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Overview Episode 5:


I really enjoyed listening to this episode.  I was at first sad to hear that Chris was no longer your co-host, but Paul made up well for him not being a part of the episode. 


The episode made me feel very strongly that I need to start typing in Basic Programs into my Bally.  In the episode you mention that Bob Fabris was a bit hesitant about you putting user submitted basic programs out on the internet, because he was worried people would type them in and get frustrated when they didn't work.  And that this frustration would lead them to be upset with the Bally Arcade platform.  Then Paul mentions that this frustration has been the reality with every platform that has had user submitted programs.  I thought it funny that Bob would be upset about this when I'm sure only a handful of very committed Bally enthusiasts would ever attempt this, but I'm sure more than a few people still type in programs from time to time.  I'm always envious of those individuals that were able to grow up with early computer Tech and start with Basic and Assembly language as their first computer language.  I started with C++ because that was the popular language of the late 90s.  


During the episode you mention bally user groups that existed at the time, and that they had turnouts of around 40-50 people.  I wish their was a user group in my town that I could meet with weekly. I'm sure none exist anymore, except for ones that exist virtually on the internet. It would have been awesome to attend those early Arcadian meetings.


It was fun to here about the development of the Blue ram by John Perkins.  I hope to be able to purchase some type of ram extension module someday.  I watched your youtube video about the Blue ram, and I was amazed by the quality of the device.  Its to bad more games and applications weren't programmed to take advantage of the extra ram like the Starpath Supercharger games for the 2600. 


I look forward to listening the next episode!  Thanks again! They really are a treasure for the community to listen to!

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On 3/6/2020 at 9:34 AM, adamchevy said:

Overview [Astroast] Episode 5:


Thanks, @adamchevyfor your feedback on Astrocast #5.


Chris is recording with me again as a co-host of the Astrocast.  This will probably be an on-again/off-again "let's hang out and play the astrocade" affair for right now.  Astrocast #13, a short episode, has been recorded and edited.  I hope to have it up by tomorrow or the next day.  Getting it online isn't a problem, but I like to add links for each episode's show notes.


I have lined up a recording time with Paul on this Thursday.  We will be covering the next issue of the Arcadian newsletter (Oct. 1979) as well as some letters to the Arcadian from that same time period.  Depending on the length of our recording, we may have the segment as part of Astrocast #14, or it may be a stand-alone episode.  I also have my first user interview lined up for Friday.


I can understand the desire to type in a BASIC program, as it can sort of put you into the mindset of the late-1970s/early-1980s.  However, as much as I do have some nostalgia for typing in programs on the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit home computers and Astrocade, I would much rather use the programs that have already been written.  I suggest typing in a few short programs from the "AstroBASIC" manual and then doodling around the language making some simple routines and then moving on from that point.


I do miss computer user group meetings.  I'm actually a bit surprised that they don't really exist anymore.  Sure, I know that it is more convenient and easier to find information online now than it ever was back in the 1980s when user groups were probably at their height.  Yet, the near-demise of user groups is unfortunate.  For those who have never attended such a meeting, it's hard to describe the additional benefits that one can get in person.  Maybe it's the accidental learning that could happen at them that was such a positive influence on members at the time.  What I mean by that is that sometimes you could run across information that you would never expect to be able to use.  This can still happen probably just as frequently, or even more frequently, using the Internet, but there was a certain one-on-one personal level of care from other members of user groups that allowed people to learn on a more individual-based level then is probably possible through the Internet using any means except person-to-person interaction.


In some ways, the fears which Bob Fabris had about putting BASIC listings on the Internet are well-founded.  He is correct that people have a hard time typing in even the simplest of BASIC programs.  If I could go back to 1984 and avoid typing in some of those long BASIC programs and just buy the disk version of Compute! and Compute!'s Gazette magazines, then I would save myself not just a lot of time but a lot of bug tracking and headaches.  I was only twelve years old back then and the two-finger typing was quite a chore for me.  That said, typing in someone else's computer program is a descent way to learn a computer language.  In its simplest form, typing in a BASIC program allows someone to understand the general format and syntax that a program can take.  Once a user begins to understand how BASIC works, then typing in a program can give insight into tricks that can be used in one's own programs.


Being able to access extended RAM on the astrocade is quite useful, especially if you own the UltiMulti cartridge, which has some programs on it that require extra RAM.  Try to pick up the Lil' White Ram.  It doesn't have the I/O that the Blue Ram offers but it's main benefit is that it's available is hard to beat!


Thanks again for your feedback and keep it coming.



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I uploaded the Bally Alley Astrocast #13 today.  In this episode, Chris and I review the Bally Arcade/Astrocade game "Cosmic Raiders," a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up. "Cosmic Raiders" is a game released in 1983 on an 8K cartridge by Astrocade Inc. It is part of the Action/Skills Series and is part #2019. It was written by Bob Ogdon, Scot L. Norris, Julie Malan, and Lisa Natting.




"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."


You can listen to the podcast here:




There are tons of show notes which are in black (as if you've already viewed the links), so they're hard to see-- but they do work. Hopefully I eventually figure out what is wrong here. The links all look and act normal in preview mode when I view the show notes at Libsyn.





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