A really interesting device has just popped up from M5Stack, a company known for modular computers: The new MSX0.
It’s basically a mini computer that transforms into game console, and is fully programmable by you.
In order to better understand the MSX0, you’d have to get a brief introduction to M5Stack and what they are doing in the hardware and software space.
Who Is M5Stack?
M5Stack is a tech company that specializes in open-source and modular development toolkits.
They create hardware and software that has an infinite number of applications. But mostly, their products are for commercial productivity and efficiency.
That means hardware and software to be used in things like agriculture, manufacturing, retail. Just about anywhere you might need a small computer to monitor stuff or do small tasks.
One easy to understand example they give on their website is using one of their devices to monitor shelf stock in retail environments to track when stock is low or out.
Any of the infinite applications for an M5Stack are made possible through tiny computer units, modular components, a proprietary programming language, and easy to develop custom software solutions.
So you might be saying “cool bro, but what does that have to do with gaming?!”
Well, with M5Stack specializing in hardware and software that can do just about anything, they are in the realm of experimentation. They like to play and see what’s possible.
And one such pet project of theirs is the MSX0… a modular device that can transform into a game console.
At first glance, the MSX0 looks like an scientific calculator or a personal assistant device from the late 90s.
And that interpretation isn’t far off, this thing is a small computer that can do just about anything you tell it to.
It can be programmed to automatically schedule your errands for you, wake you up in the morning with a robotic slap to the face, and automatically order your breakfast from Uber on a set schedule. But that’s a different story.
Like any good hardware/software developer, the people over at M5Stack said “maybe we can turn this into a game console.”
So that’s exactly what they did.
They took one of their modular M5Stack units (the M5stack core2 touch specifically), and started creating a toolkit that allows for it to transform between a mini computer with keyboard to a Game Boy esque console.
It comes in several pieces (ie “modular”), and it all looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It’s hard to get an idea of how big this thing is until you actually see it in the hands of one of the M5Stack developers. It’s actually quite tiny.
It’s equally difficult to imagine what kind of games we would expect to be playing on a device like this… or if we would be expected to program them ourselves.
We anticipate it will be a pretty niche community where it’s possible to share games with other M5Stack heads. Sounds a lot like the Arduino community.
The people over at M5Stack do seem to be putting some serious heart into this pet project, and it’s all in the name of experimentation and fun.
So we definitely wanna support that curiosity and exploration.
MSX0 Specifications And Release Information
The specs listed on a Twitter post by M5Stack’s Kazuhiko Nishi indicates that the MSX0 will make use of their M5stack core2 touch computer unit.
It will come shipped with a game pad, face III, charging base, strap, USB cable, and case.
Their proprietary Windows and Android control panels can be downloaded from their website. Presumably this is the application you use to program the M5Stack and upload necessary programming to it.
Crowdfunding is scheduled to begin in ‘mid-January’ (that’s any day now), and the price is to be announced at that time.
This really isn’t something for most common gamers or handheld enthusiasts.
It’s not really a device that’s gonna play common games either.
This is a super niche device for either somebody who really likes obscure and unusual gaming consoles, or for somebody who is actually into coding and messing around with this kind of programmable tech.
Whether you’re here because you want one, or you just wanna see some cool gaming related tech popping up in our crazy world… here’s something new for ya.
I think this stuff is insanely cool, whether or not I ever intend to purchase it.
And I’m glad to see tech people still wanna turn every computer into a gaming device.
Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.