RiffRaff, aka Mike G., sent word via the ballyalley Yahoo! Groups group that his second Bally Astrocade homebrew, Crazy Climber, is nearing completion. Mike is the author behind the limited edition, War, which turned out to be a superb Warlords clone (I still need to do a full review at some point). As you can see in Mike's video, it uses a refreshing color palette for an Astrocade game and excellent sprite detail.
Adam Trionfo, who runs Bally Alley, a Website dedicated to the "Bally Astrocade" family of systems, has posted an excellent how-to written by him and Paul Thacker. The how-to explains how to play the Astrocade's ICBM Attack, which was released in 1982 by third party developer Spectre Systems. What makes this Missile Command-inspired game special is that it requires the Spectre ICBM Attack Handle, an analog controller that was released in even more limited quantities than the cartridge game it was designed. Naturally, this makes playing ICBM Attack near impossible, which is where the MESS emulator comes in. Using MESS, you can emulate the functionality of the analog controller using mouse, trackball, Xbox 360 controller or any other similar analog device. Check out the PDF of the how-to here. For those interested in the Astrocade platform, be sure to check out Bally Alley or join the Yahoo Group mailing list.
Bally Astrocade enthusiasts Ken Lill and Mike White have just unleashed an amazing surprise on the Bally Astrocade community--a memory expansion unit for all of the extended memory games that were previously only playable with an expensive and very rare (even then) early 80's expansion unit. Bottom line, until this release, only a handful of people in the world have been able to play extended memory software on the Bally Astrocade, a system that greatly benefits from that option.
Here's a snippet of the initial press release from Ken Lill (pricing withheld by me at this time, but it's very reasonable):
This is a true 32K expansion unit that uses a "floating" type of memory.
It starts @ 5000 Hex and goes to CFFF Hex
However, the 5000 Hex area is also the D000 Hex area, 6000 - E000, and 7000 - F000
I had recently acquired my third console in the line known popularly as the Bally Astrocade, but in reality went by many different official names, including Bally Home Library Computer and Bally Professional Arcade since its initial 1978 release. This one was a bit different though, as it had a mystery notch cut in the top of the cartridge port and came with two chips hand labeled "Galactic Invasion" and "Bingo & Speed Math". Both were officially released, so that makes the necessity for having these on separate chips a bit odd. While "Galactic Invasion" (1981) was released with that title - it was originally going to be "Galaxian", which is what it was a conversion of - "Bingo & Speed Math", which was originally known as "Speed Math and Bingo Math" in an original catalog, was officially released under the name, "Elementary Math and Bingo Math" (1978). Were these perhaps prototypes of some type? First, some photos...
I've been following this development on the Bally Astrocade (ballyalley) mailing list and it looks like the author will soon be ready to go into production. I'm slightly disappointed that this game is not an original concept, but it looks undeniably great, even with the rash of quality homebrew Warlords clones on Atari systems in recent years (Castle Crisis, Medieval Madness). Paddle games are obviously ideally suited to the Astrocade since it has joysticks that double as spinners. Check out more info and a video here. As you can see, it makes superb use of color and really pushes a system with infamously limited system memory!
Commentary from author Mike G. from the list: