Prototype Hi-Res Astrocade
These are pictures of the prototype Astrocade that Perkins Engineering
modified to go into commercial (hi-res) mode. Here are two parts of the
announcement from the Arcadian newsletter that talks about the upgrade (it was
supposed to be available in kit form; it has never been confirmed to have been
1) Announcement from: ARCADIAN, 3, no. 6 (April 15, 1981): 63.
Perkins Hi-Res Board was also received just in time for the show [West Coast
Computer Faire, April 3-5, 1981]. This board is the standard Bally
Motherboard with a number of ICs added, most by piggy-back technique onto
existing chips. Many extra connections are made to make the item "work."
When powered up, the picture we normally see filling the screen was reduced to
one-fourth the size, and occupied the upper left quadrant of the screen.
There were a number of big eyes at the Faire when they saw the tiny type,
still 5x7, but much smaller.
A New Item from Perkins Engineering:
We are pleased to announce another engineering breakthrough - high
resolution graphics. The "Hi-Rez Add-In" from Perkins Engineering using 39
additional chips to exploit the high resolution capability of the Bally
custom chips. The new chips are added to the Bally motherboard in a way
which allows the regular case to go back on. A prototype modified board was
demonstrated at the computer faire. Here’s what you get: Resolution mode is
software selectable at low normal for existing programs, medium (160x204,
similar to Mattel), and high (320x204, better than Apple). The 39 chips
include an EPROM for firmware support of the new modes and 12K of additional
memory. The software mode selection allows the individual program to choose
its own resolution for full compatibility with existing game cartridges and
Bally BASIC. For Blue Ram owners, a tape will be included to provide medium
resolution BASIC with four screen colors and 7K programming area. Prices
will be in the range of $250 for the kit and $300 wired (you send in your
Bally for modification). Availability will be announced in the next issue.
2) Announcement from: ARCADIAN, 3, no. 9 (July 9, 1981): 94.
Hi Res Modification as created by Perkins Engineering - latest word is that
the system is available to experimenter-types who can do their own
programming. Due to other commitments are the present, Perkins is not
available to develop software. So if you want to work on it yourself, and
be a real originator, you can buy the kit at $250, or the built up/tested
unit at $350 (using your board).
||Hi-Res Astrocade (3164) - Decoding|
||Hi-Res Astrocade (3164) - ROM Modified for Hi-Res Mode.|
||Hi-Res Astrocade (3164) - Piggybacked RAM (Side-View)|
||Hi-Res Astrocade (3164) - Piggybacked RAM (Top-View)|
||Hi-Res Astrocade (3164) - Piggybacked RAM (Side-View, Close-up)|
||Hi-Res Astrocade (3164) - These are the current requirements that the power supply must be
able to provide.||