In September 1977, Bally, the famous pinball tables manufacturer, announced shortly after the Atari 2600, the Bally Professional Arcade. The first versions were shipped in early 1978 for $299.
This video game system featured a Z80 processor, three built-in games (Gunfight, Checkmate, Scribbler), a calculator with numeric keypad and up to four controllers that were a unique combination of joystick and paddle, which resembled the grip of a revolver.
Furthermore, a BASIC cartridge gave this system the ability to save programs to a cassette tape. For about 6 months, it was thus the world's cheapest computer.
Even though is was slightly superior to the competition (Atari VCS), the unit was too expensive and the sales remainded at a low level.
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.
After that, Astrocade tried to keep the system alive and marketed it as a video game console for several years. In 1985, the game consoles market crashed and finally, the Astrocade company closed their doors and the Astrocade system disappeared.