Small replicas of classic game systems have become surprisingly common over the past year or two. First there was the NES Classic. Then came the SNES Classic, the C64 Mini, the Neo Geo Mini, and the PlayStation Classic.

But what about one of the most popular gaming devices ever? The PC?

Yeah, there’s a $99 PC Classic coming too. Maybe.

A small gaming company called Unit-e has developed a working prototype and plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the PC Classic in late November or early December in hopes of shipping the device to backers in spring or fall of 2019.

The system is small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, but it’s designed to look like a tiny version of a classic computer and it will run games developed for MS-DOS.

Unite-e says the system supports joystick and keyboard-and-mouse input, and it’ll likely ship with at least one joystick.

There are three USB ports (two on the front and one on the back), composite and HDMI ports for connecting old-school or modern TVs or monitors, and an SD card slot for removable storage. The system also supports Bluetooth.

Ultimately, like other “classic” and “mini” consoles, this is the sort of device you could probably just set up yourself by installing DOSBox on a Raspberry Pi.

But the advantage of buying a system like the PC Classic is that you get a device that will ship with “at least 30 games,” and which is pre-configured to work without any tinkering. Just plug it into your TV and you can play classic games from the 80s and 90s in your living room.

It also has a cute case (in a retro aesthetic kind of way), and the company plans to work with game developers so that the PC Classic comes with licensed versions of those old-school games rather than the bootleg versions you’d probably end up running on a home-built system.

One thing that sets the PC Classic apart from most of the other mini retro consoles we’ve seen recently is that you’re not limited to running the games that come with the device. Unite-e hopes to sell SD cards with additional games on them.

You know, assuming they can raise enough money through crowdfunding to turn the idea into reality — licensing games and designing custom case molds aren’t cheap endeavors.

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11 replies on “PC Classic is like a $99 NES Classic… for DOS games”

  1. I just want to know if it has Soundblaster compatibility. That might actually make this worth having.

  2. So the games come on a SD card the way the older game systems had games on cartridges? That sounds interesting.

    I wonder if it uses FreeDOS as the operating system. FreeDOS is like DOS on steroids since it is updated.

    I think it would be neat to try it out. I would have it connected to my LCD television.

  3. Okay. First, it should decide which “PC” it wants to emulate? The 5150? XT? AT? PS/2? A Compaq 486? Then, the case needs to look like the part. The SD-reader-in-a-5.25″ is a cool idea, but make a functioning lock mechanism! As for the hardware, use real x86! Just grab an inexpensive BayTrail or CherryTrail CPU, preferably one with only 1 or 2 cores, and throw a real DOS on top of it! Maybe make a static base image on the flash, because we all know how badly you can f*ck up your config.sys. Then, get a NortonCommander licence as basic interface. No fancy GUI needed. Oh, yeah, you absolutely need to include a keyboard. No self-respecting PC gamer of the era would be caught dead playing with those fiddly sticks.

  4. But does the pcBOX come with an (Intel?) x86 chipset inside?

    And does it run Windows 98?

    1. I despised DosBox until I found Magic DosBox. Absolutely the best DosBox frontend I’ve ever seen. It’s so easy to configure everything. I think I’ve got every DOS game I’ve ever owned set up in it on my tablet. I wish there was an actual PC version that was as easy to set up. The closest thing I’ve found in quality is Boxer, but that’s only available on Mac.

  5. I hope the developers are keeping an eye on the C64 Mini discussions and are learning from their mistakes. The attempt to “console-ize” a personal computer offers many unique challenges.

    I bought a C64 Mini, not necessarily for the games, but (A) to support the creators and (B) to use it as a Commodore 64. They’ve done a good job, but there’s a lot more than can be done to improve the experience.

  6. How I hate DosBox in general, and DosBox on retropi/emulation station is nearly impossible.

    So many svga and Soundblaster issues from the past make me cringe when I think of Dos games. I did love X Wing Fighter though. Maybe I’ll get DosBox to work one day, or go with GoG XWing and Tie combo…

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