The Mattel Intellivision Keyboard Component really was that cool...

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Bill Loguidice
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I know I tend to go on and on about the Keyboard Component (for instance, here), but it really was rather cool, as this capture of the actual demonstration tape shows (the synchronized speech is already on the data tape - yes, this was like the Atari 8-bit line and APF IM, among other systems, where you could synchronize recorded speech and data):

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Bill Loguidice
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Another Keyboard Component

Another Keyboard Component sells, this time for $4,494.44 plus shipping and handling: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180480391223&ssPageNa...

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Harmik
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KB

Would love to have an original Keyboard Component for my intellivision collection :)

Bill Loguidice
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Mattel Aquarius Software

Well, this is the Aquarius software I have on cartridge (should be a fairly complete list) in addition to the Radofin cassette:

Astrosmash
Biorhythms
Logo
Nightstalker
Snafu
Treasure of Tarmin (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Treasure of Tarmin Cartridge)
Tron Deadly Discs
Utopia

As you can see, only Biorhythms and Logo are original to the Aquarius, i.e., not also found on the Intellivison. According to this site, there were several other titles released, though a lot of them I've never seen in the US and were definitely only released overseas: http://www.vdsteenoven.com/aquarius/battle.html

Among the Aquarius's myriad of technical issues was its lack of anything more than character graphics. The running man images and other graphics were added to the feature set by Mattel engineers to help make the Aquarius not completely pathetic. Even with that, it's still difficult to do much visually on the thing, and that's pretty shocking for a computer system of that vintage.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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clok1966
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I do believe you are

I do believe you are correct, Aquarius sounds right. As i say i think I bought about 1 of every part they had in the closeout bin, I know there where 4-5 addons. I did set it up when i got it and check it out for a couple days (i sorta rember there where like only 5 games for it, or I just found only 5 and yes I rember thinking they where pretty much on par with the Intellivision when I was hoping the would be better). i think after the intial setup it hasnt been out of the boxes since, in fact I'm pretty sure one or two of the boxes where never opened as I had no reason (an expansion box or somthing, but I had no expansion stuff to put in it) and color printer (yes i was excited about that, had hopped i could use it on other computers, but no).

Well that explains it, why they dont look the same, they are not :)

Bill Loguidice
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Replying to myself... I

Replying to myself... I didn't read carefully enough. It's not the ECS, but the infamous Mattel Aquarius that you're referring to. I have a bunch of those as well. That was Mattel's stand-alone computer system, severely underpowered for the time and quickly relegated to bargain bins and closeout stores. Aesthetically quite nice looking (in my opinion) - in fact it shared aesthetic similarities with the ECS - but it had nothing else going for it. Radofin - the actual developers of the system - picked up the remaining stock of Aquarius computers and sold them for a short time and/or gave them to liquidators/prize distributors when Mattel pulled out. The nice thing about the Radofin version was that they included a cassette of programs to run, which the Mattel distributed version didn't include. There were many Aquarius bundles, from just the keyboard all the way up to sets with a tape drive and 40 column printer. The latter two are actually ECS compatible. While the Aquarius and Intellivision had several of the same games created for them (the Aquarius versions were generally inferior--yes, it was worse than a 1978 Intellivision!), outside of the printer/tape drive, they were in no way compatible (and I'm going by memory on the cross-compatibility of the printer/tape drive--one or the other may not be cross-compatible; at some point I'll check it out).

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Bill Loguidice
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Keyboard Component versus ECS
clok1966 wrote:

just looked at this (and the post about the non working tape drive. I swear i have a keyboard for an Intellvision from when Sears closed um all out. I picked up a Intellvision II for $50 and a keyboard for it for $100 too along with some memory expansion and printer I think my tape recorder was a seperate unit not built into it.. But my memory makes me think mine was white with black (not matching the original brown and gold intellvision) behind the keys and had blue keys on it. I know its boxed up someplace in my pile of stuff. I know I hooked it all up at one time (but man that is at least 20+ years ago) but didnt really do anything with it as I had better computers.

What you're actually referring to is the ECS, or Enhanced Computer System, which was Mattel's SECOND computer add-on after the recall of the original Keyboard Component due to the high cost of production and other issues. Only around 4,000 Keyboard Components were made and most of those were recalled by Mattel, which probably leaves maybe a dozen Keyboard Components in the world, which is why they easily sell for over $3,000, even when they don't work. The ECS is far, far more common. In fact, I personally own at least three ECS add-ons. The only rare part of the ECS really is the piano keyboard add-on and to a far lesser degree the commercial games for it. Even so, the piano keyboard can generally be had for around $100 and the software for well under $100, and some even under $50.

All things considered, the Keyboard Component was a more powerful unit, offering more RAM, enhanced graphics and a better keyboard than the ECS. The ECS though is neat in its own way, though, as it adds two more controller ports and three more sound channels, bringing the total to six. The other way that the ECS is neat is that it's actually available to anyone who wants one, something that sadly can't be said for the Keyboard Component.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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clok1966
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just looked at this (and the

just looked at this (and the post about the non working tape drive. I swear i have a keyboard for an Intellvision from when Sears closed um all out. I picked up a Intellvision II for $50 and a keyboard for it for $100 too along with some memory expansion and printer I think my tape recorder was a seperate unit not built into it.. But my memory makes me think mine was white with black (not matching the original brown and gold intellvision) behind the keys and had blue keys on it. I know its boxed up someplace in my pile of stuff. I know I hooked it all up at one time (but man that is at least 20+ years ago) but didnt really do anything with it as I had better computers.

Rob Daviau
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Bill Loguidice wrote:I know
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I know I tend to go on and on about the Keyboard Component (for instance, here), but it really was rather cool, as this capture of the actual demonstration tape shows (the synchronized speech is already on the data tape - yes, this was like the Atari 8-bit line and APF IM, among other systems, where you could synchronize recorded speech and data):

Well Bill, that actually is pretty damn cool! I love seeing things like this and wondering "What if?", like what if the format lasted longer, was promoted and supported better etc. Great stuff BILL, thanks for sharing!
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