You just can’t keep a good console down.
First introduced in 1990, the Neo Geo was a marvel of gaming technology. It never sold as well as the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis (likely owing to the console’s massive price tag), but what it lacked in mainstream adoption, the Neo Geo more than made up for in its wide swath of arcade-perfect ports. At the time, accurate translations of arcade titles were the holy grail of games publishing, and given that SNK’s home console housed hardware that was essentially identical to that found in the company’s arcade cabinets, those gamers who could afford a Neo Geo were treated to an unrivaled gaming experience.
Unfortunately, like I said, very few people ever owned one, and 2004 marked the final, official release for the console. Then, last night, completely out of the blue, a faint spark of life was spotted in the decaying corpse of SNK’s late-lamented gaming machine.
Japanese gaming site Famicom Plaza (via the translation and analytical skills of the good people at Andriasang) reports that SNK Playmore has officially endorsed a portable gaming machine dubbed the “Neo Geo Portable Device.” Verbatim:
According to the Famicom Plaza report, the device is 170x72x15mm and is a bit larger than an iPhone-like smartphone. It has a 2200mAh battery.
Controls on the device include four face buttons, a d-pad, four shoulder buttons, a menu button, a start button, and buttons for volume and brightness. Ports include headphones, AV and an SD.
That’s all handy information, but the truly interesting part is that this handheld seems more akin to a dedicated Neo Geo emulator than a new gaming machine. The original report claims that instead of swapping out cartridges or discs, games will be stored within the machine’s on-board hard drive space. What’s more, the NGPD will come with a wide selection of classic Neo Geo games pre-installed. To wit:
The device, currently going by the placeholder name of “Neo Geo Portable Device,” has 4.3 inch screen, two gigabytes of internal storage, and ships with 20 Neo Geo classics built in:
3.TOP PLAYER’S GOLF
8.KING OF MONSTERS
11.FATAL FURY SPECIAL
12.ART OF FIGHTING
17.BASEBALL STARS PROFESSIONAL
19.KING OF FIGHTERS ’94
While we still have no official guarantee (or even speculation) that this device will be headed to America at some point, I find it very interesting that, according to Famicom Plaza, all of the aforementioned games appear in their North American, English-language incarnations. Even titles like Ultimete 11, which had little to no American presence, is already primed for release in the Land Of The Free, and the Home Of The Whopper.
So, assuming we do see this portable at Wal*Mart, how many of you will be rushing out to scoop one up?