The Arcade Board

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TME ArcadeBoard.jpg
The Arcade Board
Manufacturer Third Millenium Engineering Corporation
Year 1983
Type Sprite Graphics and Sound Effects
Original Price $225
Compatibility II, II+, IIe

The Arcade Board is a sprite graphics and sound effects board for the Apple II that uses a Texas Instruments TMS9918A video display processor and a General Instruments AY-3-8910 programmable sound generator to generate arcade quality graphics, music, and sound effects. This gave the Apple II graphics and sound capabilities to match those of other 8-bit computers of the time from Texas Instruments, Atari and Commodore.

These added capabilities were accessed through a set of ampersand extensions to Applesoft BASIC called Amparcade.

While the Arcade Board made it possible to write arcade games in Applesoft BASIC, a machine had to be equipped with an Arcade Board in order to run the game. I'm not aware of any software written to take advantage of the board.

The single wire coming from the top right corner of the board connects to the center of the RCA jack video port of the Apple II to provide video passthrough. The top RCA jack is the video output to a composite monitor, and the bottom RCA jack is the monoaural audio output. The 4-pin molex connector between the two RCA jacks is for an RF modulator.[1]

The Arcade Board can be installed in any available slot, but slot 4 or 7 is recommended. To run any of the demo programs on the Amparcade disk the board must be in slot 4.

Resources

The Amparcade Diskette contains the Amparcade extensions to Applesoft and several demo programs. This is a ShrinkIt disk archive of a 5.25" DOS 3.3 diskette. [2]

Commented Source Code for the Amparcade Interpreter[2]

Texas Instruments 9900 TMS9918A/TMS9928A/TMS9929A Video Display Processors manual in Adobe PDF format.[3]

An Uncommented Disassembly of the Amparcade Interpreter.[3]

A review of the Arcade Board (and SuperSprite board) from the February 1984 issue of Creative Computing in PDF format. The text of this review is also available at the atarimagazines.com Classic Computer Magazines Archive.[4]

An advertisement for the Arcade Board in a 1983 Nibble magazine with a "Special Introductory Price."[4]

An advertisement from the June 1983 issue of Softalk magazine.[4]

A press release that appeared in the November 1983 issue of Call A.P.P.L.E.[4]

A short press release that appeared in the July 1983 issue of inCider magazine.[4]

A press release from Volume 4, Number 7, 1983 of Nibble.[4]

References

  1. comp.sys.apple2 newsgroup posting by Ralfe Cookson, 16-Aug-2004
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thanks to Michael J. Mahon for supplying the disk image and source code
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thanks to Paul R. Santa-Maria for the following technical manual and disassembly:
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Thanks to Jean-Marc Boutillon for scans of the review and advertisements.
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