About the Mattel Aquarius Home Computer System

Well in 1982 Mattel decided to enter the already crowded home computer market with the Aquarius. The Aquarius was intended to be a home computer and gaming system. Mattel around the same time came out with a computer keyboard attachment for their successful home entertainment system the Intellivision. (I know very little of this keyboard attachment system).

The Aquarius features are the following:

  • Processor:
    • Z80A
  • Clock Speed:
    • ? MHz
  • Internal RAM:
    • 4K (externally expandable to 20K)
  • Internal ROM:
    • 8K
  • Built in Basic:
    • A subset of Microsoft Basic.
  • Video Output:
    • Text mode - 40 character x 24 line
    • Graphics mode -- 80 x 72 pixels (claimed, may be higher)
  • Keyboard:
    • 49-keys with shift and control keys
  • Sound:
    • 1 sound channel (3 with Mini Expander)
  • Expansion Slot:
    • For program cartridges and Mini Expander Size: 13.5 x 6 x 2 inches

Released Hardware and Software

Hardware Options:

  • Mini Expander - was an expansion system that made (Released) game playing more exciting and easier. Came with 2 detachable 6 key 16 position disk hand controllers (similar to Intellivision controllers but with 6 keys instead of 12 and no side fire buttons). The unit added 2 additional sound channels. Had two cartridge slots one for a memory cartridge and the other for a program cartridge.
  • Data Recorder - A sequential file medium cassette player to store data and programs.
  • Printer - 40 column thermal printer. 80 cps in upper/lower case text and 20 graphic lines per second.
  • 300 Baud Modem with originate/answer capability to allow upload/download ability.

Extra RAM Carts:

  • 4K RAM Cartridge (Released) 16K RAM Cartridge

Software Available:

  • LOGO - allowed you to do graphics programming with Turtle Graphics.(Released)
  • FINFORM - is a 63 column by 255 row spread sheet=20 program.
  • FILEFORM - is a database / word processing program.

Game Cartridges:

  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Treasures of Tarmin (Released)
  • Astrosmash
  • Biorhythms
  • Burger Time
  • Night Stalker
  • Reversi
  • Snafu
  • Tron Deadly Discs
  • Utopia

Not Released or Unconfirmed

Extra RAM Carts:

  • 32K RAM Cartridge

Hardware Options:

  • Master Expansion Module - was a large expansion box that had two floppy disk drives. It would allow you to use floppies on the Aquarius and allow you to boot CP/M.

Software:

  • Extended Microsoft Basic - would give you most if not all the remaining commands of MBasic. With this you were also able to access the Mini Expanders controllers to write games to use them.
  • Hints From Heloise - Was to be a Question and answer program with helpful hints for common household questions. Heloise is an author of a popular newspaper column and an authority on housekeeping.

Game Cartridges:

  • Chess
  • Lock 'N' Chase
  • Melody Chase
  • Sea Battle

Is the Aquarius Public Domain?

Is the Aquarius equipment/software Public Domain like the Vectrex system? This I don't know yet. In 1984 Mattel was reported to have sold the marketing rights to Radofin Electronics the producer of the system. I am in the process of trying to find out the status of the Aquarius. If it is most software was on cartridges which means that they would have to be burned into Eproms to use the them. Unless someone was able to write a copy program and transfer cartridges to tape/disk and be run from that medium like the ADAM.


Help for this FAQ file

If you have any info or find something on this list to be in error please contact me via E-mail on the internet at [email protected] or by mail/phone:

Fred Horvat
P.O. Box 493
Chesterland, OH 44026
216-729-0761


Fred Horvat
Free-Net Atari Portfolio Sigop
Atari Classic Gamer
And Let's Not Forget an ADAMite!

privacy policy