Announced in 1977, the Bally Astrocade was launched in April of 1978 at a cost of $299. 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. The Bally Astrocade was known for its high end graphical capabilities while on the market as late as 1982.
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. 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.
The Astrocade was later acquired by Astrovision, a company based in Columbus, Ohio. The system was on the market until 1984 or 1985, 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. The Astrocade has 4 kilobytes of RAM. The system has an 8 kilobyte ROM which is loaded with four software applications.
Early models of the system were especially prone to overheating, though all units suffered from cooling issues.
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