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Bally Home Arcade - Astrocade


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. 


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In 1977 Bally/Midway introduced a home video game system called the "Bally Home Library Computer" Available only through JS&A by mail order. A keyboard expansion was to follow in a few months. Unfortunatly, Due to production delays, no units were shipped until 1978. In 1978 it was released to a wider distribution as the "Bally Professional Arcade". Sold primarily through Computer & Electronics stores, It didn't get the exposure that a retail store offers. Due to "stiff competition" they withdrew the system in 1980. A group of users who had enjoyed the system's games & learned its potential through the Basic Programming Cartridge got together & bought the system from Bally. They reintroduced it in about 1981. as the "Bally Computer System". When you purchased this system they gave you a Basic Programming Cart FREE. The New company's name was Astrovision. In about 1982 the company changed its name to Astrocade and re-labeled its system as the "Astrocade". The system continued till about 1985.