The video game console Bally Astrocade came out in 1978 with a price tag of US $299 (equivalent to $1275 in 2022). It was originally announced as the "Bally Home Library Computer" in October 1977 and initially made available for mail order in December 1977. Production delay meant none of the unitsactually shipped until 1978, and by this time the machine had been renamed theBally Professional Arcade. The system competed directly with the Atari 2600, and featured a Z80 processor and three built-in games (Checkmate, Gunfight, Scribbler). It also had a calculator with numeric keypad and up to four controllers that were a unique combination of joystick and paddle, which is capable of free motion in any direction. It came in woodgrain and white variations, and each console contains a bin built into the system capable of holding 15 game cartridges with a removable dustcover to protect the games inside. A BASIC cartridge gave this console the ability to store programs on a cassette tape.
The Astrocade was one of the early cartridge-based systems, using cartridges known asVideocades. Theywere designed to be as close in size and shape as possible to a regular audio cassette tape.Most cartridges carry anywhere from one to four unique games. In total, there were 48 games made for the Bally Astrocade console: 280 Zzzap / Dodgem, Amazing Maze / Tic Tac Toe,
Artillery Duel, Astro Battle, Bally Pin, Biorhythm, Blackjack / Poker / Acey-Deucey, Blast Droids, Clowns / Brickyard, Cosmic Raiders, Dog Patch, Elementary Math and Speed Math, Football, Galactic Invasion, Galaxian, Grand Prix / Demolition Derby, Gun Fight, The Incredible Wizard, Letter Match / Spell'n Score / Crosswords, Ms. CandyMan (very rare), Muncher, Panzer Attack / Red Baron, Pirates Chase, Sea Devil (rare), Seawolf / Missile, Solar Conqueror, Space Fortress, Space Invaders, Star Battle, and Tornado Baseball / Tennis / Hockey / Handball.
The console was too expensive and poor marketing made the Astrocade a non-competitor for other game systems of the time. 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. In 1985, the console market crashed and finally, the Astrocade company closed their doors and this system disappeared.
Watch Bally Astrocade gameplay and reviews on YouTube.
Looking for the instructions?
Download here the Astrocade manual (PDF).
What's your Bally Astrocade worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.
|Bally Astrovision Professional Arcade||12/2021||EUR 500|
|Bally Arcade Astrocade Game System||11/2021||EUR 500|
|Bally Astrocade Refurbished Recapped A||10/2021||EUR 499|
|Bally Astrocade Refurbished Recapped 15||01/2022||EUR 223|
|Bally Astrocade Astrovision Professional||11/2021||EUR 203|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||01/2022||-.--|