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  1. Season 2, Round 10 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 10pm MST. The main game is a prototype cartridge called Bowling. The BASIC bonus game is called Ten Pins by Esoterica. Bowling Bowling is a prototype game that first became available for purchase in 1985 or 1986 as a 4KB cartridge. Bowling, which was to be released by Astrocade Inc. in about 1982, was supposed to be part of the Sports Series. It would have been cartridge #3006. The programmer(s) of this game are unknown. Here is the cartridge's main menu: Here are three screenshots from Bowling: Here is what the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ (version 1.82) says about this game: "This cartridge, though never finished, is playable; it contains two games: "Regulation" and "Flash." It was created by Astrocade, Inc., but was never released. New Image released it in cartridge format in 1985 (between forty and fifty were made). Mike White owns the original prototype (the only one known to exist)." The Bowling cartridge ROM image (called "bowling.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/ROMs/astrocade_rom_collection.zip The prototype, Bowling, is a one-of-a-kind cartridge. Copies of it were made in the mid-80s until (probably) the early 2000s, therefore, it's possible, though not probable, to get your hands on an actual cartridge. If you don't have it, then it is included on, I think, every multicart that has been released for the Astrocade over the years. Bowling does require the knob, but it doesn't require precise control with it, so it should run okay using the MAME Astrocade emulator with proper setup. I suggest using an X-Box 360 controller for the knob, as this work well. In about 1981 or 1982, Astrocade, Inc. published a 34-page color game catalog of the cartridges available for the Bally Astrocade. The catalog was called "The Professional Arcade: More Games... More Fun... and More to Come..." Among the 28 cartridges showcased in the catalog, five were never released: Bowling, Creative Crayon, Conan the Barbarian, Music Maker, and Soccer. The catalog listing for Bowling looked like this: Here is the game description for Bowling from this catalog: "It's like actually being at the alley. The game has all of the action and sounds of the real thing. Direct your ball with as much hook as you want. Make strikes, spares-- but watch out for splits and gutter balls! Keeps score according to official rules. Try your hand at a perfect game! Can be played alone or by up to 4 players." In June of 1982, Bally released a press release for Bowling that looked like this: The pdf of the press release is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/press/Bowling_[Press_Release_06-06-1982].pdf I've OCRed the press release for Bowling. It says: "For Release June 6, 1982 --- "Astrocade unveils bowling video game cartridge at CES "CHICAGO-Astrocade, Inc. (formerly Astrovision, Inc.) unveiled its BOWLING video game cartridge at the Consumer Electronics Show here today. "BOWLING makes you feel like you're actually in a bowling alley. You can aim, control hooks, and watch the exciting pin action as the ball hits the pins with a bang. BOWLING keeps a running score on strikes, spares, and pins. "With a game variation called "flash bowling," you can also rack up bonus points by rolling over a moving dot, as in the popular commercial bowling machines. "BOWLING can be played only on the Astrocade home video game. It will be available this Fall at Astrocade dealers, priced at $29.95." Of course, since Bowling wasn't released, there is no official box. That didn't stop an enterprising go-getter with quite some artistic talent to create an "official" box for Bowling over on Hyperspin-fe.com. Thanks to "Avar" in the AtariAge forums, and member of the HyperSpin dev team, for sharing this picture with me (note, he didn't create it; I don't know who did). This is what the Bowling box may have looked like had it been released in 1982: I don't have a picture of the Bowling cartridge copy that was released by Michael White starting in the mid-80s. The cartridge's label was probably based on this screenshot that Michael printed to his printer (that was hooked-up to his Astrocade). I think that this label was probably originally printed in color: There is no manual for Bowling. Michael White did write some basic instructions for both versions of Bowling included on the cartridge ("regular" and "Flash"), I retyped these simple instructions back in 2001. Here they are: BOWLING Cartridge 1. Insert cartridge and press [RESET] 2. Choose #1 or #2 (from keypad or hand controller#1) 3. Set difficulty level (from keypad or hand controller#1) 4. Input number of players (1 to 4) Moving the joystick up or down positions the ball. Moving the joystick left or right aims the ball by moving the sight marker. The ball will roll straight towards (and over) it. Turning the knob puts a left hook on the ball (green marker below). The hook increases as the marker moves to the right. Sorry, there is no left hook for you left-handers. Pulling the trigger rolls the ball. Players use individual hand controls. FLASHING BOWLING works the same as FLASH-O-MATIC that can be seen on the coin-op "Shuffle-Alleys" found in bars and taverns. The "Flasher" gives strike and spare awards by its location. When the ball touches a pin the flash stops strobing. It does not resume on the second throw either (no DUAL FLASH). The highest scores are given by "freezing" the flasher at "dead center." The center of the alley gives 700 for a strike and 350 for a spare. If you can get any kind of score out of the upper three difficulties you are truly ready to BOWL FOR DOLLARS!! Even with Michael's directions, I'm not exactly how to keep track of this game's score, or even how close the prototype Bowling cartridge is to being complete. Here is a 30-second YouTube video (posted by "FunCade 64") that shows the basic gameplay of Bowling: Gameplay Options Bowling Options: Difficulty level: Intermediate Bowling (Scoring): Regular Bowling (Scoring) Up to eight points will be awarded for playing "Regular Bowling." We're playing for the highest score. A perfect game should be 300 points. Flash Bowling (Scoring) I don't understand "Flash Bowling," nor have I played the mechanical versions of this game (although, I think I have seen them before). For this reason, "Flash Bowling" is being treated as sort of a bonus game. If you play "Flash Bowling," then you get one point. If you play it correctly (however that gets done), then you'll earn two points. It's okay if one person explains how to play "Flash Bowling" and then we all pile on and play it correctly. Scoring Exception Since Bowling is a prototype, it may be that all functions of the game don't work properly (which may just add to the fun-- whoopee!). If we discover some issues with this game, or if it's just not fun, then I may change the scoring to make this round more enjoyable. Ten Pins This round's BASIC bonus game is a rather nice-looking, first-perspective bowling game called Ten Pins. The "AstroBASIC" version of Ten Pins was released by Esoterica on Tape 5 with Garbersville in 1982. Ten Pins is "an exciting game of bowling complete with hook ball, gutter balls, AMF style pinsetter and every spare situation found in real bowling." Here are a few pictures of Ten Pins: For this round's bonus game, I had originally picked Bowl by Edge Software. After trying it, I realized it is a two-player-only game. I needed to choose another game, so special thanks to Paul for recommending his favorite Astrocade BASIC pinball game, Ten Pins. The cassette tape that contains Ten Pins looks like this: The Box for Ten Pins looks like this: The instructions for Ten Pins are here: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/esoterica/Ten%20Pins%20&%20Garbersville%20(instructions)(b&w)(300%20dpi).pdf I'm not pleased with how the instructions for Ten Pins are laid out, so I OCRed them, reformatted and simplified them: Ten Pins Instructions Ten Pins from Esoterica is a realistic, fun game of bowling complete with strikes, spares, hooks, and even gutter balls, for 1 to 4 players. To load the game, type: INPUT; RUN To begin: After the game load, you will see N: Now, input the number of players directly from key pad. Line the ball up by moving the joystick to the right or left. To throw a fast ball move the joystick forward, to throw a slow ball pull the joystick back. After the ball has been released you can hook the ball by moving the joystick to the right or left---Once for a moderate hook, twice for a sharp one. DO NOT HOOK THE BALL TOO SOON! The computer will keep accurate score for all players. Some practice may be required before scores over 200 are achieved. You can download the "AstroBASIC," 2000-baud version of Ten Pins here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/esoterica_ltd/ten_pins_[esoterica_ltd].zip Ten Pins is just one of many BASIC bowling games released on the Astrocade system. Not only are there plenty of bowling games for the Astorcade, but there are BASIC programs written to keep track of your really bowling league scores. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, at least by Astrocade standards, the world seemed crazy for bowling! The world of the Astrocade wasn't the only corner of the computer world that loved bowling. In about 1984, on my Commodore 64, I used to play a bowling game written in BASIC. It was given to me on a disk by a neighbor and, to me, was called "Bowling." I thought that I would try to find it today. To my surprise, I found it rather quickly. The game is actually called Bowling Champ by Joseph Ganci. It appeared in the December 1983 issue of Compute's Gazette. I had no idea that this was a type-in magazine listing! Bowling Champ looks very similar to the Astrocade game Bowl by Edge Software (the game we almost played this round). Here is a screenshot of the C64 game that I just made: Compute! Publications had pretty high standards. I just found the issue that Bowling Champ first appeared in. Check out this cool artwork that accompanied the game when it was published: There is nothing like this artwork in the Astrocade newsletters; that's too bad. In comparison to this simple Commodore 64 game, Ten Pins seems a little more sophisticated, but I guess I won't know for sure until I play it during this round. Bonus Points There are many bonus points available this round for both games. Bowling - Video Review - (1 Point) - Although I found examples of gameplay footage for this cartridge, I couldn't find any reviews. Anyone who makes a video review of Bowling will get a bonus point. Bowling - Multiplayer Game - (1 Point) - If you play a game with more than one person, than you'll get a bonus point.[/i] Bowling - Perfect Game - (1 Point) - If anyone manages a perfect game (300 points), then you'll get a bonus point. This seems really hard, but there may be a trick to it that makes it easy to do.[/i] Bowling - Documenting Bogs - (1 Point) - Since this game is a prototype, there may be some bugs in it. If anyone find any problems, and documents them, then you'll earn one bonus point. Just in case there are dozens of bugs, you can only earn one bonus point no matter how matter bugs are found. Ten Pins - Playing Ten Pins - (1 Point) - Yes, just for loading this game and giving it a quick in AstroBASIC will earn one point. Ten Pins - Highest Score - (1 Point) - The maximum points that can be earned are, of course, 300. Unlike bowling, there is no additional bonus for a perfect game of Ten Pins. Ten Pins - Video Review - (1 Point) - Anyone who makes a video review of Ten Pins will get a bonus point. Summary For such a late game in the Astrocade's history (1982), Bowling looks like it could have been released in 1978. Maybe Astrocade, Inc. didn't publish Bowling because it looked rather poor for the time. Or maybe its just not finished. I'm curious if anyone can figure-out a way to get the most out of this game. For instance, is it possible that "Flash Bowling" is more fun than the regular version of this game? I was pretty shocked to see Ten Pins when it first loaded; it looks really good for a BASIC game. I'm surprised that this wasn't released under a title such as "Bowling 3D" to capitalize on the game's first-person-like effect. Ten Pins has two separate loads, so I suspect that it may be using some machine language graphic routines, but I'm not sure. This round my strain us; I'm not sure I'm prepared to play one bowling game, let along two of them. However, this competition may make this round more fun than I expect. Please post scores early, as this will give us some scores to play against. I'll be gone for some key days during this round, including the weekend that this round ends. If it seems that it is taking me a little while to wrap-up Round 10 once it's over, you can be sure that I'll get to it when I can at the beginning of the next week. Adam
  2. Season 2, Round 9 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, August 20'th at 10pm MST. The two main games are on the cartridge Grand Prix / Demolition Derby. The BASIC bonus game is called Sideswipe. This very simple game was written in 1980 by Mike Peace and published in the Cursor newsletter. It was later re-printed in the "AstroBASIC" manual, and even eventually found its way onto a tape release by WaveMakers. Grand Prix / Demolition Derby Grand Prix / Demolition Derby is a 4KB cartridge released by Astrocade Inc. in 1981. It is cartridge #2014 and is part of the Action/Skills Series. There is a label variation called simply Grand Prix. These two games were programmed by Bob Ogden and Rickey Spiece. Scot L. Norris did the audio for this game. The Grand Prix/Demolition Derby cartridge ROM image (called "grandprx.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/ROMs/astrocade_rom_collection.zip Grand Prix/Demolition Derby is a very common cartridge, but if you don't have it, then it is included on every multicart that has been released for the Astrocade over the years. Neither of the main games on this cartridge requires the knob, so both games play fine using the MAME Astrocade emulator. According to a letter sent to the Arcadian in January of 1979 by Glenn Pogue, the Grand Prix / Demolition Derby cartridge was supposed to be released by Bally on March 16, 1979, but I don't think that there is a Bally release of this game. You can read about the upcoming 1979 releases from Bally in Glenn's letter, here: http://www.ballyalley.com/newsletters/arcadian/letters/Glenn%20Pogue/Letter%20(Glenn%20Pogue)(Jan%2022%201979-).pdf Here is the description of the game from the manual's cover: "Four challenging courses in race car driving excitement! Jockey for position at Le Mans or go for broke on a dangerous Rally track! There's a constant trade-off between speed and maneuverability! Varying skill levels upgrade the challenge and the fun. Here is all the excitement of formula-style racing! The competition gets hotter as players improve their skills! 1 or 2 players." The game's manual cover looks like this: Here is what the cartridge looks like: Here is a label variant of the cartridge: Here is the cartridge's main menu: Here are Grand Prix's three different courses: Four-player games of Grand Prix are possible. Take a look: The winner of round of Grand Prix will see this announcement (sorry, there's no checkered flag!): In Demolition Derby, you can play with up to four players. If less than four people are playing, then the computer controls the extra cars. Here is how the derby begins: This is a game in-progress: Here are highlights from the Grand Prix/Demolition Derby manual: Grand Prix Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines! The starting gun fires, and you're off in a flash, careening around dangerous turns in the race for the finish line. Grand Prix gives you all the excitement of formula-style racing, with three different race tracks and two skill levels to choose from. Starting the Game Enter the number of players (1 to 4), then select the difficulty level by selecting 1 for pro, 2 for beginner. At the pro level, the race cars are able to reach higher speeds than at the beginner level. Select the number of laps (1-99). If you enter a number that is less than 10, press = to start the race. Playing the Game The hand control functions for Grand Prix are: Trigger - Accelerator for race car. Knob - Has no function. Joystick - In right position, race car will turn clockwise; in left position, it will turn counterclockwise. Up position will move car in forward direction. The object of Grand Prix is to be the first race car to reach the finish line. To check your racing time, watch the time clock in the upper middle part of the screen. Once the race has started, use the joystick to move your car around the track. But, be careful not to crash into the other cars or into the race track walls. Skillful driving maneuvers are as important for success as high speeds. The first car to reach the finish line after completing the specified number of laps is the winner. Demolition Derby (1 to 4 players) All the thrills of a live demolition derby! Contestants ram their cars into each other until only one car remains running. Starting the Game Enter the number of players (1 to 4). Computer-controlled cars are provided for more action in games with less than four players. Select the maximum number of points (1-99). If you enter a number that is less than 10, press the = to start the game. Playing the Game The hand control functions for Demolition Derby are: Trigger - Accelerator for car. Knob - Has no function. Joystick - In right position, car turns clockwise; in left position car turns counterclockwise. It automatically moves backward (to protect engine from being hit) unless the joystick is pushed forward. The object of the game is to be the last car remaining on the field with your engine still running. Points start at the number you specify, but one point is lost each time a car is hit in the front. When a car finally reaches 0 points, it is out commission. The last car with points remaining (and engine running) is declared the winner. You'll stay in the competition longer by protecting the front end of your car and backing into your opponent's. In this way, your car's radiator, engine, etc. will remain intact. Here is a YouTube video that shows the gameplay of Grand Prix/Demolition Derby. This video was created by "Highretrogamelord:" Gameplay Options Grand Prix Options: Difficulty level: Pro Number of Laps: 5 Demolition Derby (Options): Difficulty level: Pro Maximum Number of Points: 10 Grand Prix/Demolition Derby (Scoring): Five points will be awarded for playing each of the two main games. Grand Prix We are playing for lowest overall time for Grand Prix tracks 1-3. You can post each track score separately and I'll figure-out the math. Remember to complete 5 laps of each track. I presume all of our times will be very close; there may even be some ties. Demolition Derby This game does not keep track of the player's time. If you play a game and are the winner, then you'll receive five points. I don't expect that there will be anyone who can't win against the computer, but if there is anyone for some reason who can't beat the three computer players (how sad!), then that person will receive three "participation points." Yeah, yeah; that does sound a little like "everyone gets a trophy!" Sideswipe This round's bonus game is a straightforward "racing" game, one that I expect nearly every "AstroBASIC" owner played in the 1980s, as it was reprinted in the "AstroBASIC" Owner's Manual. The game is called Sideswipe. It's an early effort by Mike Peace, who wrote the WaveMakers games. Sideswipe looks very-much like an early BASIC game; that's because it is very early. Here are some screenshots of Sideswipe in action: Sideswipe was first published on page 69 of the October 1980 issue of Cursor: In 1981, it was reprinted in the "AstroBASIC" owner's manual on page 89: Eventually (in 1982, I think) it was included with three other programs program on WaveMakers' tape 12 called Four Famous Freebies. You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Sideswipe here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/wave_makers/Sideswipe/Sideswipe%20(WaveMakers).zip This archive also includes a program modification by Lance Brisee that was submitted to the Arcadian, but never published. See his Lance's letter in the Arcadian area of BallyAlley.com for details: http://www.ballyalley.com/newsletters/arcadian/letters/Lance_Brisee_(1984)(Letter_to_Arcadian).pdf The difference that immediately jumps out in this game modification is that Lance added messages based upon your final score, like "YOU SHOULD BE DRIVING A WHEELCHAIR" or "YOU SHOULD BE DRIVING A RACING CAR". Here are the directions for Sideswipe as they were printed in Cursor: "Your goal is to steer your car through and around the other vehicles on the road at the same time making sure you don't hit the sides of the road. Your car is the one with the broken boxes at the top of the screen. The road moves up toward you from the bottom of the screen as shown in the photograph. Mike as usual has done a very thorough job using very limited memory. This program uses some interesting sounds, and a unique method of movement. Use Hand Control Knob #1." Here are the directions for Sideswipe as they were printed in the "AstroBASIC" manual: "The car appears on the top of the screen moving toward the bottom. Steer your car using knob (1) to avoid obstacles as they approach. Top score is 100 points. You lose 3 points for each sideswipe and 10 points for each collision." Don't be turned off by this game's primitive graphics. In the mid-eighties I used to play a type-in game very similar to this (probably even more primitive!) in typing class on a TRS-80 Model III. I had fun with the alternate TRS-80 version of the game then, and playing a few games of Sideswipe yesterday made me realize, that in some strange way the game holds up to this day. Maybe because it's so simple, or maybe because the game doesn't take long to play-- but I think you'll enjoy it for the brief period that you'll play it for this HSC round. Bonus Points There are many bonus points available this round for both games. Grand Prix/Demolition Derby - Video Review - (1 Point) - Although I found examples of gameplay footage for this cartridge, I couldn't find any reviews. Anyone who makes a video review of Grand Prix/Demolition Derby will get a bonus point. Grand Prix/Demolition Derby - Multiplayer Game - (Up to 3 Points) - This cartridge is a rarity in that up to four players can play at one time. For every additional player who you can round-up to play with you, then you'll earn an extra bonus point. Don't have any Astrocade fans nearby, then maybe it's time that you get your significant other into the incredible videogame system that is the Astrocade. That will be worth one extra point. If you can get that person, plus your trained dog, and possibly your Guinea pig, then that's three points right there! Easy! Sideswipe - Playing Sideswipe - (1 Point) Sideswipe - Highest Score - (1 Point) - The maximum points that can be earned are 100. Whoever gets the closest to 100 points gets a bonus point. If there is a tie, then multiple players can earn this bonus point. Sideswipe - Video Review - (1 Point) - Anyone who makes a video review of Sideswipe will get a bonus point. Summary Someday, I'd like to try a four-player game of Grand Prix/Demolition Derby at a large gaming get-together. I bet this game would be sure to please the crowd. Sideswipe is a very short, 29-line, BASIC program. For such a short program, I'd say that you get a lot of bang out of your buck. Is it a great game that you'll come back over and over again? Nope. Would Sideswipe have been worth the small time investment in time that it would have taken to type the program into BASIC in 1981. Certainly! Enjoy the two main games and the simple bonus game-- and, remember, post your high scores often. Adam
  3. Season 2, Round 8 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about two and a half weeks. This round ends on Sunday, July 30'th at 10pm MST. The main game is the arcade game Gorf, which uses the Astrocade chipset. The BASIC bonus program is called Nuke the #%@$*&!!, released in 1982, by Jay Fenton. This is a 1982 B-Side to Life, a "game" which was originally released on tape. We're playing Gorf because it gives us a glimpse of what could have been had Bally stuck with the Bally Arcade system. Maybe if the original Bally Arcade console systems didn't overheat from their initial release, then Bally would have added more memory and supported the hi-res ("commercial") mode that is built into the Astrocade's chipset. Perhaps this would have been called the Super Bally Arcade and released in 1981 once the price of RAM dropped. I guess we'll never know, for in 1981 Astrovision, Inc. released the Astrocade in the same configuration as its original January 1978 release by Bally. What did we really miss out on? We'll never know. Gorf Gorf is an arcade game released in 1981. It was programmed by Jay Fenton, who (among many other arcade games and Astrocade projects) programmed Bally BASIC and "AstroBASIC" for the Astrocade. I will be playing Gorf using the MAME emulator. If anyone knows of any classic arcade collections that contain Gorf, then let me know and I'll add information about it here. Here are a few screenshots of Gorf. Some of these screenshots include the bezel overlay, which is actually nearly-required to play the game, as there is analog feedback that lights up part of the bezel to tell the player which rank they have reached: Here is a zip file that includes all of the files needed to play Gorf on any version of MAME that doesn't emulate the Vortex voice synthesizer. I think that this means any version of MAME that is pre-version 0.181. Just place the files in the three appropriate directories in MAME (artwork, roms, and samples): Gorf (MAME).zip The upright version of the Gorf game looked like this: Here is a close-up of the game's marquee: The front of the arcade flyer for Gorf looked like this: Gorf uses a non-standard joystick. It looks like this: I have a little experience playing the arcade version of Gorf. This arcade joystick made my index finger tired, so I'm glad that I'll be playing the game in MAME using either an Atari CX40 joystick or the Edladdin Supreme 7800 joystick. I'm not overly familiar with Gorf, so I'm relying on background information from its Wikipedia page, which you can read in its entirety here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorf I've excerpted some of the key points and paragraphs from Gorf's Wikipedia entry: "Gorf is an arcade game released in 1981 by Midway Mfg., whose name was advertised as an acronym for "Galactic Orbiting Robot Force". It is a multiple-mission fixed shooter with five distinct modes of play, essentially making it five games in one. It is well known for its use of synthesized speech, a new feature at the time. [...] "The player controls a spaceship that can move left, right, up and down around the lower third of the screen. The ship can fire a single shot (called a "quark laser" in this game), which travels vertically up the screen. Unlike similar games, where the player cannot fire again until the existing shot has disappeared, the player can choose to fire another shot at any time; if the previous shot is still on screen, it disappears. "Gorf consists of five distinct "missions", each with its own patterns of enemies. The central goal of each mission is to destroy all enemies in that wave, which takes the player to the next mission. Successfully completing all five missions will increase the player's rank and loop back to the first mission, where play continues on a higher difficulty level. The game continues until the player loses all their lives. The player can advance through the ranks of Space Cadet, Space Captain, Space Colonel, Space General, Space Warrior, and Space Avenger, with a higher difficulty level at each rank. Along the way, a robotic voice heckles and threatens the player, often calling the player by their current rank (for example, "Some galactic defender you are, Space Cadet!"). Some versions also display the player's current rank via a series of lit panels in the cabinet." The five different screens in Gorf are: Astro Battles Laser Attack Galaxians Space Warp Flag Ship You can read more about the Gorf arcade game at the Arcade Museum website: http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=7983 The newer versions of MAME don't use the prerecorded voice samples, and instead emulate the Vortex voice chip that was included with the game. I prefer to play the game using my slightly-older version of the emulator (MAME 0.177). If you have trouble emulating the game, then try reading this thread on AtariAge: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/260595-gorf-on-mameproblems/ There are quite a few fun-to-watch video for Gorf, both using real hardware and emulation. Here is a selection of a few that I've browsed: "John's Arcade Game Reviews & Tech" has a video called "GORF Arcade Game Review - Bally/Midway 1981 - John's Arcade on the Road!" The video allows you to hear the digitized speech and see how a real machine functions: Here is a video by "gan9e" called "GORF 1981 HD." This shows Gorf running in MAME, with speech and with the bezel overlay. This is how it looks when I play the game in MAME: "bill heatherly" has a short video that does a good job of capturing the voice in the game. This video is called "Gorf Video Arcade Game:" This video, by "Gaming History Source," shows the arcade game and various different home conversions of the game. The video is called "Let's Compare ( Gorf ):" Midway sold a 28-page manual called Gorf Combat Manual for $1.95. It gives many hints on how to play the game. I've never seen another manual like this before for an arcade game. I'm also not sure where this manual was available for sale. The manual has been scanned and is available here: http://flyers.arcade-museum.com/?page=thumbs&db=videodb&id=2837 Gorf (Options): There is only one option for Gorf: start the game with three lives. You can insert additional quarters to start the game with more lives, but please don't do that for this round. Gorf (Scoring): Up to ten points are awarded for playing Gorf. We are playing for the highest score. Nuke the #%@$*&!! The BASIC bonus "game" is Nuke the #%@$*&!! by Jay Fenton. This was released in 1982 on a tape as the "B-Side" to the game Life. George Moses sold Jay's Life program. Advertisements for Life are here included in the October and December Arcadian newsletter: Arcadian 4, no. 12 (Oct. 07, 1982): 122. Arcadian 5, no. 2 (Dec. 3, 1982): 35. Here is what the ad says about Life (and "Nuke"): "Sure, you've seen Life games before. A BASIC program was published in a magazine a year or two ago. It took 5 or 10 minutes per generation! Well, how about one generation per second? Yup!!! Jay Fenton, the guy who wrote Bally BASIC, Gunfight, Scribbling, Calculator and Gorf has revved-up you Z-80 processor to give you a full screen scan and a new LIFE generation each second! Put some LIFE in your Arcade (and give some spending money to Jay Fenton to keep him in "programming mode!"). Buy Life and get Nuke the !$&! free!" The 12 pages of instructions for Nuke the #%@$*&!! and Life are available at BallyAlley.com: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/misc/Life%20and%20Nuke%20the%20---.pdf The twelve-page manual has ten pages devoted to Life, and just one page devoted to the "B-Side." Here is a picture of the one page of short instructions for this round's bonus "game:" I've OCRed the short instructions for Nuke the #%@$*&!!: NUKE THE @%$* © Jay Fenton, 1982 Nuke the @%$* will automatically start after loading with the command: :INPUT GO. Use hand control trigger one to drop the bomb and to "speed up" the program. (Pulling the trigger will shorten the wait period for the title and score frames.) After Arcade power-up you should RESET without BASIC inserted before loading Nuke the @<%$?. This will set the alternate color map registers which are used to display a "fallout" pattern. The object of this game is prevent nuclear war by showing the emptiness of life even if you win the battle, because you have no human organisms left to share the victory with. So, if no nuclear war breaks out in the next five years, please give the credit to this program and its creator, Jay Fenton. In the meantime, have fun and remember... aim for the nuclear power plant for the most devastation for your bomb dollar!!! You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Nuke the #%@$*&!! here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/jay_fenton/jay_fenton.html#NuketheBaddiesAB Bonus Points There are many bonus points available this round for both games. Gorf (1 Point) - Video Review - Unlike most games we play, there are scores of videos for Gorf. Still, as always, anyone who makes a video review of Gorf will get a bonus point. Gorf (1 Point) - Highest Rank - The player who reaches the highest rank among us players will receive one bonus point (i.e. you don't have to earn the rank of "Space Avenger" to get a bonus point-- just the highest among us players). Gorf (1 Point) - Play Home Versions - Gorf was released for many home systems in the early 1980s, but never for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. Anyone who plays home computer/console versions of Gorf from the 1980s will be awarded one bonus per version that you play. Some suggestions of versions of Gorf that you can play are for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200/Atari 8-Bit, Commodore 64 and any of the many other systems that this game was released on. If you like emulating other systems, then there are a ton of points that can be earned here. To keep this semi-fair, the maximum amount of points that can be earned for playing other versions of Gorf is five points! Nuke the #%@$*&!! (1 Point) - Playing Nuke the #%@$*&!! Nuke the #%@$*&!! (1 Point) - Secret bonus point - I'm not saying how to earn this bonus point. Try playing the game in a number of different ways to see the ending of the game. Post screenshots of what you find. To be fair, I don't qualify for this point. Nuke the #%@$*&!! (1 Point) - Video Review - Anyone who makes a video review of Nuke the #%@$*&!! will get a bonus point. Summary Nuke the #%@$*&!! isn't much of a game. It's not meant to be one; it's more of a political statement. I didn't miss the irony of the distribution of Nuke the #%@$*&!!. This game, which could have just as easily called Death to Them All!, is on the opposite side of a tape on which the main game is called Life. The game "Nuke" is everything that Life is not. Nuke the #%@$*&!! gives us an interesting glimpse into the human condition: do we want to play a "game" in which, with the push of the trigger button, we can kill millions of people? In this "game," we're not out to save the Earth from invaders from space. No, it's simply "us against them," and we just might be the bad guys. Can we handle that? Will you drop your one bomb, or will you allow yourself to be ridiculed for being weak and flying over the city without releasing death to millions of people? Post your scores as you play Gorf over the next couple of weeks. If anyone finds any tips while playing these games, then please share them. In the next round, we'll be back to playing a regular Astrocade game on cartridge. For now, enjoy playing a classic arcade game that's got a touch of the Astrocade inside of it. Have fun! Adam
  4. Season 2, Round 6 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, June 18'th Tuesday, June 20 at 10pm MST. The main game is Ms. Candyman. The BASIC bonus game is The Mummy's Treasure. Ms. Candyman Ms. Candyman is a 4K cartridge released by L&M Software in 1983. It was programmed by Andy Guevara. Ms. Candyman is the sequel to Candy Man, which was released on tape. This is the description of the game from an advertisement: "Real arcade action with joysticks, 1 or 2 players and 3 levels of difficulty. More than 20 screens, each faster than the one before. Full screen display in exquisite detail. Ms. Candyman must pick up all of the lifesavers as quickly as possible while avoiding contact with the Ghosts & Goblins. During the first half of a screen the Ghosts or Goblins will try to catch you. During the 2nd half of a screen the Ghosts or Goblins will take up protective positions to keep you away from the life savers. Each contact costs Ms. Candyman one life and she will nose-dive head first off the bottom of the play field. A wrecker or ambulance will carry her off." The full instructions for Ms. Candyman can be read here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/ms.%20candyman%20(instructions)(a1)(grayscale)(300%20dpi).pdf I have OCRed the complete instructions for the game: The game starts with 3 lives. Use joysticks to control the Ms. Candyman left, right, up and down (no diagonals). Pressing any key in the left-hand row will allow you to take an intermission. To resume play, press again. You must eat the "life savers" (99 calorie points each) as quickly as possible while avoiding contact with the Ghosts & Goblins. During the first half of the screen, the Ghosts or Goblins will try to catch you. At this time you must be evasive. During the 2nd half of a screen, the Ghosts or Goblins will take up protective positions to keep you away from the life savers. Each contact costs Ms. Candyman one life and she will nose-dive head first off the bottom of the play-field. A wrecker or ambulance will carry her off. If one or more lives remain she will take up her normal starting position at the top, then the game resumes. Periodically you become eligible for a bonus life and a chance to earn extra score. This happens every two screens as you finish clearing the screen you are on. The screen will turn blue and sound will intensify. This is your chance to get those pesky Ghosts. Move quickly to run over as many as possible in the allotted time. Each Ghost is worth 990 extra calorie points. No life savers can be eaten during the blue bonus round. For each screen that is cleared a new one will appear and the game speed will increase. Periodically the Goblin that has been jumping up and down in the cage will be let loose to help the Ghosts. On difficulty #1 this is every 2 screens and on difficulties #2 & #3 this is every screen. This continues until a total of 6 animated characters are on the screen trying to catch you and protect the life savers. At this point, additional screens will continue with added playing speed only. On difficulties #2 and #3, this is where the radar screen appears. The last 2 Goblins will begin to disappear and re-appear with a pop periodically on difficulty #2 and at random on difficulty #3 (no pop). Play will continue until you have zero lives left. When this occurs, the screen will flash different colors and the sounds will change rapidly. For a replay, squeeze trigger #1. You may bypass the music by squeezing trigger #1. Playing Tips Start by getting as many of the unprotected life savers as possible, quickly. Then watch carefully the positions of your opponents and try to stay at least one jump away. WAIT until they have made a move, then quickly run right past them, grabbing a life saver. Be especially aware of the first two ghosts, as they move very fast. However, when these first two move on top of each other they will disappear (only for a moment until one of them moves off). At this instant you may move Ms. Candyman right across the square they have disappeared on. When the radar screen comes on you can watch the last two goblins. When they disappear from the playfield you can track them on the radar. This gives you a chance to go into the area where they were and grab the life savers. Watch the radar and don't be there when they reappear a moment later. The Ms. Candyman cartridge ROM image (called "mscandy.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection Ms. Candyman Review The Game Player, #13 - Arcadian 6, no. 1 (Nov. 29, 1983): 6-7. By Michael Prosise Hoping to capitalize on the huge success of their cassette tape Candy Man (see Arcadian Vol. 5, #3), L&M has released its very first cartridge, Ms. Candyman. From all indications, it appears that this debut cartridge is going to be quite popular, for the graphics, sound effects and game-play are of exceptional quality. The cartridge, once inserted into the computer and reset, will begin immediately. A complete, 25-second rendition of the tune "Good Ship Lollipop" plays while the title screen unfolds, featuring some very attractive artwork that illustrates the game's title, two giant red and white candy canes tied together with a decorative bow, and the game's authors. At this point, the candy canes will disappear, and on the screen will come the request to select one or two players via the joystick. The players may then choose from three skill levels: Normal, Abnormal or Insane. They will each receive three "lives," with a bonus life awarded every two screens. The playing field will instantly appear. Unlike the Candy Man tape, which was restricted to a two-color screen due to the computer's limitations, the variety of colors in the Ms. Candyman cartridge is one of the finest we have seen in any cartridge. There are many, and they are brilliant. It appears that the designers, L&M and Bit Fiddlers, have successfully utilized screen resolution to its fullest. For example, the character Ms. Candyman is yellow, with a lavender ribbon in her hair, red lips and two blue eyes. (Colors may vary from T.V. to T.V.). The ghosts and goblins are also multi-colored, as is the playing field. Perhaps most impressive of all, however, is the fact that there can be up to seven multicolored, moving characters on the screen at one time! They wave their arms, smile, jump up and down, kick their feet and turn their heads, too! The animation and detail are so well done that they almost look like real cartoon characters on your television. As for the game itself, you, the player, will have your Ms. Candyman positioned at the top-center of the screen. The playfield is essentially the same as the one in Candy Man, but it looks so much better. Your goal is to eat all the Lifesavers on the screen, worth 99 "calorie" points each, while trying to avoid the ghosts and goblins, who want to eat you. During the first half of the level, they will be after you. But during the second half, they will be guarding the last Lifesavers closely. All Lifesavers must be devoured before a new screen appears. If a ghost or goblin nabs Ms. C, she will plummet head-first to the bottom of the screen, where an orange tow truck will drive up and take her away. Sometimes she will get hurt, in which case a Red Cross ambulance, complete with siren, will pull up and transport her off the screen. On screens one and two, it's you against two ghosts. In three and four, a goblin is added. This continues until a total of six of these creatures are on the screen with you. Believe me, it gets crowded, as we found out by the time we made it to the 11th screen, losing at this point with a score of 111,177. The number of ghosts and goblins in Skill Levels 2 and 3 are the same, except that they are added to the game sooner. The level of difficulty increases slightly with each new screen, as does the speed of play-action. After every two screens will come the "blue" screen, during which the player has a brief allotment of time to eat ghosts, earning 990 points for each ghost devoured. An additional life is also awarded at this point. We were able to devour 13 ghosts during one particular blue screen. At the base of the T.V. screen are displayed your number of lives, the score and a cage, in which one can see the goblin who is next to appear on the playfield. He just sort of waits there, jumping up and down anxiously and waving his arms wildly. This cage also doubles as a "radar" screen, for on the higher levels of play, some ghosts may disappear briefly. You can spot their relative positions on the "radar" screen. Overall, Ms. Candyman is an exceptional game, both in uniqueness and game play. We are enjoying it very much. One other nice fact concerning this cartridge is that it is priced at a reasonable $29.95, even though it is better than several of the other new cartridges that cost more. Ms. Candyman (Options): There aren't many options for this game, just make sure to play on normal level of difficulty. Ms. Candyman (Scoring): Up to ten points are awarded for playing Ms. Candyman. For available bonus points, see "Bonus Points" section below. The Mummy's Treasure The BASIC bonus game is The Mummy's Treasure, by L&M Software. This BASIC game was released on tape for Bally BASIC in 1980 and on tape for "AstroBASIC" in 1981. Here is a link to a pdf instructions for The Mummy's Treasure and Exitor's Revenge (which appeared on the same tape): http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/l-m/pdf%20-%20color/The%20Mummy's%20Treasure%20and%20Exitor's%20Revenge%20(instructions)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf The new Mummy's Treasure can now be played by 1 to 4 players, each using his or her own hand control. As usual, the mummy is roaming about the castle's three floors looking for intruders. If you or any of your friends are caught in the same room with the mummy, that ends the game for that player, but for the rest of you the game will continue until all players have been captured or someone finds the treasure. Sound easy?? We shall see... The treasure is somewhere in the dungeon, which is the bottom floor. To get there you must either find a secret passage to the cellar (which is the second floor), then find a secret passage from there to the dungeon. Or if you are lucky, you will find a secret passage which will take you from the main floor (first floor), straight to the dungeon. But if you aren't that lucky, you may find a room which has the capability to transport you one or two levels up. The player whose turn it is can select the room he wishes to check by pushing or pulling his knob control until the desired room number appears. At this point, he should squeeze his trigger until he hears the tone. The computer will tell him what is in that room. After he has made a mental note of that information, he then squeezes his trigger again and the turn will move to the next player. Remember: There are three levels, with 60 rooms on each level, a total of 180 rooms. The treasure, the secret passages, and the vacuum force rooms all change location with each new game.[/url] Keep track of what was in all the rooms entered, this will come in very handy during the game.[/url] The treasure is somewhere in the dungeon (bottom floor), Just getting there, let alone finding the treasure is hard.[/url] Hmm... four to one: the mummy hasn't a chance... or has he? You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of The Mummy's Treasure here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/l&m_software/l&m_software.html#MummysTreasureTheLandMSoftwareAB Bonus Points There are eight bonus points available this round for both games. One point can be earned for any of the extras: that's a lot of points up for grabs! Three high scores for each of the three selectable skill levels for Ms. Candyman were reported in the "Scoreboard" for The Game Player #19. This was published in Arcadian 6, no. 8 (Jun. 30, 1984): 77. If anyone can beat these scores, which might prove difficult, then you'll earn a bonus point. Ms. Candyman - Video Review - There is no quality video of Ms. Candyman on YouTube. Anyone who makes a video review of this game will get a bonus point. Ms. Candyman - Two Player Game - Both players will earn a bonus point for playing a two-player game. Ms. Candyman - Skill 1 New High Score - Beat Craig Conner's Skill 1 score of 265,122. Ms. Candyman - Skill 2 New High Score - Beat Fred Rodney's Skill 2 score of 181,170. Ms. Candyman - Skill 3 New High Score - Beat Craig Conner's Skill 3 score of 61,578. The Mummy's Treasure - Playing the bonus game. The Mummy's Treasure - Finding the Mummy's treasure. The Mummy's Treasure - Video Review - Anyone who makes a video review of The Mummy's Treasure will get a bonus point. In the above list, I presumed that we can find the Mummy's treasure. If I'm wrong about that, then maybe we can come up with another way to earn a bonus point for the bonus game. Summary Ms. Candyman is a pretty fun game; I like it! I'm especially fond of it because it's a sequel and it's a third-party game cartridge, both of which are extremely rare for the Astrocade system. While it's title may conjure up images and comparisons to Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, the game is quite different from these other maze gobbler-the-dots games. I have no experience with The Mummy's Treasure, but from what I've seen of it before now, it looks like a very traditional 1970s/early 1980s BASIC game. It may not be to our modern tastes, but sometimes it's worth dipping our toes into vintage games so that we can appreciate what we have available to us now. Post your scores as you play these two games over the next couple of weeks. If anyone finds any helpful tips while playing Ms. Candyman, then please share them. Enjoy this round's two games! Adam
  5. Season 2, Round 5 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, May 21'th 28'th at 8pm MST. The main game is 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem. The bonus game is Super Slope. These are both racing games: in the main game you're racing on a paved road, and in the other game you're racing your way down a snow-covered mountain. 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem If you've played Atari's Night Driver, then you're familiar with this racing game for the Astrocade. 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem (cartridge #2001) is a 2K cartridge released by Bally Mfg. Corp. in 1978. It was re-released three years later by Astrovision Inc. in 1981. It is part of Action/Skills Series and was programmed for the Astrocade by Jay Fenton. The first game on the cartridge is a port of the B&W 1976 arcade game 280 Zzzap by Midway Manufacturing Co. This is the description of the games from the manual's cover: "Two different high-speed car races demand quick response and raw courage. Enter your racing time into the computer-- floor the accelerator-- and go for speed and distance. 280 Zzzap challenges you to hold a road filled with dangerous hairpin turns! Dodgem puts you up against other cars driven by the computer. The sharper your driving skills, the more mileage you'll get!" 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem is a relatively easy to find cartridge for the Astrocade. It probably will play best on real hardware, as it uses the knob to move your car left and right. The game can be played under MAME emulation using a mouse, but I'm not sure how well that will work. For those that are interested, on October 12, 2016, I spent about one day disassembling 280 Zzzap / Dodgem. If Z80 programming interests you, then maybe you'll enjoying browsing the disassembly: http://www.ballyalley.com/ml/ml_source/280%20Zzzap,%20Dodgem%20(1978)(Bally%20Mfg%20Corp)(Disassembly).zip The Astrocade version of the manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/280_ZZZap-Dodgem_(instructions)(bally)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf The original Bally release of the manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/280%20zzzap%20-%20dodgem%20(instructions)(bally)(a1)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf Here are the Astrocade version of the instructions for 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem: 280 Zzzap (1 player) Feeling the pressure of speed and time, you're off-- along the course of a cross country road race. Negotiate the curves as carefully and quickly as possible to score the most points. Starting the Game Choose 280 Zzzap by pressing 1 on the keypad or by using remote game selection (pull the trigger on hand control #1, turn the knob until 1 appears on the screen, then pull the trigger again). Enter the game time-- up to ten minutes in length. Enter 9 Play 9 seconds. Enter 9 9 Play 99 seconds. Enter 9 9 9 Play 9 minutes and 99 seconds. If the race time being entered on the keypad is 99 seconds or less, you must press the = sign to start the game. Playing the Game Since this is a one-player game, you will need to use hand control #1. The hand control functions for 280 Zzzap are: Trigger Controls the speed of the car-- accelerator. Knob Steers the car-- steering wheel. Joystick Has no function. The object of the game is to accumulate as much mileage as possible by traveling as far and as fast as you can without crashing into the white road poles. Every time the car crashes into the poles, you lose valuable speed and distance. The numbers in the lower center of the screen represent the speedometer. As the car accelerates, the speed is indicated by the bar underneath the numbers. The numbers on the right side of the speedometer record the miles traveled. On the left side of the speedometer is the race time remaining. Scoring To compete against two or more players, enter the same race time for each player. The winner is the one with the highest mileage when the race has ended. Playing Again To play 280 Zzzap again, press the RESET button and follow the instructions for starting the game. Dodgem (1 player) Test your skill as a race car driver. Although this game is similar to 280 Zzzap, you have an additional hazard of crashing into the other cars in the race! Starting the Game Choose Dodgem by pressing 2 on the keypad or by using remote game selection (pull the trigger on hand control #1, turn the knob until 2 appears on the screen, then pull the trigger again). Enter the game time--up to ten minutes in length. Enter 9 Play 9 seconds. Enter 9 9 Play 99 seconds. Enter 9 9 9 Play 9 minutes and 99 seconds. If you enter a race time that is 99 seconds or less, press the = sign to start the game. Playing the Game The hand control functions for Dodgem are: Trigger Controls the speed of the car-- accelerator. Knob Steers the car-- steering wheel. Joystick Has no function. The object of Dodgem is to go as far as possible without crashing into the race track walls, other cars in the race, or having them crash into you. The light colored car is the only one that you can control. The other cars are controlled by the Arcade. The numbers in the lower center of the screen represent the speedometer. As the car accelerates, the speed is indicated by the bar underneath the numbers. The numbers on the right side of the speedometer are the miles traveled. The left side shows the race time remaining. Scoring A player's score is determined by the miles driven in the specified racing time. If two or more players are competing against each other, the same race time must be entered for each player. Playing Again To play Dodgem again, press the RESET button and follow the instructions for starting the game. The 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem cartridge ROM image (called "280zzap.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem (High Score Club Options): This is a timed game. Once you get used to the controls, you will probably never crash, so we're probably all going to score about the same. For this reason, we'll play a rather short game of 99 seconds. If anyone wants to play longer, than maybe we'll extend it... but I surely wouldn't want to play for a time of 999. 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem (Scoring): Up to ten points are awarded for playing 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem: five points will be awarded for each game. For available bonus points, see "Bonus Points" section below. I can't remember ever coming across a contemporary review of this game. If you've seen one, then please point it out to me. Super Slope The BASIC bonus game is Super Slope, by Esoterica Ltd (Dan J. Drescher and James P. Curran). This machine language game was released on tape in 1982. In an Esoterica advertisement on page G7 of the spring 1983 Source Book, the game is called Ski Slope. The game's description from that ad says "'They called him SUPER SKIER, though he never had a lesson.' And now you take up where he left off. Super Slope is a super skiing program from Esoterica Ltd. No experience necessary." The game's description from the December 1982 Arcadian is very similar. It says the game thing, but adds this: "Great fun! (In Smooth Action Machine Language Graphics)" Michael White notes that the "AstroBASIC" cartridge is only needed to load the Super Slope program; the game will run with the "AstroBASIC" cartridge removed. Here are the game's instructions, which seem to talk about some features not available in the game: Load the game with :INPUT; RUN. In less than one minute the program will run automatically. Stop the recorder and follow the play instructions. In multiple player games, you will be asked to input the number of players. The tape is now in position for Game 2. They called him "Super Skier" and even though they had to carry him off the hill, he was back on top in minutes ready to try again. Under the skillful guidance of your joystick he will dodge rocks and brush trees in a mad downhill race against time as arm waving fans pack the sidelines urging him on. Warning: Do not pull the trigger unless you are Olympic material. Which end will you experience? The thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. Your Score: Greater than 50 - Go directly to the hospital. Do not pass the finish line. Do not collect the prize money. 39 to 49 - Beginner slopes are more suited to your ability. 29 to 38 - You can now fall down on national TV and still look good. Less than 29 - You have achieved the thrill of VICTORY! Super Slope is a 100% machine language program. During the entering routine, a sign will appear at the bottom of the screen. One-half of the sign will then disappear. As the screen scrolls down the program will load and then run automatically. To replay press GO on the keypad. Note, that the game doesn't actually seem to follow these scoring directions, as your score is four digits, not two. Perhaps the last two of the four digits represents hundredths of a second? Michael Prosise wrote a review of Super Slope in The Game Player #9, which was printed in Arcadian 5, no. 9 (Jul. 22, 1983): 140. Here is the complete review: It is no longer necessary to go to your neighborhood Video Arcade and drop a quarter in Atari's ALPINE SKI, for SUPER SLOPE is just as good. As the one and only skiing game for the Astrocade system, this Esoterica ski adventure is extremely good and well thought out. In this one-player game, the player directs his skier downhill, avoiding pine trees and large rocks by using the joystick to ski left or right across the slope. A quick tap on the joystick increases the skiers' direction from straight to slightly angled: another tap increases the angle further; and another tap will have the skier doing a traverse. The same holds true for either direction. Squeezing the trigger will increase the skiers speed. As one who enjoys downhill skiing, I am impressed at how well Esoterica has simulated the actual movement of a real skier. The graphics in SUPER SLOPE are well done, and the sound of skis on snow is well simulated. SUPER SLOPE is a good example of what machine language can do for a game. There were only a few problems with SUPER SLOPE. The skier often leaves an arm or leg behind when he skims a tree, and we have not been able to determine how the scoring is accomplished. The instructions, which could use some improvement, indicate a score of 50 as not so good but less than 29 as a victory. However, the screen will show a four digit number at the end of play, such as 5471. We deliberately crashed our skier constantly and achieved a score of 2428. What do these numbers mean? (GAME PLAYER will publish an explanation if it receives one from Esoterica.) The other problem we found is that there is a loud continuous raspy noise during initial play until the skier hits an object. Then the noise will disappear. Perhaps this is a problem with our particular cassette, or it may be a program problem. Overall, SUPER SLOPE is an excellent game, and will probably be enjoyed even by non-skiers. Those who played it liked it, and it held their attention. It's a good game, folks. Herb Matthews wrote to the Mail Bag in The Game Player, #17 (Vol. 6, pg. 43, March 30, 1984). Herb said, "Thanks for the consistent high quality and informative nature of your monthly reviews. They have definitely influenced my software purchases." Michael Prosise says, "Herb loves SUPER SLOPE and feels that it would be terrific as a cartridge." You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Super Slope here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/esoterica_ltd/esoterica_ltd.html#SuperSlopeEsotericaAB Remember, in Super Slope we're playing for the lowest score. Bonus Points Up to four bonus points are available this round for both games: 280 Zzzap / Dodgem (1 Point) - Video Review - There is no quality video of Super Slope on YouTube. Anyone who makes a video review of this game will get a bonus point. Super Slope (1 Point) - Playing the bonus game. Super Slope (1 Point) - Lowest Score. Super Slope (1 Point) - Video Review - Anyone who makes a video review of Super Slope will get a bonus point. Summary I don't care much for 280 Zzzap or Dodgem; these two games are much too easy, plus isn't enough variety to the gameplay-- honestly, there is no diversity to either game at all. I suppose the different crash noises are interesting, including the notable inclusion of "ZORK!" If the Astrocade's game library wasn't so small, then I'd probably skip this double-game cartridge. There are some defenders of this round's main games. On May 1, 2006, I compiled a list called the Top Ten Astrocade Games. Various people listed their favorite games for the system. Ben Bauer chose 280 Zzzap/ Dodgem and commented, "This was as good or better than the arcade versions!" Lance Squire also liked this game; he picked it too, adding, "280 Zzzap - AKA Night Driver. Again loved to play the arcade and Bally did this well. Back in the day Compucentre (HudsonsBay center Toronto) had a Bally Pro Arcade system and a Vic 20 set-up side by side and both playing this game. The Bally was way better!!!" On the bonus game front, Super Slope is interesting. It seems really close to being a good game, but doesn't seem to have the polish or follow-through, plus there are some graphical glitches. I have a soft spot for it though, as it does some pretty impressive technical tricks on an unexpanded Astrocade for a game that is not a cartridge. Have fun playing this round's games. Adam
  6. Season 4, Round 4 is over. I have to post the final standings for Sneaky Snake and Caterpillar. I have been trying to decide which game to play in Round 5. I made a list of all of the cartridges we haven't yet played yet. Here are the Astrocade cartridges left to choose from for the upcoming rounds of the Astrocade High Score Club: Cartridges Still-To-Play Games - One Player (or More) Amazing Maze / Tic-Tac-Toe (1979)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Black Jack / Acey Deucey / Poker (1979)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Bowling (198x)(Astrocade Inc.) (proto) Checkers (19xx)(Bally Mfg. Corp.)(proto) Conan The Barbarian (1985)(Astrocade Inc. and Dave Carson) Grand Prix (1981)(Astrovision Inc.) ICBM Attack (1982)(Spectre Systems) (Requires Special Controller) Pirate's Chase (1982)(Astrocade Inc.) - w/ The Gate Escape Seawolf / Missile (1978)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Soccer (1985)(Astrocade Inc.) War (2012)(Riff Raff Games) Games - Two-Player (or More) Artillery Duel (1982)(Astrocade Inc.) Dog Patch (1980)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Football (1978)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) - w/ Baseball by Dave Martin Red Baron / Panzer Attack (1978)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Tornado Baseball / Tennis / Hockey / Handball (1978)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Non-Games Biorhythm (1981)(Astrovision Inc.) Coloring Book (198x)(Astrocade Inc.) (proto) Letter Match / Spell 'n Score / Crosswords (1978)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Life (1985)(Richard Degler) Machine Language Manager (1982)(The Bit Fiddlers) Music Maker (1985)(Astrocade Inc.) Speed Math / Bingo Math (1978)(Bally Mfg. Corp.) Video Story Book (19xx)(Unknown Author) (proto) Games we have played in the Astrocade High Score Club Season 1 Games: HSC01 Round 1: Astro Battle No Bonus Game HSC01 Round 2: Space Fortress Astro Zap 2000! by George Moses HSC01 Round 3: Cosmic Raiders Exitor's Revenge by L&M Software HSC01 Round 4: The Incredible Wizard LT (Little Terrestrial) by WaveMakers HSC01 Round 5: Clowns/Brickyard Brick 'N The Wall by WaveMakers HSC01 Round 6: Mazeman Candyman by L&M Software HSC01 Round 7: Bally Pin (aka Astrocade Pinball) Avalanche! by Steve Walters HSC01 Round 8: Treasure Cove Castle of Horror by WaveMakers HSC01 Round 9: Crazy Climber Missile Defense by New Image HSC01 Round 10: Sea Devil by L&M Software The Pits by Rex Goulding HSC01 Round 11: Galactic Invasion Outpost 19 by WaveMakers HSC01 Round 12: The Adventures of Robby Roto! by Bally/Midway Q-B2B by WaveMakers HSC01 Round 13: Blast Droids by Esoterica Haunted House by New Image HSC01 Round 14: Catch-Up Round Season 2 Games: HSC02 Round 1: Solar Conqueror - 1983, Astrocade, Inc. Space Gauntlet - 1982, The Tiny Arcade HSC02 Round 2: Star Battle - 1979, Bally Mfg. Corp. Down the Trench - 1979, Sebree's Computing HSC02 Round 3: Muncher - 198x, Nam-Cap - 1982, New Image HSC02 Round 4: Sneaky Snake - 1983, New Image Caterpillar - 1983, Thadd*Pro (Kevin O'Neill) HSC02 Round 5: 280 Zzzap! / Dodgem - 1978, Bally Mfg. Corp. Super Slope - 1982, Esoterica Ltd. HSC02 Round 6: Ms. Candyman - 1983, L&M Software Mummy's Treasure - 1981, L&M Software I have to choose the games from this list. There are quite a few cartridges that we'll probably never play because they're not games-- although if anyone needs an excuse to try Music Maker or Life, than maybe using them for the HSC might be a good idea. Adam
  7. Season 2, Round 4 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about three weeks. This round ends on Sunday, April 30'th at 8pm MST. The main game is Sneaky Snake. The BASIC bonus game is Caterpillar. Sneaky Snake Sneaky Snake is a 4K machine language cartridge released by New Image. It was programmed on the Astrocade by Dave Ibach and assembled using the General Video Assembler. This game tried to be true to the original arcade game by keeping Centipede's original vertical monitor setup, as in this screenshot: Sneaky Snake may be the hardest to find cartridge on the Astrocade system. Luckily, it is included on (I think) all of the various releases of the multicarts for the Astrocade. Plus, it plays just fine under the Astrocade emulation in MAME. ABC Hobbycraft's November 1983 issue of The Astrocade Underground newsletter said, "It's slipperier than a centipede, and faster than anything you've ever seen before-- it's Sneaky Snake, on cartridge for Astrocade from New Image Software! This hot version of an all-time arcade classic sends the Snake slithering among the mushrooms toward you. Shoot quick, and watch out for the Spider. Only $32.95." Here is an ad for the game from page 4 of the November 1983 AstroBUGS Newsletter: In the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ, Michael White says that Sneaky Snake was released on September 24, 1983 at the Astrobash. Some versions of this cartridge have the label glued or taped over an original Bally MFG. CORP. label because Sneaky Snake used salvaged cartridge cases. You can see this here: Peggy Gladden drew the label's artwork, which you can see better here: The Sneaky Snake cartridge ROM image (called "sneaky.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection You can read more about the development of Sneaky Snake in an interview with Dave Ibach that Paul Thacker conducted on February 27, 2006. In this interview, Dave placed Sneaky Snake into the public domain (thanks, Dave!). http://www.ballyalley.com/ballyalley/interviews/interview_with_david_ibach.txt As far as I'm aware, there is no manual for this game, but if you've played Centipede, then you'll take to this game quite naturally. Sneaky Snake (Options): Other than the number of players, Sneaky Snake has no options to enter before the game begins. There are no skill levels to select. Sneaker Snake (Scoring): Up to ten points are awarded for playing Sneaky Snake. For available bonus points, see "Bonus Points" section below. Sneaky Snake Game Review Sneaky Snake was reviewed in The Game Player column #16 by Michael Prosise in Arcadian 6, no. 4 (Feb. 23, 1984): 37. Here is the full review: SNEAKY SNAKE New Image This month, we take a look at yet another new cartridge, and a fine one, too. For all of you fans of the coin-operated Arcade game CENTIPEDE, this cartridge game by New Image is just the one for you! SNEAKY SNAKE is a very colorful, enjoyable family game for one to four players. Each player starts with five "shooters," utilized one at a time. The T.V. screen will present the player(s) with a field of multi-colored mushrooms. At the top of the screen will appear the Snake, who will begin his decent downward, meandering over, under and around the mushrooms as he moves closer to you! At the bottom of the playfield is your shooter, which you can maneuver left or right, and slightly up or down. Using the trigger, you must shoot the Snake before he makes contact with your shooter. You may fire one shot at a time, or fire rapidly (machine gun-like) by holding the trigger in. Each hit on any segment of the Snake awards you 50 points, and turns that segment of the Snake into a mushroom. Any mushroom or part of one that you shoot is good for one point. A single hit on the Snake will not kill him, however. The player must hit each circular segment that comprises the Snake in order to kill him. Be forewarned that a hit on any part of the Snake may cut him into two separate Snakes! Upon elimination of the Snake, a new screen will appear. Each screen is different, both in color and intensity of play. The different background color for each screen adds visual variety to the game. The higher your score gets, the harder each new screen will be. The Snake will move faster each time, and the mushrooms will almost fill the whole screen. Things can get rather hectic if you do not get the Snake before he reaches the bottom of the playfield. Once down, he will move left and right until you get him, or he gets you. If you take too long, new Snake segments will enter from the left and right, moving over, under and around your shooter! There is no escape now. In your panic, be careful not to bump into a mushroom; you will be destroyed if you do. If this is not enough to keep you occupied, there is another creature you must contend with: the Spider! That's right, folks: It's the old, pesky Spider trick. Periodically, a Spider will appear and try his best to pounce on you. He is good for 100, 200 or 300 points a shot, depending on how close you are to him when you shoot him. As your points get higher, each Spider will move faster and come at you continuously [more often]. SNEAKY SNAKE is an excellent cartridge game. Not only is the player presented with good graphics and full color, but his ears are treated to a fanciful and light-hearted tune throughout the game. And just as the action speeds up, so does the music, further adding to the enjoyment of playing. Our players here really like SNEAKY SNAKE, and they're additionally pleased that a bonus shooter is awarded (at each 10,000 points). The game-play itself, along with the sounds and music, make this cartridge a real winner! Caterpillar The BASIC bonus game is 1983's Caterpillar, by Thadd*Pro (Kevin O'Neill). It originally appeared as a type-in program in the newsletter Niagara B.U.G. Bulletin, 1.7 (September 6, 1983): 8-10. It was later reprinted in Arcadian, 6.10 (Aug. 24, 1984): 95. There is a 1986 revised version Caterpillar by Klaus Doerge. It's more colorful and adds a potentially higher score for multiple players. I played both games and I prefer the original version. Caterpillar is an "AstroBASIC" variant on the classic videogame, Snake. In this case, you move a caterpillar around the screen, growing ever longer while you pick up items for points. Unlike other versions of Snake, you grow continuously, not only when you eat snacks. In my eyes, Caterpillar mixes Checkmate with Snake and comes up with an interesting variant. Here are some screenshots from the game: The brief directions from the newsletters are: Caterpillar is a game of luck and skill. You control the direction of travel of your caterpillar and try to eat the floppy disks that appear on the screen. Be careful-- if you touch any walls or the trail that you leave, your head gets crushed and you die. You also die if the timer at the bottom of the screen runs out. There are an undisclosed amount of different screens and each one gets harder. Scoring works by the more time you have left the more points you score. You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Caterpillar here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/arcadian/programs_a-h/caterpillar_[thadd_x_pro].zip I noticed that in Caterpillar you'll encounter some issues with the gameplay due to the completely random distribution of the floppy disks that you must collect. This includes the disks appearing on your own trail! Just start another game and see if you can make it a little further on your next game. Bonus Points Up to six bonus points are available this round for both games: Sneaky Snake (1 points) - Two-Player Game. Sneaky Snake (1 Point) - Beating Joe Adams' score of 56,457 posted on page 77 of the Scoreboard in the June 30, 1984 Arcadian issue. Sneaky Snake (1 Point) - Video Review - There is no quality video of Sneaky Snake on YouTube. Anyone who makes a video review of this game will get a bonus point. Caterpillar (1 Point) - Playing the bonus game. Caterpillar (1 Point) - Highest Score. Caterpillar (1 - 2 Points) - Video Review - Anyone who makes a video review of Caterpillar will get a bonus point. If, in the video, you compare it to various other Astrocade Snake-type games (which also have video), than you'll get two bonus points. Summary As we make our way through the Astrocade's small library of games, there are bound to be some games I don't like. For instance, the sports titles are, well, not my cup of tea. So, I'm glad that I like both of these games. Neither is graphically impressive, but both are fun. Sneaky Snake is one of the few homebrew cartridge games that was created on its host console (i.e. not a computer system-- unless the Astrocade is a computer-- is it?!?). Caterpillar is pretty basic, but it's fun for a bit-- and unlike so many other BASIC games, I don't consider it too slow. In fact, if it was faster than it might be a bit too hard. Adam
  8. The Main Game: Muncher Muncher (also sometimes called Munchie) is the main game for round 3 of the second season of the Astrocade High Score Club. Muncher is an excellent Pac-Man clone, as the following screenshot makes quite clear: This game is one of my favorite games for the Astrocade, and it's a shame that it wasn't released (probably) due to Atari's legal department making threats to sue companies that made copy-cat games. I suppose there is no defense for Muncher-- you can't look at it an not see Pac-Man. K.C. Munchkin for the Odyssey 2, which has only a passing resemblance to Pac-Man, was driven off the market by Atari's lawsuit, therefore Astrocade, Inc. made the right decision, as they couldn't have released this game without a major overhaul. Unlike prototype games for many other systems, like the Atari 2600 or Intellivision, owners of the Astrocade didn't have to wait until the late-1990s or 2000s to get to play rare and unusual games: Muncher got limited distribution in the early 1980s through the Arcadian and at least two other sources. Bonus Game: Nam-Cap The BASIC bonus game is New Image's game Nam-Cap, which was released on tape for $10.95 in December of 1982. "Nam-Cap" is the name "Pac-Man" spelled backwards. That's pretty-much how this game plays too: instead of eating dots, you "up-chuck" them onto the screen. Yeah, kind of gross, but pretty amusing. Here's a screenshot of the game with the maze mostly filled in already: To be sure, Nam-Cap is similar to Pac-Man (the game wouldn't exist without the original), but it's not a clone. It's a neat distraction and has quite a few variants that gave players a good deal for their money. Season 2, Round 3: End of Round Time and Date Season 2, Round 3 will last about three weeks. This round ends on Sunday, April 9'th at 8pm MST. Muncher Here is a preview of the supposedly soon to be upcoming (at the time) Munchie cartridge from the 1981 Astrovision, Inc. catalog called More Games More Fun: Muncher may be the most common third-party game for the Astrocade... but that doesn't make it common. Unless you own an Astrocade multicart, I expect that you'll have to play this game using the Astrocade emulator included with MAME. The Muncher cartridge ROM image (called "muncher.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection Muncher was never actually officially released by Astrovision or Astrocade, Inc. Therefore, there is no manual for this game-- but there is nothing complicated about playing it. If you've ever played Pac-Man (or any other dot-eating maze game in the last thirty-five years!), then you'll take to Muncher quite easily. The only big difference between Pac-Man and Muncher is that in Muncher, you must always press your controller in the direction that you want to move. You'll get used to this quickly. Muncher is probably found most commonly labeled as Test Programme, which is the cartridge that the Arcadian newsletter released. It looks like this: Esoterica is probably the company that released the cartridges with the red "Muncher" label. This version of the cartridge looks like this: Here is a video review of Muncher created by "Nice and Games" and released to YouTube on May 15, 2010: I do not know who programmed Muncher. If you have any idea, then please let me know. For those who are interested in tinkering with programming, a disassembly of the Z80 code for Muncher is available here: http://www.ballyalley.com/ml/ml_source/Munch.asm Muncher (Options) Other than the number of players, Muncher has no options to enter. There are no skill levels to select. The game does start a little too slowly for my taste, but before long everything starts moving really quickly. In fact, it probably won't be long before you wish that everything would slow down just a little bit. Muncher (Scoring) Up to ten points are awarded for playing Muncher. Muncher Bonus Points If you play a two-player game of Muncher, then you'll get a bonus point. If you beat Sharon Adams score of 76,310 that was published in the Scoreboard in the June 30, 1984 issue of Arcadian, then you'll get a bonus point. Nam-Cap You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Nam-Cap here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/new_image/nam-cap_%5Bnew_image%5D.zip Be sure to play the version in the zip file called "nam-cap_1_[new_image].wav. Nam-Cap (Options) We're playing version 1 of Nam-Cap, which is called Nam-Cap: Up-Chuck. Each variant of the game has a different title screen, so please make sure that the title screen you see matches with the one I've posted here. Lives in Nam-Cap are called "turns." When you begin your game choose 3 turns. Nam-Cap (Playing Notes) There probably were instructions for Nam-Cap, but they have not been archived. Here are a few things I noticed while playing the game: The Deadly Square - You are chased around the screen by one square. If it touches you, then you lose a turn. Those Pesky "Monsters" - Ghosts, which do not look like a squares (they look like ghosts, of course!), do not move around the maze; they are stationary. You don't see them until you encounter them as you move around the maze, and then they become visible. If you run into a visible ghost, then you lose a turn. I think the lack of ghost movement was done to help speed-up the game, and it actually works better than you might expect. Death on Startup - In one of the variant versions of Nam-Cap, I noticed that a ghost (which appear randomly) can appear on the first space that you occupy. If this happens, then you lose a turn before you even move, which is an extremely cheap death-- and is obviously unfair. I've not seen this happen in the Up-Chuck version of the game (that we're playing), but if you see it, then be aware it seems to just be the way that the game plays. Nam-Cap Images Here is a picture of the tape on which Nam-Cap was distributed: Here are some screenshots of Nam-Cap: This is Nam-Cap's title screen (if you don't see this exact title screen, then you're playing the wrong version of the game): The maze at the start of a game-- before you "up chuck" any dots at all! Here is the maze after you've done a little bit of barfing: When you lose your last "turn," the screen colors flicker though many different colors, I happened to catch the game at a moment that surely does make me want to "up chuck!" Here is a full-page ad for Nam-Cap from the March 14, 1983 issue of the Arcadian: The ad makes a few comments: New Image Proudly Presents Tape #1500, Nam-Cap: Six versions of this crazy game on one tape! Different mazes on each screen. 1-4 players. Saves Hi-Score of the Day. Tired of eating dots and ghosts? Now you can spit them back out! You'll love it!! Nam-Cap (Review) Nam-Cap was reviewed by Michael Prosise in The Game Player column in Arcadian 5, no. 4 (Feb. 18, 1983): 62. Here is the full review of the game: Whacka-whacka-whacka??? Yes! Has the little yellow gobbler finally made it to the Bally Astrocade? Well-l-l-l, a hint is in this game's title, which might be spelled backwards. Don Gladden of New Image has come up with quite an entertaining version (in reverse) of the popular Midway coin-op Pac-Man. In fact, there are six variations of Nam-Cap on the cassette, each unique in its own way. So what is a Nam-Cap, you might be wondering. To use Don's words, the little guy finally ate too many dots and ghosts. Now he's spitting them out! The object of this game is to fill the maze with dots. What New Image has done is to take the Pac-Man game concept and reverse it. You have a maze, with tunnels on each side, that is devoid of dots. You steer the Nam-Cap guy through the maze, trying to fill it with dots, while simultaneously avoiding the pursuing block-shaped object. During the chase, your guy will, on his own, deposit stationary ghosts in three different places that neither he nor his pursuer may pass through. To attempt this will mean his destruction. Nam-Cap is for one to four players, is in color, and offers the choice of one to ten turns. The graphics are good; in fact, the ghosts are just like the ones in Pac-Man. There are several different mazes. A new one will appear each time you complete one. In the six versions, the speed of movement is faster than some of the others. In version four, you disappear after 500 points, the maze disappears at 1,000 points, and after 1,500 points, both disappear! It's fun. Of the Pac-Man-type games that have appeared so far for the Bally Astrocade, Nam-Cap is probably the closest to the coin-op, as far as feel of play and visual aspects are concerned. Although the maze layout is different, it functions just as well. Those who've played it have liked it quite a bit. They've even found it superior to Wavemakers' Pack-Rat. The sound effects are nice also, and another good feature is that the high score of the day, along with the final scores for all players, is displayed at the end of each game. Nam-Cap is fun to play, much like Pac-Man, and should be available by the time you read this. Have fun playing Muncher this round; it's a very impressive and fun game on the Astrocade. Nam-Cap, while not nearly as fast-paced as Muncher, isn't a bad facsimile of the game given the limitations of "AstroBASIC." It is certainly much better than MicroPac (released in 1982) by H.A.R.D., which is excruciatingly slow. Now, go insert the cartridge (or load up the ROM) and have some traveling through a classic maze game. If you're not careful, then you might get "Muncher-Man Fever!" Adam
  9. The Main Game: Star Battle Star Battle is the main game for round 2 of the second season of the Astrocade High Score Club. I've never much cared for Star Battle, but it gets quite a bit of attention in Astrocade circles. I suppose that's because the game has a passing resemblance to a certain scene from a little-known 1970s movie called Star Wars. Did I say "passing resemblance?" Let's be honest here: this game is a direct rip-off of the trench scene from the 1977 mega-hit Star Wars movie (rechristened "A New Hope"). I've always had a hard time wrapping my head around this game's control method; it somehow seems to handle, well, oddly. I'll be curious to see what other people think of this game. One neat feature of Star Battle is that in a two player game, player one controls the X (not, of course, to be confused with an X-Wing) and the second player controls the H (not to be mistaken for a Tie Fighter). Bonus Game: Down the Trench I had been thinking about choosing an adventure/RPG-type game for the BASIC bonus game this month. However, Down the Trench (released in 1979 by Sebree's Computing) is a perfect pairing for Star Battle; I just couldn't pass it up for this round. Down the Trench, like Star Battle, is another game that takes place in the depths of the Star Wars movie universe. Other than loading this one up this evening to take some screenshots, I've not played Down the Trench before. If it's slow and clunky (and I expect that it will be sluggish), then please forgive me; just think of playing this game as part of your education in classic gaming. As far as I'm aware, this game was only released on tape for Bally BASIC in 300-baud format. This means that you'll need the Bally Tape interface to load it; it won't load into "AstroBASIC." Season 2, Round 2: End of Round Time and Date Season 2, Round 2 will last about three weeks. This round ends on Sunday, March 19'th at 8pm MST. Star Battle Star Battle is a 2K cartridge released by Bally Mfg. Corp. in 1979. It is part of the Action/Skills Series. It was re-released in 1981 by Astrovision, Inc. Unlike last round's game, Solar Conqueror, which was among the last games released for the Astrocade, Star Battle was among the first of them. I do not know who programmed this game. If you have any idea, then please let me know. In the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ, Michael White states that Star Battle is a port of the Bally/Midway 1980 coin-op arcade game Space Encounters. Space Encounters was a B&W game that used a color overlay; the games does indeed look very similar (although, like Dog Patch, the arcade game's resolution is higher than the supposed home port of the game). It's possible that Star Battle was originally going to be called Space Race, as Brett Bilbrey alludes to in his December 11, 1978 handwritten letter, here: http://www.ballyalley.com/newsletters/arcadian/letters/Brett%20Bilbrey/Letter%20(Brett%20Bilbrey)(Dec%2011%201978).pdf However, the Bally Videocade Cassettes 4-page catalog/flyer has a "screenshot" (more likely an artist's rendering) of Space Race that looks much more like a 1970's era Star Trek-inspired game. http://www.ballyalley.com/ads_and_catalogs/bally/bally_videocade_cassettes_catalog.pdf I've "clipped" the picture of Space Race from the flyer; it looks like this: No version of a Space Race prototype cartridge has yet been found. Here are some Star Battle iamges: For those who are interested in tinkering with programming, a disassembly of the Z80 code for Star Battle is available here: http://www.ballyalley.com/ml/ml_source/stardis.asm On October 14, 2012, "Adventurevision" posted a video of the coin-op game Space Encounters. It's a short video; take a look at it and compare it to Star Battle: Star Battle and Space Encounters certainly do look similar, don't they? The Star Battle cartridge ROM image (called "starbttl.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection Here is a shrinkwrapped version of the box: http://www.ballyalley.com/pics/box_pics/astrocade/Star%20Battle/Star%20Battle%20(Astrocade%20Box)_01.jpg I was hoping to find a review of Star Battle, but I couldn't find one anywhere (other than the F- score that was "awarded" by "The Video Game Critic," a reviewer who seems to randomly give poor pronouncements to games he seems to have hardly played). If anyone knows of a balanced (fair) review of Star Battle, then please point it out to me. I'd be especially interested in reading any review from around the 1979/1980 era, when this game was new and the market wasn't flooded with look-alike Star Wars games. On September 21, 2013, "ArcadeUSA" (Willie) posted a video of Star Battle: A pdf of the Bally release of the Star Battle "manual" is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/star%20battle%20(instructions)(bally)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf A pdf of the Astrovision, Inc. release of the Star Battle manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/star_battle.pdf Here are the complete instructions for Star Battle: Star Battle Instructions An exciting race through space in a running battle with enemy star ships. Three dimensional screen action looks like you're plunging through a time warp on your way to hyperspace! Fire your missiles and take evasive action to avoid enemy lasers! You have full control over your spacecraft's speed and direction-- and you can play to any score for long or short games! Star Battle (1 or 2 players) Fly your spacecraft down a 3-D tunnel while dodging enemy lasers. Score points by firing and hitting enemy star ships. With Star Battle, you can play to any score by choosing the number of star ships that must be destroyed. Then, it's a race against time to strike the enemy ships before they hit you! Starting the Game Choose Star Battle by pressing 1 on the keypad or by using remote game selection (pull the trigger on hand control #1, turn the knob until 1 appears on the screen, then pull the trigger again). Select the number of players (1 or 2). The star ship of player 1 is designed like an X. The star ship of player 2 looks like an H. Enter the maximum score (1-999). Playing the Game The hand control functions for Star Battle are: Trigger - Launches the missiles. Knob - Has no function. Joystick - Steers left or right; slows the speed of the ship when pulled back; goes faster when pushed forward. The object of the game is to hit the number of enemy star ships selected before the enemy scores that number of hits. The star ships dart back and forth very quickly, so you must time the release of your missiles to meet the enemy ship where it is going to be next. For one player games, the Arcade automatically becomes the enemy and flies the second star ship. Since both sides have an unlimited supply of ammunition, the action is very fast-paced. Scoring When a missile hits a star ship, an explosion is seen and heard, and the ship disappears from the screen. Points are awarded to the player who made the hit, and another enemy star ship comes into view. The scores of both players are displayed at the top of the screen. Since the length of the game is determined by the score which was entered, the game continues until one player reaches that score. Strategies for Winning Try to fly your star ship in, out, and around, as well as behind the enemy ship to be hit. As you practice maneuvering with the joystick, you will increase your ability to target the ship you wish to hit (and you'll also be able to avoid enemy lasers!). Playing Again To play Star Rattle again, press the RESET button, and follow the instructions for starting the game. High Score Club Scoring for Star Battle Normally, up to 10 points are earned for each main game in a round of the high score club. I'd still like to do that, but I'm not sure how to do it easily for this round. Since a game of Star Battle is played to a certain score, I guess we could time our games-- but that would probably get overly-complicated. How about this: we all play to 20 points. The final score for each player will be based by how many points they beat the computer player. For example: If a round ends with player 1 scoring 20 points and the computer scores 14 points, then the player gets 3 points (half the difference in scores, with scores rounding up in favor of the player). A second example: if a round ends with player 1 scoring 20 points and the computer scoring 1 point, then the player gets 10 points. Does this make sense? This is an awkward scoring method, but it's the best I can come up with right now. Does this sound reasonable? If not, then I'm open to other suggestions. Star Battle Bonus Points If you play a two-player game of Star Battle to 20 points (or more), then you'll get a bonus point. Down the Trench (BASIC Bonus Game) Down the Trench, programmed by Timothy Hays, was one of eight programs first offered for sale in Arcadian 1, no. 9 (Aug. 18, 1979): 76. The price was $5.50 for the game on tape. There is a "special edition" of the Cursor newsletter, issue 3 (which is from about March 1980). This "newsletter" is basically just six pages of advertisements for Sebree's Computing. Down the Trench is featured in one ad that says: "Down the Trench - 1 player. Six levels of difficulty. This program has [many] branches so that many things can happen. It may take you an hour to finally succeed in destroying the Death Star and move to a higher level of difficulty. After you evade the enemies laser shots, you engage your flight computer and wait to fire as a 3-dimensional representation of your target moves up on you. But that isn't all! Spectacular explosions and graphic movement with its unbeatable documentation make this a unique simulation/game. Memory left - SZ=2." Here is a review, written by Richard DeForest, of Down the Trench (Arcadian 1, no. 11 (Oct. 31, 1979): 86.). "In my opinion, this is the best of the games [offered by Sebree's Computing. The others are: UFO Battle, Hit the Pedestrian, Submarine Mine Field, Munch and Super Wumpus). The program demands dexterity, perseverance, and concentration to succeed in the mission. Outstanding sound and 3D graphics. A very good program utilizing the memory of the Bally. [...] All programs come with listings and complete documentation. They use all of the functions of the Bally BASIC and have several unique sound effects. Instructions are duplicated in listing and program and this uses up memory which could be put to better use. I have OCRed, proofread and reformatted the instructions for Down the Trench. You can read the documentation here: Down The Trench Instructions When the game starts, you have to input a level of difficulty: Level 1 - The hardest level Level 2 - The lasers shoot at you 1/2 the time Level 3 - The lasers shoot at you 1/3 the time Level 4 - The lasers shoot at you 1/4 the time, etc. Level 6 - For beginners [i presume level five's laser's shoot at your 1/5 of the time.] You can enter any number for the difficulty you want. The object of the game is to evade the enemy laser shots, then, when the lasers have stopped shooting at you, a red and green box will flash on the right-side of the screen. You now engage your flight computer by pulling your trigger, then rotate your knob right and left and the joystick up and down to line up the target in the wall. See this illustration that has arrows showing how to line the wall up perfectly: This section is easier if your ship is kept somewhere near the center during the beginning. When the boxes are lined up the way the picture shows, you pull your trigger to fire your photon torpedoes. If you see 'PULL OUT' at the top of the screen, your shot went through. You then immediately pull back on your joystick (if you don't, you run into the wall and lose). The screen will go back to the normal flight mode (computer disengaged) and show your ship moving out of the trench, and then the horizon of the Death Star moving down and away. Then the Death Star explodes in a fury, and you have won the game. Now try it at level 1. It takes quite a while (2 1/2 minutes, less at lower levels of difficulty) to get to the 3-dimensional 'computer Active' part. That is intentional, to make the game harder. It is not to be expected that you win in the first 20 minutes you play the game; it takes practice and concentration. Good luck! You'll need it! You can read the game's instructions here (which include and illustration and a three-page hand-written BASIC listing of the program): http://www.ballyalley.com/type-in_programs/sebree/down_the_trench.pdf You can download Down the Trench for Bally BASIC here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/300_baud_programs/Sebrees_Computing/Down%20The%20Trench%20(1979)(Sebree's%20Computing)(300%20baud).zip Down the Trench Bonus Points 1) Playing Down the Trench - You get a bonus point just for playing Down the Trench. 2) Highest Score for Down the Trench- You can earn another bonus point if score the highest on this game. 3) Video of Down the Trench - A bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Down the Trench containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points! 4) Create AstroBASIC version of Down the Trench - If someone converts Down the Trench to play properly from AstroBASIC, then they'll get a bonus point. When I say "play properly," I mean that the game should have the sounds play correctly. Down the Trench (for Atari 400/800) for More Bonus Points?!? Sebree's Computing started on the Astrocade in (it seems) 1979, but it didn't take long before Tim Hays decided to move onto a more powerful platform. He ported most of the software that was originally created for the Astrocade onto the Atari 400/800 computer platform in 1980/1981. These games, like their Astrocade counterparts, were also released on tape. Eventually Sebree's Computing released at least twelve programs onto the Atari system, most of which are quite rare. For instance, Down the Trench is rated 10 out of 10 for rarity on the Atari. It's so rare that it hasn't been archived yet! Here is what that the tape release of Down the Trench looks like on the Atari home computer: Here is a link to Down the Trench on AtariMania (the software has not been archived): http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-down-the-trench_1692.html Luckily, Down the Trench was published (as Trench) in the November 1980 SoftSide magazine on pages 66-67. I really like the art that went along with the type-in version of Trench: Here's a link to that Trench in Softside magazine on archive.org: https://archive.org/stream/softside-magazine-26/SoftSide_26_Vol_3-02_1980-11_Kriegspiel#page/n67/mode/2up The program is available (in Atari BASIC format) on AtariMania, here: http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-trench_19675.html I found this rare Atari/Astrocade cross-platform release of a game quite interesting, so I tried the game using the Altirra Atari 8-Bit emulator. It plays quite closely to the Astrocade version of the game. It even looks similar to that game, which you can see in the screenshots that I took: Here are the instructions for Trench, from Softside: Trench Instructions By Tim Hays Softside, November 1980: 66-67. Trench requires 1 Atari joystick and 16K memory. The object of this program is to destroy the Death Star by maneuvering your ship away from a crossfire until you reach the exhaust vent of the Death Star and fire your photon torpedoes down the trench. In the beginning you are already in the trench, flying down the corridor at your ship's top speed. There are three laser posts located on the left and right walls, and on the floor bottom. These lasers flash by you and fire on your ship at random intervals. The frequency of the fire from the laser posts is determined by the level of difficulty you choose, (1-19), with 1 being the hardest. All three lasers will aim at you independently. Each will fire at the mid-point between you and the last spot fired upon. As long as you keep your ship moving away from the three laser shots, and keep track, you should not get hit. You will be able to see the number of miles to go at the bottom of your screen. This will be higher at more difficult levels of play. When the distance to go reaches 20, the on-board attack computer will be activated, the lasers will stop firing at you, and the end of the trench will come into view. You now have to quickly line up the center (one pixel) of this well so that the exhaust vent is exactly in the center of your sights. When you approach the last 30 miles, set your ship close to the center so that you can line up the approaching target more easily. When you do have everything lined up, you must fire on the vent after the bottom wall is below the bottom of your sights and the target is close enough to be hit accurately, (the computer will say, 'FIRE NOW!'). If you succeed in hitting your target, you must immediately pull back on your joystick to pull up and out of the trench. If you don't do this, you will run into the wall and be destroyed. Upon pulling out of the trench, the screen will go back to normal mode and show a window view of your ship moving out of the trench, and then switch to an aft view showing the Death Star being destroyed. During your flight down the trench, remember that if you go too close to the sides of the corridor or the floor, you will run into them and be destroyed. If you go off the top of the screen, you will be out of the trench and your mission will be aborted. The version of Trench that's available on AtariMania.com isn't easy for a novice to use. For this reason, I moved the program to an Atari ATR disk image called "Trench (Timothy Hays)(Atari 8-Bit).atr" and I've attached it here: Trench (Timothy Hays)(Atari 8-Bit).zip This game can be loaded in an Atari emulator (such as Altirra for Windows) simply by having BASIC available, booting the system and then typing in BASIC: LOAD "D1:TRENCH.BAS" When the program finishes loading, type RUN to play Trench on the Atari. If you play the Atari version of the game, then you'll get two bonus points. I realize that most people may have no interest in this Atari version of Down the Trench, but I wanted to point it out. I'm going to exclude myself from these potential two bonus points because I've already somewhat dug into the Atari game Trench. Posting High Scores Please post all of your scores for both games here. Scores posted on the Bally Alley discussion group will not 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. Remember, this round ends Sunday, March 19'th at 8pm MST. It's now time, Astrocade (and Atari?) players to take on the role of the H and X ships, make your way to the Death Star and have a little fun blowing it to smithereens. If you play your cards right, this will be just like bullseyeing womp rats in your T-16 back home... so get cracking! Adam
  10. The final round of this season's Astrocade High Score Club ended yesterday (February 6, 2017). Thank you to everyone who participated in the first season! It took me a little while to figure-out the final tally, but I've managed it (with a few caveats for possible duplicate names, see the next paragraph). Next season, I'm going to try to keep a running total through-out the season. That will make it easier to handle the final totals, and will also provide the side benefit that participants will be able to see where they stand throughout the season. Jason ("therealbountybob"), the AtariAge member who is in charge of the Atari 8-Bit High Score Club, sent me two Excel spreadsheets that I may try to use for Season 2 of the Astrocade HSC. They'll take a little while to get setup properly, but then all (or most) of the calculations will be done (more or less) automatically. I think that a few of these names in this final high score table may be duplicates. For instance, I'm pretty sure that "bwbauer" and Benjamin Bauer are the same person, which means that these two scores need to be combined. Please alert me if you have two scores included in this Astrocade High Score Club, Season 1, final standings list: Astrocade High Score Club, Season 1 - Final Table 1 - BallyAlley - 132 + 0 = 132 2 - ranger_lennier - 117 + 0 = 117 3 - nd2003grad - 67 + 38 = 105 ! 4 - Chris++ - 67 + 0 = 67 5 - roadrunner - 41 + 19 = 60 ! 6 - darthkur - 31 + 0 = 31 7 - Brian Ciesicki - 15 + 0 = 15 (Tie for 7th place) 7 - Lance Squire - 15 + 0 = 15 (Tie for 7th place) 8 - Benjamin Bauer - 10 + 0 = 10 9 - glazball - 12 + 0 = 12 10 - billnewsome - 9 + 0 = 9 11 - bwbauer - 7 + 0 = 7 12 - Orion Miller - 6 + 0 = 6 13 - jblenkle - 3 + 0 = 3 (Tie for 13th place) 13 - tripletopper - 3 + 0 = 3 (Tie for 13th place) ! - Received bonus points from round 14 (the "catch-up" round). I came in first place, but that's only because I played every round and every bonus game. Congratulations to ranger_lennier, who came in second place and played nearly every game as well! It has been a pleasure challenging (and being challenged by) all of you fine folks! My favorite main game this round, which was a surprise to me, was Cosmic Raiders. This game displaces The Incredible Wizard on my Astrocade go-to list. I've continued to play Cosmic Raiders since Round 3 ended in March of 2016. My favorite bonus games were The Pits (a fast-action game that is surprisingly addictive) and Outpost 19 (a rather deep "AstroBASIC" game that I actually took the time to map). By far, my least favorite main game this round was Blast Droids. That game could have been so much better if more time had been given to it by the programmer to play test it. My least favorite bonus game is probably a toss-up between Brick 'N The Wall (a too-slow Breakout-style game) or Exitor's Revenge (which looks fantastic for a BASIC game, but the gameplay doesn't hold up). What were some favorite (and/or least favorite) games of other participants from this round? Season 2, Round 1 of the Astrocade HSC officially starts when I post the round (probably tomorrow). If you're interested in getting an earlier start, then you're welcome to begin playing the main game, Solar Conqueror (a cartridge by Astrocade, Inc) and the BASIC bonus, Space Gauntlet, by The Tiny Arcade. It's been a fun season, but I wish more people could play these games. I may concentrate on writing a how-to that anyone can use to setup Astrocade emulation. Maybe this will encourage more players to join and (at least) play the main games each round. Since there were such a small number of people who played this season, I may change the way the rounds are scored. Currently, scores are based on the top player receiving 10 points (plus any bonuses that are earned). However, in some rounds only two people participated, which sort of throws off the scoring system if you miss a couple of rounds. I may give some thought to the maximum points remaining 10, but with the addition that no more points can be awarded than the number of players in a round. This means that if only two people play in a round, then the top player would only get two points. Then again, since I consider this high score club merely an excuse to play these games, I may just leave the scoring system the same. What you you think? Adam
  11. This is the last round of season 1. This means you've all got a chance to score some extra points in this catch-up round. There are no "new" games this round, but any of the previous 13 main games can be played. There are no catch-up points awarded for playing bonus games-- those games had to be played during the original round in which they were featured. This round ends Sunday, February 5th at 8pm MST. The games we've played in this first season of the Astrocade High Score Club are: Round 1: Astro Battle Round 2: Space Fortress Round 3: Cosmic Raiders Round 4: The Incredible Wizard Round 5: Clowns/Brickyard Round 6: Mazeman Round 7: Bally Pin (aka Astrocade Pinball) Round 8: Treasure Cove Round 9: Crazy Climber Round 10: Sea Devil Round 11: Galactic Invasion Round 12: The Adventures of Robby Roto! Round 13: Blast Droids You can click any of the above game titles to go to the round which originally featured the game. However, please, post all improved scores in this thread. Bonus round points are awards for each position that you move. For example, the final results of Season 1, Round 4: The Incredible Wizard were: 1st Chris++ 9,870 (Dungeon 9) 10 pts 2nd darthkur 9,150 (Dungeon 8 ) 9 pts 3rd nd2003grad 7,650 (Dungeon 6) 8 pts 4th glazball 5,480 (Dungeon 7) 7 pts 5th BallyAlley 5,180 (Dungeon 7) 6 pts 6th ranger_lennier 2,990 (Dungeon 4) 5 pts 7th roadrunner 2,260 (Dungeon 6) 4 pts In this instance, if roadrunner posted a new score of 8,000 points for The Incredible Wizard, then he would move four places (by beating nd2003grad's 7,650 score). This would earn roadrunner 4 bonus points. Note that no one else's earned points are effected when a player scores bonus points in a catch-up round. You'll notice that it's difficult for people to earn bonus points who originally scored in high positions during the original round. In this case, Chris++, who is in first place in the above list, would have to beat his own score of 9,870 points just to earn one bonus point. If you're posting a score for one of these game for the first time in this catch-up round, then you are considered to be in last place for a round. For instance, let's say that John Doe posts an astonishing first-time score of one million points for The Incredible Wizard. Then John Doe would earn seven points for moving seven places (8th place to 1st place). Good luck, and remember, post all of your improved scores in this thread. Adam
  12. Blast Droids is the main game for Round 13 of the Astrocade High Score Club. This game controls like the game Asteroids, and is even similar to it, but it's not a direct copy of that game. The BASIC bonus game is an extremely simple text-adventure-like game called Haunted House. It uses a menu system rather than a parser. This one is pretty unusual, but I thought it might be interesting to try a game that is pretty far off the beaten path. Round 13 will last about three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, December 18'th at 8pm MST. This is the last regular round for 2016. After this round is complete, there will be a catch-up round that will last until the last day of December. During that final round of the year, if there are any games that you missed, or there are any games that you'd like to try getting a higher score on, then you'll have that final chance to play previous games again. Blast Droids Blast Droids is a 4K cartridge by Esoterica released in 1983. This game was written by Dan Drescher, and J.P. Curran. Note: In the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ, Michael White writes that the Blast Droids cartridge reads "Spectrecade Presents: Blast Droids," but Spectrecade had nothing to do with this game. Esoterica, Inc. previously manufactured "Treasure Cove" (a Spectrecade game). Somehow that name ended up on this cartridge's label, the box, and even in the manual. It's a mistake. The Blast Droids cartridge ROM image (called "bstdroid.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection In the May 1984 issue of the Arcadian, in the The Game Player column, Michael Prosise wrote, "Uh-oh. Lloyd Friedman of New Jersey warns, "BLAST DROIDS: worst game ever." Watch your $$$$, folks..." This game was never submitted to The Game Player for review. However, Kevin O'Neill was much more optimistic in his October 1983 review in the Niagara B.U.G. Bulletin newsletter, which you can read here: http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/Outlet%20Reviews/Outlet%20Review%20-%20Blast%20Droids.html A pdf of the Blast Droids manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/blast%20droids%20(instructions)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf I've OCRed the manual for Blast Droids: SPECTRECADE Presents Blast Droids © Mfg. & Dist. By Esoterica, Inc. Intergalactic Stardate 3939 From: Chief of Operations, Spectrecade School for Intergalactic Space Pilots, Inc. To: All Future Star Pilots Dear Prospective Intergalactic Space Pilot, The Spectrecade School for Intergalactic Space Pilots is pleased to announce that you have passed our entrance exam with flying (ha, ha) colors and have been accepted for our Home Study Course I. This program consists of: 1. Four lessons in "Ship Maneuvering I," after which you will 2. Solo in the training sector (perhaps alongside another new cadet) followed by 3. Your first real mission. We sincerely hope it will not be your last. Successful completion of this Home Study Course will earn you fame (for fortune you need to take the more expensive Home Study Course II) and your name will be ranked with the late Buck Rodgers and Flash Gorgon. Ship Maneuvering I Lesson I. This ship is only capable of forward thrust. To fire thrusters push joystick forward. For delicate maneuvering short thrusts are required. Hold stick forward for additional speed and quickness. To fire thrusters, push joystick __________. Answer this question correctly and move to Lesson II. Lesson II. To change heading push stick to the right or left. Pushing the joystick to the right or left will change __________. Answer this question correctly and move on to Lesson III. Lesson III. To achieve a braking action while ship is in motion you must first reverse your heading and then fire thruster until ship comes to a stop or reverses momentum. To achieve a braking action first change __________ and then fire __________. Answer this question correctly and move to Lesson IV. Lesson IV. To fire bullets pull the trigger. Pulling the trigger will fire the __________. Answer this question correctly and move on to the training sector. The Training Sector This sector is designed to test your knowledge of Lessons I thru IV. Some of our graduates, because of overinflated egos and overestimated confidence, have opted to skip this phase of their training. While we point out that you also have this option (enter Training Sector or game play from hand control or keypad), these so-called pilots have not been heard from since. In this sector you will be given the option of flying alongside a fellow cadet. (Enter number of players off keypad or hand control.) Each player will be given 3 ships as a test of their ability. Each player must avoid the Barrier in the center of the screen. "Accidentally" shooting your opponent may be grounds for dismissal. (So, if you shoot him, be sure it's on purpose). YOU ARE NOW READY FOR YOUR FIRST MISSION. Mission Impossible Android space ships have begun building force fields in deep space. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to seek out and eliminate these alien intruders. Before each sector begins the screen will display the number of ships you have remaining and the number of droids you must shoot to go on to the next sector. In each sector you will encounter several android spaceships guarding force fields in various stages of construction. Each player must avoid contact with all droids, force fields, bullets and his opponent's ship. In sector 1 and 2, the droids are confined inside the force fields. After this, they will begin to wrap around so every angle must be watched carefully. In sectors 4 and 6, the droids have retreated to their space fortress located in the center of a maze. Players must maneuver the maze and shoot one droid before the door of their fortress shuts. Successful completion of this task, by either player, results in a bonus ship for both. Failure results in a loss of a ship. We know that you have learned your lessons well and feel confident that you will succeed. We regret, however, that we cannot be with you. Scoring Each droid is worth 50 points times its sector number. So that you may evaluate your progress, we have provided you with the following comparison chart. 0 - 5,000 - Go directly to Lesson I. Do not pass the Training sector. Do not collect a bonus ship. 5,000 - 15,000 - Return to the Training Sector. You are not quite ready for the big time. 15,000 - 40,000 - You are now a Class II Pilot, but your endurance is suspect. 40,000 - 90,000 - As this score shows, when your number 2 you try harder. 90,000 and over - It's Diploma time! You are now promoted to Supreme Allied Commander of the Spectrecade Intergalactic Space Pilots. - Chief of Operations As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). Blast Droids Bonus Point There is one way to score a bonus point for Blast Droids: 1) Highest Level Reached - I'm not sure exactly how many screens that there are in this game, but the player who reaches the furthest level in the game will be awarded a bonus point. I'm not sure how we will keep track of this, as (I don't think) the game shows your current level on-screen during game play. Haunted House (BASIC Bonus Game) Haunted House is a very unusual game because it is made up of nine different loads, each of which is a separate BASIC program. This game must have been difficult to play from tape, but it's easy to play from the separate digitally archived loads. I found that loading the nine BASIC programs onto my phone and loading them into the Astrocade from there worked great for this game. You can download Haunted House for "AstroBASIC" here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/new_image/haunted_house_[full]_[new_image].zip You can read the game's instructions and see the BASIC listing for all the programs here: http://www.ballyalley.com/type-in_programs/basic/basic.html#HauntedHouseNewImageListing I think that the above instructions are for the Bally BASIC version of the game. The "AstroBASIC" instruction are here: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/new_image/Haunted_House_(New_Image).pdf Here are the Haunted House in-game instructions: Come on in!!! You have just entered the Haunted House. To win the game, you must find a way to get out (the door has locked behind you). You may enter any of 8 rooms in the house. In the rooms you will have the chance to examine six different items. One of the items in one of the rooms will lead you out. Also, at times you will receive clues, but you have to figure out what they mean. (We're not telling.) If you want to enter a new room, you must load a new program. (There is a separate program for each room.) When the computer asks you which item to examine, press zero, and follow instructions. The correct program will automatically load. Note: Do not reset computer!!! Here are the complete Haunted House instructions: Haunted House - 1 Player-Keypad This game uses nine separate programs to play. The first program gives you the introduction and instructions, and sets certain variables that are kept throughout the game. Load the first program with :INPUT;RUN and follow instructions when they appear on the screen. Stop the tape when the program start's running and do not rewind. DO NOT RESET the computer at any time until the game is over. If you run into any problems during the game and have to halt and restart, Key in GOTO 200. "RUN" will not work. The object of the game is to go through the house one room at a time until you find the way out. (This will change every game.) In each room, there are six different items for you to examine. One of them in one of the rooms will lead you out of the house, but you have to find it. You examine an item by pressing it's number and "GO'. When you are done in a room and wish to proceed to the next room, press zero and 'GO'. Then, when prompted, hit any key and start recorder on 'PLAY'. The next room will automatically load. Don't forget to stop recorder where it's at after the program starts running. The creator of this game assumes very little responsibility for the corny jokes in it!!! Haunted House Bonus Points 1) Playing Haunted House - You get a bonus point just for playing Haunted House. 2) Finishing Haunted House- You can earn another bonus point if you escape the from the haunted house. This isn't hard, but a screenshot of the final screen is required if you want to earn this bonus point. 3) Video of Haunted House - A bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Haunted House containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points! Please post all of your scores for both games here. Scores posted on the Bally Alley discussion group will not 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 blowing-up the android space ships in Blast Droids and the extreme weirdness of Haunted House! Adam
  13. This round, we're trying a game that's a little different. The main game is not going to be a cartridge-based game. Instead we're going to play an arcade game that uses the "Astrocade chipset." The Adventures of Robby Roto! is the main game for Round 12 of the Astrocade High Score Club. The BASIC bonus game is a Q*Bert clone called QB-2B by WaveMakers. Due to scheduling on my part, Round 12 will last about four weeks. The round ends on Sunday, November 13'th at 8pm MST. This may give more people a chance to play the game, but it will also allow people that have never set up the MAME emulator to get it going. The Adventures of Robby Roto! The Adventures of Robby Roto! is a 40K game released to the arcades by Bally/Midway in 1981. The game uses 6K RAM, plus an additional 16K for screen RAM, and 2K for battery backed-up RAM. That means the game uses all 64K of the Z80 address space! The Adventures of Robby Roto! was written by Jay Fenton using the commercial (hi-res) mode of the Astrocade chipset. Many people immediately spot "Robby Roto's" similar characteristics to Dig-Dug, Mr. Do! or even the lesser-known arcade game The Pit (which inspired Boulder Dash). These are all games in which you move underground through the Earth collecting items. However, "Robby Roto" predates these three arcade games. If anyone knows of an underground digging game that came out before "Robby Roto," then let me know-- as I've wondered where Jay may have got his original inspiration for this game. Here is what the arcade cabinet for "The Adventures of Robby Roto!" looks like: Here are several screenshots of this game as it is played under the MAME emulator: There is a colorful arcade flyer for "Robby Roto:" I've OCRed the text from the "Robby Roto!" arcade flyer: Robby Roto Digs His Way into the Hearts of Game Players Everywhere Thrill to the adventures of Robby Roto, rescuer extraordinaire, as he saves hostages and treasures placed underground by the evil Voltar. Fearless Robby can save up to three hostages at a time, turning their frowns to smiles as he gains more points. Robby runs and digs his way through increasingly more difficult mazes, though he can only dig at junction points in the direction of the arrows. Help Robby with the magic button that freezes his enemies, and makes Robby invincible. Earn a bonus Roto by completing each 3rd maze, as you dig Robby Roto's adventures and earn higher point values per maze. For players in the 1980s, the instructions from the arcade game's glass bezel was all the information that they had to go on to play the game. Here are the instructions from the bezel that arcade players lived and died by: Insert coin. Guide Roto through the maze avoiding the cunning trolls and spiders. Find the key for the exit door. Grab Treasures for bonus points. Remove as many hostages each trip into the maze as possible. When all 3 are saved the maze ends. Magic makes Roto invisible to monsters Save ALL 3 hostages GRAB treasures for maximum points Maximum hostages removed in one trip = 1 hostages = 1x Bonus 2 hostages = 2x Bonus 3 hostages = 3x Bonus + Special bonus next maze!! For those players who want to "dig deeper" into how the game is play, I've retyped/OCRed additional information on how to play the game from Bally/Midway's Adventures of Robby Roto - Parts and Operating Manual. These instructions are much more detailed… maybe even too detailed for some people. I) The Adventures of Robby Roto! - Introduction ROTO is a one or a two player game. There are three models: the "UPRIGHT", "MINI", and "COCKTAIL TABLE". When the two player mode is selected on the Upright or Mini model, the players take turns at the controls to guide ROTO to the stolen treasures and the captured hostages while avoiding VOLTAR and his co-conspirators. If you have purchased the Cocktail Table model of this game, the rules of play are the same. The only difference is that in the two player mode of the Cocktail Table game, the picture flips to face you when it's your turn. When playing this game, YOU are ROTO's mentor. He takes his directions ONLY from YOU and will do your bidding exclusively. YOU determine the strategies he will use to defeat the evil monster VOLTAR who has invaded the Earth, stealing all types of treasures and burying them deep within the earth. VOLTAR also takes hostages and seals them in vaults deep within the earth. There is only one way to save the hostages and recover the stolen treasures. We must send in ROTO. He will follow VOLTAR right into his own home tunnels to rescue the hostages and recover the stolen treasures VOLTAR has salted away. To say the least, this makes VOLTAR more than just a little bit upset with ROTO. To help protect his stolen treasures and kidnapped hostages, VOLTAR has developed a breed of giant SPIDER that can sense ROTO's location and that can also travel through solid earth. These SPIDERS attempt to corner and capture ROTO. And to direct their hunt for ROTO, VOLTAR turns himself into a TROLL that can travel through solid earth. If and when ROTO is captured by the SPIDERS or the TROLL, he is forcibly ejected from VOLTAR's tunnels and you lose one player. As your skill level increases and you get into the higher racks of the game, the ability of the SPIDERS and the TROLL to sense ROTO's location increases. This makes ROTO's chances of survival considerably smaller. And VOLTAR, being what he is, has reinforcements in the form of a set of disembodied TEETH that he can call on to help him track ROTO down and put the bite on him. These TEETH also have the ability to travel through solid earth. ROTO has no reinforcements he can call on to help him defend himself against his enemies. He has ONLY YOUR SKILL at maneuvering and forming strategies plus one use of the MAGIC button (which makes ROTO and any hostages he has with him invisible to all monsters for a short period of time) per rack to keep him safe as he carries out his rescue missions. Bonus ROTOs are awarded to you periodically throughout the game: after you complete every third rack of the game. Each recaptured treasure and rescued hostage has an assigned point value as listed in Figure 1-1. In the "2 times" and "3 times" racks, the values of all items are doubled or tripled respectively. Major Features Your ROTO game has several outstanding features, among which is the fact that: A bonus ROTO is awarded to each player after every third rack completed. The award of these bonus ROTOs is NOT tied to any scoring ability of the player (a low scoring player can receive just as many bonus ROTOs as a high scoring one if he can survive as long as the other player. survivability is what the award of bonus ROTOs is tied to). Your ROTO is allowed one use of the MAGIC button per rack of the game. If you do not use the MAGIC button in any particular rack, you are allowed to accumulate your unused MAGICs. When you do use the MAGIC button, your ROTO and any hostages he has with him at that time will become invisible to all the monsters on the screen for approximately 5 to 7 seconds (he can go right through them and not be caught). The Upright model is provided with a front slide out service shelf for ease of maintenance. All models are provided with a service outlet to aid the service technician and provide an electrical source for whatever purpose he may have in mind. Game Objective The object of the game is to HAVE FUN and survive as long as possible while constantly improving your skills, rescuing as many of the hostages as you can, and recapturing as much stolen treasure as possible. As you do this, each following maze will be harder and harder to complete. Even more detailed instructions are available in chapter 3 of the operating manual: The Adventures of Robby Roto! - Game Operation Play Mode 1. The Play mode begins when either the "1 PLAYER" or the "2 PLAYER" start button is pressed. "PLAYER 1 UP" or "PLAYER 2 UP" is displayed centered on the screen ONLY when a 2 player game has been selected. In a 1 player game, the screen says "GET READY" and play begins. 2. The Play mode ends when all of your ROTOs have been captured by VOLTAR. When this happens, "GAME OVER" is written across the center of the monitor screen. 3. The game is made up of buried stolen treasures and imprisoned kidnapped hostages which it is ROBBY ROTOs mission to rescue. The evil VOLTAR is the one responsible for all of this. When playing this game, YOU are ROBBY's mentor. He takes his directions ONLY from YOU and will do your bidding exclusively. YOU determine the strategies he will use to defeat the evil monster VOLTAR who has invaded the Earth, stealing treasurers and kidnapping hostages. 4. There is only one way to save the hostages and recover the stolen treasures. We must send in ROBBY ROTO. He will follow VOLTAR right into his own home tunnels to rescue the hostages and recover the stolen treasures VOLTAR has salted away. 5. The player begins each game with 3 ROTOs and 1 Magic. Reserve Magics are symbolized by "Ghost ROTOs" behind your regular reserve ROTOs. The Magic will make ROBBY ROTO and any hostages with him invisible to VOLTAR and all his creatures. It also makes ROBBY able to move faster. If you do not use your Magic in this rack, it will accumulate to the next rack. You get 1 Magic at the beginning of each rack. When used, they will last for 5 seconds, the game makes a special magical sound, the screen flashes, and ROTO becomes a ghost image of his former self. 6. A bonus ROTO is awarded to the player after the completion of every third rack (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, and so on). The award of these bonus ROTOs is in NO way related to the level of a player's score. You MUST SURVIVE long enough to make it to the ends of these particular racks to collect your bonus ROTOs. There are 3 different "BONUS ROTO MACHINES". 7. There are 30 DIFFERENT mazes in the game divided into categories as follows: Category Number of Mazes Beginners 2 Medium 3 Hard 25 Generally speaking, a player should never get the same maze twice in any game until he has gone through all 25 of the "HARD" mazes. After the 2nd rack, all future racks are in the "HARD" category. ROBBY ROTO enters all mazes through the door at the top center of the monitor screen. When he is in the mazes, ROBBY can only dig in the directions of the pointing arrows at each room (tunnel junction point). He can move freely about any of the tunnels that have been dug out. 8. Game Participants - Their side: The evil monster VOLTAR has invaded the Earth, stealing all types of treasures and burying them deep within the earth. VOLTAR also takes hostages and seals them in vaults. To help protect his stolen treasures and kidnapped hostages, VOLTAR has developed a breed of giant SPIDER that can sense ROTO's location and that can also travel through solid earth. These SPIDERS attempt to corner and capture ROTO. And to direct their hunt for ROTO, VOLTAR turns himself into a TROLL that can travel through solid earth. If and when ROTO is captured by the SPIDERS or the TROLL, he is forcibly ejected from VOLTAR's tunnels and you lose one player. As your skill level increases and you get into the higher racks of the game, the ability of the SPIDERS and the TROLL to sense ROTO's location increases. This makes ROTO's chances of survival considerably smaller. And VOLTAR, being what he is, has reinforcements in the form of a set of disembodied TEETH that he can call on to help him track ROTO down and put the bite on him. These TEETH also have the ability to travel through solid earth. I've read that only about 2,000 arcade cabinets of "Robby Roto" were ever mad, so I presume all of us will be playing this game under emulation. If you've never installed MAME, download and install this arcade emulator from here: http://www.mamedev.org The Adventures of Robby Roto! is made up of ten 4K ROM images (collected into one file called "robby.zip"). Jay Fenton donated this game for free distribution in the late 90s. It is available from the MAME website: http://www.mamedev.org/roms/robby/ Here is a video, created by Bradley Czech, of The Adventures of Robby Roto! gameplay on a real arcade cabinet: After watching this video, I noticed that the underground soil seems to look a little different on real hardware than it does under MAME emulation. I'm not sure if that is because of the way the video was shot, or if the emulation in MAME isn't 100% accurate. The play settings for The Adventures of Robby Roto!, are the default settings. You probably shouldn't have to change the settings, but just in case check to make sure that the dip-switch settings look like this: As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). The Adventures of Robby Roto! - Bonus Points There are two ways to score bonus points for "Robby Roto:" 1) Highest Level Reached - Robby Roto has thirty levels. The player who reaches the furthest level gets one bonus point. At this time, I'm not sure what is the best way to keep track of what level you're on. In case of a tie here, then the tie is broken by the player with the highest score. 2) Play "Robby Roto" on Real Arcade Hardware - Do you own the arcade game, or live near an arcade that has the arcade cabinet setup for play? If so (lucky, you!), then you'll earn two bonus points for playing this game on real hardware. Most of us will be out of luck for these two bonus points... but anyone who can play this game on real hardware deserves something a little bet extra! QB-2B (BASIC Bonus Game) QB-2B is a Q*Bert clone that was created by WaveMakers. It was supposed to be released in 1984 on Tape 20 along with Tomb Pirates. Both of these games were unreleased. No documentation for QB-2B exists (or, at least, has been archived). If you're familiar with Q*Bert, then you'll have no problems playing this BASIC game. You can download QB-2B here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/wave_makers/QB-2B%20(WaveMakers).zip QB-2B Bonus Points 1) Playing QB-2B - You get a bonus point just for playing QB-2B. 2) QB-2B High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. 3) Video of QB-2B - To continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to any person to upload a video of QB-2B containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points! Any number of people can qualify for these points. 4) Instructions/Backstory for QB-2B - There are no instructions for this game. Anyone who comes up with a backstory and full instructions on how to play this game gets a bonus point. Be creative and have fun with this one. If there is an outrageous backstory that makes me laugh out loud, then there just might be a bonus point or two awarded 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. Have fun digging through The Adventures of Robby Roto! and hopping around QB-2B! Adam
  14. Galactic Invasion is the main game for Round 11 of the Astrocade High Score Club. Round 11 will last about three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, October 2'nd at 8pm MST. Galactic Invasion Galactic Invasion is a 4K game released by Astrovision in 1981. It is part of the Action/Skills Series. The game was originally released on cartridge as Galaxian. If you know who programmed this game, then let us know. Galactic Invasion Instructions Alien ships come at your missile launcher from every direction. They peel off from their formation singly or in groups of two or threes. The more aliens you destroy, the more of their reinforcements attack. Each ship is piloted by a highly skilled captain capable of maneuvering with incredible agility. Realistic sounds add to the intensity! Up to 4 Players. Galactic Invasion (1 to 4 players) Aim your missiles at the alien ships and score points for each one you hit! The colorful invaders spin around and soar across the screen in an attempt to destroy your base. Excitement builds as they collide into (or bomb) one after another of your bases. Exploding several of their ships will make the aliens angry-- they'll attack you with greater speed and force than ever before. Starting the Game Choose Galactic Invasion by pressing 1 on the keypad or by using remote game selection (pull the trigger on hand control #1, turn the knob until 1 appears on the screen, then pull the trigger again). Select the level of difficulty (0-9). At the easiest skill level (0), the alien ships destroy your base by crashing into it. As the levels become more difficult, the action becomes faster. At level 4, they start dropping bombs. With the higher levels, you engage in battle with more and more aliens at one time. They drop a larger number of bombs and descend with greater speed. By the time you reach level 9, it is next to impossible to survive the battle. Choose the number of bases (1-9). You will have one base at a time which you will use as your missile launch pad. Your base will be shown on the lower part of the screen. Enter the number of players (1-4). Playing the Game The hand control functions for Galactic Invasion are: Trigger - Releases your missiles. Knob - Has no function. Joystick - Moves your base left or right. The object of the game is to reach the highest score by destroying as many alien ships as possible. You'll have to move quickly to avoid the ships which peel off from their formation in groups of one, two, three or four. After you select the number of players, the alien ships will immediately appear on the screen and will start descending on your base. Fire your shots quickly and take evasive action to avoid their ships. When you have shot down all but one of the aliens, the remaining ship will become enraged. It will attack with such fury that you'll have to move quickly to avoid it. If you manage to shoot down a complete set of ships, you will hear the sounds of another troop coming to battle. Since the aliens will always be joined by reinforcements, you cannot hope to destroy them all. However, as your skill increases, you will be able to achieve higher and higher scores. At the top of the screen, you will see each player's number and score. The current player's number is highlighted in a different color. Players take turns firing at the aliens until all bases have been destroyed. The number in the center shows the remaining bases for each player. Scoring When your missile hits an alien ship, points are awarded based on the position of that ship. The point values for the ships, from top to bottom, are: Top Row: In rack - 10 Diving with no escorts - 15 Diving with 1 escort - 20 Diving with 2 escorts, - 30 with at least 1 still diving Diving with 2 escorts, and - 80 neither still diving Middle Row: In Rack - 5 Diving - 10 Bottom Row: In Rack - 4 Diving - 8 Strategies for Winning If a top row alien is hit during a dive, the ships will be stunned temporarily and they will cease firing for a moment. Take advantage of this time to move your base and fire another shot. Also, the alien ships only drop bombs after their altitude is below the middle of the screen. Fire quickly and you will score more points. Playing Again To play Galactic Invasion again, press the RESET button and follow the instructions for starting the game. The Galactic Invasion cartridge ROM image (called " galactic.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The Galactic Invasion manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Galactic_Invasion_(instructions)(astrocade)(a1)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf Here is a video review of Galactic Invasion by Nice & Games: The play settings for Galactic Invasion, are: Skill Level - 4 # of Bases - 4 Skill level 4 is the first setting where the alien ships start dropping bombs at you during gameplay. As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). Galactic Invasion Bonus Points There is just one way to score bonus points for Galactic Invasion: 1) High Score Reached on Level 9 with only 1 Base - 1 point to the player who earns the highest score with just one ship on skill level 9. This level starts out brutally-- the aliens fire so many shots that it is nearly impossible to avoid them! Outpost 19 (BASIC Bonus Game) This round's bonus game, Outpost 19 by WaveMakers, is a BASIC game released in, I think, 1983 on Tape 19 (with Music Keyboard as the "b-side"). This was later reprinted in Arcadian 7, no. 2 (Dec. 20, 1985): 30-31. A bug fix was printed in the next issue: Arcadian 7, no. 3 (Mar. 21, 1986): 35. You can download the AstroBASIC version of Outpost 19 here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/wave_makers/Outpost%2019%20(WaveMakers).zip The official documentation for Outpost 19 has not been archived. However, when the program was printed in the Arcadian, George Moses provided detailed instructions: How to Play Outpost 19 You are stranded on an alien outpost with nobody to help you. While you wait and pray for a rescue party, the only hope you have of surviving is to gather the food parcels that exist in each of the 16 rooms of the outpost. A pull of the trigger will show you a full screen map of the outpost. The rooms with food parcels stashed will have room numbers. After you pick up a room's food parcel, that room will appear on the map as a blank room. While you're chasing after the food parcels, the alien is chasing after you! His advantage is that he can go through walls, so his path toward you is more of a straight line, while your escape must be around obstacles in the rooms and through doorways provided. But you have a couple of aces in the hole. (1) You have the trigger-pull top-view map which also shows you which room the monster is in and where you are. (2) You have a transporter in each of the odd-numbered rooms! They're usually in the lower parts of the room. After you've played a few games you'll remember where they all are. To become familiar with the workings of the transporters, look at the room map in this issue. The large numbers are the numbers of the rooms containing the transporters. The small numbers are the numbers of the room you will transport to. Example: If you are in room 13 and just as the alien monster is ready to pounce, you nonchalantly step into the transporter. Poof! You'll find yourself in room 8. That's clear across the outpost and you've bought some time to hunt up some more food parcels before he can catch up to you. How to Die There are two ways you can get killed. (1) The monster touches you. (2) You try to grab a food parcel while the monster is in the same room (use your trigger map to see if he's coming before you grab the parcel). If you die, pull the trigger and start a new game. This is one of the best "AstroBASIC" programs I've ever seen! And the only one that surpasses this is a Blue Ram BASIC version Mike did. It fills a 16K Blue Ram and has fantastic graphics, action and constant music. If you're interested, we can print it in a future Arcadian. Unfortunately, Mike Peace has packed his Bally Arcade away in a box somewhere and is presently programming on a (gasp, choke) Commodore-64. But, he gave us permission to print this program and some other previously unreleased tapes we'll print in the future. Transporter Note [From Adam] You'd think from the game's description that George Moses gives that you'd be able to find the transporters with no problem. That's not the case. As far as I can tell, the transporters seem to be invisible. I've only found one of them (in the first room that you start the game in), and it did transport me across the outpost-- but I had not idea that I was entering the transporter until I teleported. As George Moses mentioned above, Outpost 19 was also released for Blue Ram BASIC. It looks much more like a cartridge game, as can be seen in this screenshot: Dave Carson reviewed the BRB version of the game in his column Extended Memory Products Review, Arcadian, 6, no. 11/12 (Oct. 31, 1984): 118-119. You can read the review here: http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/Outpost%2019%20Review%20(BRB)(Dave%20Carson).txt If you have at least a 16K RAM expansion, then you can play the Blue Ram BASIC version of the game, which can be downloaded here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/ram_expansion_required/WaveMakers(EB)/Outpost%2019%20(EB)/Outpost%2019%20(1984)(WaveMakers)(BRB).zip The BRB version of Outpost 19 is also on Ken Lill's multicart (the UltiMuli Cart)-- but it still requires extra RAM to play the game. Also, I've run into some syntax error issues when playing the game from the multicart. Outpost 19 Bonus Points 1) Playing Outpost 19 - You get a bonus point just for playing Outpost 19. 2) Outpost 19 High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. 3) Video of Outpost 19 - To continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Outpost 19 containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points! 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. Have fun defending the Galactic Empire (or whatever it is you're protecting) in Galactic Invasion and find your food and avoid the baddie in Outpost 19. Adam
  15. I was going to choose Sea Wolf/Bombardier (aka Sea Wolf/Missile) for the main game this month. However, that game is only for two-players, which made it a difficult choice. I played it Thursday night with Chris++. We decided that it probably isn't a very good fit for the Astrocade High Score Club. Besides, it's a very early game for the Bally Arcade and it isn't that much fun... although I know that we'll explore this title eventually. Sea Devil is the main game for Round 10 of the Astrocade High Score Club. Round 10 will last about three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, August 14'th at 8pm MST. Sea Devil Sea Devil is a 4K third party game. It was released in 1983 by L&M Software. This cartridge was written by Andy Guevara (of The Bit Fiddlers). From the game's advertisement: You are the guardian of a 21st century undersea farm. Not only is this important to the survival of the people on earth, but the company you work for have risked millions on this venture. Zardos, the evil king of a distant planet, needs this food for himself. He has sent android divers with other sea creatures to steal this food. You are provided with the undersea, hi-tech, sub-surface cruiser, Sea Devil, equipped with the latest in sonar screens. You can spot targets at great distance. As they come into range, your laser makes quick work of the poachers and accumulate valuable sub credit points for yourself. Zardos, personally, is commanding a submarine which will fire cluster bombs to keep you at bay. Can you get Zardos in his sub? He?s worth 1,000 points if you can. From the game "manual:" The game starts with 5 ships. Use joystick #1 to control your ship. Pressing any key in the left hand row will allow you to take an intermission, to resume play, press again. You must destroy the hoard of poachers as quickly as possible because each bit of food (the white abalone on the bottom) they get will cost you bonus score at the end of the screen. Beware, the poachers are releasing undersea mines to destroy you, avoid them by evasive action. Each contact your craft makes will cost you 1 ship. Level 1 pits you against octopi and android divers. For each level that is cleared a new one will appear and the game speed will increase. Periodically Zardos will put additional kinds of his creatures in your path. This occurs at level 2 with star fish added to the playfield, level 3 with jelly fish and level 5 with mechanical crabs. At level 7, Zardos' sub will appear and begin firing cluster bombs at you. Additional levels will provide increased speed and more attraction between you and your opponents. For a replay squeeze trigger Score points: Octopi - 150 Divers - 250 Starfish - 250 Jellyfish - 500 Mechanical crabs - 700 Subs - 1000 The Sea Devil cartridge ROM image (called "seadevil.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The Sea Devil "manual" (really, just a sheet of paper) is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/docs-sea_devil.pdf Here is a video of Sea Devil: There are no play settings for Sea Devil, which is too bad, as when this game begins, it is too easy. As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). "Sea Devil" Bonus Points There is just one way to score bonus points for Sea Devil: 1) Furthest Level Reached - 1 point to the player that reaches the furthest level in the game. The Pits (BASIC Bonus Game) This round's bonus game, The Pits by Rex Goulding, is a BASIC type-in game that was submitted to the Arcadian newsletter on October 8, 1980 (it wasn't published until August 1981!). I think that this is the first time I've featured a type-in game in the Astrocade HSC. This game is extremely simple, and doesn't take long to play (just a minute or two)... but that's great, because the game is quite addicting. You'll find yourself have "just one more go" over and over again. On March 25, 2011, I posted about this game to the Bally Alley Yahoo group (message #10456). Here is that post, in slightly edited form: The Pits for AstroBASIC - A Fantastic Game! I have just finished playing The Pits by Rex Goulding for about fifteen or twenty minutes. This program was published in: ARCADIAN 3, no. 10 (Aug. 12, 1981): 108. This is an "AstroBASIC" game that I haven't played before (or one that I can't remember playing). The graphics are nothing but squares scrolling up the screen. The player controls a small dot and trys to avoid the squares (the "pits"). It doesn't sound like much, but it sure is fun! Rules: The object of the game is to move the small dot in the upper-left corner past the pits to the end of the medium-size box in the lower-right corner. The clunker is that the pits move up the screen all the time and can catch you. Each time the screen rolls up, it counts as one move. A successful trip in 16 moves is doing well. This program has been available for "AstroBASIC" online for a long time. You can download it here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/arcadian/programs_i-p/pits,_the_%5Brex_goulding%5D.zip If you have an Astrocade, then I highly recommend that you try this game. It isn't often that I suggest BASIC games, but I'm doing it now. I'm not sure if it is the moment, since I just finished playing the game, but this may be my new favorite "AstroBASIC" game. When I'm cursing a game and I want to throw my controller and it's my very own fault and I keep coming back for more, then I know that the game is a winner! This is a thirty-five year-old game and it had me really going crazy trying to avoid the pits. When I won (in 21 moves), I felt like I really accomplished something! I'd give a screen shot, but it really wouldn't do this game any justice. Whenever I play a game that I really like, but that I've never encountered before, I always wonder if it's based on another game. Has anyone seen this game on another platform? Load up The Pits... and have fun! The Pits Bonus Points 1) Playing The Pits - You get a bonus point just for playing The Pits. 2) The Pits Low Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the Lowest score for this game. 3) Video of The Pits - A bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of The Pits containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points! 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. Have fun playing Sea Devil and The Pits! Adam
  16. Crazy Climber is the main game for Round 9 of the Astrocade High Score Club. Since the library of Astrocade games is quite small, I've decided that rounds will no longer last just two weeks-- each round will be longer. This will keep us from running out too quickly of cartridge games to play in each round. Round 9 will last three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, July 10'th at 8pm MST. Crazy Climber The object of Crazy Climber is to reach the top of a nearly 200-story building. There are four buildings in total, each offering a variety of different challenges and obstacles that make the journey to the top more difficult. Crazy Climber is an 8K homebrew game, released in 2011, by Riff Raff Games. This cartridge was written by Michael Garber. The Crazy Climber cartridge ROM image (called "cclimber.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The Dangers of Crazy Climber Windows (opening and closing) - If an open window closes on both of Crazy Climber's hands, then he will lose his grip and fall. "Mad People" - These bald-headed scoundrels open and close the windows and drop items. Their goal: knock down Crazy Climber. Falling Objects: If one of these hits Crazy Climber on the head and he is not holding onto a ledge with both hands, then he will fall and lose a "Life." If he is holding himself on two ledges, then he will only lose bonus points. The falling objects are: 1. Flower Pots - Beautiful as they may be, the pots filled with flowers must be avoided. 2. Condor Excrement - Just out of Crazy Climber's sight, a condor sometimes flies past. The condor doesn't attack Crazy Climber, but he does other, perhaps nastier things. Avoid his droppings at all cost. Not only do they cost Crazy Climber a "Life," but it's, well, gross. 3. Iron Dumbbells - The flower pots falling down were bad enough, but the "Mad People" eventually step it up and begin to drop out items that really hurt. 4. Falling Bottles - The "Mad People" are always looking for ways to keep Crazy Climber guessing. They start rummaging through the garbage and tossing glass bottles out the window when nothing else is within reach. You will want to read the manual completely to score big points. The Crazy Climber manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Crazy%20Climber%20Manual%20(2012)(Riff%20Raff%20Games).pdf This game supports one or two controllers. If you play with two controllers, then it plays just like the arcade game! Here is a video review of "Crazy Climber" by "Nice and Games:" ">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"> There are no settings to choose when playing Crazy Climber. As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). "Crazy Climber" Bonus Points There is just one way to score bonus points for Crazy Climber: 1) Climbing four buildings - 1 point to each player that climbs all four buildings. Missile Defense (BASIC Bonus Game) This month's BASIC bonus game is called Missile Defense. It was released by New Image in 1982 on Tape 3. Also on Tape 3 was Saucer Attack, but that game is not being played this round. Here is a summary of Missile Defense gameplay from a New Image advertisement: "Save your city from fallout! You have three chances to block the missile from hitting your city. Don't blow them!!! Intensity increases with score. Also saves initials of high scorer of the day." If this game sounds suspiciously like a Missile Command clone, then you're correct! That's not a bad thing though, right? The instructions for Missile Defense have not previously been archived, but they were in the Fabris Collection, so I archived the docs today. You can read them in pdf format here: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/new_image/MissileDefense/Missile%20Defense%20(New%20Image)(Instructions).pdf I've used voice-recognition software to transcribe the game's instructions: Missile Defense "Save your city! You use your joystick to place three block-barriers in front of the oncoming missile. When you find the spot you want, pull the trigger, and go get another block. The faster you get all three barriers into place and stop the missile, the higher your points are. If you stop the missile and only get one or two barriers out, it's automatically a mere 100 points. You have to be fast! If a missile heads off your screen, you're safe, it goes on over to another town, maybe another state! "After you've gotten 1000 points, the missiles come faster, and after 2000 points, they get faster yet. However, you get a small break, because then your barriers get wider. You'd better be careful, because if a missile hits, your city get eaten up by radioactive material. "If you're lucky enough to get the high score of the day, though, you get a fantastic bonus-- you get to put your initials in. To do so, the screen says you have high score, wait for a letter to appear. As soon as it does, turn the knob until it gets to the letter you want, and then pull the trigger. In a matter of seconds, another letter will appear. You'll get three initials. "Have lots of fun!!!!" Here is an ad for the tapes that New Image carried. Missile Defense is among those listed: http://www.ballyalley.com/ads_and_catalogs/new_image_ad.pdf Missile Defense Bonus Points 1) Playing Missile Defense - You get a bonus point just for playing Missile Defense. 2) Missile Defense High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. 3) Video of Missile Defense - To continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Missile Defense containing a full game, plus the game's title screen. 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. Have fun playing Crazy Climber and Missile Defense. Adam
  17. Treasure Cove is the main game for Round 8 of the Astrocade High Score Club. The bonus game is Castle of Horror. Like Round 7, I'll be out of town when a two-week round would normally end, so this round will last an extra week. For this reason, Round 8 will last three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, June 19'nd at 8pm MST. Treasure Cove "Treasure Cove requires your scuba diver to descend to the sea floor and bring treasures back to your diving boat, slowly circling above, before his air runs out. Simple enough, except for the killer fish, squid, crab, etc., that roam about - and the ever present octopus that guards the treasure! As you clear each treasure-laden area, you move to a new spot, with more valuable treasures - and more denizens of the deep. Twenty screens in all. Tournament Level for uniform competitive play with up to four players. Features continuous music." Treasure Cove is an 8K game, originally released in 1983, by Spectre Systems. This cartridge was released into the public domain in 2001 by Brett Bilbrey, Mike Toth and Marian Nalepa (Spectre Systems). Written by Brett Bilbrey. Sound by Marion Nelepa. You can read more about the game's PD release here: http://www.ballyalley.com/ballyalley/articles/two_astrocade_pd_programs.html The Treasure Cove cartridge ROM image (called "treasure.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The Treasure Cove manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/treasure%20cove%20(instructions)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf I've OCRed and edited the Treasure Cove manual: Treasure Cove Ship's Log Monday March 27 7:30 P.M. You are anchored in a small boat off a small island in the Caribbean. You are in "El Bayo del Matta Fisha." Bay of the Deadly Fish! You have come in search of the treasure of the lost Spanish Galleon (shown on title page). Squeeze trigger or press any key. Tuesday March 28 5:30 A.M. The captain wakes you early and instructs you to go on deck to check for any boats that may have followed you into the bay. For many know of the treasure but only your captain has the map. (Enter the number of players 1-4 from your hand control or keypad) squeeze trigger. 6:00 A.M. The captain sounds "all hands on deck." He asks for volunteers to swim to the bottom of the bay and bring back the lost treasure, a task for which you are promised a share of the wealth. (Enter the number of divers 1-9 from your hand control or keypad) squeeze trigger. Later the same morning All systems are ready. The water is clear and it is possible to see all the way to the bottom. A deadly octopus with glowing eyes guards the treasure. Timing is of the essence as the first diver jumps overboard (squeeze trigger). The going is slow at first. It is early and there are not many fish in the bay. But you must avoid even the smallest at all costs. Of course, you may swim faster (squeeze trigger), but be careful-- expending this energy means using your oxygen more quickly. You discover the treasure lying at the bottom of the cove. As the boat circles above, you hover directly over one of the encrusted treasures and with arm extended snatch it from its sandy tomb. Do not attempt to return to the boat empty-handed. Little did you know that the captain is greedy and will not let you back on board without his share of the wealth. Each time you successfully clear the bottom of the cove your score will be displayed as the boat sails to a new location (squeeze trigger). Each new location means an increase in the value of the treasure, not to mention an increase in the number of fish. How much treasure will you be able to collect? Scoring Each piece of treasure is worth 100 points x the number of the round. In addition each diver begins each dive with 100 units of oxygen. The amount of oxygen left is added to your score only after each board is successfully cleared. So be frugal and swim faster only when absolutely necessary. Special Features El Bayo del Matta Fisha contains more than 20 species of sea life. All of these are extremely dangerous and must be avoided at all costs. Somewhere in these treacherous waters lies a fleet of deadly yellow submarines whose nuclear emissions have poisoned the fish. Each round brings a new species of aquatic life. The unique, continuous music may be stopped by pressing (MR) on your Astrocade keypad while the title page or scoring routine is displayed. Play continues as usual. Restart music by pressing (MS). The designers of this game have also provided a Tournament level playing mode. To enter this mode, select 0 divers. Each player will automatically be provided 4 divers. The score display screen will then indicate "Tournament Level." Use this mode when mailing screen image for high score verification. Treasure Cove is the exciting new creation from Spectre Systems. Spectre is a new company dedicated to developing exciting, innovative games for your enjoyment. The crew here at Spectre includes our Engineer/Programmer/Game designer Brett Bilbrey; Programmer/Musical conductor/Keeper of the crow's nest Marion Nalepa; and our Captain-at-Arms Michael Toth. We hope that Treasure Cove will give you many hours of enjoyment, and we will be working hard to bring you more and better games in the future. Here is a video review of Treasure Cove by "Nice and Games:" Treasure Cove was never submitted for review to The Game Player column in the Arcadian newsletter. Also, the Scoreboard, which printed high scores from Astrocade players, never had anyone submit a high score for this game. I'm only aware of one classic-era review for this game. The review was printed by Kevin O'Neill and it appeared in Niagara B.U.G. Bulletin, 2, no. 6 (July 27, 1984): 29-30.: http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/Treasure_Cove_and_Cosmic_Raiders_Reviews/Treasure_Cove_and_Cosmic_Raiders_Reviews.html Treasure Cove play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are Tournament level playing mode (entering 0 Divers will automatically select Tournament mode). As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points). "Treasure Cove" Bonus Points There are several ways to score bonus points for Treasure Cove: 1) Reach all 20 levels - 1 point for each player that reaches all 20 levels. 2) List all 20 treasures - The first person to list all 20 treasures will get a bonus point. "Castle of Horror" (BASIC Bonus Game) This month's BASIC bonus game, Castle of Horror, was released on Tape 12 in 1982 by WaveMakers. The back of Tape 12 contained Four Famous Freebies (which we're not playing this round). "You will find yourself in a castle. Surrounded by monsters whose only mission is to kill and destroy. You are the target. Your only defense is to build a barricade around yourself before the monsters can get to you. The monsters will die if they hit your wall, however some monsters have more power than others and can destroy your barricade, allowing remaining monsters to pass through. You must destroy all monsters in the room to go on to your next challenge. As game progresses more monsters enter the battle. "This game has all the quality of a cartridge and the challenge of an arcade. Uses one joystick, machine graphics, and excellent sound. Side two contains Four Famous Freebees. This cassette is in Astro-BASIC only." Here are the instructions for Castle of Horror in pdf format: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/wavemakers/pdf%20-%20color/Castle%20of%20Horror%20(instructions)(color-red)(300%20dpi).pdf I've OCRed and edited the documentation for the game: Starting the Castle of Horror Using hand control #1, turn the knob until the desired number of players appears on the screen. Pull the trigger and play will begin. The screen will display the five levels of monsters and point values of each. Playing the Game You will find yourself in a room surrounded by monsters whose only mission is to kill and destroy: you are the target. You have been armed with the skill to zap out blocks and build barricades to protect yourself against the relentless onslaught of the monsters. You are given 5 lives, use them wisely. Each monster has its own strengths and weakness; learn them to use against them. Hand control functions are: Knob - No function Joystick - Moves you in desired direction Trigger - Zaps blocks into position based on the position of joystick. It will take some practice to learn to "ZAP" blocks in the position you wish to prevent the monster attack. Once you get the hang of it you can destroy them. If a monster hits your wall or crashes into a follow monster he is destroyed and you receive points. Beware; higher level monsters can destroy a block if they hit it. You cannot replace a block once it has been destroyed, nor can you "zap" a block on top of a monster. If a monster finds himself in a block which has been zapped on him he can turn it into a shield which he can pass through but you cannot. If it looks like all is lost you can pass through the escape door on the bottom if it is open. Scoring Clanky - 10 points - If not moving you can pass through him, leaves blocks intact. Claws - 20 points - You can pass through his shield, destroys blocks. Rabbot - 30 points - If not moving you can pass through him, destroys blocks, aggressive. Flator - 40 points - if not moving you can pass through, destroys blocks, more aggressive. Bonzo - 50 points - Cannot pass through him, destroys blocks. Known as Killer Pumpkins. An extra life is awarded for completing all five levels. Intensity increases as score gets higher. Castle of Horror was the first game reviewed by Michael Prosise in The Game Player column in Arcadian 4, no. 12 (Oct. 07, 1982): 120. You can read the review here (search for "Castle of Horror"): http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/astrocade_reviews.txt Since the review is short, I've decided to include it in its entirety here: Danger! Beware! Death and destruction await the bold adventurer who dares enter the Castle of Horror. [This is] a fast-paced and exciting game by Mike Peace of WaveMakers. Similar in concept to the coin-op arcade games Berzerk and Frenzy, this one-player game of skill pits the player against five different gangs of monsters in five successive "castles," with each new castle representing a higher level of difficulty. A wall on all four sides of the T.V. screen comprises the castle [sic], with one door that opens and closes alternately about every second. This is the only escape. If you run into a wall, or a monster pounces on top of you, you will quickly disintegrate with a flash of colors, a flickering screen and great sound effects. Unique about this game is that you do not shoot at the monsters and they do not shoot at you. Instead, your defense is the ability to quickly build a wall out of blocks by using a combination of the joystick and trigger. For when a monster walks into a block, he will disintegrate, awarding you his point value. A new castle automatically appears after all the monsters or you are destroyed, complete with appropriate organ music of the "haunted house" variety. In each new castle, there are more monsters than [in] the previous castle. They look different, and they are also a little more intelligent than their predecessors. Whereas some monsters are stupid and will walk straight into a block you have placed, the smarter monsters will go around and try to pounce on you from behind. If you can last through all five castles, you will be awarded an extra man. You have five men to begin with. The graphics in Castle of Horror are superb, and there is literally never a quiet moment during the game, for there is always either music or background sound effects entertaining you. This is a game of strategy and quick thinking. Although it is somewhat hard to get the hang of it initially, one needs only [to] play it a few times to understand how to play fairly effectively. But most important, Castle of Horror is fun to play. It is well designed, creative, and definitely better than a few of Astrocade's cartridge games. Here is a video review of Castle of Horror by "ArcadeUSA:" You can download Castle of Horror for use with the AstroBASIC cartridge, here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/wave_makers/Castle%20of%20Horror%20(WaveMakers).zip Several different versions of the game are included in the archive. Be sure to play to play the version called "Castle Of Horror (1982)(WaveMakers)(2000 baud)(PD)[single player version][From Master Tapes].wav." Castle of Horror Bonus Points 1) Playing Castle of Horror - You get a bonus point just for playing Castle of Horror. 2) Castle of Horror High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. 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 your swim in Treasure Cove and getting the chills from Castle of Horror. Adam
  18. 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. Bally Pin "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: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection 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: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Bally_Pin_(instructions)(bally)(a1)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf The Bally version of the "Bally Pin" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/bally%20pin%20%28instructions%29%28bally%29%28color%29%28300%20dpi%29.pdf 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: http://www.ballyalley.com/articles_and_news/articles_and_news.html#AstrovisionsRisingStar 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!
  19. Mazeman is the main game for Round 6 of the Astrocade High Score Club. Round 6 will last two weeks. The round ends on Sunday, May 1'st at 8pm MST. "Mazeman" "Mazeman" is a maze game, but it's not exactly a "Pac-Man" clone (like the officially unreleased, yet much more common, Muncher). This very rare third-party game was released by Dave Carson in 1984, but it was not programmed by him. Mike White, in the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ wrote, "The programmer of this cartridge wanted to remain anonymous for fear of legal troubles." While on a phone call with Mike, in about 2001, he told me that the Mazeman was programmed by a man for his kids. To this day, I'm not sure who created Mazeman-- which is a shame, as it plays very well and is quite fun. I'd be surprised if more than a handful of people have this original cartridge. That doesn't mean it can't be played on original hardware. I think all of the Astrocade multicarts have the game. If you don't have one of those, then Mazeman can be played in the Astrocade emulator in MAME. On a side note, I consider Mazeman an early example of a homebrew game for a videogame console. Yeah, that's right: the Bally Arcade had homebrew cartridges back in the 80s. Isn't that cool?!? From the Mazeman advertisement (above): "MAZEMAN is unlike any "gobble game" you have ever seen! Each time you clear a screen, you find yourself beginning a different maze. There are 12 completely different mazes, each requiring changes in tactics." The Mazeman cartridge ROM image (called "mazeman.bin" -- not the prototype version of the game, called ""mazemanp.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection There is no proper manual for Mazeman, but the one created by Mike White, when he distributed the cartridge to me, is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/text_manuals/docs-mazeman.txt Here is a review of Mazeman from NIAGARA B.U.G. BULLETIN, 2, no. 5 (June 1984): 22. http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/Mazeman%20Review/Mazeman%20Review.html Here a video of the prototype version of "Mazeman:" "> " type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"> "Mazeman" play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are: # of Pacmen - 5 Skill Level - 5 As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points): "Mazeman" Bonus Points There are two ways to score bonus points in "Mazeman:" 1) Complete all 12 Mazes - The FIRST person to complete all 12 mazes will get a bonus point. 2) Highest Score for One "Pacman" - The person who scores the highest using only one life will get a bonus point. "Candy Man" (BASIC Bonus Game) I have not yet decided on the BASIC bonus game for this round. There are a few maze games written for AstroBASIC. Among them are: Nap Cap by New Image Pack Rat by WaveMakers I think that there might be others too. I've played these and they're usually (always?) quite slow. Can anyone suggest a fun BASIC bonus game that would compliment Mazeman for this round? (If we can't find a bonus game that sounds interesting, then I'll choose one in the next couple of days-- maybe even just one of the above two games.) Paul Thacker suggested a great BASIC bonus game: L&M Software's 1983 AstroBASIC game, Candy Man. This fun game actually has a highly regarded cartridge sequel that will be a main game in a future round. Here is some information about Candy Man: Candy Man advertisement: http://www.ballyalley.com/ads_and_catalogs/candy%20man%20%28ad%29%28color%29%28300%20dpi%29.pdf A review of Candy Man appear in The Game Player, #4 in ARCADIAN 5, no. 3 (January 14, 1983): 50. Search for "Candy Man" here: http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/astrocade_reviews.txt Here are the instructions for Candy Man and River City Gambler: (which appeared on side 2 of the original tape): http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/l-m/pdf%20-%20color/Candy%20Man%20and%20River%20City%20Gambler%20%28instructions%29%28color%29%28300%20dpi%29.pdf Fred Olivas scored 31,780 points on Candy Man, as reported in the Scoreboard of "The Game Player, #11" in ARCADIAN 5, no. 11 (September 28, 1983): 165. That will be a pretty-tough score to beat-- and it's part of this round's possible bonus points. The AstroBASIC version of Candy Man has a rather amusing animated loading/title screen, which is worth seeing-- so that is the preferred version to play (if you can manage it). "Candy Man" Bonus Points Playing Candy Man - Just for playing Candy Man, you get a bonus point. Candy Man High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. Video of Candy Man - To continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Candy Man containing a full game, plus the game's loading screen (which means that you'll have to load the tape version of the game). No one was able to make a video of the BASIC bonus game in the last round. Hopefully someone can make one for this round. Beating 31,780 Points - Anyone who can beat Fred Olivas' 1983 high score on Candy Man will get a bonus point. Candy Man is available as a "BASICart" (a BASIC program that has been converted to run as a cartridge). A BASICart can run under Astrocade emulation in MAME. Be sure to play Candy Man ("candyman.bin") and not the sequel, Ms. Candyman. Candy Man can be load into AstroBASIC and played on real hardware using this file: http://http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/l&m_software/Candy%20Man%20(L&M%20Software).zip 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. You'll likely be pleasantly surprised by the quality of Mazeman, but be aware that this game features no sounds at all (no music, no sound effects-- nothing)-- but it makes up for it by being a fun and fast-paced game that isn't available for any other system.
  20. "The Incredible Wizard" is the main game for Astrocade High Score Club Round 4. The bonus game is "L.T. Little Terrestrial." Round 4 will last two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, April 3'th at 8pm MST. The Incredible Wizard Challenge the Incredible Wizard and his creatures in their own environment: treacherous dungeons! Slip through the magic door to the other side of the dungeon, but prevent the super monster from escaping through it. Shoot the Incredible Wizard and experience the tremor of the entire dungeon as his magic wavers. Become a Worlord and play Worlord Dungeons-- even go all the way to the PIT. Fantastic sounds and bonus plays make the Incredible Wizard just like coin-op games! "The Incredible Wizard" cartridge ROM image (called "wizard.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection "The Incredible Wizard" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Incredible_Wizard,_The.pdf Here is a review, by Joe Santulli, of "The Incredible Wizard." This review originally appeared in the January/February 1996 issue of the Digital Press #28 newsletter. http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/IncredibleWizard/incrediblewizard.html Here is a second review of the "Wizard." This review is called "Astrocade's 'The Incredible Wizard' for Astrocade" by Danny Goodman and was published in "Radio Electronics," April 1983: 14, 20. http://www.ballyalley.com/articles_and_news/Videogames-RadioElectronics-April1983/Videogames%20-%20New%20Life%20for%20Your%20Atari%202600%20(April%201983)(Danny%20Goodman)(Radio%20Electronics).pdf (or read the text version of the review here: http://www.ballyalley.com/articles_and_news/Videogames-RadioElectronics-April1983/Videogames%20-%20New%20Life%20for%20Your%20Atari%202600%20(April%201983)(Danny%20Goodman)(Radio%20Electronics).txt Here is an in-depth strategy guide for the "The Incredible Wizard." This is from an article called "Conquering: The Incredible Wizard" from "Videogaming Illustrated," Dec. 1982: 24-26. http://www.ballyalley.com/articles_and_news/Conquering%20The%20Incredible%20Wizard/Conquering%20The%20Incredible%20Wizard%20(Dec%201983)(Videogaming%20Illustrated).pdf (or read the text version of the strategy guide here: ) http://www.ballyalley.com/articles_and_news/Conquering%20The%20Incredible%20Wizard/Conquering%20The%20Incredible%20Wizard%20(Dec%201983)(Videogaming%20Illustrated).txt Here is a video review of "The Incredible Wizard" by "Nice and Games:" "The Incredible Wizard" play settings are much more limited than previous game for the Astrocade High Score Club. You only need to choose the Skill Level Medium. "Incredible Wizard" Bonus Points There are four ways to score bonus points in "The Incredible Wizard:" 1) Highest Dungeon Reached - The player who reaches the highest Dungeon will earn a bonus point. 2) Beating 453,200 Points on Easy difficulty level - In the December 1983 issue of "Arcadian," in the "Game Player" column, the high scores were recorded in the "Scoreboard" high score table. Stan Kendall managed an impressive score on the easiest difficulty level. If anyone can beat Stan's score of 453,200 points on Easy (which is not the normal playing level for this round), then they will get a bonus point. Remember, this bonus point is completely separate from the main game, which is played on skill medium. 3) Playing a Two-Player Game - If you play a two-player game, then you'll earn an extra point. If you've never experienced "The Incredible Wizard" with two players, who each play at the same time (either competitively or cooperatively), then you owe it to yourself to give it a try; you'll love it! 4) Highest Two-Player Score Game - The highest combined total for a two player game will earn a bonus point. L.T. Little Terrestrial (BASIC Bonus Game) This round's BASIC bonus game is called "L.T. Little Terrestrial." This 1982 game is by WaveMakers, usually regarded as the premiere company who released the best games written in BASIC for the Astrocade. The object of L.T. is to make your way through five different single-screen stages. The stages are called: "Steps," "The Pits" (what is it with pits in 8-bit games with extra-terrestrials?), "Zapping Gaps," "Stepping Stones," and "L.T. Flies Home, Almost." It's quite amazing how much is packed into the Astrocade's 1.8K of RAM. "L.T.," unlike last round's game, "Exitor's Revenge," manages to be quite fun. "L.T. Little Terrestrial" Bonus Points 1) Playing "L.T." - You get a bonus point just for playing "L.T." 2) L.T. High Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. 3) Complete All Five Levels - The first person to complete all five levels will be a bonus point. 4) Video of "L.T." - To continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of "L.T." containing a full game, plus the game's loading screen. While not required, it would be great if the full game showed all five levels. The "L.T." AstroBASIC program is available here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/wave_makers/L.T.%20(Little%20Terrestrial)%20(WaveMakers).zip "L.T.'s" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/wavemakers/pdf%20-%20color/LT%20%28instructions%29%28color%29%28300%20dpi%29.pdf Here is a review of "L.T." that originally appeared in the May 1983 "Arcadian" newsletter (see review #7-- search the page for "L.T."): http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/astrocade_reviews.txt 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. "The Incredible Wizard" is often called the best game on the Astrocade. If you happen to have some special memories playing this game, then I'd love to hear about them. Have fun playing "The Incredible Wizard" and "L.T. Little Terrestrial" and... enjoy your Astrocade!
  21. "Cosmic Raiders" won the Astrocade High Score Club Round 3 poll. The final results were 4-3. I happened to cast the 3-3 tie-breaking vote which pushed "Pirate's Chase" to some future round. Round 3 has had a late start due to moving the Astrocade High Score Club from the Bally Alley discussion group to the AtariAge forums. For this reason, round 3 will last a bit longer than the normal two weeks (it will end on Sunday, March 20'th at 8pm). Cosmic Raiders "In deep space lies the alien sector Larkin. You are there on a mission to obtain energy sources that have been seized by the evil Larkins. Radar and a superior guidance system help you avoid attacking fighters and Kamikaze ships. The energy stars are near the Larkin command ship: you must retrieve them before you can leave the enemy sector." The "Cosmic Raiders" cartridge ROM image (called "cosmicrd.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The "Cosmic Raiders" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Cosmic_Raiders_(Astrocade).pdf Here is a revew of "Cosmic Raiders" that originally appeare in the "Arcadian" newsletter (see review #15-- search the page for "Cosmic Raiders"): http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/astrocade_reviews.txt Here is a video review of "Space Fortress" by "Nice and Games:" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GcUEKOje94 The "Cosmic Raiders" play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are: # of Ships: 3 Intensity: 5 Cosmic Raiders Bonus Points There are two ways to score bonus points in "Cosmic Raiders." 1) Highest Sector Reached - The player who reaches the highest Sector will earn a bonus point. 2) Beating 11,150 Points on Intensity 9 - In the June 1984 issue of "Arcadian," in the "Game Player" column, the high scores for the period of February 9, 1984 - March 14, 1984 were recorded in the "Scoreboard" high score table. George Moses managed an impressive score on the hardest difficulty level: Cosmic Raiders: 11,150 (Skill 9). The "Scoreboard" doesn't say how many ships George started his game with, but if anyone can beat George's score of 11,150 points using three ships on intensity level 9, then they will get a bonus point. Remember, this bonus point is completely separate from the main game, which is played on Intensity 5. Exitor's Revenge I'm pulling-out another BASIC game almost as though it's a relic that no one has played in decades-- and that is nearly true. Very few people scour the Astrocade's library of hundreds of BASIC programs. I plan to use the Astrocade's High Score Club as a means to promote to modern players the little-explored areas of the Astrocade. This round's bonus game is by L&M Software and is called "Exitor's Revenge." Released in 1982, this BASIC game was promoted as having "Smooth Motion" and using "machine language." This sci-fi themed game is certainly one of the best looking commercial games that was released on tape for the Astrocade. The game isn't great-- it's actually rather limited, but I didn't choose "Exitor's Revenge" because it's action-packed or even fun to play. I like the game because it shows-off BASIC's potential-- it's a great example of what can be done within BASIC's limited 1.8K RAM. Just for playing "Exitor's Revenge" you get a bonus point. You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. Plus, to continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of "Exitor's Revenge" containing a full game, plus the game's introduction. So, that's three bonus points up for grabs. "You are the commander of the underground MX missile, defense for the top secret facility, which is code named Akreon. This is where our first interstellar star drive is being constructed. You are alerted to the presence of an object coming in from outer space. You immediately recognize it as a battle star of alien origin. You take control of the MX system, positioning the launcher, firing the missiles and guiding them to target, destroying the warriors before they can radio important data to the enemy battle star. LOOKOUT!!! The battle star will fire back." The "Exitor's Revenge" AstroBASIC program is available here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/l&m_software/exitor's_revenge_[l&m_software].zip Here is a review of "Exitor's Revenge" that originally appeared in the December 1982 "Arcadian" newsletter (see review #3-- search the page for "Exitor's Revenge"): http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/astrocade_reviews.txt The "Exitor's Revenge" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/tape_manuals/l-m/pdf%20-%20color/The%20Mummy's%20Treasure%20and%20Exitor's%20Revenge%20%28instructions%29%28color%29%28300%20dpi%29.pdf 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. Have fun playing "Cosmic Raiders" and "Exitor's Revenge" and... enjoy your Astrocade!
  22. (This post was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 15, 2016 as message #14301 and on February 18, 2016 as message #14324.) "Space Fortress" won the Astrocade High Score Club Round 2 poll. The final results were 4-0-- I guess no one was in the mood for pinball. Feel free to start playing and submitting scores for "Space Fortress." Round 2 will end on Sunday, February 28'th at 8pm Mountain time. Space Fortress "You command a lonely outpost far away in the galaxy. The alert sounds. You're being attacked by alien ships from all directions. You destroy some-- but they keep coming faster and faster. You'll find Space Fortress positively addicting. It always keeps your interest because of the increasing speed of the enemy assault from all sides." The "Space Fortress" cartridge ROM image (called "spacefrt.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The "Space Fortress" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Space_Fortress.pdf Here is a video review of "Space Fortress" by "Nice and Games:" The "Space Fortress" play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are: Bases: 3 Intensity: 5 Round 2 has an AstroBASIC bonus game by George Moses. Playing it will require a real Astrocade, as the emulator doesn't support tape input. Don't worry though, a bonus game is just for fun and is only worth 1 point (which you earn simply by playing it). Astro Zap 2000! This is a BASIC version of "Space Fortress." It was released on tape SB-G15 (as a freebie), but it was originally published in "Arcadian," Vol. 4, Pg. 88 (later reprinted in Arcadian, Vol. 6, Pg. 89). "Astro Zap 2000" was the $100 prize winner in the July 1982 issue of "Arcadian." Just for playing this BASIC game you get a bonus point-- if you get the highest score on this BASIC game, then that's another bonus point. You can download "Astro Zap 2000" here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/george_moses/games/games.html This was the program I was trying to get to load from my PC. It eventually loaded using an older laptop. I'd like to hear from anyone who has success (or failure) loading this AstroBASIC game. Now, get cracking on "Space Fortress" folks-- and good luck, everybody! Round 2 closed on Sunday, February 28'th at 8pm (Mountain Time) NOTE: Round 2: "Space Fortress" has ended. A chance to post a score will happen in later "catch-up" rounds this season. Since the first two rounds of this Astrocade High Score Club took place off of AtariAge, I will be re-posting some of the interesting topics that showed up during the two week round. Adam
  23. The Astrocade High Score Club was originally started on the Balley Alley Yahoo Groups forum on January 31, 2016 in message #14180. Starting with Round 3, the HSC will now take place in the AtariAge forums. This is the original message that I posted to the Bally Alley group when I began the HSC: I've wanted to have a high score club for the Bally Astrocade for a LONG time. These types of clubs are either quite formal or rather laid back. We're going to be laid back. Normally, there will be a poll on which game will be played each round, but to kick things off, I'm going to pick the first game-- one that anyone should be able to play easily enough. The game this round is "Astro Battle." You know, the "Space Invaders" game. Astro Battle The "Astro Battle" cartridge ROM image (called "astrobat.bin") is part of this archive: http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images.html#AstrocadeROMCollection The "Astro Battle" manual is here: http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Astro_Battle.pdf Can't be bothered to read the directions... then watch this video review of "Astro Battle" by "Nice and Games:" The rules for the Season 1, Round 1 of the Bally/Astrocade High Score Club are: Play "Astro Battle" for high score on the "Intermediate" skill level. You can cheat easily enough by playing on an easier level. Please, don't do that. Game round lasts two weeks. This round (Round 1) ends at 8pm Mountain Standard Time on February 14'th. Points are awarded 1-10 points. Post a picture of your score. In MAME press F12 and the screenshot gets placed into the SNAPS directory. On real hardware, well, just snap a picture that's, at least, semi-clear. That's it. Play on real hardware or under emulation. All players of any skill level are welcome! If you're anything like me, then you'll soon learn that competition makes a game FUN! Round 1 closed on Sunday, February 14'th at 8pm (Mountain Time) NOTE: Round 1: "Astro Battle" has ended. A chance to post a score will happen in later "catch-up" rounds this season. Since the first two rounds of this Astrocade High Score Club took place off of AtariAge, I will be re-posting some of the interesting topics that showed up during the two week round. Adam
  24. Round 1 of the Astrocade High Score Club began on January 31, 2016. For the last month scores have been posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo discussion group for the two games: "Astro Battle" (a "Space Invaders" game and "Space Fortress" (a clone of the arcade game "Space Zap"). Today, Albert created the Astrocade High Score club subforum (hooray!). Future rounds of the HSC will be played here at AtariAge. If you missed the HSC's previous two rounds, then that's okay. Just jump in here at the curent round. A few future rounds will specifically allow previous games to be played in special "catch-up" rounds. For now though, it's time to choose the game for Round 3. 1. Cosmic Raiders In deep space lies the alien sector Larkin. You are there on a mission to obtain energy sources that have been seized by the evil Larkins. Radar and a superior guidance system help you avoid attacking fighters and Kamikaze ships. The energy stars are near the Larkin command ship: you must retrieve them before you can leave the enemy sector. Here is a video review by "NiceandGames:" Here is the manual for "Cosmic Raiders:" http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Cosmic_Raiders_(Astrocade).pdf Here is a reivew of "Cosmic Raiders" that originally appeare in the "Arcadian" newsletter (see review #15-- search the page for "Cosmic Raiders"): http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/astrocade_reviews.txt 2. Pirate's Chase Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Race to scoop up as many gold doubloons as you can carry, but watch out! The pirates are on your trail! How much of the treasure can you collect before Long John Silver collects you! Score points for every doubloon and treasure chest you can steal from the pirate crew! A frantic, fast-paced game, and the action never stops. Here is a video with some gameplay: Here is a review of "Pirate's Chase" (this is an excerpt from the "Programmable Parade" column, "Electronics Games," November 1982): http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/reviews/Pirates%20Chase/Pirate's%20Chase%20(Electronic%20Games)(Review)(Nov%201982).txt Here is the manual for "Pirate's Chase:" http://www.ballyalley.com/cart_manuals/pdf_manuals/Pirates's_Chase_(instructions)(astrocade)(color)(300%20dpi).pdf Don't be put off by "Pirate's Chase" graphics; it's actually a really fun game-- especially in two-player mode.
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