Translations from Game Lab Vol. 207 -- November 2012 Issue

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Photo Caption: 100 Mega Shock!

Mana-Sama's Nostalgic Game inferno
~Part 20~

Mana's Hardware Collection

NEO・GEO
Company: SNK
Release Date: 1990
Retail Price: 58,000 yen

NEO・GEO CD
Company: SNK
Release Date: September 9, 1994
Retail Price: 49,800 yen

NEO・GEO CDZ
Company: SNK
Release Date: December 29, 1996
Retail Price: 39,800 yen

The assassin sent in for male consumers of Arcade games

This time, let's go ahead and introduce the NEO・GEO, SNK's 16 bit game console that that took on a monologue development while being supported by its core users.

The 100 Mega Shock's price was also shocking

When speaking of SNK, fighting games like "Legend of the Hungry Wolf" and "Samurai Spirits" were extremely popular. Originally NEO・GEO flourished right in the midst in the first half of the 1990's fighting game boom, and of course since the arcades were on an extreme rise, "Street Fighter II" by SFC ended up becoming a tremendous hit.

The NEO・GEO brought out their own slogan, "100 Mega Shock!". So, by using a large ROM area, the selling point was that you could play arcade games at home that wouldn't be inferior [to the originals].

The games were supplied by a cassette ROM, but compared to SFC these were about 3 times bigger -- its presence gave off some degree of surprise. However, the face price was also intense. If the console itself was almost 60,000 yen, it seemed 1 game would cost 30,000 yen. Since it seemed like it could only be a dream to play arcade games at home in 1990, I guess the prices couldn't be helped…… but the truth is game software for 30,000 yen was very shocking.

So having said that, all the sales at face value went to core users and the use of the NEO・GEO console itself also went to extreme enthusiasts. The jet black console was thick and heavy and had a high class feel to it, and the joy stick also gave it the appearance that you're really at an arcade, so it was something that really hit home with boys who frequently visited game centers.

Compared to SFC, it had an extremely different feel to it as it seemed more like play equipment for adults. It also had a unique business model -- when it first went on sale they adopted an unusual tactic to send games and consoles to video rental shops (1 year later the opened sales to the general public). Be that as it may, the price range for the service use was extremely attractive because you could rent a console and game for 2 days and 1 night for a total of 1,000 yen.

Model changes and design were questionable……

After that, the media supply of games changed to CD, so that model restrained the price when the NEO・GEO CD was introduced into the market. By using a cheap but high capacity type of media, the price of games immediately dropped to around 7,000 yen.

As for this console, the body design took on the form of the NEO・GEO with AV parts formed to the thick, heavy black body. Furthermore, the front loading style CD part was high class looking. However eventually it underwent an extreme model change when they created a top loading style……. Perhaps the cost of the front loading got too high and since it could break easily it seems they had to make the change. However, after the change, the design still had the same type of black body so [the change itself] was quite subtle.

I digress, but when the world of Nintendo created their successor of the SFC, the NINTENDO64, they also continued to supply games with a cassette ROM. That obsession is what triggered the nintendo legend to collapse, but I'm sure all the readers of this magazine already know that. However, they wanted to heighten its value by the unique shape of the controller, especially the 3D stick, by venturing into calling [the term] 3D, "san-di." (*note* 'san' is the Japanese term for the number 3, and "Di" is the Japanese reading for the letter 'D')

Let's get back to talking about the NEO・GEO. So after that there was a decision to bring the cost down even more when the NEO・GEO CDZ hit the market. ……However, its design was quite primitive. The high class design that the series had fostered disappeared and it was reduced down to looking like something cheap. As a result that may have been what caused this, but after a short time the life span of the NEO・GEO console had completely diminished…… (However they kept producing it all the way up until 2004).

Declaring I'm not BOY Challenging Nintendo and its Defeat

By 1998 SNK suddenly announced the NEO・GEO POCKET, which raided the mobile gaming market! However, its release date was October 28, only one week prior the Game Boy Color had been released. This was horrible timing for the monochrome screen NEO・GEO POCKET, making it nothing new or fresh, so it ended right away with Nintendo's easy threat. But after 5 months the SNK group changed over to a color screen released as the NEO・GEO POCKET COLOR! In regards to that users were in strong opposition, saying "I just bought the previous NEO・GEO POCKET, and now they're already releasing a color version!?" I was also one of those those people who said that.

Although since I used it to play things like "Pacman" it quickly became one of my most favorite consoles.

At any rate, as soon as the NEO・GEO POCKET COLOR saw the light of day it too was taken off of the market.

In the end, although they tried delving into the world one more time, the NEO・GEO series met is demise. However, as the console stood in the early days pursuing its high class features at least the the core users really enjoyed it. These consoles left behind unfathomable achievements in the history of gaming.

Footnote:

Speaking of fighting games at that time, female characters such as Chun-Li and Mai Shiranui were very popular. I guess you could say they ran as everyone's "crushes". As for me with fighting games, I was shocked by Honey from Sega's "Fighting Vipers." Her appearance fighting with angel feathers in her pigtails her hard lolita fashion had me saying "Thats new!" and I became influenced by her visual style (blushes). (Mana)

Translations by: Sarah @ Mana-Sama.net