New "hacker" game system which allows the end user to customize, experiment, and screw around with every facet of the console hardware. The idea is that you buy a kit which has an already working system (with about C64-level capabilities,) but by following tutorials and such you can dope it out any which way you please. Seems like a dream come true to budding game designers, homebrew people, and engineering types in general.
From the official X Games Station website:
"Less than two decades ago, game programming was not for the faint of heart. Memory, speed, and even the sophistication of a programmer's tools were stone-age to say the least. Those who persevered, however, were responsible for some of the greatest feats in programming history. In 32 kilobytes on machines with clock speeds of under 1 MHz, the game programmers of yesteryear created classic video games with perfectly tuned mechanics and unbelievable details. Using hacks and tricks that modern-day professors and engineers might scoff at, they routinely did the impossible and gave early gamers every reason to stay glued to their joysticks.
Today, while the quality and overall grandeur of games has increased a thousand fold, game programmers are no longer forced to take on the ruthless, roughneck persona of their predecessors. A single API call can invoke thousand-line algorithms and bleeding edge hardware functions to complete tasks and generate effects that would cause an Atari programmer circa 1982 to faint. However, with this power has come an unfortunate desensitizing that has branded the code of many modern programmers as inefficient, poorly organized and generally oblivious to the concepts of genuine optimization and tuning.
But technology only moves forward, so if the programmers of today can't go back to the past, why not bring the past to them? Enter the XGameStation, a complete hardware platform developed exclusively for the purpose of educating a new generation of hardware and software hackers in the nitty-gritty, low-level world of hardcore game development. Combining modern technology with the rock-solid design philosophies of the past, XGameStation brings together the best ideas of history's most prolific hardware like the Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 800 and more to create a tight integration of past, present and future.
The XGameStation is, first and foremost, a do-it-yourself video game system. While the kit comes with a fully assembled console, the complete instructions for building your own version are included and exhaustively described in the accompanying eBook, written by LaMothe himself. Also covered in extensive detail are all layers of the system software, resulting in the world's first fully documented video game system for public development and hacking. From transistors to operating systems to platforms and power-ups, you'll learn first-hand how everything works. Build it, break it, hack it, tweak it, demolish it, or turn it into something completely different. The XGameStation is the ultimate hacker playground. And with direct TV output and compatibility with PlayStation II DualShock controllers built right in, it still feels like a traditional game console."