Neo Geo Pocket
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|Product family||Neo Geo|
|Type||Handheld game console|
|Power||Two AA batteries for 40 hours of play, CR2032 for backup memory and clock|
|Successor||Neo Geo Pocket Color|
The Neo Geo Pocket is a monochrome handheld game console released by SNK. It was the company's first handheld system and is part of the Neo Geo family. It debuted in Japan in late 1998 but never saw an American release, being exclusive to Japan, Asia and Europe.
The Neo Geo Pocket is considered to be an unsuccessful console. Lower than expected sales resulted in its discontinuation in 1999, and was immediately succeeded by the Neo Geo Pocket Color, a full color device allowing the system to compete more easily with the dominant Game Boy Color handheld, and which also saw an American release. Though the system enjoyed only a short life, there were some significant games released on the system such as Samurai Shodown, and King of Fighters R-1.
- 16-bit Toshiba TLCS-900H high performance core CPU
- 32-bit/16-bit register bank configuration at 6.144 MHz
- Virtual screen 256×256, 16 palettes per plane, 64 sprites per frame
- Z80 8-bit CPU to control the soundchip
- SN76489 soundchip equivalent (three square-wave tone generators, one white-noise generator, and direct access to two digital-to-analog converters)
- I/O serial SIO, one channel at 19200 bit/s
- 4-bit internal memory
The Neo Geo Pocket is forward compatible with the majority of Neo Geo Pocket Color titles, although games for the color system will play in monochrome on a Neo Geo Pocket. Likewise, the Neo Geo Pocket Color is backward compatible and the entire Neo Geo Pocket library can be played on the color system.
Only ten monochrome games were released for the Neo Geo Pocket before it was discontinued:
- Baseball Stars
- King of Fighters R-1
- Melon-chan's Growth Diary (no EU release)
- Neo Cherry Master (no EU release)
- Neo Geo Cup 98
- Pocket Tennis
- Puzzle Link (no EU release)
- Samurai Shodown
- Syougi no Tatsujin - Master of Syougi (no EU release)
After the release of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, several of these titles began receiving re-releases, updated to include color. All but King of Fighters R-1, Melon-chan's Growth Diary, Samurai Shodown and the original Neo Geo Cup 98 (the "Plus" version was updated instead) were eventually re-released for the color system.
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Each video game is stored on a plastic cartridge, officially called a "Software Cartridge" by SNK. The cartridge provides the code and game data to the console's CPU. Some cartridges include a small battery with SRAM, flash memory chip, or EEPROM, which allows game data to be saved when the console is turned off. If the battery runs out in a cartridge, then the save data will be lost, however, it is possible to replace the battery with a new battery. To do this, the cartridge must be unscrewed, opened up, and the old battery would be removed and replaced. This may require desoldering the dead battery and soldering the replacement in place. SNK used round, flat watch batteries for saving information on the cartridges.
The cartridge is inserted into the console cartridge slot. If the cartridge is removed while the power is on, and the Neo Geo Pocket does not automatically reset, the game freezes; the Neo Geo Pocket may exhibit unexpected behavior, such as rows of zeros appearing on the screen, the sound remaining at the same pitch as was emitted the instant the game was pulled out, saved data may be corrupted, and hardware may be damaged. This applies to most video game consoles that use cartridges.
Even if Neo Geo Pocket Color exclusive titles like SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium was bypassed by using a B/W Neo Geo Pocket model, the game would not run, and an image on the screen would inform the user that the game is only compatible with Neo Geo Pocket Color systems, similarity to if you slot a Game Boy Color exclusive game on Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light or Super Game Boy.
All cartridges used the same cartridge design, and it was smaller than the Game Boy's cartridges.