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History[ edit ] Nutting and Midway[ edit ] In the late s, Midway contracted Dave Nutting Associates to design a video display chip that could be used in all of their videogame systems, from standup arcade games , to a home computer system.
Console use[ edit ] Originally referred to as the Bally Home Library Computer, it was released in but available only through mail order. Delays in the production meant none of the units actually shipped until , and by this time the machine had been renamed the Bally Professional Arcade. In this form it sold mostly at computer stores and had little retail exposure unlike the Atari VCS.
In , Bally grew less interested in the arcade market and decided to sell off their Consumer Products Division, including development and production of the game console. At about the same time, a third-party group had been unsuccessfully attempting to bring their own console design to market as the Astrovision.
In they re-released the unit with the BASIC cartridge included for free, this time known as the Bally Computer System, with the name changing again, in , to Astrocade.
It sold under this name until the video game crash of , and then disappeared around Midway felt that such a system, in an external box, would make the Astrocade more interesting to the market. However it was still not ready for release when Bally sold off the division. The system, combined into a single box, would eventually be released as the Datamax UV Aimed at the home computer market while being designed, the machine was now re-targeted as a system for outputting high-quality graphics to video tape.
These were offered for sale some time between and , but it is unknown how many were built. Description[ edit ] The basic system was powered by a Zilog Z80 driving the display chip with a RAM buffer in between the two.
The system used page mode addressing allowing them to read one "line" at a time at very high speed into a buffer inside the display chip. The line could then be read out to the screen at a more leisurely rate, while also interfering less with the CPU, which was also trying to use the same memory.
On the Astrocade the pins needed to use this "trick" were not connected. Since the machine had only 4 kiB bytes of RAM, this left very little room for program functions such as keeping score and game options.
The rest of the program would have to be placed in ROM. The Astrocade used color registers , or color indirection, so the four colors could be picked from a palette of colors. Color animation was possible by changing the values of the registers, and using a horizontal blank interrupt they could be changed from line to line. An additional set of four color registers could be "swapped in" at any point along the line, allowing you to create two "halves" of the screen, split vertically.
Originally intended to allow you to easily create a score area on the side of the screen, programmers also used this feature to emulate 8 color modes. Unlike the VCS, the Astrocade did not include hardware sprite support. It did, however, include a blitter -like system and software to drive it. Memory above 0x was dedicated to the display, and memory below that to the ROM.
If a program wrote to the ROM space normally impossible, it is "read only" after all the video chip would take the data, apply a function to it, and then copy the result into the corresponding location in the RAM.
Which function to use was stored in a register in the display chip, and included common instructions like XOR and bit-shift. This allowed the Astrocade to support any number of sprite-like objects independent of hardware, with the downside that it was up to the software to re-draw them when they moved. The Astrocade was one of the early cartridge-based systems, using cartridges known as Videocades that were designed to be as close in size and shape as possible to a cassette tape.
The unit also included two games built into the ROM, Gunfight and Checkmate, along with the simple but useful Calculator and a "doodle" program called Scribbling. On the front of the unit was a key "hex-pad" keyboard used for selecting games and options.
Most cartridges included two games, and when they were inserted the machine would reset and display a menu starting with the programs on the cartridge and then listing the four built-in programs. On the back were a number of ports, including connectors for power, the controllers, and an expansion port. One oddity was that the top rear of the unit was empty, and could be opened to store up to 15 cartridges. This was accomplished by interleaving every bit of the program along with the display itself; BASIC used all the even-numbered bits, and the display got the odd-numbered bits.
The interpreter would read out two bytes, drop all the odd-numbered bits, and assemble the results into a single byte of code. This was rendered invisible by setting two of the colors to be the same as the other two, such that colors 01 and 11 would be the same white , so the presence, or lack, of a bit for BASIC had no effect on the screen.
Additional memory was scavenged by using fewer lines vertically, only 88 instead of the full Programs were entered via the keyboard, with each of the keys assigned to a single command, number, and several alpha characters. These were selected through a set of 4 colored shift keys.
ASTROCADE INSTRUCTIONS PDF
Starts when either player uses all six bullets. Galactic Invasion Astrovision [a] Topics: By most reports [ who? This switch box permits you to jnstructions either the Bally Professional Arcade or your regular TV viewing. Xbox Xbox Xbox One. Originally referred to as the Bally Home Library Computerit was released in but available only through mail order. This allowed the Astrocade to support any number of sprite-like objects independent of hardware, with the downside that it was up to the software to re-draw them when they moved. Recalls number in memory to display.
The Astrocade also known as Bally Arcade or initially as Bally ABA  is a second generation home video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midwayat that time the videogame division of Bally. In they re-released the unit with the BASIC cartridge included for free, this time known as the Bally Computer System, astrocdae then changed the name again in to Astrocade. Monkey Jump Wavemakers. Bally Pin Bally .
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