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October 31, 2017

  1. Added ASTEC UM1291-1 RF Modulator: PC Board Layout, Schematics, and Datasheet. Information provided by Michael Matte, National Semiconductor and ASTEC International Limited.

    This document includes various pieces of information about the ASTEC UM1291-1 RF modulator, the original modulator used in the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. Included here is the PC board layout, schematic, an excerpt from the LM1889 TV Video Modulator datasheet, and ASTEC's internal product specification.

    1. ASTEC UM1291-1 RF Modulator PC Board Layout, Schematics, and Datasheet

October 30, 2017

  1. Added How to Modify an Astrocade Cartridge for EPROM/EEPROM Support by Michael Matte.

    Includes a schematic of a modified videocade (Bally Arcade/Astrocade cartridge) to support/test programmed EPROM/EEPROMs. Michael modified a videocade cartridge and wired it as indicated on the attached schematic back in the 1980s. He may originally have been thinking in terms of EPROMs, but eventually wired a 16-pin header for use with an 9K EEPROM. He also inserted a 32K EEPROM because they're really cheap now. No changes were required.

    1. How to Modify an Astrocade Cartridge for EPROM/EEPROM Support
  2. Added How to Modify an Astrocade Cartridge PC Board for a 28-Pin Chip by Michael Matte.

    Includes a schematic which shows an example of utilizing a 28-pin EPROM/EEPROM in a standard videocade cartridge. Drawing shows traces cut with a sharp utility knife and rewired. Basic instructions are also included.

    1. How to Modify an Astrocade Cartridge PC Board for a 28-Pin Chip

October 28, 2017

  1. Added 'An In-Depth Look At...' Series Samples by Michael Matte. This sample was created in October of 2017.

    Two samples of the kind of information not found in the "Nutting Manual" that can be expected to be seen in Michael Matte's upcoming series. First is a page from Michael's Sentry Subroutine #66 document, a Sentry breakdown listing. Second is a three-page description of Write Absolute subroutine #38.

    1. 'An In-Depth Look At...' Series Samples

October 27, 2017

  1. Added SetScreen 2 - An Upgraded Bally Arcade/Astrocade Troubleshooting Utility by Michael Matte.

    SetScreen 2 is an improved version of the original SetScreen, a machine language routine. Setscreen 2 is a visual troubleshooting tool that can be used to help diagnose a failed Astrocade motherboard producing a blank TV screen at power-up. Details are provided in Troubleshooting the Bally/Astrocade Motherboard Power-Up with SetScreen, A New Tool. SetScreen 2 now has added routines to help a troubleshooter further investigate what is or is not going on with a motherboard graphics-wise and to provide more information to diagnose and isolate a problem area. A read routine is also included for a user who can connect a homemade dual 7-segment display.

    1. SetScreen 2 - An Upgraded Bally Arcade/Astrocade Troubleshooting Utility

October 25, 2017

  1. Added Astrocade Keypad Repair by Michael Matte.

    Do you have a key on your Astrocade keypad that doesn't function or is broken? With care and patience, the keypad is fixable. This is Michael's three-page handwritten guide to fixing broken keys on an Astrocade 24-key keypad.

    1. Astrocade Keypad Repair

October 24, 2017

  1. Added Hi-Res Textured 10 Color Test Pattern by Michael Matte.

    This program is an upgraded hi-res version of Bit Fiddler's "Standard Color Generator" listed in the Machine Language Manager's User Manual on page 7-4. This output a very cool graphic pattern on a 20" RF TV using composite video output. The routine is self-supporting and uses NO outside CALLs.

    1. Hi-Res Textured 10 Color Test Pattern

October 14, 2017

  1. Added Balcheck Supplemental Info by Michael Matte.

    This document is a tutorial that explains how to use the BalCheck hardware and its software to diagnose a failing Bally Arcade/Astrocade console.

    1. Balcheck Supplemental Info
  2. Added Troubleshooting the Bally/Astrocade Motherboard Power-Up with SetScreen, A New Tool by Michael Matte.

    This document is for anyone with experience in troubleshooting the Bally/Astrocade motherboard. It explains one method on how to fix an Astrocade using step-by-step methods. It was written by Michael Matte, the person who designed and built a modified Astrocade that runs with low or high resolution graphics. Specifically, this document addresses the scenario in which a blank TV screen appears when powering on a motherboard and describes a new, very useful tool to help isolate the problem area.

    1. Troubleshooting the Bally/Astrocade Motherboard Power-Up with SetScreen, A New Tool

October 12, 2017

  1. Added pictures and screenshot of Michael Matte's high-resolution Astrocade.

    Included is a picture of Michael Matte's Hi-Res Astrocade system. Besides the obvious QWERTY keyboard addition, there is also an external keypad. Although the system has a Viper attached to it, that is only the case: the actual Viper hardware is not inside there, instead, it contains Michael's hi-res upgrade.

    Two screenshots are of the low-res game Gunfight and the low-res menu running on a hi-res system. The third screenshot is a version of the MLM (Machine Language Monitor) cartridge that has been specially modified to work with the Michael's hi-res system.

    1. Michael Matte's Hi-Res Astrocade Area

August 30, 2017

  1. Added a screenshot of Michael Matte's high-resolution Astrocade.

    In August 2017, Michael Matte continued to work on some projects with his Astrocade that he upgraded from the Bally's standard low-resolution (160x102) to High-Resolution (320x204) in the mid-1980s. Near the end of August 2017, he took a screenshot of a hi-res demo that he wrote to test the unit.

    1. Hi-Res Astrocade Screenshot
  2. Added a two-page sheet with the DIP Switch Settings for the UltiMulti Cartridge 3.2 by GaMBITS (Ken Lill).

    Version 3.2 of the UltiMulti settings has a few fixes to the DIP Switch settings, as well as some additions to the cartridge, including a working version of Color BASIC that can now load and save via the 300-baud interface.

    1. UltiMulti Cartridge 3.2 DIP Switch Settings
  3. Added two pictures of the UltiMulti Cartridge 3.2 by GaMBITS (Ken Lill).

    1. UltiMulti Cartridge 3.2 Pictures

August 18, 2017

  1. Added an alternate cartridge version of Treasure Cove in a black cartridge shell.

    1. Treasure Cove with black Shell

August 7, 2017

  1. Added alternate version of instructions for the prototype game, Conan the Barbarian. These instructions, in PDF format, include tips, strategy and screenshots.

    1. Conan the Barbarian, Instructions with Tips, Strategy and Screenshots

August 6, 2017

  1. Added handwritten Z80 source code for Michael Matte's EEPROM Programmer. This program uses Bit Fiddler's Machine Language Manager (MLM) to copy to EEPROM. Call 4E10H. Source to copy begins at 6000H. Copy destination is at 8000H.

    1. EEPROM Programmer

June 26, 2017

  1. Added a Z80 disassembly of 1983's Ms. Candyman released by L&M Software and programmed by Andy Guevara. This game is a 4K cartridge released for the Bally Arcade. Ms. Candyman is the sequel to Candy Man, which was released on tape.

    1. Ms. Candyman Disassembly

June 19, 2017

  1. Added Crosshatch by Adam Trionfo. This short "AstroBASIC" program draws a crosshatch pattern to the Bally's screen using the '#' marks. The program was written so that a digital camera can be pointed at a TV screen to take pictures (screenshots) and videos. The pattern helps to focus the camera and check for level, as well as to center the TV in the frame.

    1. Crosshatch

June 5, 2017

  1. Added three "AstroBASIC" programs for use with the Spectre Control Handle, often called the ICBM Attack controller. These programs are from the Spectre Handle documentation. The three programs are Animated Box, Get the Box and Keypad Game.

    1. Spectre Control Handle Demo Programs

May 29, 2017

  1. Added a picture of the PCB of the Vipersoft BASIC prototype cartridge with the built-in audio interface.

    1. Vipersoft BASIC Prototype Cartridge

May 27, 2017

  1. Added Michael Matte's complete, 42-page breakdown of the Astrocade game Gunfight. This breakdown will be most useful if used with the source code for the Bally's 8K system ROM, which is available in the "Nutting Manual."

    In the 1980s, Michael Matte, a passionate Astrocade user, used the Z80 source code listing for the 8K ROM, available in the "Nutting Manual," as a basis for his detailed breakdown of Gunfight. Michael created the breakdown "to provide beginner assembly or machine language programmers an inside look at the game Gunfight. The documentation will reveal how on-board subroutines in the System ROM can be used to execute particular tasks. The 'special routines' listing can be used as a reference source for programming demos or games."

    1. Gunfight: A Z80 Instruction by Instruction Breakdown

March 22, 2017

  1. Added version .05 of The Incredible Wizard Z80 disassembly. In this update, completed on April 22, 2016, Lance Squire found the "sprite" drawing routines: DRWSP DRaW SPrite and DRWFL DRaW FLopped sprite.

    1. The Incredible Wizard Disassembly

March 20, 2017

  1. Added CHRDIS by Mike Skala. This tutorial series, and its accompanying programs, were published across three issues of the Arcadian: CHRDIS I. Arcadian 5, no. 1 (Nov. 5, 1982): 14-15., CHRDIS II. Arcadian 5, no. 2 (Dec. 3, 1982): 37., and CHRDIS III. Arcadian 5, no. 4 (Feb. 18, 1983): 72.

    This three-part CHRDIS article describes how to use the Bally Arcade's built-in Character Display routine from within Bally BASIC. I think that the programs included in the article are "AstroBASIC"-only, but the general principles talked about in the article should apply to Bally BASIC too.

    "I've seen quite a bit of software lately utilizing the Graphic Character Maker, a machine code routine that Arcadian has published in the past year. This allowed us to use a display routine from the on-board ROM and put complex graphics on the screen instantly, rather than a slow series of BOX and LINE commands. The major drawback here was when moving the graphics, erasing and redrawing: it left us with considerable flashing or blinking. If you have been with us for a while, you know that we are continually evolving and improving; the following tutorial is our new generation of screen animation for the Astrocade!"

    1. CHRDIS - by Mike Skala

March 9, 2017

  1. Added Palo Alto Tiny BASIC, Version 3 by Li-Chen Wang. This article (which includes the source code and assembly listing) is excerpted from pages 58-88 of the 1977 book PCC's Reference Book of Personal And Home Computing, Edited by Dwight McCabe.

    Bally BASIC (and "AstroBASIC") are a superset of the original Palo Alto Tiny BASIC.

    This version of Li-Chen Wang's Palo Alto Tiny BASIC will run on either the 8080 or Z-80, and only uses 2K of core memory. It contains a number of nice features including command abbreviations and error messages. At the end of the listing is a cross reference table for symbols used in the program and also the object code for the program. For further information on Tiny BASIC languages, see Dr. Dobb's Journal, Volume 1.

    1. Palo Alto Tiny BASIC, Version 3 - by Li-Chen Wang

March 8, 2017

  1. Added High-Res 'Test Rotate' Routine by Michael Matte. This was written in 2017.

    The "Rotate" routine rotates a 4x4 pixel pattern that resides in the Astrocade's user RAM. This routine was written for use on a modified high resolution Astrocade, but it includes instructions on how to modify the routine to work on a low-res unit.

    1. High-Res "Test Rotate" Routine - by Michael Matte

February 24, 2017

  1. Added The Crown of Zeus castle map by Edward Mahoney. This was sent to Bob Fabris on April 20 1983. Edward created a map for Todd Johnson's game, The Crown of Zeus-- which was published in Arcadian 5, no. 1 (Nov. 5, 1982): 7-10. An excerpt from Edward's letter says:

    "The reason I'm writing is to share with you the attached drawings of what I think the castle in The Crown of Zeus (volume 5:1:7) by Todd Johnson looks like. I would like to know if anyone has written this program to produce graphics on the screen of the movement from room-to-room. I think this would be a great program to see with graphic displays. Perhaps, some of those great programmers that write in the Arcadian can publish game graphics for this program."

    1. The Crown of Zeus - Castle Map by Edward Mahoney
  2. Added floor plans for Todd Johnson's The Crown of Zeus. These floor plans were created by Kent Brenden and sent to the Arcadian on July 9, 1983. The Crown of Zeus was originally published in Arcadian 5, no. 1 (Nov. 5, 1982): 7-10. Here is an excerpt from Kent's letter:

    "The graph paper enclosed contains the floor plans [for The Crown of Zeus]. Each level is labeled, each room is numbered with it's exits shown. The set of lines that extends from one room to another indicate a passageway from one room to another. If the set of lines don't go into another room (as with room 13, level 3), this indicates that you can leave the room but once out of that room you can't reenter that room."

    Kent made some changes to the program (which are included). These changes make the game a little easier to play. Included in the letter is a hint for Artillery Duel (probably the BASIC version of the game), which makes it nearly impossible for the other player to hit you. Ken also talks about File Searcher, scrolling, Magic RAM, and the CHRDIS (Chraracter Display) on-board subroutine.

    1. The Crown of Zeus - Floor Plans by Kent Brenden

February 22, 2017

  1. Added BASIC listing of Bob Mueller's 1980 Bally BASIC game, Slot Machine. This was printed in the January 1980 issue of the Arcadian newsletter. This version of Slot Machine has an interesting set of graphics as the "reels" rotate.

    This is the original Arcadian program submission letter, extensive program documentation (which was omitted from the Arcadian's printing of Slot Machine) and the handwritten Bally BASIC listing of the Slot Machine code.

    1. Slot Machine - Original submission letter, program and documentation
  2. Added the original program submission letter, handwritten BASIC listing and documentation for the "AstroBASIC" game called The Crown of Zeus by Todd Johnson. This was printed in Arcadian 5, no. 1 (Nov. 5, 1982): 7-10.

    This game takes you to a dark decaying castle in the evil land of Sorom. You've been asked, as the best warrior in the land of Beekum, to retrieve the Crown of Zeus which the Scromites have stolen. The crown, when worn, gives the wearer the awesome ability to cause anything he or she wishes to vanish.

    1. The Crown of Zeus - Original submission letter, program and documentation

February 20, 2017

  1. Added BASIC listing of John Collin's 1980 Bally BASIC adventure game, Bally's Alley.

    An adventure game; one player. Game can last for days or weeks; can save at any point for restart; can go in nine directions; find the ten treasures and return to house; can only carry four treasures at one time. Each move subtracts a point. A magic word-sound-color will be helpful.

    1. Bally's Alley - Type-In BASIC Listing with instructions.

February 17, 2017

  1. Added digitally archived, Bally BASIC, 300-baud programs by WaveMakers.

    1. Perversion (300-Baud)
    2. Sideswipe (300-Baud)
    3. Slot Machine (300-Baud)
    4. Space Chase (300-Baud)
    5. Speed Math / Note Match (300-Baud)
    6. WaveMakers' Fortune Teller (300-Baud)
    7. Wavemakers Tapes Are (300-Baud)
    8. Yahtzee (300-Baud)

February 16, 2017

  1. Added six digitally archived, Bally BASIC, 300-baud programs by WaveMakers.

    1. Maze Race and Obstacle Course (300-Baud)
    2. Memory Doodle (300-Baud)
    3. Mouse in the Hat (300-Baud)
    4. Music Composer (300-Baud)
    5. Obstacle Course Tournament (300-Baud)
    6. Pack-Rat I and Pack-Rat II (300-Baud)

February 15, 2017

  1. Added a partial disassembly of the 1983 4K game cartridge Blast Droids by Esoterica.

    This game was written by Dan Drescher, and J.P. Curran. This disassembly was started November 30, 2016 by Adam Trionfo. Most of the game's graphics have been found, but much of the code has not been disassembled.

  2. Added nine digitally archived, Bally BASIC, 300-baud programs by WaveMakers.

    1. Backgammon (300-Baud)
    2. Brick 'N The Wall (300-Baud)
    3. Clue (300-Baud)
    4. Guitar Course (300-Baud)
    5. Horse Race (300-Baud)
    6. Invasion Force (300-Baud)
    7. Lookout for the Bull! (300-Baud)
    8. Max (Robot From Space) (300-Baud)
    9. Mazemaker I and II (300-Baud)

February 6, 2017

  1. Added two different BASIC listings of Tiny Arcade's 1982 game Space Gauntlet.
    1. Space Gauntlet (Printed BASIC Listing)
    2. Space Gauntlet (Hand-Written BASIC Listing)

January 25, 2017

  1. Added TV Output Notes, by Marc Calson (possibly a misspelling of Mark Carlson).

    The four pages of this document were created using the output of a short 10-line, BASIC program. The author methodically noted down four sets of numbers for each ASCII character. This information nicely supplements the August 1979 issue of the Arcadian's music coverage from Robert Hood (American Concert Frequencies) and the second part of Chuck Thomka's music tutorial, The Music Synthesizer.

    1. TV Output Notes, By Marc Calson (1979)

January 24, 2017

  1. Added a letter, from about 1979, from Tracy Crook to Bob Fabris.
    1. Tracy Crook Letter (About 1979)
  2. Added a July 23, 1979 letter from Ed Mulholland to Bob Fabris.
    1. Ed Mulholland Letter (July 23, 1979)
  3. Added a July 29, 1979 letter from Robert Dahl to Bob Fabris.
    1. Robert Dahl Letter (July 29, 1979)
  4. Added a July 30, 1979 letter from Andy Guevara to Bob Fabris.
    1. Andy Guevara Letter (July 30, 1979)
  5. Added a July 31, 1979 letter from Richard Dermody to Bob Fabris.
    1. Richard Dermody Letter (July 31, 1979)
  6. Added a July 31, 1979 letter from Guy McLimore to Bob Fabris.
    1. Guy McLimore Letter (July 31, 1979)
  7. Added an August 20, 1979 letter from Jeff Frederiksen to Bob Fabris.
    1. Jeff Frederiksen Letter (August 20, 1979)
  8. Added an August 31, 1979 letter from Jeff Grothaus to Bob Fabris.
    1. Jeff Grothaus Letter (August 31, 1979)
  9. Added a September 10, 1979 letter from Karen Nelson to Bob Fabris.
    1. Karen Nelson Letter (September 10, 1979)

January 23, 2017

  1. Added a 1979 letter from Paul Zibits to Bob Fabris.
    1. Paul Zibits Letter (Approximately July/August 1979)
  2. Added a 1979 letter from Kirk Gregg to Bob Fabris.
    1. Kirk Gregg Letter (Approximately July/August 1979)
  3. Added a July 31, 1979 letter from "Levin" to Bob Fabris.

    Bob has written the name "Levin" across the top of this letter. However, it seems to be signed by someone named (if I'm reading the signature correctly) Randy with a last name that begins with "F."

    1. "Levin" Letter (July 31, 1979)
  4. Added an August 2, 1979 letter from M. Lewitzke to Bob Fabris.
    1. M. Lewitzke Letter (August 2, 1979)
  5. Added an August 3, 1979 letter from Herb Weintraub to Bob Fabris.
    1. Herb Weintraub Letter (August 3, 1979)
  6. Added an August 4, 1979 letter from Richard Bates to Bob Fabris.
    1. Richard Bates Letter (August 4, 1979)
  7. Added an August 10, 1979 letter from Terry Kersey to Bob Fabris.
    1. Terry Kersey Letter (August 10, 1979)
  8. Added an August 11, 1979 letter from John Hurst to Bob Fabris.
    1. John Hurst Letter (August 11, 1979)
  9. Added an August 19, 1979 letter from Kelvyn Lach to Bob Fabris.
    1. Kelvyn Lach Letter (August 19, 1979)
  10. Added an August 24, 1979 letter from L Kingman to Bob Fabris.
    1. L Kingman Letter (August 24, 1979)
  11. Added an August 28, 1979 letter from Thomas Foster to Bob Fabris.
    1. Thomas Foster Letter (August 28, 1979)
  12. Added an August 28, 1979 letter from Curtis Schmidt to Bob Fabris.
    1. Curtis Schmidt Letter (August 28, 1979)
  13. Added a September 3, 1979 letter from Ken Stalter to Bob Fabris.
    1. Ken Stalter Letter (September 3, 1979)
  14. Added a September 5, 1979 letter from David Templeton to Bob Fabris.
    1. David Templeton Letter (September 5, 1979)
  15. Added a September 6, 1979 letter from Al Nowak to Bob Fabris.
    1. Al Nowak Letter (September 6, 1979)
  16. Added an October 16, 1979 letter from George Tucker to Bob Fabris.
    1. George Tucker Letter (October 16, 1979)
  17. Added a previously unpublished Arcadian submission called Leaning Aid for "&" Command by Chuck Thomka. This type-in program was written in January 1979.

    A five-page program that is purely Chuck's own concoction. This program uses all but about 150 bytes of memory and is somewhat involved, but is informative as to the workings of all the possible '&' commands.

    1. Leaning Aid for "&" Command by Chuck Thomka
  18. Added a previously unpublished Arcadian submission called Modified Player Piano for Learning Aid on the &16 - &23 Commands by Chuck Thomka.

    A single-page modification to an existing Bally program which allows easy and quick changes to '&16' through '&23 commands [the sound ports].

    1. Modified Player Piano for Learning Aid on the &16 - &23 Commands by Chuck Thomka
  19. Added a 1979 letter, probably written in late January, from Chuck Thomka to Bob Fabris.
    1. Chuck Thomka Letter (1979)

What's New Archives

  1. The BallyAlley "What's New" archive goes back to October 22, 2000. Bally Alley is actually slightly older than this date, but only by a few months. The "What's New" archive covers all of the older website updates dating back to 2000.
    1. What's New Archive (2016 - 2012)
    2. What's New Archive (2011 - 2000)