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[AQUARIUS] Mattel Aquarius Multi-Cart

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Okay, the final product is starting to take shape. Here are some sample screenshots (all subject to change, of course):


The main menu ...




The manual pages ...




The "trivia files" ...




I currently have all of these screens working on the real hardware. However, I've still got some design work to do on the main menu (I'm not completely happy with the colors, among other things), and I also need to add hand controller support and a few other features.


I'm expecting the last of my cartridge board prototypes any day now. I've selected a manufacturer for the final boards, and I'll proceed to put them into production after I've successfully tested the prototypes. While I'm waiting on that process, I hope to get the rest of the software written and the manuals and other materials converted and reformatted. I'm going to try to get the thing done within the next three or four weeks, so I can begin shipping them in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.


As you can see from the main menu screen, I'm experimenting with different names for the final product. "Aquarius Multi-Cart" is descriptive enough, but it's a little too utilitarian. "Multi-Cart", to me, implies a collection of dumps slapped together inside an EPROM or a flash card and stuffed into a cartridge. My cartridge is going to be a lot more than that, so I'm looking for a new name to reflect this.


I've got a few ideas of my own, but for some reason I'm stuck on the name "Aquarius Album Cartridge." The multi-game collections that were planned for the Intellivision (like the unreleased "Go for the Gold") were referred to as "album cartridges," so it's a historically appropriate name. It also evokes the idea of flipping through a family album, which is a nice fit with all the historical information that I'll be including. I'm certainly willing to entertain other suggestions, if anyone would like to volunteer their ideas.

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Let's see:


Aquarius Master Cart (I still have dreams of the Master Expander)


Aquarius MCP


Aquarius Story Cart


Aquarius Compendium


Aquarius Constellation Cart


Aquarius Scrap Book (keeping with your album theme)


Aquarius Cart of Secrets (It's a "national treasure" ?)


Aquarius Time Capsule


Aquarius On Parade


Aquarius All Grown Up


Aquarius In a Nutshell


Aquarius Unabridged/Condensed edition/Complete


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Aquarius (Don't Panic!)


Aquarius: Fully Loaded


Aquarius: Locked and Loaded


Aquarius: The Cart


Aquarius Is Back!


New Age of Aquarius Cart (Of course)


Aquarius One Source


Aquarius For You (Aq4U)


Brawny Cart, the Super absorbent Aquarius Cart


Azure Cart (because of the whole blue thing)


Poseidon Cart (God of the sea + Aquarius)


Neptune Cart (God of the sea + Aquarius)


Titan Cart


Catalog Cart


Aquarius Buffet Cart (get it? HA ha, I crack myself up.)


Aquarius on a Platter/ Platter Cart


Aquarius Cornucopia Cart (that's fun to say)


Cart-o-Plenty (I'm laughing again)




Okay, I'd better stop.





Edit: BTW, I like the shadow work around the menu box in pic 1. Nicely done.

Edited by Jay Silverheels
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Aquarius Compendium


Aquarius Constellation Cart


LOL! These are the two I had suggested to Jay last week :D Great minds think alike!



Ha! That's two votes then. ;-) I don't envy the decision to be made. I see more good suggestions being posted. He'll probably have to just go with his gut. "Album" works well.


List of new ideas:



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Wow, lots of creative suggestions for the name! Thanks to everyone for their contributions. It looks like I've got some thinking to do, so I'll turn the various ideas over in my head while I'm getting my programming and testing finished.


The list you see on the screen scrolls down to reveal the other options. The full game/application list (at least for now) is as follows:


AD&D: Treasure of Tarmin





Demonstration Cartridge

Extended BASIC




Melody Chase

Mini-Expander Diagnostic

Night Stalker

Shark! Shark! (Unfinished Prototype)


Space Speller

TRON Deadly Discs


X10 Command Console



There will also be the 1541 OS, which is a modified Extended BASIC with some new features and a monitor added to it. I'm including it mainly because it adds a few new commands to do things that you previously needed to use inline machine language to do from BASIC, such as reading the hand controllers and filling the screen with color. The DOS commands won't be usable because the 1541 disk drive interface won't be included, so I consider it to be an alternate version of Extended BASIC, and it probably won't have its own menu option.


Biorhythms and BurgerTime will also have alternate versions: our "patched" versions will be the defaults, but you'll also have the ability to use the originals if you want to. In all three cases, you can access the alternate versions by pressing SHIFT-RTN instead of RTN at the menu.

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also, about how many copies do you plan on making?

I'm trying to keep it as flexible as possible, depending on the demand. I designed the boards to be configurable as multi-carts or as ordinary bankswitched cartridges, so nothing will be wasted: any components that aren't used to build multi-carts will be used for future homebrew projects. The fact that I'm also doing all the assembly myself allows me to economize on that design even more.


This was important to me mainly because, in certain ways, this project has no precedent. I still don't have a firm idea of how many cartridges I'll need to make because nobody has made Aquarius homebrew cartridges of any kind before. One of the things I hope to learn from this is just how large the audience really is for new Aquarius hardware and software. This project should give me a pretty good idea, since it stands to reason that anyone interested in the multi-cart will also be interested in other Aquarius products and upgrades.


I'm ordering 200 boards in the first batch, so there should be plenty available for everyone who wants a multi-cart (cartridge shells will be another matter, unfortunately, since there aren't very many donors around). I don't think there will be as many units made as there are for the average 2600 homebrew, but based on the level of interest I've seen so far, I think it will be successful enough to pave the way for future projects. This is a good thing, because I've got many more ambitious plans for the Aquarius!

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I am definitely interested in getting one....any idea on a ballpark cost on the final product?

Thanks for your interest!


The final product will be $65 plus shipping for a loose cartridge board, fully populated and tested, which can be inserted into any of the existing Aquarius program cartridge shells (or 4K RAM module shells). It will include a printed manual and a simple cartridge label.


I also have a limited supply of new Night Stalker cartridges, so while they last, I'll also be able to offer a fully-assembled multi-cart in a Night Stalker box for $75 plus shipping. These will include manuals, labels, and the original Night Stalker manuals and overlays.

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