Are you going to tell us what you went for instead, then, John?
The Mattel Aquarius was a very pretty
little machine, though, wasn't it?
Pity about the spec! A case of rushing to get it to market, I expect. And there was a lot going on back then! Apparently, production folded after only three months. It had a Z80A processor, and there had been ambitious plans to expand it using add-ons al la
the Electron from that same era (the Golden Age).
It was quite a clever ploy
was it not? They hooked you with a cheap(ish) base unit, then reeled you in with the multitude of add-ons, expansion units, books, zillions
of tapes (then discs) ... and all the rest!*
The Aquarius had some "interesting" features. Like a plastic overlay that you had to place on the keyboard if you needed the programming commands (what if you lost it?). But it did
offer Microsoft BASIC. And we're taking about 1983, remember.
The trouble was that once the BASIC was loaded there was only 1.7 KB left for your program! Not good. But RAM expansions up to 32 K were available (er, better make that planned
But don't laugh, the thing was priced at only £ 50. And if you had one today, it would certainly "go well" as a Collectors' Item on eBay.
But what about this ... the so-called System Command Console (which was planned, but may never have been shipped) allowed the Aquarius to control up to 255 electric devices! Another example (and there are many others littering the corridors of computer history) of "what might have been"!
* And it still goes on today. Like my BBC Micro's with built-in hard-drives, external Winchester drives, Compact Flash "drives", sideways RAM boards and all the rest. Some of that stuff wasn't even conceived back in 1983. Talk about an "after market" ... my Goodness!