Remember the Mattel Aquarius?


Mattel Electronics, looking to compete in the standalone computer market, turned to the company that manufactured their Intellivision consoles, Radofin. At the time, Radofin had already designed two computer systems internally. Mattel cleverly thought, since they were already designed, it would make for a much lower cost on the R&D side of things. So Mattel contracted Radofin and these two machines would become the Aquarius and Aquarius II. The Aquarius was announced in 1982 and was released in June of 1983 for $160. Sales were not strong, and after only four months the project was killed off.

Aquarius Computer

The system was not as powerful as other machines of the time, but it was cheaper. To really max out the system you could choose from a host of peripherals, some that would often come bundled with your purchase. The thing you wanted of course was the gamepads, but sadly the games of the Aquarius were just ports of Intellivision games:

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Brian Busby

    Can’t say the Aquarius means anything to me. That said, it does seem memorable on two fronts: the play on Apple’s old multi-coloured logo and the oh-so-dated name. Aquarius? In 1983?

  2. Retro Justin

    This thing has a bad rep but like most retro computers, I want one!

  3. vinvectrex

    Our local toy store featured a large Aquarius display. I really wanted one, especially when the prices were slashed. I’ve actually never heard a good word said about the Aquarius. Even the ports of the games look no better than Intellivision’s versions. Its early demise comes as little surprise.

  4. tcv

    I have one in a closet. I picked it up at some flea market. I’ve never turned it on, so I don’t know if it works.

    If anyone wants it, first person to pay for shipping gets it. I’m not kidding. I’d rather it go to someone who is going to enjoy it.

    Just to repeat: I DON’T KNOW IF IT WORKS.

  5. John Hart

    I don’t remember it from the 80s, but I have one displayed on a shelf in my personal retro computer museum.

  6. John Hart

    No I don’t have pictures of my collection yet, I have plans to take pictures soon though. Museum is an overstatement really, I have two large shelves in my office with my collection on them. I have an Atari 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, 65XE 130XE, XEGS, and a 1024ST. Commodore Vic-20, C64, C64C, C16, Plus\4, C128, and an Amiga 500. Tandy\Radio Shack Color Computer 1, Color Computer 2, Color Computer 3, and a Micro Color Computer. Two Texas Instruments TI 99/4As one beige and one black and silver. A Timex Sinclair 1000 and of course the Mattel Aquarius. I also have multiple gaming systems and handhelds.

    I’ll let you know where to find them after I take them if you are interested.

  7. Ugly American

    The Aquarius was from Mattel but wasn’t Intellivision compatible and had a Z80 but couldn’t run CPM.

    It was inferior in every way to the Atari computers which had come out 4 or 5 years earlier.

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