the day. I always found the system to be moody, dark, and serious - especially the sound. The image it output always seemed a tiny bit more noisy than other contemporary systems, and that just added to its appeal.

Most Astrocade reliability issues revolve around the amount of connections present, inadequate venting, and lax internal-to-the-chip ESD protection. With heat dissipation being the number one problem of course.

#28 iesposta OFFLINE  


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Posted Mon Dec 1, 2014 10:32 PM

Slightly OT, but does anyone else have issues with Astrocade cartridges having severe mottling, Actiplaque, and/or just falling off? I've got a couple dozen and they're pretty much all like that now, even ones that were still fairly clean when I got them five or six years ago.

Before & After:
Yes. I was making a tutorial on how to remove, clean, whiten Actiplaque, but it is not perfected yet. :D


#29 Keatah OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Dec 2, 2014 3:50 AM

That appears to be a good improvement. I bet with some refinement you can get it even a little better. I look forward to reading about this.

#30 jointfilms.com OFFLINE  


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Posted Thu Jan 5, 2017 1:50 AM

I remember one of my friends had this back in 1982-83. It was pretty fun console. I mainly remember playing Galaxian on it. I always thought the controllers were kinda cool. Funny thing I remember bring at his house when he received the basic cart in the mail. I guess when they bought it you got it free but had to send away for it. I just remember us messing with it a little and having to hold down buttons to type different letters assigned to same button, etc. Fun memories.

#31 Carl Mueller Jr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:23 AM


So the 2600 and O2 impress you but not the Astrocade?  Okayyyy  :?   I can tell you the Astrocade is easily on-par with the Intellivision; and it came out 2+ years prior!  Think of an arcade-style Intellivision, and you have the Astrocade.  It was basically the Neo-Geo of the late 70s.


I'd say it is worth getting an Astrocade because of it's great arcade style & obscure games.  The sound and graphics were great for it's time, as were the controllers.  Make sure you see screenshots of it working before buying one off ebay!  Or contact member kenzre here to see if he has any for sale.

I generally agree with this statement. The Astrocade is about on par with the Intellivision, despite being released two years earlier.
A couple of points, though. Although the Intellivision's background resolution is the same as the Astrocade, it does support double resolution (vertically) for its eight sprites, and much better color capability (although a smaller palette) than the Astrocade. It also has a 16 bit CPU, although it is slow.
I think any shortcomings that the Astrocade has in those departments are more than made up for by its sound chip and its bitmapped display, however. Not to mention more and potentially bigger "sprites" (done in software).
By the way, reading all these horror stories about the reliability of the machine, are there any mods that will increase the life of the Astrocade? Heatsinks, fans, etc.? Anyone willing to offer the service for me, for a price? ;-)

#32 128Kgames ONLINE  



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Posted Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:26 PM

By the way, reading all these horror stories about the reliability of the machine, are there any mods that will increase the life of the Astrocade? Heatsinks, fans, etc.? Anyone willing to offer the service for me, for a price? ;-)




Carl don't let the bogymen scare you: yes, there are Astrocades that are "problematic", but then again, so are there ColecoVisions, Adam computers, Vectrex consoles etc.  Not saying the whole half-assed RF shield didn't cause problems for users here or there, especially when a lot of us did in fact play ours on the carpet as kids (I mean who reads all that paperwork when they're a teen? Let's get to gaming!). 


Honestly though I have my three display consoles all of which work one of which is the original "Home Library Computer" which were probably the most problematic of the bunch, and I have no coolers, heat sinks or other such doohickeys in place (yes, doohickeys is a technical term). 


Not saying these things haven't helped people, but that old saying about if it ain't broke don't fix it seems to work for me when I found Astrocades that worked (and Pro Arcades, Computer Systems etc.). 


With the exception of an S-VIDEO adapter board in my Astrocade, all my systems are stock as they came from Bally/Astrovision. 


If you find a good one, just take care of it and you should be fine.  Just remember, everything fails, eventually.   :)

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