Sunday, May 12, 2019

[YouTube] The Children's Discovery System

Released in 1981 from Mattel, The Children's Discovery System is an electronic educational toy that Mattel calls a programmable computer system. It has a 16 x 48 matrix liquid crystal display (LCD), keypad, cartridge slot, and is powered by either six AA batteries or an AC adapter, neither of which are packaged with the system. Included in the box with the computer is a 120-page manual and the Discoveries in Math I module. Each module comes with an activity book, cartridge, and keypad overlay but if you don't have any modules you can play the built-in activities that are split between Type, Music, and Art modes. A variety of modules were sold separately, including more advanced versions of music and art, as well as geography, words, nutrition, memory and logic, arcade games, and a few others.

The original price was $119.99 with modules selling for $20.99 a piece. Although it was released by Mattel Toys, the tech support was handled by Mattel Electronics which is the same division responsible for the Intellivision console, and there are a few similarities. One is that when first turning on the computer a character, called Cursor the Great, runs across the screen that resembles the Intellivision's running man in motion (it looks different but reminiscent). Also, the keypad overlays are not unlike those for the Intellivision controller, though they are, of course, much larger. The early Intellivision game boxes and Discovery System's module boxes both have a very comparable design too.

After my photos and scans below I'm adding two more videos from other sources. One is from YouTube channel Pocket Legion whose video shows the Arcade game modules and the second video is a commercial featuring the Smothers Brothers that was posted by YouTube user MassRepeater.


The last image is my floppy disk drawing from Art Mode.

These photos aren't great but I didn't want to spend time scanning each page so I took a few photos of the opening pages. I added a couple pages from Art Mode here as well to show some of the things can be drawn, including Mt. Rushmore!


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