VCSp Rev 5.1 Prototyped At 7 Year Mark

It was 7 years ago (ish) that I completed my first video game portable – the original VCSp. How do I know this? Well I had it sitting in the car, newly done, as I went in to get my taxes done (always at the last minute) and I was worried someone might steal it. And I recall sitting there looking at it and thinking “Damn that thing looks good!” To this date it remains the only portable I’ve ever kept for myself.

Super Bonus Download – Get the original “technical” drawing files I used to create the VCSp Rev 1, and, um, look at them I guess. So primitive, you’ll swear a monkey laid it out! (Hint: view in wireframe mode)

Enough of that sentimental crap – take a look at my latest portable creation – the Atari VCSp Rev 5.1:

VCSp Rev 5.1
The new hotness

On the X-Y this unit is almost as small as the Rev 7 I made a few months back, but it has the added bonus of being just over an inch thick. (1.08″ to be precise) It’s by far the skinniest Atari portable I’ve done yet, and it’s funny to think back to when I was making then 2 inches thick. Ah, the memories…

The first 2 prototypes are already spoken for, but please email me if you’d be interested in getting one of these in the near future. I’m thinking about having some PCB’s made and running 20-30 of these. Price target is $300 with trade-in of an Atari 2600 4-switch. I think this is one of the better portables I’ve made thus far, it’s simple, small and stylish.

More pics and specs follow…


Here’s the rear of the unit. It has screws and takes (4) AA batteries, like the Rev 7. This gets you about 3 hours of playtime, rechargeables are a good idea. These are T-Energy brand, clearly so the unit can be played on cold, lost planets with ease.

End view. The black thing in the foreground is the volume control dial. Yes, I actually put a proper one in for a change. Build me a statue. Though I wish I would have made my “50’s Toaster” speaker slits a little thinner…

The Rev 5.1 sitting next to some “wanna-be” portables,for size reference. I still can’t get over the GBA not being backlit, what a crock. I wonder if I could unload it on eBay for enough to buy a six pack…

The player 2 port is back! The hole just to the right of it is the tint adjust.

Full Specs:

Size: 7″ x 4.381″ x 1.08″
Batteries: x(4) AA
Display: 3.5″ diagonal TFT active matrix LCD, LED backlighting
Color scheme: Saddle shoe

Well, that’s about I have to say about this thing. Please let me know if you’d be interested in having one made.

48 thoughts on “VCSp Rev 5.1 Prototyped At 7 Year Mark”

  1. That’s one of your best-looking portables yet, in my opinion! It’s beautiful!

    I assume the second trigger button on the right is for when using the paddle control? Also, may I ask what your setup was for converting to composite video?

  2. might there be a chance of selling this as a more or less kit? like just the case and controlls?

  3. That thing is beeeee-youtiful!!! I swear man, you know you did it right when it looks like you bought it off a store shelf from 1st party. Really good job man. Pitfall goooooooo!

  4. Hey, that’s really sweet. How can you use the paddle though? It’s so close to the frame, I can’t imagine how you turn it unless you use a screwdriver. Does it pop up?

  5. Ben,
    Chris Hansen from NBC Dateline… Have you been inappropriately touching consoles again? Portablizing…hmm, is that what they call it now?

  6. It looks like it´s an official VCS-Portable, Ben. Are you shure that you wasn´t a case designer from atari in a preverous live??? It looks so damned beautiful, that i might steal it from you 😉
    Well, you might could move to japan and work for nintendo as a case designer.

  7. This is awesome. But what about the charge jack Ben? I suppose every owner will somewhat use rechargeable batteries so taking out the batteries everytime they finish is not a good idea. Consider this.

  8. ben,
    hi would like to know if you work on the red ring of death on x-box 360…my x-box360 got the the red ring 2 days ago…i can only hope that you still handle this problem….i leave in new jersey close to new york…..i got this x-box360 as rehabilitation for nuerological disorder from serving in iraq…i alreay miss my x-box360…please me know if you can fix this ring of death a give it life again…if not where do i get this situation fixed….

    mark…2nd acr..combat vet…..

  9. dear ben heckendorn

    i want you make me a 360laptop or can i buy your xbox360laptop. i want one so bad. its hard to find one rigth now. e-mail me back soon at

    from leo lord

  10. If anyone has one of Ben’s Atari 2600 VCSp for sale (preferrably V5.1 or V7.1), I am VERY INTERESTED in purchasing it.

    Thank you.


  11. Nice, but I still prefer my 26 year old Atari 2600. Its the style of the old consoles themselves that make them cool. The games are only half of the retro factor. You just can’t beat the classics.

  12. hi could you please let me know how much one of these bad boys would cost me?
    I would love you to make me one. many thanks 🙂

  13. VCSp looks like a fun alternative to the 2600. However, if you want to save money, you might try a flea market, put an ad in the paper, or a trusted on-line store for a newly made 2600. I bought one on eBay and after testing many games at once, it appears that the power switch got disconnected and quit operating. You can learn from this in that if your console whatever it is, is old, do not test a bunch games on it at once like I did. I thought I’d be ok since the power switch kept working. Much later, I wanted to play again but I got the “old blank picture.” I know it’s “just a game”, but that handheld which was featured on could be good buy for you.

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