Neo Geo CD

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Neo Geo CD
The Neo Geo CD system
Manufacturer SNK
Type Home video game console
Generation Fourth generation
Retail availability
  • JP September, 1994
  • NA 1994
  • EU December, 1994
Discontinued 1997
Media CD-ROM
CPU Motorola 68000 running at 12 MHz
Predecessor Neo Geo AES

Neo Geo CD (Japanese: ネオジオCD Hepburn: Neo Jio Shī Dī?) is the second home video game console of SNK's Neo Geo family, released in September 1994, four years after its cartridge-based equivalent. This is the same platform, converted to the cheaper CD format retailing at about $50 per title, compared to the $300 cartridges. The system was originally priced at US$300,[citation needed] or £399 in the UK. The unit's 1X CD-ROM drive is slow, with very long loading times of up to 56 Mbit of data per load.[citation needed] The system can also play Audio CDs. All three versions of the system have no region-lock.

The Neo Geo CD was launched bundled with a control pad instead of a joystick like the AES version. However, the original AES joystick can be used with all three Neo Geo CD models.


The Neo Geo CD was first unveiled at the 1994 Tokyo Toy Show.[1] The console uses the same CPU set-up as the arcade and cartridge-based Neo Geo systems, facilitating conversions, and SNK stated that they planned to release Neo Geo CD versions of every Neo Geo game still in the arcades.[2]

Three versions of the Neo Geo CD were released: a front-loading version, only distributed in Japan, with 25,000 total units built; a top-loading version, marketed worldwide, as the most common model; the Neo Geo CDZ, an upgraded, faster-loading version, released in Japan only.

The CDZ was released on December 29, 1995[3][4] 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.[citation needed]

The CDZ was only officially sold in Japan during its production. However, its faster loading times, 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.[citation needed]


Criticism of the system's generally long loading times began even before launch; a report in Electronic Gaming Monthly on the Neo Geo CD's unveiling noted, "At the show, they were showing a demo of Fatal Fury 2. The prototype of the machine that they showed was single speed, and the load time was 14-28 seconds between rounds. You can see that the screen[shot] on the right is a load screen."[1]

Roughly a month after launch, SNK reported that they had sold the Neo Geo CD's entire initial shipment of 50,000 units.[5]

Technical specifications[edit]

Neo Geo Controller Pro
The back of the Neo Geo CD
  • Main Processor: Motorola 68000 running at 12 MHz
    • Although the original 68000 CPU was designed by Motorola, there are many clones of this CPU found in the Neo Geo hardware. The most common CPU is the TMP68HC000 manufactured by Toshiba.
  • Coprocessor: 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[2] (For graphics attributes)
  • SRAM: 2 KB (For high scores / general save data)

Game library[edit]

While the Neo Geo CD library consists primarily of ports of MVS and AES titles, there are 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 was also released for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn), and Idol-Mahjong Final Romance 2 (an arcade game which is not an MVS game, but was ported directly to the Neo Geo CD).

Prototype games[edit]

  • Bang² 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).

Homebrew games[edit]

Title Genre Developer(s) Release date Ref.
Codename Blut Engel Shoot 'em up Blastar 2005 (original game) / 2006 (CD conversion) [6]
Columns Puzzle Jeff Kurtz (NeoBitz) 2000 (original game) / 2006 (CD conversion) [7]
Frog Feast Action Rastersoft / OlderGames 2005 [8]
Last Hope Shoot 'em up NG:DEV.TEAM 2007 [9]
NeoGeo 2 Player Tetris Puzzle Crim 2008 (original game) / 2013 (CD conversion) [10]
Neo Pang Action / Puzzle CeL/NGF Dev. Inc. 2010 [11]
Neo Puzzle League Puzzle Blastar 2005 [12]
Neo Thunder Shoot 'em up Sebastian Mihai 2011 [13]
NGD::ARK Breakout NG:DEV.TEAM 2011 [14]
NGEM2K Puzzle Blastar 2006 [15]
Poker Night Card Game Jeff Kurtz (NeoBitz) 2003 (original game) / 2006 (CD conversion) [16]
Santaball Sports M. Priewe 2012 [17]
Time's UP! Shoot 'em up CeL/NGF Dev. Inc. 2012 [18]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • – Dedicated to the Neo Geo CD System, Games, and Accessories:
  • A complete software and artwork resource for the Neo Geo.