It pays to revisit and scan the Bob Fabris collection once in a while. I'm currently scanning in the last box of material that I have in my garage. This box contains the cut and paste versions of the Arcadian newsletter. This box has been very low on the to-scan priority list, as (so I thought) everything in it was scanned already in another format. Well, I was mostly right. I have found a few neat tid-bits in the box so far: this is one of them.
Today, I added to letter to Bally Arcade/Astrocade venders that Bob Fabris wrote on January 1, 1983.
On December 30, 1982, Astrocade, Inc. declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Bob Fabris wrote this letter, hopefully of opportunity, to many of the vendors who wrote software and created hardware for the Astrocade. Bob hoped to be able to carry the thousands of Astrocade users through the coming drought brought on by the declaration of bankruptcy. This one-page letter describes Bobs ideas on how to do this for Astrocade owners and distributors.
You can read the letter here:
I OCRed this letter. Here is the complete letter (a few comments from me follow):
Well, Astrocade bit the dust Thursday, asking protection from creditors under the provisions of the infamous Chapter 11. The latest news report from Nitron is attached - they stopped trading on Friday "pending news", and there is a possibility they may drop as well - see your papers.
So where does that leave us? Well, of the various options, it seems to me that there is opportunity here for the third party vendors (TPV) to step in because the only game in town now is the TPV GROUP (pun intended). Only you fellows have material for the unit.
There are lots of owners out there, and they will either be
1) left in the lurch if the whole thing collapses never to be seen again.
2) left in a hesitancy period while a Receiver is chosen and restructuring of the 'new' Astrocade company is completed.
3) same as 2) until a new company buys out the assets and starts up.
Under any one of those three - or anything else, I would guess - there will be a void that can be filled by the T --- an opportunity to step forward and present wares to ... who?
Timing - the CES is right now, who's there? All those distributor guys who know where dealers are - the ones still in step. The best time/place to get in touch with outlets. It seems to me that a best-foot-forward approach to the distributors, etc., that will be there is the only thing to do. Dick Houser and I plan to function as your collective agent, essentially representing everyone in the Sourcebook. We will be pushing the Sourcebook to the distributors - whoever is left - with the message that we can be the bridge of available stock that can tide the dealers over until the reconstructed Arcade is back in production. This representation scheme is only temporary, to take advantage of the opportunity presenting itself. We've been noodling about in this area in a sort of wishy-washy way - now we can be definitive and make those contacts that are available.
Who else? Well there are thousands of machines in owners' hands and we can get at a few of them through advertising in the game publications. What have been the replies from the Electronic Games ad? This kind of advertising should be looked into as a possible on-going thing.
And also, we can make contact with 8 or 9000 owners that I have from mailing lists, for direct mailings. These are not subscribers, so they are not normally contacted. Also, I'm sure a number of them are no longer interested or owners. Anyway, a package of literature can be shipped to alert these people to TPV existence.
Game Production: The Alternative Engineering people are now geared up to produce cartridges for the Arcade unit, utilizing EPROMs. They will also handle distribution - contact them if you have a program that you would like to have prepared in the cartridge format-- certainly a better way to get a program into a machine than tape, and there's more capacity.
To me, this letter exemplifies the ways in which the Astrocade community pulled together to keep software and hardware available for users of the, soon-to-be, defunct Astrocade game console/computer system.