History of video games/Platforms/Astrocade


The City of Chicago in 1974, where Midway was based.

The Bally Arcade was originally developed by Midway.[1][2] Midway had been producing machines for amusement arcades since 1958,[3][4] giving the console significant pedigree.

Announced in 1977, the Bally Astrocade was launched in April 1978 at a cost of $299.[5][6][7] Cartridges cost as little as $24.95 and as much as $39.95.[8] The launch of the console was somewhat botched by an initial attempt to sell the console through mail order and specialty computer shops rather then at traditional retail outlets.[5] The Bally Astrocade was known for its high end graphical capabilities while on the market as late as 1982.[2]

Columbus, Ohio in 1980.

A Bally Astrocade was used in the development of the early digital art piece Digital TV Dinner by Jamie Faye Fenton, which was broadcast on television in 1978.[9] While not a game itself, this early piece of digital art utilized game glitches to create a meaningful artistic experience worthy of public distribution. This was also among the first notable exhibitions of glitch art.[9]

The Astrocade was later acquired by Astrovision, a company based in the city of Columbus in Ohio,[1][2] roughly around 1980.[8] The system was on the market until 1984 or 1985,[5][6][7] a fairly long time on the market for a console of this generation.



The Bally Astrocade has an 8-bit Z80 CPU clocked at 3.579 megahertz.[5][7] The Astrocade has 4 kilobytes of RAM.[7] The system has an 8 kilobyte ROM which is loaded with four software applications.[10]

Early models of the system were especially prone to overheating, though all units suffered from cooling issues.[11]







  1. a b Dunn, Jeff. "Chasing Phantoms - The history of failed consoles". gamesradar. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  2. a b c "Home Video Games: Video Games Update". www.atarimagazines.com. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  3. "RIP Midway Games 1958-2009 (In Name Only)" (in en). n4g.com. https://n4g.com/news/358896/rip-midway-games-1958-2009-in-name-only. 
  4. "4 Video Game Companies We Really Miss". CBR. 27 June 2020. https://www.cbr.com/video-game-companies-we-miss/. 
  5. a b c d "The Torchinsky Files: I'm Betting Most Of You Have Never Seen A Bally Professional Arcade" (in en-us). Jalopnik. https://jalopnik.com/the-torchinsky-files-im-betting-most-of-you-have-never-1844218806. Retrieved 28 October 2020. 
  6. a b "Bally Astrocade (1977 - 1984)". Museum of Obsolete Media. 24 March 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  7. a b c d "OLD-COMPUTERS.COM : The Museum". www.old-computers.com. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  8. a b Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (21 November 1981). "THE VIDEOGAMES: HOW THEY RATE (Published 1981)". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/21/style/the-videogames-how-they-rate.html. 
  9. a b "Stored in Memory: Recovering Queer and Transgender Life in Software History". Letters and Science. https://uwm.edu/letters-science/event/stored-in-memory-recovering-queer-and-transgender-life-in-software-history/. 
  10. "Bally Professional Arcade". www.progettoemma.net. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  11. "THE BALLY/ASTROCADE FAQ". Retrieved 14 January 2021.