Bally Alley Astrocast
Podcast, Episode 3 - Crazy Climber and Missile Defense
(July 26, 2016)
Episode 3 of the Bally Alley Astrocast covers the cartridge game Crazy Climber and the BASIC game (released on tape) Missile Defense. Chris and I discuss what we've been up to lately. Arcadian newsletter issues 1 and 2 (November and December 1978) are covered in detail. We discuss a bit of feedback. Chris, Paul and I go discuss the very first ad for the Bally Home Library computer (from September 1977). I read from a few letters that JS&A (the mail order company that originally sold the Bally Home Library Computer) sent to customers. The show ends with a one-minute rendition of the Happy Days theme song.
Click Image to Download Astrocast Episode 3
(2 hours 00 minutes, 110MB)
- The Sister Bar - Barcade (Facebook Page)
- We Know Video Games - Local Albuquerque Videogame store (Facebook Page)
- The Adventures of Robby Roto - Bally Midway arcade game from 1981 that uses the Astrocade chipset (The International Arcade Museum)
- The Adventures of Robby Roto - Video Review (YouTube)
- The Adventures of Robby Roto - Arcade Flyer (Front)
- The Adventures of Robby Roto - Arcade Flyer (Back)
- Reverse-Engineering Robby Roto: A 1980s Embedded System Masquerading as an Arcade Game, by Stephen A. Edwards (January 2005)
- The Adventures of Robby Roto - 7-11 Slurpee Cup
- Tom Meeks Bally Alley Yahoo Group 'Comments' - Tom Meeks, the product manager for Astrocade, Inc., comments about, among other topics, Robby Roto (November 26, 2001)
- Astrovision Name Change - A short explanation of why Astrovision changed its name to Astrocade. Astro Bits. Electronic Games, 1.1 (Aug. 1982): 11. Print.)
- Creating a Hi-Res Astrocade - These five in-depth "packages" (documents) were created by Michael C. Matte in 1986. These documents explain how to upgrade a Bally Arcade/Astrocade from the "Consumer Mode," which uses the low-resolution display (160x102 pixels), to "Commercial Mode," which uses the high-resolution mode (320x204 pixels) used in arcade games such as Gorf and Wizard of Wor.
- Hi-Res Astrocade Pictures - Pictures of an Astrocade motherboard that was modified by John Perkins in the early 1980s so that it could access Hi-Res mode.
- Sea Wolf II Parts Catalog - This arcade game uses the Astrocade chipset.
- Sea Wolf II Schematics - This archive includes five schematics for the Seawolf II arcade game released in 1978.
- William Culver Feedback - Comments and replies left in the AtariAge forums.
- Z-GRASS / UV-1 Area on Bally Alley.com - General information about the ZGRASS hardware system and programming language.
- Animating the Death Star Trench - by Neesa Sweet. Larry Cuba and Tom Defanti had both worked with ZGRASS for the unreleased Bally Add-Under. ZGRASS was based on the earlier GRASS programming language. GRASS was used to create animation for the original 1977 "Star War" movie. The Very Best of Fantastic Films: The Magazine of Imaginative Media. Special Edition #22, February 1981.
Cartridge Review - Crazy Climber
- Crazy Climber Manual - (2011 Bally Arcade/Astrocade) Game Manual
- Crazy Climber (1980 Arcade Game) - Nihon Bussan Co. Ltd. (The International Arcade Museum)
- Crazy Climber Packaging - Pictures of the Crazy Climber cartridge, "box," and manual.
- Crazy Climber Source Code - This is the complete source code for the homebrew version of Crazy Climber, released by Riff Raff Games in 2011. This game was programmed by Michael Garber.
- Crazy Climber Video Review - Video review by Nice and Games.
- War Packaging - Pictures of the cartridge, "box," and manual for War, Michael Garber's first Astrocade homebrew game.
- Beyond Dark Castle - Michael Garber's first game, Beyond Dark Castle, was published in 1989 by Activision on the Commodore 64. (Lemon64.com)
- The Addams Family Video Review - Michael Garber wrote the Turbo-Grafx-16 CD-ROM game, The Addams Family, released in 1991.
- Nice and Games YouTube Channel - Video reviews for many classic systems, including several videos for the Astrocade.
Tape Review - Missile Defense
JS&A's First Ad for the Ballly Home Library Computer
- JS&A Home Library Comuter Advertisemen (B&W) - The very first ad for the Bally Arcade / Astrocade (at the time, called the Home Library Computer). This B&W ad was printed in the September 1977 issue of Scientific American.
- JS&A Home Library Comuter Advertisemen (Color) - The very first ad for the Bally Arcade / Astrocade (at the time, called the Home Library Computer). This color ad was printed JS&A's first catalog.
- Purchase Scientific American, July 1977 - A digital copy of the Scientific American magazine can be purchased directly from Scientific American's website.
- Scientific American (1845 - 1909) - All issues of Scientific American from 1845-1909 can be download for free.
- Success Forces Book (JS&A Ad) - Book, published in 1980, by Joe Sugarman, the president of the JS&A group. This ad appeared in Popular Mechanics in October 1980.
- Success Forces Book - Purchase Joe Sugarman's book from Amazon.com.
- Bally Fireball Pinball (JS&A Ad) - Professional Home Model version of Bally Pinball (Popular Science, May 1977)
- Bally Fireball Pinball (Video) - Video of the Professional Home Model version of Bally Pinball.
- IBM 5100 Information - Wikipedia's article on IBM's 5100 computer that was introduced in 1975 and cost about $9,000. In JS&A's ad for the Bally Home Library computer, they favorably compare it against this earlier system.
- Bally Check Self Diagnostic Hardware (Pictures) - Bally Check (AKA as BalCheck) plugs into the 50-pin connector at the back of the Bally Arcade / Astrocade and is used to test the units for defects. Released by Richard Belton.
- Bally Check 2K Z80 ROM Source Code - Source code for the Bally Check diagnostic hardware.
- Bally Check Self Diagnostic Hardware (Documentation) - BalCheck Support Circuitry, BalCheck information and BalCheck Instruction Manual (with source-code).
- Dick Ainsworth Interview - Wrote the Bally BASIC user manual, programmed the Bally BASIC Program Sampler tape (which contained eight programs) and the Speed Math / Bingo Math cartridge.
- Dick Ainsworth 'Comments' - A compilation of posting that Dick Ainsworth made to the Bally Alley Yahoo group in 2002.
- Ainsworth & Partners, Inc. - Dick Ainsworth, Personal Page.
- Arcadian 1, no. 1 (Nov. 6, 1978): 1-8. - The first issue of the Arcadian newsletter.
- Arcadian 1, no. 2 (Dec. 4, 1978): 9-16. - The second issue of the Arcadian newsletter.
- Music-Cade by Ed Horger - In the Arcadian segment, a "Toy Organ Keyboard" is mentioned. I remembered this previously unpublished article form the Bob Fabris Collection. It contains suggestions, ideas and methods on how to hook up a music keyboard to a Bally Arcade/Astrocade. Includes a machine language 3-voice music program.
- Blue Ram Modem Interface Owner's Manual (with optional Printer Port) - An add-on for the Blue Ram unit that allowed the addition of a modem and printer. The Blue Ram Utility was used to control the modem.
- Chessette by Craig Anderson - A two-player chess game written in Bally BASIC. Published in Cursor 2, no. 4 (November 1980): 74-75.
- Connecting a Printer to the Bally Tape Interface - "The Bally BASIC audio cassette interface was originally designed to have a third 1/8" jack into which a printer could be plugged." The Bally BASIC Hacker's Guide by Jay Fenton, published in about 1979, gives the required details on how to modify the interface for use with a printer. The finished modification provides a TTL level RS232 standard ASCII at 300 baud.
- Keyboard Attachment - Basic instructions and schematic on how to hook up a Jameco 610 keyboard to the Bally tape interface (Arcadian 2, no. 8 (Jun. 23, 1980): 69.)
- Blue Ram Keyboard Owner's Manual - These are directions on how to assemble the Blue Ram Keyboard.
- 3x5 Character Set Review - This article is by Al Rathmell. It was submitted to the Arcadian newsletter on September 15, 1982.
- Arcadian RDOS 1.0 by Stu Haigh - This is a CP/M compatible resident Disk Operating System written in 1980. This code is designed to interface into the Cromemco software system and is provided with an autoload feature that will load track zero, sector zero of Drive A starting at RAM location 0080. Control will then be passed to the just loaded code at location 0080. The code uses a 5501 as a COM. controller and a 1771 Flex Disk controller. It will support four 5 1/4", or two 5 1/4" and one 9", or two 9" disk drives.
- Three Voice Music with Bally BASIC - Article by George Moses and program (probably by George Moses and Brett Bilbrey) from the "AstroBASIC" manual.
- Game Over Tutorial by Tom Wood - This tutorial, from January 1979, provides a machine language subroutine usable to BASIC users so that they can print "GAME OVER" in large letters on the screen using a subroutine that is built into the Bally's 8K System ROM.
- BASIC Zgrass--A Sophisticated Graphics Language for the Bally home Library Computer - Article by Tom DeFanti, Jay Fenton, and Nola Donato. Published in Computer Graphics, 12, no. 3, (August 1978): 33-37.
- ZGRASS Documentation - Various documentation on ZGRASS, including the user's manuals.
- Bally On-Board ROM Subroutines - Originally called Executive Software Description and submitted to the Arcadian by Tom Wood on October 7, 1978. This was later republished by the Cursor newsletter without credit being given to Tom Wood. This booklet explains what the On-Board ROM routines do that are built into the Bally Arcade/Astrocade 8K ROM. This manual is used as a reference for BASIC programmers so that they can save a few bytes when programming and also take advantage of the faster routines that machine language offers.
- Peek 'n Poke Manual by Brett Bilbrey - An introduction to Astrocade machine language programming in Bally BASIC. Although the manual doesn't credit Brett Bilbrey, he gave all this information in 1980 to Fred Cornett of the "Cursor Group."
- Bally Videocade Cassettes Catalog - This catalog contains these 13 cartridges, including some that were not released.
Classic Letters from JS&A National Sales Group
- February 28, 1978 letter to JS&A Customer - From William Mitchell; JS&A National Sales Group; Marketing Director. "Enclosed you will find your Bally Home Library Computer." JS&A urges their customers to order the add-on soon to receive free items such as a modem and diagnostic cartridge.
- October 11, 1978 letter to JS&A Customer - From William Mitchell. "We trust you have your Bally Home Library Computer and have found it quite satisfactory." JS&A asks their customers if they want to wait for the Bally add-on module.
- October 19, 1978 letter to JS&A Customer (Robert Simpson) - From William Mitchell. "As you are well aware, there has been a delay in the shipment of your Bally unit. The delays have been caused by almost every problem imaginable and have lasted almost one year now."