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Bally Astrocade
BallyAstrocade
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Origin

United States

Availability

September 1977-1985

CPU

Z80

Colors

8

Sound

3 voices + noise & vibrato

Game Format

Cardridge

Price

$299

In September 1977, Bally, the famous pinball tables manufacturer, announced shortly after the Atari 2600, the Bally Professional Arcade. The first versions were shipped in early 1978 for $299.

This video game system featured a Z80 processor, three built-in games (Gunfight, Checkmate, Scribbler), a calculator with numeric keypad and up to four controllers that were a unique combination of joystick and paddle, which resembled the grip of a revolver.

Furthermore, a BASIC cartridge gave this system the ability to save programs to a cassette tape. For about 6 months, it was thus the world's cheapest computer.

Even though is was slightly superior to the competition (Atari VCS), the unit was too expensive and the sales remainded at a low level. In 1982, Bally withdrew the system and sold the rights to Astrovision Inc., a group of users who had enjoyed the system. The console was then reintroduced as the Bally Computer System. The same year, the company changed its name - and the system name - to Astrocade.

After that, Astrocade tried to keep the system alive and marketed it as a video game console for several years. In 1985, the game consoles market crashed and finally, the Astrocade company closed their doors and the Astrocade system disappeared.