About the Astrocade...

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MajorTom_Coming_Home
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About the Astrocade...

Postby MajorTom_Coming_Home » September 9th, 2019, 6:58 pm

Long time lurker, first time poster to this wonderful website! I recently became the proud owner of a Bally Astrocade! It is a console that has fascinated me for a long time, and I first became aware of it right here! I did not expect to ever own one due to their rarity and reliability, figuring it would be more trouble than it is worth. However, I recently got a good deal on one in good shape that has been refurbished with new capacitors, new voltage regulator, and heat sinks. I couldn't say no, and I have finally had the chance to play on real hardware and I am impressed. I could easily imagine playing some of these exact games in an arcade in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The 2600 and Colecovision had great ports, but IMO the astrocade is the Neo-Geo of it's time!

That said, there has been something in the back of my mind for many years, but now I actually have an astrocade I am qualified to say this:

"The Astrocade IMO is probably the most beautiful piece of hardware I have ever laid my eyes on. That Fake wood trim, gold trim, keypad, and smoked glass looks like something left over from the 1950s and to me this is freaking awesome! This console has STYLE! And it was BIG!"

This is the complete opposite of what you wrote about the console appearance in your review. I respect the opinions of others but wow, I feel bad for you. This thing looks awesome LOL. It may help that my house has a mid-century theme.

Thanks for the entertainment and wealth of information you have provided over the years. I'll think of you every time I fire up the Astrocade. The only Pre-NES consoles I don't own at this point is the Arcadia 2001 and RCA Studio II. I don't see either of those being added to my collection. :-)

mbd36
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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby mbd36 » September 10th, 2019, 12:57 pm

Astrocade was definitely superior its rivals in the late 70s. It doesn't look as powerful as the Colecovision.

I'd like to try Incredible Wizard.

ASalvaro
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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby ASalvaro » September 10th, 2019, 3:48 pm

around 1982 i went to the mall to get Intellivision games and in Montgomery Wards in the video game section they had an Astrocade on display with Incredible Wizard and it did look pretty cool..thats the only store i remember that carried Astrocade games at the time..i'm sure Toys R Us did at some point but i never really looked

MajorTom_Coming_Home
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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby MajorTom_Coming_Home » September 10th, 2019, 6:29 pm

You can play it online in your internet browser:
https://archive.org/details/Incredible_ ... strovision

Or try out other Astrocade games:
https://archive.org/details/bally_astrocade_library

I thought 'incredible wizard' was pretty decent and I ordered a copy from fleabay, but my favorite so far is 'Cosmic Raider'. The Pac-Man clone 'Muncher' blew me away in the sound department. That is when I realized the Astrocade is a different animal than the 2600.


mbd36 wrote:Astrocade was definitely superior its rivals in the late 70s. It doesn't look as powerful as the Colecovision.

I'd like to try Incredible Wizard.

MajorTom_Coming_Home
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Joined: September 8th, 2019, 6:24 pm

Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby MajorTom_Coming_Home » September 10th, 2019, 6:37 pm

The first time I picked up a video game controller (Atari 2600 naturally) would have been around 1982 at a friends house. I don't remember seeing anything video game related in a store until probably 3-4 years later. I had an Atari 7800 at that point and there were a bunch of games in a dump bin at a toy store in the local mall. I got Moon Patrol for a few bucks.

ASalvaro wrote:around 1982 i went to the mall to get Intellivision games and in Montgomery Wards in the video game section they had an Astrocade on display with Incredible Wizard and it did look pretty cool..thats the only store i remember that carried Astrocade games at the time..i'm sure Toys R Us did at some point but i never really looked

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 10th, 2019, 7:54 pm

If I could go back in time I'd love to browse around those old departments stores like Montgomery Ward and peruse the latest in "high tech" merchandise. I'd probably go on a shopping spree.

MajorTom_Coming_Home
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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby MajorTom_Coming_Home » September 12th, 2019, 6:42 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:If I could go back in time I'd love to browse around those old departments stores like Montgomery Ward and peruse the latest in "high tech" merchandise. I'd probably go on a shopping spree.


For the Atari 2600 I 'specialize' (aka spend the most money) on Sears Tele-Games branded games and consoles. I especially like picture label variants of cartridges unique to Sears like Canyon Bomber or Breakaway IV. I like Sears branded Atari because it is two things at once: Video game history and mid-century American history. Sears was the dominant retailer at that time like Amazon and Wal-Mart are today.

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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 15th, 2019, 9:09 pm

The Sears edition of the Atari 2600 seems so bizarre in 2019.

Can you imagine if Sears today told Sony they would only carry their system if it was sold as some weird pseudonym under the Sear label?? The Sears Super System!

Just goes to show how far the traditional retailers have fallen...

LuckyWDFN
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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby LuckyWDFN » September 16th, 2019, 2:51 pm

Congrats MajorTom_Coming_Home on your Astrocade pick up!

I have fond memories of mine, the first real console (outside of pong) I owned. My step dad bought it for the family from a Montgomery Ward. My step dad was really into the latest electronics at the time and always had to have the "latest and greatest". He was an engineer, so he was really into all that stuff. We were the "first on the block" I knew of to have a BetaMax, cable tv... those types of things. I had never even heard of an Astrocade (known as Bally or Bally Astrocade) until he bought it. He even used to use that programmable keypad to input Basic games on the thing and subscribed the Bally Basic newsletter. It was essentially like trying to create the most basic video game of the day using a calculator to program it. Or, like texting nowadays using a flip phone.

I was blown away by the technology at the time. My friends that owned Atari 2600s marveled at the technology the Bally brought as well as the crazy pistol grip controllers. As much as I liked the unit, I remember longing for a 2600. The Astrocade never caught on and I was envious of all my friends as literally every one of them had a 2600 and could trade games. Atari just had so much product. Bally's Space Invaders Clone (Astro Battle), Pac Man clone (Muncher), Wizard of Wor clone (Incredible Wizard) and Galaxian were awesome, but they never came out with other arcade ports that I wanted - Donkey Kong, Frogger, Centipede.

The Incredible Wizard was my favorite game. Artillery Duel is a hidden gem if you can find it. Treasure Cove is another good one.

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Re: About the Astrocade...

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 16th, 2019, 10:37 pm

Great thread! I really need to update my Astrocade section. Any suggestions for new reviews or updates??


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