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AlecRob

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Before & After:

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Carl

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Carl don't let the bogymen scare you: yes, there are Astrocades that are "problematic", but then again, so are there ColecoVisions, Adam computers, Vectrex consoles etc. Not saying the whole half-assed RF shield didn't cause problems for users here or there, especially when a lot of us did in fact play ours on the carpet as kids (I mean who reads all that paperwork when they're a teen? Let's get to gaming!).
 
Honestly though I have my three display consoles all of which work one of which is the original "Home Library Computer" which were probably the most problematic of the bunch, and I have no coolers, heat sinks or other such doohickeys in place (yes, doohickeys is a technical term).
 
Not saying these things haven't helped people, but that old saying about if it ain't broke don't fix it seems to work for me when I found Astrocades that worked (and Pro Arcades, Computer Systems etc.).
 
With the exception of an S-VIDEO adapter board in my Astrocade, all my systems are stock as they came from Bally/Astrovision.
 
If you find a good one, just take care of it and you should be fine. Just remember, everything fails, eventually. atariage_icon_smile.gif


I took the plunge recently and purchased a New in Box Astrocade. Ofcourse it was opened to show the contents for the sale and no controllers were included so who the hell really knows.
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Ahha! Went and did it, a adamchevy?  :). That was a goal filled quick!

 

Would love to hear how you like it.  I'll live vicariously through you, since I don't own one, but always kinda wanted one.

 

There's a really spiffy game for it I played in an emulator a lot. (Searches for name)... Pirates Chase. Also Ms Candy Man.

 

Looks like The Video Game Critic didn't like those titles much, but I had a great time with em in Emulationville.

 

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Ahha! Went and did it, a adamchevy?  . That was a goal filled quick!
 
Would love to hear how you like it.  I'll live vicariously through you, since I don't own one, but always kinda wanted one.
 
There's a really spiffy game for it I played in an emulator a lot. (Searches for name)... Pirates Chase. Also Ms Candy Man.
 
Looks like The Video Game Critic didn't like those titles much, but I had a great time with em in Emulationville.
 


Well I’m not to sure yet as it hasn’t arrived in the mail. But I will update you with my full review once I get the opportunity! Honestly I’m pretty damn excited to finally own one. It’s been on the list for a long time.
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3 hours ago, adamchevy said:

 


Well I’m not to sure yet as it hasn’t arrived in the mail. But I will update you with my full review once I get the opportunity! Honestly I’m pretty damn excited to finally own one. It’s been on the list for a long time.

 

I’m interested to hear what you like too.

My system, after cleaning and preventative maintenance, shows that it was very well used for a long time as it came with many games and extra controllers. 

 

My favorite is The Incredible Wizard. If that game just named what it is, Wizard Of Wor, I believe that this system would have been more popular, or at least more well known. The audio and sound effects (minus speech) are exactly like the arcade coin-op. If you don’t get one of those multi-carts, it’s an easy title to get.

 

The homebrew games of War (Warlords), and Crazy Climber show what great ports can be done, although I would guess finding carts of those game would be difficult and expensive.

 

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If you're worried about console reliability, get a usb adapter for the controller and play astrocade in emulation.  They even have it emulated with fpga.

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I’m interested to hear what you like too.

My system, after cleaning and preventative maintenance, shows that it was very well used for a long time as it came with many games and extra controllers. 

 

My favorite is The Incredible Wizard. If that game just named what it is, Wizard Of Wor, I believe that this system would have been more popular, or at least more well known. The audio and sound effects (minus speech) are exactly like the arcade coin-op. If you don’t get one of those multi-carts, it’s an easy title to get.

 

The homebrew games of War (Warlords), and Crazy Climber show what great ports can be done, although I would guess finding carts of those game would be difficult and expensive.

 

 

 

I’ll tell you what I like about the console hypothetically since I’ve never actually played on one yet.

 

The main drivers for me are the controllers, sound, and aesthetics.

 

Controllers:

 

They have a built in paddle controller, atleast that’s what it looks like. I love the 2600 paddle controllers. I also think the pistol grip looks like a nice change from the red button.

 

Sound:

 

I don’t technically understand what makes the Astrocade sound so nice, but it sounds like the arcades used to when I was a kid.

 

Aesthetics:

 

For some reason I can smell the 70s when I see the woodgrain on the Astrocade. Ofcourse I was born in 1981 so I don’t remember the 70s, but my parents had me late in their lives so I always felt a little older than I was. Most of my parents decor was very 70s until the mid 90s when everything had to be changed to peach pink pastel coloring.

 

The last reason is that I am intrigued by the history that surrounds the console. The company Bally evokes a lot of nostalgia for me from my childhood. I grew up in Vegas and I remember seeing that name a lot. My Dad bought and sold used electronics and machinery.

 

 

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If you're worried about console reliability, get a usb adapter for the controller and play astrocade in emulation.  They even have it emulated with fpga.


I thought about emulation, how good is the fpga? I am a bit concerned about how well the controller would function in emulation or fpga.

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The controller usb adapter and the console fpga are two different things.  And I don't have experience with either.  Mister fpga takes usb controllers so it would still use a usb adapter.  To someone that's never seen an Astrocade live, mame emulation looks perfectly fine and all aspects of the controller are emulated.  If the game doesn't use the rotary control you could use any controller.

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1 hour ago, adamchevy said:

 

 

I’ll tell you what I like about the console hypothetically since I’ve never actually played on one yet.

 

The main drivers for me are the controllers, sound, and aesthetics.

 

Controllers:

 

They have a built in paddle controller, atleast that’s what it looks like. I love the 2600 paddle controllers. I also think the pistol grip looks like a nice change from the red button.

 

Sound:

 

I don’t technically understand what makes the Astrocade sound so nice, but it sounds like the arcades used to when I was a kid.

 

Aesthetics:

 

For some reason I can smell the 70s when I see the woodgrain on the Astrocade. Ofcourse I was born in 1981 so I don’t remember the 70s, but my parents had me late in their lives so I always felt a little older than I was. Most of my parents decor was very 70s until the mid 90s when everything had to be changed to peach pink pastel coloring.

 

The last reason is that I am intrigued by the history that surrounds the console. The company Bally evokes a lot of nostalgia for me from my childhood. I grew up in Vegas and I remember seeing that name a lot. My Dad bought and sold used electronics and machinery.

 

 

Best controllers ever, period.  I challenge someone to name a better controller of that era. 

 

The sound rocked, I agree.  The fact that the motherboard shared design and chips with the Bally arcade boards (Seawolf II, Space Zap, Wizard of Wor, Gorf etc.) probably didn't hurt here (think pre-neo geo AES/MVS). 

 

The console had the look of that day, the cartridge bay port was brilliant.  When I saw it up on the wall at Play World back in the day I had to have it.  No idea how I convinced my folks to buy me one when I already had the 2600.  Controllers should have come out the front, but you can't have it all.  The 5200 would be my second sexiest system.  Woodgrain I could have done without, most likely it's why I love my Montgomery Ward white Bally Professional Arcade system so much.  Its too bad Astrovision/Astrocade didn't release the Astrocade console in all black.  

 

The history could be it's own mini-series on Netflix, or at least the Bally Alley Astrocast... :)

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Best controllers ever, period.  I challenge someone to name a better controller of that era.   

The sound rocked, I agree.  The fact that the motherboard shared design and chips with the Bally arcade boards (Seawolf II, Space Zap, Wizard of Wor, Gorf etc.) probably didn't hurt here (think pre-neo geo AES/MVS). 

 

The console had the look of that day, the cartridge bay port was brilliant.  When I saw it up on the wall at Play World back in the day I had to have it.  No idea how I convinced my folks to buy me one when I already had the 2600.  Controllers should have come out the front, but you can't have it all.  The 5200 would be my second sexiest system.  Woodgrain I could have done without, most likely it's why I love my Montgomery Ward white Bally Professional Arcade system so much.  Its too bad Astrovision/Astrocade didn't release the Astrocade console in all black.  

 

The history could be it's own mini-series on Netflix, or at least the Bally Alley Astrocast...

 

 

I can understand the aesthetic. I really like the 5200 looks as well even though I’m more of a woodgrain guy. My favorite console to date for looks is a Sears Telegames Heavy Sixer. The Astrocade might take that top spot once I see it in person. They certainly had a great design team.

 

I wish Gorf would have been released for the Astrocade. It’s a real shame that more homebrewers don’t make games for it. I would think the controller would be incentive enough. Also, I’ve been studying up on Z80 assembly and I’ve heard it’s a bit easier to program for. I’m sure it’s a lack of people that have an Astrocade that keeps Homebrew programmers away.

 

I am really looking forward to the upcoming champ games remake of Gorf for the 2600. They have really been knocking it out of the park lately. I would love to see what they could do with a melody board equivalent and an AtariVox+ on the Astrocade.

 

Has anyone ever released a Ram board of some kind that allows people to play in high resolution mode? It might be possible to port old arcade games that were made for this specific hardware but in high resolution mode quite easily I would think.

 

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