Home Computing Retrogaming

Bally Astrocade Professional Microcomputer

Updated 25 February 2022

The Bally Professional Arcade microcomputer was a second-generation home video console microcomputer released for the home market around 1978. This microcomputer failed to gain substantial market share but was considered a solid microcomputer at the time and was manufactured up until around 1984. At the core of this Bally Astrocade machine was the Zilog Z80 CPU and 4k of memory, expandable up to a generous 64k. The complete package includes a BASIC cartridge, and the ZGRASS-32 expansion system.

Bally Astrocade with TV monitor

I became interested in the Astrocade microcomputer because of its design and technology. I love all things about 8-bit microcomputers. The Astrocade represents the best of the early generation of microcomputers. It has color graphics and sound. It is expandable with its unique keyboard station. The game controllers are unusual. The Astrocade is programmable using Z-Basic. There are plenty of emulators for this machine. This is my journal on the Bally Astrcade microcomputer. Much of my information derives from marketing material available across the Internet.

Astrocade Game Center

The retail price for the Astrocade was advertising as USD$249.99 in 1982. For this price you could go to Montgomery Ward and mail order the Astrocade game center. The package came with 3 built-in games, two hand controls, state of the art graphics and memory. The BASIC cartridge was supplied that upgraded the system into a microcomputer. Many Videocade game cartridges are still for sale in good condition.

Astrocade Specification

Bally Astrocade Articles

Bally Astrocade Advertisement

Bally Professional Arcade - 1981 Advertisement

This article is a re-imagining of a 1981 advertisement for the Bally Professional Arcade Plus microcomputer. This advert goes into detail about what the Astrocade is, the technical features and what you can expect to be bundles with your microcomputer. The page introduces Bally Basic as the programming cartridge and computer learning lab. The tag line is that the complete Bally microcomputer system gives you more fun, more power and an expansive libe of videocade games.

Astrocade 1981 Game Catalog

Astrocade 1981 Game Catalog

This article is a re-imagining of a videocade advertisement for new game cartridge. This advertisement appeals to me because of the game screenshots. These screenshots are actual photos of the game in action. This page gives you a feel for the type of videocade cartridges available. There are nine new cartridges advertised. Not every cartridge was an action game. There is a screenshot of a music maker application. It is easy to see the appeal of the Astrcade microcomputer.

Bally Arcade Machine Product Description

Bally Arcade Machine Product Description

This article gives a complete overview of the Bally arcade computer. The Bally arcade computer system consists of the arcade video game console, BASIC programming cartridge and ZGrass-32 computer keyboard. The audio-dubbing capability of the system is particularly interesting. You can pump music from your cassette deck to your television. A similar method was employed by the early CD-ROM implementations. The article also lists the common accessories that were available for the Astrocade microcomputer.

Astrocade Pac-Man Clone Munchie

Bally Astrocade Munchie the Pac-Man clone

This article is the most controversial of the Astrocade pack. I found an advertisement claiming to be for the Muncher videocade cartridge. The magazine advertisement is a high resolution image. I compare this magazine screenshot to video of the Muncher gameplay. Could there be some artistic license going on here? Either way, it is interesting to dive into how the Pacman clone looks on the Astrocade.

Other articles we think you might like

Classic Arcade Game Station 1099, marketed as Pandora 6S

1099 arcade games
2-player station

Microsoft Windows 1.0

Windows 1.0

Replicas of great Commodore C64 and Amiga designs

Replica Commodore
C64s and Amigas

Commodore VIC-20 Graphics Tutorial

Commodore VIC-20
gfx made easy