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possble for a 6502 console


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Hello everyone, I'm looking to see if its possible on building a new 6502 console for the market. Of course it would be marketed as a entry console for kids but I would still like to see if it is possible and how I would go about doing it. And if anyone wants to help you can contact me on discord. Bricktron of this realm#0368

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1. It's possible.

2. What's your demographic? Kids playing games? Or kids making games? If the former, why are kids going to want to ask their parents for a 6502 console when they already have iPhones and iPads? If the latter, why is the CX16 not a direct competitor who's going to beat you to market by an absolutely crushing interval? Or why would kids take your console over a variety of other products which are intentionally built to be easier to learn to program at a high level?

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Besides, kids already have iPhones and iPads. Suggesting that this would be something to choose instead of iDevices is basically denying reality, especially since iDevices have three key benefits over other portable electronics:

  • Kids being able to stay connected to their friends.
  • Parents being able to stay connected to their kids.
  • Parents being able to track of their kids' location.

Not to mention a devastating advantage in third-party software support. The only possible way you could come out ahead here is if you can somehow get Fortnite playing on your 6502 project, and then only because Apple and Epic have gotten into that giant legal fistfight...

Also, the last time someone tried to make a low-budget console, it failed rather spectacularly. At least we got some ridiculous marketing out of it.

It's not a selling point to kids that its based on a 6502. That's a selling point to adults who remember the 6502-based platforms of yestermillenia, and want to nostalgically relive some of those memories. Kids, broadly speaking, don't care about that stuff.

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My daughter (11) is hyped up and excited about the 6502 revival but mostly, she just likes the novelty of play on my 4032 (Weather War) with her dad.

Also I'm giving her STEM classes, beginning with basics of... um... Basic.  Spend about 45 minutes once a week talking about it and doing little exercises.  Last week we printed to my vintage 4022 dot matrix.  I've opened the hood to show her the CPU, memory, connections to input/output and discussed the external connectivity (everything in the context of what she knows; iPad, USB, etc.)

This next week we get into PetASCII, she will like that.

Sometime over holiday break, I'll present her with a graduation present... SunFounder Mega kit that I bought in part (fully) for my Ben Eater 6502 build and I'll move on from there to teach her JavaScript.

I do believe the most basic foundation of computers is still the most basic computer; CPU, input/output, memory, storage so this is time well spent.

But I don't expect that she will remember the specifics when she goes off to College in 8 years or so but I do firmly believe that as an educational tool, the early machines give a good grounding the many miss; where students in High School today start with Robotics and Arduino.

Console?  Not a terrible idea but content is going to be a problem.  It's taken about 10 years for Arduino to find it's way into commodity education that you can buy on Amazon for $20.  I can't see something that costs even as little as $100 being viable without either a pile of content like the entire catalog of C64 education programs or a time machine to go back in time and remove all iProducts from the map.  The Leap company pretty much bridged us from home the home computer to the iProducts.  Between, CompUSA (in the states) and Toys 'R Us have perished.  It's been a blur.

But I'd be interested to have a view of anything you come up with, more is always good, I just don't see a viable platform without content and so much has already been done.

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Entirely possible given that Nintendo already did exactly that with the 6502, but who would make software for it and why?

Would you make it easier to produce performance software?
Would you make it easy to distribute software?
Would the 6502 be powerful enough to realistically handle a modern internet connection?

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The 2 use cases I could see with a 6502-based console are

1. Hobbyists and education
2. Cheap chinese clone consoles 

In the first case, you'd want an original idea (handheld? lots of GPIO?), a community to build around your product and a good SDK for it, kinda like the X16, which is not an easy task. But in the end, you just do what you want, it's your product 🙂

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On 9/22/2020 at 6:18 AM, Noodle said:

Hello everyone, I'm looking to see if its possible on building a new 6502 console for the market. Of course it would be marketed as a entry console for kids but I would still like to see if it is possible and how I would go about doing it. And if anyone wants to help you can contact me on discord. Bricktron of this realm#0368

Check this out: 


Click on datasheets!

Their TVgames are based on ASIC SOC 6502 something like NES but with much better specs even they have Emulator on their page. Maybe buy from them and rebrand and make community around it. I think also X16 will be whole in fpga in future and there are companies which produce ASIC from Fpgas (ASIC runs ever 20% faster) so in future there can be X16 Pocket Game Console!

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  • 2 weeks later...

6502 based games console?


Maybe, if:

Use the highest speed you can implement

Highly capable 2D centric GPU

As much RAM and VRAM as is feasible

Good sound chip

As simple as possible, so easy to develop for

Easily accessible programming environment for DIY/Homebrew software

Several bundled games including converted classics, plus a few new ones, even demos showing off it’s abilities

Cheap enough to be worth buying just for the bundled games

You might then have a marketable 6502 based games console.


There are already several projects in development or already released that do the same or similar.


Going on a bit of a tangent, but still on topic kind of:


An alternative would be to make a console based partially on off-the-shelf hardware plus a new graphics accelerator based on old 2D centric hardware with geometry engine:


65C816S at 14MHz with 24 bit memory address (or a different 16/32 bit CPU easy to implement)

As much RAM as economical and beneficial to install (16MB?)

32bit GPU with coprocessor and geometry engine (128MB RAM?)


Something with capabilities like the 2 VDP’s in the Sega Saturn combined into one chip and faster

Multiple layers of Bitmaps and/or tiles

Massive sprite capabilities, thousands per frame (can be used for textures)

Use layers for infinite planes and rotation fields

Effects such as scaling & rotation

Geometry engine

Hardware lighting


A single capable sound chip with a decent RAM buffer


USB ports for easier compatibility with existing keyboards and mice

SD card slot or similar for storage to use as a PC alternative


If done right, it would have 3D capabilities equal to the Sega Dreamcast and 2D potentially matching any games console, but maybe easier to develop 2D games for.

Plus make it easy to do Homebrew stuff.


Something like that sold cheap might sell enough to attract games developers.


Imagine new productivity software made for a new system based on older simpler hardware running at higher speeds with lower memory requirements and keeping it all simple and functional?

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BTW Atari Lynx was 6502 game console.


Maybe it is Public Domain / OpenSource:

"On May 14, 1999, Hasbro, which would continue to hold on to the Atari properties until selling off Hasbro Interactive to Infogrames in 2001,[25] released into the public domain all the rights relating to the Atari Jaguar, declaring it an open platform;[26] the Atari Lynx, through internet theories,[27] may have also entered the public domain at the same time as the Jaguar, but this is clearly disputed. " wiki

Lynx 3D capabilities:

My ideal 6502 game console will be Atari Lynx FPGA with better specs (more MHz, colors, ram) and SD card and probably pcb mountable into Gameboy case(there are new still produced). There are tools like ASM, sound editor, graphics, emulator also games. But I am Atari fan ;). Anyways it will be amazing game handheld.

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