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Lord Thag

Scored a Bally Astrocade for xmas

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I must be the only person on the planet to get an Astrocade for Christmas in 2005 :D

 

I must admit, I'm very pleasantly surprised! I was lucky enough to get not only a system (the original release), but 20 games to boot, and from the collection of one of the actual developers to boot.

 

Unlike the Arcadia (which sucks unless you're in europe) or the APF, Channel F or RCA studio II (which suck anywhere on the planet), the Astrocade is quite a good little system. The controllers are utterly bizzare, and absolutely the best I've ever used on a classic system. There are quite a few gems too. The Incredible Wizard, Star Fortress, Artillery Duel, Galaxian, Space Invaders, Dogpatch and a couple of others are really good. The ability to play Basic games was a surprise, as was the wonky overheating issue. All in all though, I like it. Good stuff. I only need a few more games to complete the set too!

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All I can say is, suspend it in mid-air (or water-cool it), I have had 3 units die on me from simply being plugged in. One of them was a loaner too. :x

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I absolutely love the Astrocade. I don't know of many who've ever played one but I had a neighbor who was hooked up. The controllers were the best ever made. Did you get the pinball game? Hold one controller in each hand and use the triggers to flip. Best pinball setup on a console ever.

 

There are Pac-Man and Conan games that were made but unreleased. And massive amounts of homebrews.

 

I understand that few working ones survive to this day.

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I had a friend who got one when we were kids as a "test market" setup. We loved that thing!

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Could you possibly put an Astrocade on one of those laptop rests that have fans underneath the pad to cool a notebook off during use?

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There are Pac-Man and Conan games that were made but unreleased. And massive amounts of homebrews.

 

Muncher (I think that's the name) did get released. It's a Pac Man clone if ever there was one, and a damn good one too.

 

I remember standing in Woolco and playing it on their demo system. And I played a lot of the Galaxian clone too. I wanted one of those systems really bad.

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All I can say is, suspend it in mid-air (or water-cool it), I have had 3 units die on me from simply being plugged in. One of them was a loaner too. :x

990615[/snapback]

 

Did you have the Astrocade on carpet? The Astrocade is known for overheating. It is a great system but I wouldn't leave it plugged in for extended periods of time.

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I only saw cartridges for the thing once upon a time, and some TV ads for it, but never the actual system itself selling anywhere locally during its heyday.

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I've got a white console myself. Apparently, this is a limited edition model of the system, but these days it seems like Astrocades in general are tough to find... you almost never see them at yard sales or pawn shops.

 

My 'cade worked fine the last time I used it, but the numeric keypad on the face of the unit seems a little wonky, with some of the keys not responding to input. Good thing you can just twist the tops of the controllers to enter numbers!

 

I'm still stunned at just how much The Incredible Wizard SOUNDS like its arcade counterpart. There's no voice synthesis, of course, but the sound effects are exactly the same as they were in the arcade game. None of the monsters seem to fire, but you'll be thankful for that when the screen is crowded with stampedes of Burwors and Garwors!

 

JR

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I'm still stunned at just how much The Incredible Wizard SOUNDS like its arcade counterpart. There's no voice synthesis, of course, but the sound effects are exactly the same as they were in the arcade game. None of the monsters seem to fire, but you'll be thankful for that when the screen is crowded with stampedes of Burwors and Garwors!

 

Me too. Turns out they were programmed by the same author, and portions of the Astrocade's hardware are identical to the arcade machine. The only difference, actually, is the Astrocade has a lower screen resolution and less ram.

 

All I can say is, suspend it in mid-air (or water-cool it), I have had 3 units die on me from simply being plugged in. One of them was a loaner too.

 

Yeah, I've heard all about the crazy overheating problems from a buddy who has a few. I keep mine on a power brick that's switched off unless I use it. I'm contemplating taking it apart and removing the RF shielding, which is 90% of the problem, if the old tech manual is to be believed. Apparently if you just remove it permanently, it pretty much eliminates the problem. I'll probably heat sink the vulnerable IC's while I'm in there too.

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I'm still stunned at just how much The Incredible Wizard SOUNDS like its arcade counterpart. There's no voice synthesis, of course, but the sound effects are exactly the same as they were in the arcade game. None of the monsters seem to fire, but you'll be thankful for that when the screen is crowded with stampedes of Burwors and Garwors!

 

Me too. Turns out they were programmed by the same author, and portions of the Astrocade's hardware are identical to the arcade machine. The only difference, actually, is the Astrocade has a lower screen resolution and less ram.

991596[/snapback]

 

That's what I've heard, too. The Astrocade and its arcade counterpart predate the Dreamcast and Naomi by nearly twenty years!

 

JR

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I wrote .. "No one has mentioned that these have the best controllers ever made!!"

 

Well two people said this already! Duh!

 

Rob Mitchell, Atlanta, GA

Edited by Rob Mitchell

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Yes I did!

995155[/snapback]

 

Well both of us can say that now!

 

BTW: The controllers were made with one game in mind: Gunfight (a perfect video game.) Too bad that no other game takes advantage of all the features of these controllers.

 

 

BTW: I modified an Atari Video Pinball to work as a controller for pinball games!!

 

Rob Mitchell, Atlanta, GA

Edited by Rob Mitchell

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BTW: The controllers were made with one game in mind:  Gunfight (a perfect video game.)  Too bad that no other game takes advantage of all the features of these controllers.

 

 

BTW: I modified an Atari Video Pinball to work as a controller for pinball games!!

 

Rob Mitchell, Atlanta, GA

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I have to agree I like the Bally controllers the most of any system. They're confortable and you can play for hours on end. My only complaint is the trigger is a little thin and can start to hurt your finger after a while

 

Other games that use all the features of the controllers are: Football, Baseball, Missile, Red Baron, Scribble, and Blackjack/Poker/Acey-Duecey. Alhough some of these barely use all the functions (i.e. Blackjack).

 

The video pinball controller is a neat idea.

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My Astrocade did work fine, until it suddenly stopped outputting video. ?? I took the cover off and found that the RF cable from the inside was worn silly. I also found signs of someone else having been in there before (masking tape on the electric cord connections?) I was able to put in a different video patch cord that does the job.

 

I opened a "brand new, sealed" copy of Red Baron / Panzer Attack to find the cart as dead as a door nail.

 

None of my controllers works completely, so I had to make a crappy Atari Joystick/Paddle hybrid.

 

Even with it in half-working condition, I can see that this system had the potential for greatness. The controllers (when they work for a game that doesn't need all of the functions) are easy to hold (yes, perfect for Gunfight) and fun to use. I'm looking forward to playing more of the systems games as I move forward in the chronology.

 

If anyone can sell me one or two working Astrocade controllers, I'd be a quite a bit happier with my machine.

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I have yet to see one that was actually up and running yet. Every con I've been too in the last four years has had a dead one on display.

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I have yet to see one that was actually up and running yet.  Every con I've been to in the last four years has had a dead one on display.

1005111[/snapback]

 

I have taken my working Bally Astrocade to the Cinciclassic twice!

 

A junction box to convert the Astrocade controller pins to Atari pins should allow it to work via the Stelladaptor!

 

Rob Mitchell, Atlanta, GA

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I remember a very early comparison of game consoles in an old Consumer Reports, that ranked the Bally machine above Atari, Intelevision, and others as the best of the early consoles.

 

There was a users group for people that programmed the console through the BASIC cartridge.

 

The machine had a calculator keypad, and paddle knobs built in to the tops of the joystics. You could move a character on the screen and aim it's weapon with the knob; a sophisticated controle feature for the time.

 

I remember playing with it in a Wards store. I allready had a Commodore 64, but this console looked like it would be cool to own.

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I have taken my working Bally Astrocade to the Cinciclassic twice!

 

And that's about the only major con I haven't been to once. But didn't it get cancelled last year?

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was never really into pinball games growing up..but recently bought a Star Trek pinball machine from 1979 on ebay..going to pick up this weekend.

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I have taken my working Bally Astrocade to the Cinciclassic twice!

 

And that's about the only major con I haven't been to once. But didn't it get cancelled last year?

1006922[/snapback]

 

The Cinciclassic will happen for the first time in 4 years this April!

 

Gosh .. can you imagine what would have happened if the Bally Astrocade were built inside a console like the Magnavox O2 with a full keyboard in 1978!

 

I remember a very early comparison of game consoles in an old Consumer Reports, that ranked the Bally machine above Atari, Intelevision, and others as the best of the early consoles.

1005356[/snapback]

 

What year was that issue? I remember seeing CR report ranking the Atari VCS above all in 1977.

 

Rob Mitchell, Atlanta, GA

Edited by Rob Mitchell

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Just an aside to anyone who has one. I did do the mod I mentioned (removed the internal RF shielding). The thing works great and doesn't overheat.

 

It's also WAY more fun than I thought it would be. Trully one of the undiscovered gems of the era.

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