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Found 7 results

  1. Astrocade fans and collectors sometimes ask me how many Arcadian newsletter subscribers there were in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This subject has been touched upon a few times on the Yahoo message board. Some of this information has been touched-upon on the Bally Alley Yahoo group: Subject: Arcadian Subscribers Date: March 3, 2005 Message #2067 Number of Subscribers to the Arcadian: 1979 - 915 1982 - 2,147 (sub) + 1,260 (No Mail) = 3,407 I gleaned this information from subscriber lists that Robert Fabris sent to me recently. I also have info for other years too, but I'm not about to count those addresses by hand. Adam ---------- Subject: Arcadian Newsletter Subscriber Statistics Posted by: Paul T. Date: April 25, 2006 Message #3015 I received the Arcadian mailing lists from Adam, and for the most part it's page after page of subscriber addresses and order sheets. This could be useful for finding unarchived programs and such, but at the moment there are easier avenues to explore. However, I did find something of historical interest. On November 16, 1979,and October 29, 1982, Bob Fabris made gigantic computer printouts of all the subscribers. These included cumulative statistics of the subscribers, breaking them down by state/territory/foreign country and by gender (male, female, both, non-person [like an electronics store], and unknown). I typed the statistics into a spreadsheet, so I'll upload a couple of CSV files to the group. Here's a few observations. Readership grew substantially between 1979 and 1982, from 915 to 2147, a %235 increase. It also became more regionally diverse. There was massive growth in the Southeast--1 to 22 in Georgia, 2 to 24 in Kentucky, and 1 to 16 in Louisiana, for example. Was the system initially hard to find in some areas? The subscribership was extremely skewed towards males. Ignoring non-persons and unknowns and counting 'both' as one male and one female, the male/female ratio was 712/16 in 1979 and 1862/151 in 1982. Using these figures, the female representation did grow from 2.2% to 7.5%. I do have one question. Most of the non-state state abbreviations I understand--PR for Puerto Rico, DC for the District of Colombia, VI for Virgin Islands, and CN for Canada. But what does FN stand for? Paul ---------- Bob Fabris, the Arcadian published commented on this posting April 26, 2006. He said: "Stuff comes out of the woodwork - Haven't thought about that mailing list in years.... To answer the question about 'FN' This does refer to ForeigN addresses. Post Office requirements. I had to have mail presorted by zip codes to get "publication" rates, and this would put the non-US mail into one pile which would go airmail. One of my subscribers paid for his subscription by sorting all the addresses I sent him, printing labels, and sending them to me for each issue." Paul added the two subscriber list summaries as CSV (comma-separated values) files to the Bally Archive group. The links no longer works, but here they are anyway: File : /FAQs/Arcadian Subscriber Statistics, 10-29-82.csv Description : Cumulative statistics about Arcadian subscribers, from October 29, 1982 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ballyalley/files/FAQs/Arcadian%20Subscriber%20Statistics%2C%2010-29-82.csv File : /FAQs/Arcadian Subscriber Statistics, 11-16-79.csv Description : Cumulative statistics about Arcadian subscribers, from November 16, 1979 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ballyalley/files/FAQs/Arcadian%20Subscriber%20Statistics%2C%2011-16-79.csv I tried to find these CSV files elsewhere (I thought that I would have them on my hard drive), but I had no success finding them. It's pretty neat that subscriber records like this survived nearly 40 years! Adam
  2. It's Halloween... so I figured it was time to upload a few videos for this super-scary holiday. Here's the first one... Halloween Graphics with Flying Witch Demo By David Ibach and Steve Walters ARCADIAN 3, no. 12 (Oct. 05, 1981): 126-127. (BASIC Listing) ARCADIAN 4, no. 1 (Nov. 10, 1981): 3. (Loading Method Explanation) General Video Assembler Package (Flying Witch Sample) You can watch this video on YouTube, here: You can watch or download this video from Archive.org, here: https://archive.org/details/HalloweenGraphicsFlyingWitchDemoDaveIbachSteveWaltersBallyAstrocade Unlike most of my other videos, this program, to get it out in a timely fashion, doesn't have any background or an overview. It doesn't even have opening and closing credits. Maybe I'll make an overview of this program later. This program is for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade, a video game/computer system released by Bally in 1978. Halloween Graphics, written in Bally BASIC, and Flying Witch Demo, written in machine language, are two separate programs running together. Halloween Graphics is called "BOO" in the Arcadian. It runs with "AstroBASIC" and no expansion RAM. It draws a pumpkin, a haunted house, a skull and a witch. It runs for about two minutes and then repeats. The flying witch demo requires at least 4K of expansion RAM. A witch flies around a blank screen. When these two programs are combined, as in this video, then a witch flies around a haunted house. The program runs twice in this video. Enjoy this holiday program. Oh, and what's the deal with the pumpkin being yellow and not orange...? Adam
  3. I just posted this to the BallyAlley Yahoo groups, but I've decided to post this here too. I'm going to continue to post any updates about screenshots that I've added to BallyAlley.com here. Over the last two days, I've added 30 screenshots of "AstroBASIC" games to the Arcadian A-H program download section. It's actually be pretty fun loading some of these BASIC programs, some of which I don't think I've actually played before. It's nice that any "AstroBASIC" game loads in 20 seconds. I've recently been using the Timex/Sinclair and a few games take 10 minutes to load (that's not much fun!). You can see the screenshots of the BASIC programs here: http://www.ballyalley.com/program_downloads/2000_baud_programs/arcadian/programs_a-h/programs_a-h.html I took many more screenshots of these programs (most of which are games). However, I'll probably not add these other full-size screenshots to BallyAlley.com anytime soon. Even though the quality is higher, I have no easy method to add these to the website. The screenshots that I've added so far are just thumbnails, but they will give anyone a much better idea of what to expect before trying a program. I used/played most of the 30 programs while taking these pictures. Here are ten that are worth noting: 1) 2-Letter Music Maker, by Ken Lill - Neat utility that allows you to manipulate AstroBASIC's sound registers via a sort-of graphical user interface. Very neat-- but you do need to understand how the registers work-- else you'll just get easy-to-create screech-like sound effects. 2) 4D2, by Rusty Blommaert and Dale Smith - Colorful and just plain weird. If you've never tried this one out, then give it a go. I think the art demo is a non-random 20-minute loop. If you're wondering why it is called 4D2, it's pronounced "42." The name was inspired by Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books. 3) Alien 2000, by Henry Sopko - There are some neat graphics in this program. 4) aMAZEd in SPACE, by Aquila and Richard Houser - This is a neat little maze game where you control a spaceship with inertia. More fun than it looks, and there are many options different sizes of mazes. I'd love a machine language update of this game released on cart. 5) Bagels, by Carl Morimoto - I finally read and understood the rules for this game. This one reminds me of Mastermind. I tried it a few times, but never solved it. I got close though! 6) Bally Christmas Card, by Ed Grobe (Edge Software) - This program very slowly draws a Christmas tree with shimmering lights. This is a pretty good use of colors for an "AstroBASIC" program... or maybe it uses machine language...? 7) Baseball, by Dave Martin - This Baseball game is really more than you should be able to do in BASIC. It is quite a neat idea on how to hit the ball; it's sort of random and sort of not. I'm going to have to try playing this two-player-only game against someone sometime, and that's say a lot, as I never play sports games. 8 ) Blackjack, by Dick Harris - I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the graphics for this one. Plus, it plays quite fast. Impressive! 9) Black Hole, by Ron Picardi - I tried and tried to orbit the black hole, but I could never do it, not even on the "easy" level. I think I remember Paul Thacker saying once that he had problems with this too. However, Ron wrote to the Arcadian and said that the game is meant to be hard. Yeah-- he's right; it's certainly quite difficult! 10) Bots, by Ron McCoy / Bots II, by Ron McCoy and Steve Walters - Bots game inspired the arcade game, Berzerk. Well, not the Astrocade version of the game, but the version in (I think) one of the Creative Computing's book of games. I guess there are some changes between these two "AstroBASIC" versions of the game, but I can't tell what they are, as they both seem to play the same; the changes must be subtle. I took screenshots of many other BASIC programs, too, but these are the programs that interested me the most! Next week I'll add some more screenshots. Adam
  4. Took a chance, and overpaid for a 1977 Bally Professional Arcade (Astrocade). It did not say if it was working or not. Luckily it is working, and after removing the "switch box" (which gave an almost all snow picture) to going from the RF to Coax adapter, it is bright, rich and clear! It is so nice, I've abandoned looking for composite/s-video mods! This is the Bally Arcade with "Arcade" on a red background, and the screen says 1977. I think I will first add that resistor to the data chip. That is the one that gets hot and fails, right? A document on BalleyAlley says that there is too much voltage going to that chip, and that less voltage will run cooler and be more reliable. Anybody here done this? In doing this I will have removed the shielding, which I'll leave off. Besides a fan, any other tips or suggestions?
  5. iesposta

    IMG 6117

    From the album: Bally Professional Arcade

    1977 Bally Professional Arcade
  6. It pays to revisit and scan the Bob Fabris collection once in a while. I'm currently scanning in the last box of material that I have in my garage. This box contains the cut and paste versions of the Arcadian newsletter. This box has been very low on the to-scan priority list, as (so I thought) everything in it was scanned already in another format. Well, I was mostly right. I have found a few neat tid-bits in the box so far: this is one of them. Today, I added to letter to Bally Arcade/Astrocade venders that Bob Fabris wrote on January 1, 1983. On December 30, 1982, Astrocade, Inc. declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Bob Fabris wrote this letter, hopefully of opportunity, to many of the vendors who wrote software and created hardware for the Astrocade. Bob hoped to be able to carry the thousands of Astrocade users through the coming drought brought on by the declaration of bankruptcy. This one-page letter describes Bobs ideas on how to do this for Astrocade owners and distributors. You can read the letter here: http://www.ballyalley.com/newsletters/arcadian/arcadian_misc.html#LetterAstrocadeDistributors I OCRed this letter. Here is the complete letter (a few comments from me follow): ---------------------------------------- ARCADIAN 1-1-1983 OPPORTUNITY (?) Well, Astrocade bit the dust Thursday, asking protection from creditors under the provisions of the infamous Chapter 11. The latest news report from Nitron is attached - they stopped trading on Friday "pending news", and there is a possibility they may drop as well - see your papers. So where does that leave us? Well, of the various options, it seems to me that there is opportunity here for the third party vendors (TPV) to step in because the only game in town now is the TPV GROUP (pun intended). Only you fellows have material for the unit. There are lots of owners out there, and they will either be 1) left in the lurch if the whole thing collapses never to be seen again. 2) left in a hesitancy period while a Receiver is chosen and restructuring of the 'new' Astrocade company is completed. 3) same as 2) until a new company buys out the assets and starts up. Under any one of those three - or anything else, I would guess - there will be a void that can be filled by the T --- an opportunity to step forward and present wares to ... who? Timing - the CES is right now, who's there? All those distributor guys who know where dealers are - the ones still in step. The best time/place to get in touch with outlets. It seems to me that a best-foot-forward approach to the distributors, etc., that will be there is the only thing to do. Dick Houser and I plan to function as your collective agent, essentially representing everyone in the Sourcebook. We will be pushing the Sourcebook to the distributors - whoever is left - with the message that we can be the bridge of available stock that can tide the dealers over until the reconstructed Arcade is back in production. This representation scheme is only temporary, to take advantage of the opportunity presenting itself. We've been noodling about in this area in a sort of wishy-washy way - now we can be definitive and make those contacts that are available. Who else? Well there are thousands of machines in owners' hands and we can get at a few of them through advertising in the game publications. What have been the replies from the Electronic Games ad? This kind of advertising should be looked into as a possible on-going thing. And also, we can make contact with 8 or 9000 owners that I have from mailing lists, for direct mailings. These are not subscribers, so they are not normally contacted. Also, I'm sure a number of them are no longer interested or owners. Anyway, a package of literature can be shipped to alert these people to TPV existence. OTHER STUFF------ Game Production: The Alternative Engineering people are now geared up to produce cartridges for the Arcade unit, utilizing EPROMs. They will also handle distribution - contact them if you have a program that you would like to have prepared in the cartridge format-- certainly a better way to get a program into a machine than tape, and there's more capacity. ---------------------------------------- To me, this letter exemplifies the ways in which the Astrocade community pulled together to keep software and hardware available for users of the, soon-to-be, defunct Astrocade game console/computer system. Adam
  7. I've created this thread to contain all of my future Astrocade video overviews and reviews. Let's get started! Today, I made an overview video of Bally Artillery, a game for the Astrocade. I was browsing random issues of Creative Computing on archive.org on June 7, 2018 when I came across a game that I had never heard of before: Bally Artillery by John W. Rhodes. This game isn't to be confused with Artillery Duel by John Perkins. Both have the same idea, but they are completely different programs. Even though this game was published in August 1982, the author seems to imply in his write-up that it was written in late 1978 or early 1979, shortly after he got his Bally Arcade. You can view the Bally Artillery article with the type-in program, here: http://www.ballyalley.com/type-in_programs/basic/basic.html#BallyArtilleryBASICTypeIn Here are the authors notes from the Bally Artillery article: "In December of 1978 I was ready to buy my first computer system, but my requirements were not easy to meet. I wanted something that could handle arcade-quality games, had high- resolution graphics capability, color display, and Basic in PROM. "I was not satisfied with anything my local dealers had to show (no one I visited had a Compucolor. the Apple dealers were showing low-resolution only, and the Atari was only a rumor), but on the basis of the (somewhat premature) advertising for the keyboard/expansion unit. I decided to buy a Bally Professional Arcade. I could use Tiny Basic for a while, and turn it into a "real" machine in just a few short months. "It was just a few short months later that the local dealers began to show Compucolors and high-resolution Apples, and it seemed that the Bally expansion unit was more of a rumor than the Atari 800. I would visit the showrooms, see those beautiful full-size keyboards, watch people work in "real" Basic and be as green as the color monitors. "I particularly liked the artillery game that Compucolor called 'Shoot...' This game generates a random terrain display and wind factor and positions two artillery emplacements on the screen so that two opponents can take turns trying to obliterate each other. Eventually I resolved that I either had to buy a Compucolor or program this game on my Bally. I chose the latter. "This turned out to be quite a challenge with less than 2K of memory and integer-only Tiny Basic. But the Bally Basic is quite sound for game programming and easy to work with. The greatest difficulty was finding an integer sine routine, but after searching the magazines I found a routine to adapt to my purpose. I started out using a full ballistic equation, but soon found by experimentation that I could use an approximation. This eliminated an integer square-root routine and added speed in the bargain. "I spent approximately two months writing, debugging, and fine-tuning the program, but it was worth the effort. "A few months later I did buy the Compucolor and have been using it ever since. I'm well satisfied with it and use it for a variety of tasks. But my wife and I still enjoy the Bally for its games, especially the artillery game." The article also includes notes and an explanation of how the program works. I'm not sure how I overlooked it before now. Bally Artillery appeared in a major publication. How has it remained under the radar all of this time? Thanks to Lance Squire for typing in Bally Artillery last week. Since he put in the effort, I was able to give the game a try today. I made a video of the game that includes gameplay footage, an overview, and a BASIC listing. You can watch my video on YouTube, here: You can download the original 595MB MP4 video from archive.org: https://archive.org/details/BallyArtillerybyJohnRhodesforAstrocade When Lance get the kinks worked out in Artillery Duel and it's error-free, then I'll added this "AstroBASIC" game to BallyAlley.com. Enjoy! Adam
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