Neo Geo

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Neo Geo
Neo Geo logo.svg
Product typeArcade system board, video game console, handheld game console
OwnerSNK
CountryJapan
Introduced1990-04-26 (1990-04-26)
Discontinued2004-04-22 (2004-04-22) (First run)
MarketsJapan (Worldwide)
Registered as a trademark inJapan (1989–2001)

Neo Geo[a] is a family of video game hardware developed by SNK. On the market from 1990 to 2004, the brand originated with the release of an arcade system, the Neo Geo MVS and its home console counterpart, the Neo Geo AES. Both the arcade system and console were powerful for the time and the AES allows for perfect compatibility of games released for the MVS. However, the high price for both the AES console and its games prevented it from directly competing with its contemporaries, the Sega Genesis, Super NES, and TurboGrafx-16. However, the MVS arcade became very successful in stores in Japan and North America.

Years later, SNK released the Neo Geo CD, a more cost-effective console with games released on compact discs. The console was met with limited success, due in part to its slow CD-ROM drive. In an attempt to compete with increasingly popular 3D games, SNK released the Hyper Neo Geo 64 arcade system in 1997 as the successor to its aging MVS. The system did not fare well and only a few games were released for it. A planned home console based on the hardware was never released. SNK later extended the brand by releasing two handheld consoles, the Neo Geo Pocket, and later Neo Geo Pocket Color, which briefly competed with Nintendo's Game Boy. Soon after their release, SNK encountered various legal and financial issues - however, the original Neo Geo MVS and AES continued getting new games under new ownership until officially being discontinued in 2004, ending the brand.

Regardless of the failure of later Neo Geo hardware, games for the original MVS and AES have been well received. The system spawned several long-running and critically acclaimed series, mostly 2D fighters, including Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown and The King of Fighters, as well as popular games in other genres such as the Metal Slug and Baseball Stars series. In December 2012, SNK Playmore released a handheld console based on the original AES, the Neo Geo X.[1] As of March 1997, the Neo Geo had sold 980,000 units worldwide.[2] The Neo Geo Pocket Color also has been given praise for multiple innovations, and a very substantial library, despite its short life.

Home arcades & consoles[edit]

Neo Geo MVS and AES[edit]

Neo Geo MVS
The original Neo Geo logo

SNK's first two products using the Neo Geo name are an arcade system called the Neo Geo Multi Video System (MVS) and a companion console called the Advanced Entertainment System (AES), both released in 1990. The MVS offers arcade operators the ability to put up to six different arcade games into a single cabinet, a key economic consideration for operators with limited floorspace. It comes in many different cabinets but basically consists of an add on board that can be linked to a standard JAMMA system.

Neo Geo AES

The Advanced Entertainment System (AES), originally known just as the Neo Geo, is the first video game console in the family. The hardware features comparatively colorful 2D graphics. The hardware was in part designed by Alpha Denshi (later ADK).[3]

Initially, the home system was only available for rent to commercial establishments, such as hotel chains, bars and restaurants, and other venues. When customer response indicated that some gamers were willing to buy a US$650 console, SNK expanded sales and marketing into the home console market. The Neo Geo console was officially launched on 31 January 1990 in Osaka, Japan.[4] The AES is identical to its arcade counterpart, the MVS, so arcade games released for the home market are nearly identical conversions.

Neo Geo CD[edit]

Neo Geo CD toploader model

The Neo Geo CD, released in 1994, was initially an upgrade from the original AES. This console uses CDs instead of ROM cartridges like the AES. The unit's (approximately) 1X CD-ROM drive was slow, making loading times very long with the system loading up to 56 Mbits of data between loads. Neo Geo CD game prices were low at US$50, in contrast to Neo Geo AES game cartridges which cost as much as US$300. The system could 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. However, the original AES joystick can be used with all 3 Neo Geo CD models (top loader, front loader and CDZ, an upgraded version of the CD console, that was only released in Japan), instead of the included control pads.

Hyper Neo Geo 64[edit]

Hyper Neo Geo 64 arcade board

The Hyper Neo Geo 64 is SNK's second and final arcade system board in the Neo Geo family, released in 1997. The Hyper Neo Geo 64 was conceived as SNK's 3D debut into the fifth generation video game consoles. It provided the hardware basis for a home system that would replace their aging Neo Geo AES—one that SNK hoped would be capable of competing with fifth generation video game consoles. In 1999, the Hyper Neo Geo 64 was discontinued, with only seven games released for it in two years.

Future systems[edit]

In April 2019, SNK announced at a conference in Seoul that they plan to release a Neo Geo 2 console and later a Neo Geo 3. They plan for the Neo Geo 2 to be a semi open platform console, where there'll be built in games, as well as additional games that can be purchased separately. These are planned to be spiritual successors to the original Neo Geo arcade and home systems.[5]

Handheld consoles[edit]

Neo Geo Pocket

The Neo Geo Pocket was SNK's first handheld console in the Neo Geo family. Featuring a monochrome display, it was originally released in late 1998 exclusively within the Japan and Hong Kong market. Lower than expected sales resulted in its discontinuation in 1999, whereupon it was immediately succeeded by the Neo Geo Pocket Color, which had a color screen. This time it was also released in the North American and European markets. About two million units were sold worldwide. The system was discontinued in 2000 in Europe and North America but continued to sell in Japan until 2001.

In December 2012, Tommo released a new Neo Geo handheld in North America and Europe, licensed by SNK Playmore. It is an open-source-based handheld like the Dingoo, but closed to emulate Neo Geo games, with 20 built-in games, called the Neo Geo X.[1] Effectively October 2, 2013, in order to protect its intellectual property such as 'NEOGEO' and 'SNK', SNK Playmore decided to terminate the license[6] given to Tommo and ordered to immediately cease sales of the Neo Geo X Arcade Stick. SNK added that "decisive measures will be taken against all unapproved NEOGEO X products not subject to the License Agreement."[7]

Neo Geo Mini[edit]

On June 9, 2018, SNK announced the Neo Geo Mini (officially NEOGEO mini), a miniature sized semi-portable arcade cabinet which features built-in 40 SNK titles, and was released on July 24, 2018 in Japan to celebrate SNK's 40th anniversary. The company announced; "This year, SNK celebrates 40th [SIC] anniversary," the company said in a tweet. "It is with gratitude towards the fans who have supported SNK's titles, including The King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown and Metal Slug, that we introduce a new game machine that compiles the popular titles of Neo Geo! Please look forward to it The Future Is Now!"[8] The games on the system are the AES home console versions with limited continues, however, the Neo Geo Mini features the save/load state system which allows players to save and load the game at any time to continue the game and has up to four save files per game. The Neo Geo Mini also allows itself to be connected to a TV screen by connecting it with its very own HDMI cable (sold separately), including a headphone jack and two ports for external Neo Geo Mini Pad controllers (also sold separately), which are the re-design of Neo Geo CD controllers, allows it to have two players play on the system at once. On July 19, 2019, SNK announced the discontinuation of the original Neo Geo mini[9].

SNK also announced the Neo Geo Mini International Version, which was released outside Japan on October 15, 2018 and later in Japan on November 15, 2018. The international version contains the same features as the Japanese Neo Geo Mini but with 14 out of 40 different titles and a different interface. As such, both versions have 54 different SNK titles in total. On July 19, 2019, SNK announced the discontinuation of the international version in Japan[9].

In December 2018, a limited edition Christmas themed Neo Geo Mini was released. A red Neo Geo Mini unit with two red control pads, power cable, an HDMI cable, two screen protectors, seven stickers and an anti slip cushion. This edition has 48 games, nine of which were previously unreleased on the other two versions, as well as a mixture of games from both the existing releases.

On June 27, 2019, a limited edition called "Samurai Shodown" was released, in three colors (white, red, and blue). This edition has 40 games, featuring three new Samurai Shodown games that have never been included in prior versions. These will also include two controllers, a USB cable, an HDMI cable, an anti slip cushion and a collectable character card. A new limited edition black version will also be released on September 20th 2019, including controllers, USB cable etc. and the same games as the previous versions. [10]

On September 30, 2019, a limited edition called "Samurai Spirits Kuroko" was released. This edition has 48 games. 40 of them are exactly the same as the previous "Samurai Shodown" and "Samurai Spirits" editions, and the other 8 were all available previously in other editions (no new games are included). This version was released exclusively for Japan. This edition also has a gold trim on the box, instead of a silver one present on the international "Samurai Shodown Kuroko" edition, which only has the same 40 games as the other Samurai Shodown editions. The other Samurai Spirits versions from Japan are also the same as the international versions with the same 40 games on each.

Games International Edition Japan Edition Christmas Edition Samurai Shodown Editions Samurai Spirits Kuroko Edition
3 Count Bout Yes No No No No
Aggressors of Dark Kombat No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alpha Mission II No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Art of Fighting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blazing Star Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blue's Journey Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Burning Fight No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Crossed Swords Yes No No No No
Cyber-Lip No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fatal Fury: King of Fighters No No Yes Yes Yes
Fatal Fury 2 No No Yes Yes Yes
Fatal Fury Special Yes Yes No No No
Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory No No Yes No No
Real Bout Fatal Fury Yes Yes No No No
Real Bout Fatal Fury Special No No Yes Yes Yes
Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Garou: Mark of the Wolves Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Football Frenzy Yes No No No No
Ghost Pilots Yes No No No No
King of the Monsters Yes No Yes No Yes
King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kizuna Encounter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Last Resort Yes No No No No
League Bowling No No Yes Yes Yes
Magician Lord Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Metal Slug Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Metal Slug 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Metal Slug X Yes No Yes No Yes
Metal Slug 3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Metal Slug 4 Yes No Yes No Yes
Metal Slug 5 Yes No Yes No Yes
Mutation Nation Yes No No No Yes
Ninja Combat No No Yes No No
Ninja Commando No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ninja Master's Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Puzzled Yes Yes No No No
Robo Army Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Samurai Shodown (1993) No No No Yes Yes
Samurai Shodown II Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Samurai Shodown III: Blades of Blood No No No Yes Yes
Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa's Revenge Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Samurai Shodown V No No No Yes Yes
Samurai Shodown V Special Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Savage Reign No No Yes No No
Sengoku 3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shock Troopers Yes No Yes No Yes
Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soccer Brawl No No Yes Yes Yes
Super Sidekicks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The King of Fighters '94 No Yes No No No
The King of Fighters '95 Yes Yes No No No
The King of Fighters '96 No Yes No No No
The King of Fighters '97 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The King of Fighters '99: Millennium Battle No Yes Yes Yes Yes
The King of Fighters 2000 Yes Yes No No No
The King of Fighters 2001 No Yes Yes No Yes
The King of Fighters 2002: Challenge to Ultimate Battle Yes Yes Yes No Yes
The King of Fighters 2003 No Yes No No No
The Last Blade No Yes No No No
The Last Blade 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The Super Spy No No Yes No No
Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Top Player's Golf Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Twinkle Star Sprites No Yes Yes Yes Yes
World Heroes Perfect Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of games Included 40 40 48 40 48
Games International Edition Japan Edition Christmas Edition Samurai Shodown Editions Samurai Spirits Kuroko Edition

Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro[edit]

In September 2019, SNK announced the release of the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro. A large white arcade stick complete with joystick and 8 buttons. It can be used on any of the Neo Geo Mini units via an included adapter and is also backwards compatible with the game pads released for the Mini. It will have 20 built-in games, with the possibility of future games being added to it later, as well as HDMI output for TVs. SNK also plan to release additional covers and branded joystick ball covers for the system at the same time.

The 20 in built games will all be fighting games; The King of Fighters '95, The King of Fighters '97, The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest, The King of Fighters '99: Millennium Battle, The King of Fighters 2000, The King of Fighters 2002: Challenge to Ultimate Battle, Samurai Shodown II, Samurai Shodown III, Samurai Shodown IV Amakusa's Revenge, Samurai Shodown V Special, Fatal Fury Special, Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Kizuna Encounter Super Tag Battle, Ninja Master's, Art of Fighting, The Last Blade 2, World Heroes 2, World Heroes 2 Jet, and World Heroes Perfect. [11]

Over the course of the year 2020, SNK plan to release updates to unlock more games to the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro, two additional games per month, bringing the total to 40 games. However, hackers have been able to expose what the titles are without having to wait until the end of the year to obtain all the games. The unlockable games are revealed to be as follows; Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5, The Last Blade, Shock Troopers, Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad, Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior, Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, Fatal Fury 2, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, Super Sidekicks, League Bowling, The Super Spy, Ninja Combat, Samurai Shodown (1993), Savage Reign, and Soccer Brawl.

Neo Geo MVSX[edit]

In August 2020, the company Unico announced that they are planning to release the Neo Geo MVSX, an arcade table top system capable of playing MVS and AES titles that are pre-installed on the system itself, with 2 player support with a 17-inch screen. It can also have the option of displaying images as the original arcade version did as well as a CRT display. It also has the option of coming with a 32-inch base to place the table top system on top of to complete the look of it resembling a real MVS arcade cabinet. It will come pre-loaded with 50 games; The King of Fighters 94-2003, Metal Slug 1–5 and X, Samurai Shodown 1–5 and 5 Special, all eight Fatal Fury series games including Garou: Mark of the Wolves, the Sengoku trilogy, all four World Heroes games, The Last Blade and The Last Blade 2, Savage Reign and its sequel Kazuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle, Shock Troopers, Football Frenzy, Super Sidekicks, Magician Lord, 3 Count Bout, Top Player's Golf, Baseball Stars Professional, Art of Fighting and Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior. Oddly enough despite having several complete series on this system, the Art of Fighting games are incomplete as this machine omits Art of Fighting 2. The machine itself and the 32-inch base will be sold together or both separately in North America from November 2020. [12]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Japanese: Neo Jio (ネオジオ). Stylised as NEO・GEO and also written as NEOGEO

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New console out today as NEO GEO X hits EU/US". Games Radar. Future Publishing. December 18, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Consoles +, issue 73[better source needed]
  3. ^ "ADK". www.neo-geo.com. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  4. ^ "Retrieved on 2010-03-39". Mortal.shang.free.fr. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  5. ^ "SNK Reveals Plans for NeoGeo 2 and NeoGeo 3, A New Metal Slug and How King Of Fighters XV Will Run on Unreal Engine 4". DualSHOCKERS. Iyane Agossah. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "SNK Terminates License Agreement With Tommo; All Neo Geo X Consoles & Software Discontinued". Retro Game Network | The One-Stop Retro Gaming Community. 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  7. ^ Good, Owen. "SNK Orders NeoGeo X Maker to End Production and Stop Selling It". Kotaku. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  8. ^ "SNK Officially Announces The Neo Geo Mini, An Adorable Arcade Throwback". Nintendo Life. Dom Reseigh-Lincoln. May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "SNKブランド40周年を記念したゲーム機 「NEOGEO mini」、「NEOGEO mini INTERNATIONAL Ver.」を生産終了。|ニュース|株式会社SNK". www.snk-corp.co.jp. Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  10. ^ {{cite web|author=Amazon UK |url=https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samurai-Shodown-Limited-Bundle-Kuroko-Electronic/dp/B07W5Y5T6G/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=neo+geo+mini&qid=1566661170&s=gateway&sr=8-4
  11. ^ {{cite web|author=Amazon UK |url=https://www.snk-corp.co.jp/us/press/2019/092001/
  12. ^ {{cite web|author=official MVSX website|url=http://www.snkmvsx.com/

External links[edit]