Bally Pin (later called Astrocade Pinball) is the main game for Round 7 of the Astrocade High Score Club. I'll be out of town when a two-week round would normally end, so this round will last an extra week. It's either that, or make the round a week shorter (which I don't want to do). For this reason, Round 7 will last three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, May 22'nd at 8pm MST.
"It has everything except a slot to collect your quarters! Thumper bumpers! Kicker targets! Drop targets! Realistic flipper action! They'll even catch the ball and roll it back and forth to give you the direction you want! Two different playing fields create the impression of having two pinball machines in one. Up to 4 players."
I refer to this game as Bally Pin (since the game's name was not renamed on the re-released Astrocade Pinball). Bally Pin is a 4K game, originally released in 1979, by Bally. This game was programmed by Bob Ogden and Scot L. Norris (who provided sound effects, as he did for many of Bally's game cartridges).
The Bally Pin cartridge ROM image (called "ballybin.bin") is part of this archive:
One hint: when I played Bally Pin under emulation, I setup the left and right Shift keys to be the flippers (I had to turn off "Sticky keys" under Windows, as it activates if you press shift five times in a row).
The Astrocade version of the "Bally Pin" manual is here:
The Bally version of the "Bally Pin" manual is here:
Here is a video review of "Bally Pin" by "Nice and Games:"
Bill Kunkel's and Arnie Katz's "Arcade Alley" department in Video magazine has a column called Astrovision's Rising Star in the May 1982 issue. There is a short review of Bally Pin in the article. I've extracted it here:
"Bally Pin (Astrovision/3005) waited in limbo for some time before seeing the light of day. Its year or more of obscurity proved undeserved. This is absolutely the best video-game pinball simulation ever offered for any programmable home system. It clearly shows Bally's expertise in the pinball area. It had to be first class all the way to maintain Bally's reputation, and is.
"Designer Bob Ogdon responded to the challenge with a dual-playfield masterpiece that captures all the sights, sounds, and spirit of genuine flipper-game play. Using a pair of the Professional Arcade's excellent pistol-grip command units, players can effectively control left- and right-side flippers individually. Both of the electronic tables use the same flipper arrangement. Each has a pair of bats at the center of the bottom of the screen, with single flippers guarding two extra drains located along the lower edge of the field to the left and right of the central pair.
"The trimmings should be familiar to those who occasionally forsake the delights of Pac-Man and Defender for coin-op pinball machines. The highlights include back bumpers, thumper bumpers, drop targets, a spinner, and virtually everything else you'd expect except a flashing back-plate.
"Orchestrating ball movement is perhaps the hardest part of pinball to translate to the video screen. Bill Budge, who created the best-selling Apple II program Raster Blaster, worked out the ball dynamics mathematically, determining the effect of gravity and other physical laws on the trajectory of a wildly bouncing metal sphere. Bob Ogdon has done virtually as well here, infusing his creation with a feeling of realism that is generally absent in video pin contests.
"Field number one in Bally Pin is a colorful explosion of white, red, and yellow. The second table is equally vibrant, though many will find its more soothing dark field easier on the eyes. Drop targets and bumpers are placed a little differently in each version, though they are the same overall.
"Standard pinball strategy definitely applies, so gaining optimal control over flipper movement is the top priority. The flippers can be held in the up position indefinitely, permitting the arcader to trap the ball for a few seconds while deciding which part of the field should be its next destination. Having the player hold one controller in each hand is this game's most significant innovation. It provides a sensation unlike anything else in video-gaming while faithfully reproducing the necessary pinball ambience."
The full article can be read here:
Bally Pin play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are:
Unlike many Bally games, Bally Pin has no play settings. As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). You can earn up to 5 points for playing the first table ("Bally Pin I") and 5 more points for playing the second table ("Bally Pin II").
"Bally Pin" Bonus Points
I couldn't think of many ways to earn bonus points for Bally Pin. Keeping track of how many points you score for your first ball seems most obvious, but it seems hard to keep track of this score during the game. If you have any other ideas for bonus points for this game, then let me know. Currently, there are two ways to score bonus points (neither is easy) for Bally Pin:
1) Bally Pin I - Beat 320,430 points - Don Gladden scored 320,430 points on "Bally Pin I" (ARCADIAN 6, no. 3 (Jan. 27, 1984): 23.) Beat Don's score.
2) Bally Pin II - Beat 336,700 points - Stan Kendall scored 336,700 points on "Bally Pin II" (ARCADIAN 6, no. 2 (Dec. 22, 1983): 14.) Beat Stan's score.
"Avalanche!" (BASIC Bonus Game)
Paul did such a great job choosing Candy Man for the last round (that was fun game!). I figured it was worth asking him privately for a suggestion for this round's BASIC bonus game. He replied to me by saying, "Avalanche! by Steve Walters came to mind. It's kind of like a strategy Pachinko game--pretty unique. I don't have time to try it again tonight, but maybe it will suit you." Well, I tried the game this evening. The game isn't fast (it's not meant to be), but it seems to provide what I like best about Bally BASIC programs: it is a game for the Astrocade that probably never would have been created if Steve Walters didn't (I surmise) have some interest in the game pachinko.
I don't quite get the scoring in Avalanche!... but we'll work it out during the round (I hope).
There are some very brief instructions for the game from an ad in Summer 1982 Sourcebook: "Avalanche! - Try to drop a ball in the top without making any balls fall past the levers to the bottom. After a few turns, someone will cause an avalanche! For 1 to 4 players."
Avalanche! Bonus Points
1) Playing Avalanche! - You get a bonus point just for playing Avalanche!
2) Avalanche! High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game.
3) Video of Avalanche! - To continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Avalanche! containing a full game, plus the game's loading screen.
4) Avalanche! Play Instructions - The person who explains how the rules for this game work will receive a bonus point. This is a competition of sorts. If more than one person explains the rules, then the winner will be whoever writes the rules up best (in my opinion).
Sorry that I don't have more information to provide for Avalanche! (hopefully someone can help out here).
Please post all of your scores for both games here. Scores posted on the Bally Alley discussion group will no longer be accepted. If you post a video score, then please note the score obtained in the video-- as this makes it easier for me to keep track of all the scores.
Enjoy playing Bally Pin and discovering Avalanche!