Two Astrocade Cartridges Released to Public Domain

By Adam Trionfo

     (May 10, 2001) Many of the classic systems have ROM images on the Internet; the Astrocade is no exception. Most ROM sites have disclaimers, such as (paraphrasing here) "Erase after 24 hours," "Don't download this if you don't own the original cartridge," or, "As long as you don't get new carts, it's okay." Many people refer to these ROM images as a "sketchy 'gray'" area.

icbm_title.gif     Regardless of these "it's okay" claims about ROMs, the future AstrocadeCD-ROM will only include ROM images that are freely distributable, publicdomain, or images that I have permission to include on the CD-ROM. It will not be otherwise. In this direction, I have been tracking down and making contact with people that can help me in this endeavor.

     The labor has finally proved fruitful. I contacted Brett Bilbrey, who wrotetwo third party games called "ICBM Attack" and "Treasure Cove" (as well asbeing involved in other ways with the Astrocade). I exchanged a few emails with Brett, and asked where the rights to the cartridges stand.

icbm_title.gif     These exchanges with Brett were NOT conducted in an interview-type manner,but I present them this way (it makes reading them easier). The email hasalso been abbreviated to include only discussion concerning the two cartridges.

ADAM - You programmed the cartridges "ICBM Attack" and "Treasure Cove." How much time/money did you invest in these projects? Do you have commented source for these? How many were sold?

BRETT - I had some friends that I worked with to make the games. Mike Toth and Marion Nelepa. (Marion 'may' still have an [ICBM] controller, and 'may' still have the TRS-80 development system we used to write cartridges with...)
     ICBM ATTACK was an experiment to see if I 'could' create a cartridge. A test if you will. I did it in a few months during my free time in college so it did not take much money
icbm_title.gif     Treasure Cove took a bit more work... I remember not leaving Marion's house for days at a time... :-)
     Marion programmed the sounds for the games. Mike was the manager and took care of business issues.
     The bulk of the cost was having the cartridge cases and the PC boards made and getting EEPROMs.
     I 'think' I have a paper source to the games somewhere packed away. But I'mnot sure where, or if I even still have it... Marion 'may' have some sourcecode somewhere if he still has the TRS-80...
     As to how many were sold? Just a few. Not many of ICBM ATTACK (because wemade each handle by hand... sigh) and a few hundred (?) of the TreasureCove. Mike and Marion were more interested in selling them and would know better, I just wanted to write games... :-)

ADAM - Where do the rights stand with your two cartridges? Do you own the rights to them? Would you be willing to donate them into the public domain or make them freely distribuable (for emulator use or to be burned onto EPPROM for use on an actual Astrocade.)?

icbm_title.gifBRETT - Rights? Hmmm...

     I suppose they still exist with Spectre Systems, the company that my friends and I formed. In that sense, we still own them. I would be willing to donate them, but I will have to ask Mike and Marion if they have any objections...

[in the next email Brett adds]

     Sure... Mike and Marion did not have a problem with letting the cartridges go into the public domain.
     Have Fun.

These two Astrocade cartridge images have the distinction of being available from Bally Alley (and to where ever else they spread), but I must be totally clear about this. These two ROM images are allowed to be distributed here at (the host site) because they are public domain (and therefore freely distributable). Some of the Astrocade library MAY also fall into this category (the Astrocade's ROM, for instance), but until the rights to such cartridges and ROMs can be discovered, they will NOT appear here. Here then, finally, are the images:

ICBM Attack - 4K
Treasure Cove - 8K

To use these images, you will need to use the Astrocade MESS emulator. Links to it (and other helpful sites) can be found on the Bally Alley links page.

In summary, "ICBM Attack" and "Treasure Cove" are now public domain. This is exciting news. I will continue making contact with people that were involved with the Astrocade. Over time I hope that more cartridges will be released into the public domain for archival purposes, and (of course) for those using the Astrocade today.

I especially want to thank Brett, Marion and Mike (Spectre Systems) for releasing these two cartridges into the public domain. Thanks also to and William for hosting Bally Alley, and more specifically, these Astrocade image files.

Now take Brett's advice and "have fun."

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