Photo of the Week - Know your History! (07 - Bally BASIC (Bally Astrocade) (1978))

Bill Loguidice's picture

While I've done a few of these informally since the last one, the C-128DCR, which was number 6, I decided to continue the numbering from there since I wasn't going to do anything special at the moment with this other than take a series of photos. The Bally Home Library Computer or Bally Professional Arcade (and several other names over its lifetime), better known by its informal nickname, the Bally Astrocade, was a videogame console released in 1978 with the promise of future computer capabilities. While the full-blown add-ons never made it out from its two parent companies (Bally would give up on the system within a few years and a new company would form as Astrovision, but also never had much success with the technology), the first of two cassette interfaces was released in 1978, which ran at 300-baud. This 300-baud interface consisted of a beefy book, cartridge and interface cables that hooked into the accessory jack and the system's control port number 3 (it had four controller ports). You could then type in programs on the system's 24 calculator-style keys. Yes, people actually programmed on that!

Eventually Astrovision would release a new version of BASIC that was just a cartridge with an audio output port for connection to a cassette recorder at an increased 2000-baud. There was a way to convert programs from 300-baud to 2000-baud, but it wasn't exactly easy or worked with everything. Essentially the two interfaces or ways to program in BASIC were independent of each other. What is pictured in the photos is just the 300-baud setup, with two boxed copies of the manual, but only one interface. The interface itself is fairly rare, with the manual boxes less so, while the later 2000-baud BASIC is actually very common and inexpensive.

Here is the link to the photos. If I do any follow-up with this anytime soon, I'll post about it in the comments. Enjoy!

UPDATE!: I just added some direct screen captures from one of my Bally Astrocade units off of my RetroKidz multicart. The same link will take you there.

Here are a few teasers:

Bally Basic 7



Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Direct Screen Captures Added

UPDATE!: I just added some direct screen captures from one of my Bally Astrocade units off of my RetroKidz multicart. The same link will take you there:


By the way, those are by no means the most flattering examples of Astrocade games (in fact, Conan was not officially released until after the system was dead, and not first party), but they nevertheless make up a portion of the software catalog...

Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.


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