18 episodes

The Bally Alley Astrocast podcast covers the Bally Astrocade videogame console released in 1978. This system was also called the Bally Arcade, Bally Professional Arcade, and Bally Home Library Computer. We cover Bally community news, review games released on cartridge and cassette tape, and delve articles from classic computer and game newsletters and magazines (like the Arcadian and Cursor).

Bally Alley Astrocast Adam Trionfo

    • Leisure
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

The Bally Alley Astrocast podcast covers the Bally Astrocade videogame console released in 1978. This system was also called the Bally Arcade, Bally Professional Arcade, and Bally Home Library Computer. We cover Bally community news, review games released on cartridge and cassette tape, and delve articles from classic computer and game newsletters and magazines (like the Arcadian and Cursor).

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 17 - News, Updates, List All Cartridges

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 17 - News, Updates, List All Cartridges

    In episode #17 of the Bally Alley Astrocast, I play a bit of catch-up to bring the podcast semi-current. I also made this episode to get me back into the podcasting mood. I cover all of the Bally Arcade/Astrocade videos I made in 2020 about the Astrocade and I make brief mentions of the ones about the Atari, Amiga and TI-99/4a computers. I go over all of the updates to the BallyAlley.com website dating back to February 2020. I list all of the Astrocade games on cartridge and BASIC that have been covered so far in previous episodes. Plus, I talk about the cartridges that still need to be covered in upcoming episodes.
    Thanks to "Quinn Tech Retro" on YouTube and Chris++ for inspiring me to make this episode.
    Recurring Links 
    BallyAlley.com - Bally Arcade / Astrocade Website What's New at BallyAlley.com Bally Alley Blog Orphaned Computers & Game Systems Website Bally Alley Discussion Group Bally Arcade / Astrocade Atari Age Sub-forum Bally Arcade/Astrocade High Score Club Bally Alley Astrocast Facebook Page The Classic Gaming Bookcast - By Chris Federico Where are the Show Notes?
    I always spend far too long creating the show notes. For now, they're on an extended hiatus until I find more time to devote to them. If there's something in the podcast that would want to hear more about and a search on the Internet won't turn it up for you, then contact the Astrocade discussion group on Groups.io.
    Feedback
    There is no feedback covered in this episode,but we would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this (or any) Astrocast episode or about your history with the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. The best way to contact us is via email at BallyAlley or through via the Bally Alley Discussion Group at Groups.io.
    Next Episode's Coverage
    Astrocast #17 was supposed to cover the material in the "AstroBASIC" manual. That was recorded, but it didn't turned out the way I hoped that it would sound, so the "AstroBASIC" manual overview has been put off until I can cover it with a co-host. Episode #18 will cover a BASIC game and maybe a cartridge game too. Right now, I'll see what sounds interesting to me when I'm ready to record the new episode.
     

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 16 - Interview with Andy Guevara of Bit Fiddlers

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 16 - Interview with Andy Guevara of Bit Fiddlers

    In episode #16 of the Bally Alley Astrocast, Kevin Bunch interviews Andy Guevara. The interview took place Saturday, May 16, 2020. Andy wrote three programs that were released on cartridge for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. The first cartridge was Machine Language Manager (MLM), released by The Bit Fiddlers in 1982. L&M Software approached Andy due to his machine language skills and a collaboration got underway that produced Ms. Candyman and Sea Devil, which were both released on cartridge in 1983. Andy also wrote some additional software: Chicken and the Goldfish Demo were released on tape, while a few others were released as type-in programs. Mr. Guevara's used an Apple II Plus with a Z80 card which ran the CP/M operating system to write most of his software for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade.
    Recurring Links 
    BallyAlley.com - Bally Arcade / Astrocade Website What's New at BallyAlley.com Bally Alley Blog Orphaned Computers & Game Systems Website Bally Alley Discussion Group Bally Arcade / Astrocade Atari Age Sub-forum Bally Arcade/Astrocade High Score Club Bally Alley Astrocast Facebook Page The Classic Gaming Bookcast - By Chris Federico Machine Language Manager (MLM)
    Machine Language Manager (MLM) is a 2KB cartridge written by Andy Guevara in 1981 for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. It was released by The Bit Fiddlers in late 1981/early 1982. There is a series of four videos about the MLM. The episodes are called, "Part 1: Overview and Background," "Part 2: How to Use the MLM," "Part 3: Using MLM Example Programs," and "Part 4: Using MLM with the Astrocade MAME Emulation."

    Machine Language Manager User's Manual - This manual explains how to program in machine language using the "MLM" cartridge. There is also plenty of information that explains how to program the Bally Arcade/Astrocade in general. The complete source code listing for the cartridge is included. Machine Language Manager Programs - Digitally archived Bally Arcade/Astrocade programs that will load with the Machine Language Manager cartridge and the 300-BAUD tape interface. Machine Language Manager - Source Code - This is the Z80 assembly source code the for MLM cartridge in ready to assemble format. Sea Devil
    Sea Devil is a 4K third party game. It was released in 1983 by L&M Software. This cartridge was written by Andy Guevara (of The Bit Fiddlers). You are the guardian of a 21st century undersea farm. Not only is this important to the survival of the people on earth, but the company you work for have risked millions on this venture. Zardos, the evil king of a distant planet, needs this food for himself. He has sent android divers with other sea creatures to steal this food. You must destroy the hoard of poachers as quickly as possible because each bit of food (the white abalone on the bottom) they get will cost you bonus score at the end of the screen. Beware, the poachers are releasing undersea mines to destroy you, avoid them by evasive action.

    Sea Devil Manual - (1983) Game "manual" (instructions) for Sea Devil by L&M Software. Sea Devil Ad - (1983) Advertisement for Sea Devil. This document contains much more of the game's backstory than is in the manual. Sea Devil Cartridge - Picture of the Sea Devil cartridge. HSC01 Round 10: Sea Devil / The Pits - Sea Devil was played in the Astrocade High Score Club on AtariAge in July 2016. Ms. Candyman
    Ms. Candyman is a 4K cartridge released by L&M Software in 1983. It was programmed by Andy Guevara. Ms. Candyman is the sequel to 1983's Candy Man, which was released on tape. This is the description of the game from an advertisement: "Real arcade action with joysticks, 1 or 2 players and 3 levels of difficulty. More than 20 screens, each faster than the one before. Full screen display in exquisite detail. Ms. Candyman must pick up all of the lifesavers as quickly as possible while avoiding contact with the Ghosts & Goblins. During the first half of a screen the Ghosts or Goblins will try to c

    • 37 min
    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 15 - User Interview with David Kindred

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 15 - User Interview with David Kindred

    In episode #15 of the Bally Alley Astrocast, Adam conducts a user interview with David Kindred. David got his Astrocade console in 1981 when he was eleven years old. He learned to program in Bally BASIC, which caused a spark that eventually ignited into a flame that drove David to college where he studied computer science and information technology. He worked for 25 years as a computer programmer, beginning with Fortune 500 companies, before he moved into IT management, where he works to this day.
    In this podcast, David explains how using the Bally/Astrocade helped to shape his early views on programming and how the system and its BASIC programming language allowed him to be precise in his thinking. Lastly, lets not forget the fun tale of the subtle drawing of a tree with toilet paper hanging from its limbs that he created with a friend using the Astrocade's built-in program, Scribbling. Why would he draw this small wonder of art? This humble drawing glorified the cute misconduct of two thirteen year old boys who had spent the previous evening TP-ing a neighbor's tree.
    If you have ever wondered what it felt like to be the owner and user of a minority game system like the Astrocade, then David can help fill in some of the blanks that are so hard to come by when talking to people who grew up with the more mainstream game systems like the Atari 2600 or much more popular computers like the Apple II.
    Recurring Links 
    BallyAlley.com - Bally Arcade / Astrocade Website What's New at BallyAlley.com Bally Alley Blog Orphaned Computers & Game Systems Website Bally Alley Discussion Group Bally Arcade / Astrocade Atari Age Sub-forum Bally Arcade/Astrocade High Score Club Bally Alley Astrocast Facebook Page The Classic Gaming Bookcast - By Chris Federico Dick Ainsworth Webpage - Dick's manuals and how-to-program books introduced several of the early personal computer systems, including the first Microsoft BASIC with Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and Bally BASIC for the Bally computer. The Computer Learning Lab was an interactive book/software combination for the Sinclair Z-80 and the Radio Shack Color Computer that included software programs on audio tape cassettes. I also developed a wide variety of software from personal productivity and time management systems to game simulations. Ainsworth Computer Seminar - Curious about computers? This hands-on seminar (from 1996-2004) is the ideal place to begin. You can view the text portion of the seminar by following the links on the website. If you would like to also view the program examples and details in addition to the text, get the free download that includes both text and programs. [Some of the links on this page are broken; maybe they'll be fixed someday?] Sourcebook Bally/Astrocade Catalogs - The ARCADE unit with the BALLY BASIC Cartridge inserted becomes a versatile home computer. If you are interested in what equipment and programs are available to expand your ARCADE - then buy the BALLY / ASTRO SOURCEBOOK. The BALLY/ASTRO Professional ARCADE Software and Hardware SOURCEBOOK will acquaint you with the programs and accessories that are available for you to use with your new ARCADE computer. The SOURCEBOOK is a compilation of Software and Hardware Products produced for the BALLY/ASTRO Professional ARCADE. The SOURCEBOOK contains 100+ pages, with more than 400 Software and Hardware Listings. Two editions of the SOURCEBOOK are published each year. Orders received between March and August will receive the SUMMER Edition. Orders received between September and February will receive the WINTER Edition. The SOURCEBOOK is published by RMH Enterprises and has no official connection with the ARCADE manufacturer- ASTROVISION Inc. Feedback
    There is no feedback covered in this episode,but we would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this (or any) Astrocast episode or about your history with the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. The best way to contact us is via email at BallyAlley or throu

    • 46 min
    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 14 - Arcadian (Oct 1979) and 1979 Newsletter Correspondence

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 14 - Arcadian (Oct 1979) and 1979 Newsletter Correspondence

     
    In episode #14 of the Bally Alley Astrocast, Adam and Paul cover the October 1979 issue of the Arcadian newsletter (vol. 1, #11) along with sixteen letters, postcards, notes and even one telegram that were sent to Bob Fabris, editor of the Arcadian newsletter, in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The two programs in this issue are "Microtrek" by Bill Andrus and "Resequencing" by Ron Schweitzer.

    This episode also covers many letters to the Arcadian that were sent in the fall of 1979.

    Recurring Links 

    BallyAlley.com - Bally Arcade / Astrocade Website What's New at BallyAlley.com Bally Alley Blog Orphaned Computers & Game Systems Website Bally Alley Discussion Group Bally Arcade / Astrocade Atari Age Sub-forum Bally Arcade/Astrocade High Score Club Bally Alley Astrocast Facebook Page The Classic Gaming Bookcast - By Chris Federico
    Arcadian, October 1979

    ARCADIAN 1, no. 11 (Oct. 31, 1979): 85-92. - This is issue #11 of the Arcadian. It is ten pages long. It is covered in detail in Astrocast #14. Bally Astrocade Document Collection, Astrocast #14 - These are the sixteen letters, postcards, notes and even one telegram that were sent to Bob Fabris, editor of the Arcadian newsletter, in the late 1970s/early 1980s. These documents are in pdf format and all of them are covered in Astrocast #14. Those that were typed have been OCRed but several of these documents are handwritten, so character recognition was not possible. There is a wealth of information inside of these documents which have been scanned from the Bob Fabris Collection. The names of the documents, along with extremely terse overviews about what is in some the documents, are at archive.org. The only way to really know what is inside of these documents is to dig into them and read them from start to finish. "Microtrek" by Bill Andrus (AstroBASIC Program) - "Microtrek" is a very small but interesting version of the Star-Trek game. This version was originally shared by the North Carolina TRS-80 User Group. In playing, watch your energy level and remaining time. "Resequencing" by Ron Schweitzer. (Bally BASIC, 300-Baud) - This program renumbers a BASIC program by using a tape as output, meaning the program in memory isn't actually changed, only the program on the tape is changed. "Space Chase" by WaveMakers (Bally BASIC, 300-Baud) - Uses few graphics, but has good sound effects. You try to guide your ship through 200 light years to your destination. You may be attacked by enemy ships, run out of fuel, collide with meteors, etc. You're at the controls: warp 1, warp 2, wait for help, fire phaser or evasive actions. It's a long way to go, but a good captain can make it with a little help from friendly alien. Tape 3 (1980) "Space Chase" by WaveMakers (AstroBASIC, 2000-Baud) - WaveMakers' take on a Star Trek-type game. This one uses few graphics, but has good sound effects. You try to guide your ship through 200 light years to your destination. You may be attacked by enemy ships, run out of fuel, collide with meteors, etc. You're at the controls: warp 1, warp 2, wait for help, fire phaser or evasive actions. It's a long way to go, but a good captain can make it with a little help from friendly alien. MAGFest 2020. Presentation: "The Arcadians: Exploring the History of Homebrew for the Bally Astrocade" - The Bally Professional Arcade (or Astrocade) was little more than a minor player in the early programmable console space, suffering from hardware shortages, endless software delays, and vaporware expansions. Yet since its 1978 debut, the system’s passionate fanbase has taken matters into their own hands, developing and selling a quirky library of homegrown games unlike that of any other console library. Join Rachel Simone Weil and Kevin Bunch as they dig into this fascinating corner of game history, including a hands-on session in the museum afterward.
    "Have a Ball with Bally" by Richard Nitto - Article from KILOBAUD MICROCOMPUTING (November 19

    • 56 min
    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 13 - Cosmic Raiders by Astrocade, Inc.

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 13 - Cosmic Raiders by Astrocade, Inc.

     
    In episode 13 of the Bally Alley Astrocast, Adam and Chris review the Bally Arcade/Astrocade game "Cosmic Raiders," a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up. "Cosmic Raiders" is a game released in 1983 on an 8K cartridge by Astrocade Inc. It is part of the Action/Skills Series and is part #2019. It was written by Bob Ogdon, Scot L. Norris, Julie Malan, and Lisa Natting.

    "In deep space lies the alien sector Larkin. You are there on a mission to obtain energy sources that have been seized by the evil Larkins. Radar and a superior guidance system help you avoid attacking fighters and Kamikaze ships. The energy stars are near the Larkin command ship: you must retrieve them before you can leave the enemy sector."

    Recurring Links 

    BallyAlley.com - Bally Arcade / Astrocade Website What's New at BallyAlley.com Bally Alley Blog Orphaned Computers & Game Systems Website Bally Alley Discussion Group Bally Arcade / Astrocade Atari Age Sub-forum Bally Arcade/Astrocade High Score Club Bally Alley Astrocast Facebook Page The Classic Gaming Bookcast - By Chris Federico
    "Cosmic Raiders" Notes

    "Cosmic Raiders" Video Overview by Nice and Games (August 26, 2011).
    "Cosmic Raiders" Cartridge - JPG Picture. "Cosmic Raiders" Cartridge Prototypes - JPG Pictures. At least ten prototype cartridges of "Cosmic Raiders" have been found, with the game in various states of production. Most pictures have labels from Action Graphics and there is one from "Arlo Morrill, A.M. Associates, Inc." "Cosmic Raiders" Manual Cover - JPG Picture. "Cosmic Raiders" Manual - PDF Document. "Cosmic Raiders" Z80 Disassembly - Cosmic Raiders Disassembly for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade - Started by Adam Trionfo and completed by Richard Degler (December 25, 2018) - This is a Z80 disassembly of the Cosmic Raiders cartridge. This is the third release of this code. It is now commented and most everything has been disassembled. Richard comments: "Here's "COSMIC RAIDERS 2019.zip" (early VideoCADE #2019 New Year's present) anyway. [...] Check the names of the different fighter patterns - Type-2 and Type-4 might be switched. And notice that the BOMB-Explosion is NOT used for the Bomb! [...] Contains the infamous "LD A,$F0 / OUT ($CC),A" (BASIC equivalant "&(204)=240") which fooled [some few] into believing there was a MYSTIC register hidden in their machine's hardware. Probably just a command to turn off a Printer, UART or Electronic Module in the test bed instead. "Cosmic Raiders," The Game Player" Review #15 - PDF. - ARCADIAN 6, no. 3 (Jan. 27, 1984): 23. "Cosmic Raiders," "The Game Player" Review #15 - Text. "The Game Player" review compilation. This review of "Cosmic Raiders" originally appeared in the "Arcadian" newsletter in the column called "The Game Player." See review #15 in this compilation for the complete review. "Cosmic Raiders" Review by Kevin O'Neill - This column reviews the Treasure Cove and Cosmic Raiders cartridges for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. These reviews first appeared in NIAGARA B.U.G. BULLETIN, 2, no. 6 (July 27, 1984): 29-30.
    Next Episode's Coverage

    Clowns/Brickyard by Astrocade, Inc. - (Cartridge Game) - "Clowns" and "Brickyard" (both on the same cartridge) are the two games that will be reviewed in the next episode. "Clowns" is a color port of the Midway's 1978 B&W arcade game "Clowns." The second game, "Brickyard," is a "Breakout" clone.
    Outpost 19 by WaveMakers - (BASIC Game) You are stranded on an alien outpost with nobody to help you. While you wait and pray for a rescue party, the only hope you have of surviving is to gather the food parcels that exist in each of the 16 rooms of the outpost. While you're chasing after the food parcels, the alien is chasing after you! His advantage is that he can go through walls, so his path toward you is more of a straight line, while your escape must be around obstacles in the rooms and through doorways provided.

    Feedback

    HSC01 Round 3: Cosmic Raid

    • 30 min
    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 12 - ICBM Attack by Spectre Systems

    Bally Alley Astrocast: Episode 12 - ICBM Attack by Spectre Systems

    In episode 12 of the Bally Alley Astrocast, Adam is joined by his good friend, and sometime-co-host, Chris++. Adam and Chris review the Bally Arcade/Astrocade game "ICBM Attack." This is one of the very rare third-party programs that was released on cartridge. This 4Kb game was released in 1982 by Brett Bilbrey, Mike Toth and Marian Nalepa (Spectre Systems). It requires a special controller called the "Spectre Handle" to play the game.

    Recurring Links 

    BallyAlley.com - Bally Arcade / Astrocade Website What's New at BallyAlley.com Bally Alley Blog Orphaned Computers & Game Systems Website Bally Alley Discussion Group Bally Arcade / Astrocade Atari Age Sub-forum Bally Arcade/Astrocade High Score Club Bally Alley Astrocast Facebook Page The Classic Gaming Bookcast - By Chris Federico
    "ICBM Attack" Notes

    ICBM Attack by Spectre Systems - Video overview and how to use a trackball to play the game in the Astrocade emulator included with MAME.
    "Two Astrocade Cartridges Released into the Public Domain" - By Adam Trionfo (May 10, 2001) - This article is about the public domain release of two Bally Arcade/Astrocade cartridges by Spectre Systems: "ICBM Attack" and "Treasure Cove." Spectre Systems Documentation Area - This area of BallyAlley.com holds documents related to Spectre System's games and products. Spectre ICBM Attack Handle Pictures - Analog controller used with the very rare ICBM Attack cartridge by Spectre. Notice that this plugs into two controller ports. Spectre Handle Instructions - This is the documentation for the special controller (joystick) used for ICBM Attack. It contains program examples so that the controller can be used from BASIC, plus a letter explaining some problems people have been having regarding the ICBM cartridge. Tid-Bits - This is one page of tid-bits of information from Brett Bilbrey. This information was originally included in Russ Perry Jr.'s newsletter Slap Dash. ICBM Attack Cassette Description by Brett Bilbrey - June 22, 1982. This is the concept of ICBM Attack as originally envisioned by Brett. This game was eventually released on cartridge. ICBM Attack Programming Notes - Twelve pages of handwritten programming notes by Brett Bilbrey about ICBM Attack. In the notes, the game is called "Missile Command." Playing ICBM Attack Using the MESS Astrocade Emulator by Paul Thacker and Adam Trionfo - Each ICBM Attack cartridge came with an analog controller that is absolutely required to play the game. In order to play the game using the MESS (or MAME) emulator, it is absolutely essential to setup the emulator correctly. This article explains how to go about doing that so that you can play ICBM Attack perfectly. ICBM Attack Concept Art - Original concept art for ICBM Attack as drawn on graph paper. The art includes the title screen and game screens. ICBM Attack (Tape) - Early version of the game that is loadable with Bally BASIC. ICBM Attack (Prototype Cart) on Tape - This prototype cartridge loads into an Astrocade with expansion RAM. ICBM Attack Disassembly - A disassembly of ICBM Attack begun November 18, 2011 by Adam Trionfo. ICBM Attack (Low-Res) ICBM Attack (Alternate Picture) iMissile Attack (Picture of Cart) - Mike White's modified version of ICBM Attack. ICBM Attack (Prototypes) for Bally BASIC - Three early versions of the cartridge game archived from tapes in Brett Bilbrey's collection. Load with :RUN, not :INPUT. ICBM Attack (Prototypes) for AstroBASIC - Two early versions of I.C.B.M. Attack by Spectre Systems. These should be loaded with :RUN. They're not actually playable games at this stage.
    Astrocade News/Updates

    8-Bit Workshop - Write 8-bit code, including for the Astrocade, in your browser. Ever wanted to be an old-school game programmer? Learn how classic game hardware worked. Write code and see it run instantly. Gorf Coin-Op: Latest Disassembly - David Turner's original posting to the Bally Alley discussion forum on Groups.io. Dave

    • 43 min

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