|Bally, a pinball giant with moderate success in arcade games, had been completely side-swiped by the video game explosion of the First Generation. Unlike most arcade gaming companies during the late seventies, Bally had not been approached by an upbeat engineer with an idea for a new form of home entertainment. They did not even have the opportunity that RCA, Zenith, Teleprompter, and the like, had to turn down a video game system only to brood about it later. They were simply left standing at the starting line of a race they had not even known they were in.
Thus, in 1978 Bally released their own home system. Dubbed the Bally Professional Arcade, the system was to be in direct competition with Atari's 2600. Lack of software support and media coverage decimated the Professional Arcade before its first Christmas competition with the 2600.
After straining for three years to keep the system alive, Bally finally sold the rights to it in 1981. It was promptly re-released by an unknown company called Astrovision as the "Bally Computer System." Then, in a move that must have been an attempt to start over without the Professional Arcade's failure looming overhead, in 1982 it was renamed simply as "Astrocade." Perhaps the most significant contribution this system had to the industry, was that its programming abilities would inspire many of the current generation of video game producers.