Neo Geo CD
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The Neo Geo CD system
|Type||Video game console|
|Release date||September 1994|
|CPU||Motorola 68000 running at 12 MHz|
|Predecessor||Neo Geo AES|
Neo Geo CD (ネオジオCD Neo Jio Shī Dī ) is a game console from SNK that was released in September 1994, four years after its cartridge-based equivalent, in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs. It is the second console of the Neo Geo family. The system was originally priced at US$300 new. The unit's 1X CD-ROM drive was slow, making loading times very long as a result, with the system loading up to 56 Mbit of data with every load. Neo Geo CD game prices were low at $50, in contrast to Neo Geo AES game cartridges, which cost as much as $300. The system can also play Audio CDs. All three versions of the system have no region-lock.
The Neo Geo CD was bundled with a control pad instead of a joystick like the AES version. However, the original AES joystick could be used with all three Neo Geo CD models, instead of the included control pads.
Three versions of the Neo Geo CD were released:
- A "front-loading" version. Only distributed in Japan, 25,000 total units were built.
- A "top-loading" version. Marketed worldwide, it is the most common model.
- The Neo Geo CDZ. An upgraded, faster-loading version, this was also released in Japan only.
The CDZ was released on December 29, 1995 as the Japanese market replacement for SNK's previous efforts (the "front loader" and the "top loader"). The Neo Geo CD had met with limited success due to it being plagued with slow loading times that could vary from 30 to 60 seconds between loads, depending on the game. Although SNK's American home entertainment division quickly acknowledged that the system simply was incapable to compete with the 3D-able powerhouse systems of the day like Sega's Saturn and Sony's PlayStation, SNK corporate of Japan felt they could continue to maintain profitable sales in the Japanese home market by shortening the previous system's load-times.
Popular speculation suggests that SNK made several changes to the CD hardware to end up with the CDZ, with the most prominent rumor being that they increased the CD-ROM drive speed from 1x to 2x. The truth, however, is that the CDZ had a larger amount of cache. Though the CD-ROM motor in the CDZ may have been more efficient than the one in the original, it was still a 1x speed CD-ROM.
This version of the console has a design flaw that sometimes causes it to overheat after certain periods of time, breaking the console in the process and making it hard to repair. This is a result of a lack of ventilation in the cramped housing of the smaller unit and the inability to dissipate heat generated by the newer drive, which could damage the circuit board.
CDZ availability 
The CDZ was only officially sold in Japan during its production. However, its lack of a "region lock", and the fact that it could play older CD software, made it a popular import item for enthusiasts in both Europe and North America. Today they can be found sporadically on the internet, especially through auction sites such as eBay.
Technical specifications 
- Main Processor: Motorola 68000 running at 12 MHz
- Co-Processor: Zilog Z80 running at 4 MHz
- Colors On Screen: 4,096
- Colors Available: 65,536
- Resolution: 304 x 224
- Max Sprites: 384
- Max Sprite Size: 16 x 512
- Number of Planes: 3 (128 sprites per plane as the Neo Geo does not use bitmaps for its planes like with most game systems at the time)
The system is also capable of reading Redbook standard compact disc audio.
In addition to the multi-AV port (almost same one as used on the Sega Genesis model 1, though they are not interchangeable), all Neo Geo CD models had composite RCA A/V and S-Video out jacks on the rear of the console.
The CD system's 58 Mbit / 7 MB of RAM was split accordingly:
- 68000 Program Memory: 2 MB
- Fix Layer Memory: 128 KB
- Graphics Memory: 4 MB
- Sound Sample Memory: 1 MB
- Z80 Program Memory: 64 kB
- VRAM: 512Kb (For graphics attributes)
- SRAM: 2 KB (For high scores / general save data)
Exclusive games 
While the Neo Geo CD library consisted primarily of ports of MVS and AES titles, there were a few MVS arcade games which were not officially released for the Neo Geo AES and ported instead to the Neo Geo CD. These include Puzzle Bobble, Janshin Densetsu: Quest of Jongmaster (a Mahjong game also released for the PC Engine), Power Spikes II, Neo Drift Out: New Technology and Pleasure Goal: 5-on-5 Mini Soccer [Futsal: 5-on-5 Mini Soccer].
A few games which were unreleased in MVS and AES formats were also released exclusively for the Neo Geo CD. These include Ironclad: Tesshō Rusha [Chōtetsu Burikingā, BRIKIN'GER], Crossed Swords II, ZinTrick [Oshidashi Zintorikku], ADK World, Neo Geo CD Special, The King of Fighters '96 Neo Collection , Samurai Shodown RPG [Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidō Retsuden] (an RPG spin-off of the Samurai Shodown series that also released for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn) and Idol Mahjong Final Romance II (an arcade game which was not an MVS game, but was ported directly to the Neo Geo CD). Like for the MVS/AES, also for the Neo Geo CD were made of the exclusive unlicensed titles (Last Hope, Last Hope: Pink Bullets, Fast Striker, Gunlord and Frog Feast), as well as some exclusive prototype and homebrewed games, which are:
Prototyped games 
- Bang^2 Busters [Bang Bang Busters] (Made by Visco in 2000. Released in 2010 for Neo Geo CD by N.C.I.);
- Treasure of the Caribbean [Caribe no Zaihō] (Made by Face in 1994. Released in 2011 for Neo Geo CD by N.C.I./Le Cortex).
Homebrewed games 
- NGEM2K (Made by Blastar in 2006);
- Neo Pang (Made by CeL and published by NGF Dev. Inc. in 2010);
- Neo Puzzle League (Made by Blastar in 2006);
- Neo Thunder (Made by Sebastian Mihai and self-published in 2011);
- Time's UP! (Made by CeL and published by NGF Dev. Inc. in 2012.
See also 
- Frog Feast: Neo Geo CD cover.
- Neo Pang
- Neo Thunder
- Time's UP!
- NeoGeoCD.net – Dedicated to the Neo Geo CD System, Games, and Accessories: Neogeocd.net
- NeoGeoSoft.com: A complete software and artwork resource for the Neo Geo.