Image: Orthros

SNK's Neo Geo system might be as old as the hills, but for many people, it still represents the pinnacle of 2D gaming, and demand for both hardware and software remains buoyant, even in 2023.

The system was released in two flavours; the Multi Video System (MVS) was intended for arcades, while the Advanced Entertainment System (AES) was for the home. The hardware and software were effectively identical between the two, but the physical cartridges were different in order to deter arcade operators from running the cheaper AES games on their MVS cabinets (ironically, the roles are reversed today, with AES software often being much more expensive than the MVS versions).

Because there are a lot of MVS cartridges in circulation – and due to the fact that several Neo Geo games never got AES releases – a lot of hardcore SNK fans prefer the MVS over the 'official' home version, the AES. One of the stumbling blocks is that actually getting your MVS to work on a modern-day TV is harder than you'd think, which is why many people pay premium prices to have their systems "consolized" – basically, the base MVS hardware is placed inside a custom case complete with power, AV and controller options to streamline the user experience.

As you might expect, this isn't the easiest (or cheapest) of procedures, which is why the ORTHROS MCS-01 is so interesting. It's a really simple plug-and-play DIY kit which allows you to turn your MV1B Neo Geo board 1-slot system into a 'console', complete with all of the necessary inputs and outputs.

The kit includes a custom PCB which DB15 controller ports for arcade sticks and joypads, along with Power/Credit/Test buttons for use in-game. Around the back, there's another PCB which handles the AV and power functions. It uses a Mega Drive / Genesis 2-style Mini din-9 port which, via a special cable, can be turned into HDMI-out. Both cables will be included with the final product.

MVS cartridges are placed inside a special caddy which slots into the main body of the console, which is manufactured from tough ABS plastic. Assembling the unit is relatively easy; your MVS 1-slot fits into the bodywork, and, once the transparent base is fixed into position with four screws, you're good to go. The whole process is entirely reversible, too.

The team behind the ORTHROS MCS-01 – led by Rémy Nguyen – is looking for 50,000 Euros to get this one over the line; the regular kit will cost you 290 Euros, and there are various other bundles which cost more than that.