Neo Geo (system)

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Neo Geo
Neogeo-logo.svg
MVS-Logo.png
Neo-Geo-AES-Console-Set.png
Neo Geo full on.png
Neo Geo AES console (top) and 4-slot MVS arcade cabinet (bottom)
Manufacturer SNK Corporation
Product family Neo Geo
Type Arcade system board
Home video game console
Generation Fourth generation
Release date [1]

Neo Geo Multi Video System

  • JP: April 26, 1990
  • NA: August 22, 1990
  • EU: 1991

Neo Geo Rental System/Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System

Contents

  • JP: April 26, 1990 (rental), July 1, 1991 (home)
  • NA: July 1, 1991
Introductory priceUS$649.99
Discontinued1997 (hardware)
2004 (software)
2007 (technical support)
Units sold1 million
Media ROM cartridge
CPU Motorola 68000 @ 12MHz, Zilog Z80A @ 4MHz
Memory64KB RAM, 84KB VRAM, 2KB Sound Memory
Storage Memory card
Display320×224 resolution, 4096 on-screen colors out of a palette of 65536
Sound Yamaha YM2610
Power8 W older Systems
5 W newer Systems
Dimensions325 × 237 × 60 mm
Successor Neo Geo CD (1994)
Hyper Neo Geo 64 (1997)

The Neo Geo(Japanese:ネオジオ, Hepburn:Neojio), stylised as NEO・GEO, also written as NEOGEO, is a cartridge-based arcade system board and fourth-generation home video game console released on April 26, 1990, by Japanese game company SNK Corporation. It was the first system in SNK's Neo Geo family. The Neo Geo was marketed as 24-bit; its CPU is technically a 16/32-bit 68000-based system with an 8/16-bit Z80 coprocessor, while its GPU chipset has a 24-bit graphics data bus.

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Hepburn romanization is a system for the romanization of Japanese that uses the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. It is used by most foreigners learning to spell Japanese in the Latin alphabet and by the Japanese for romanizing personal names, geographical locations, and other information such as train tables, road signs, and official communications with foreign countries. Largely based on English writing conventions, consonants closely correspond to the English pronunciation and vowels approximate the Italian pronunciation.

ROM cartridge

A ROM cartridge, usually referred to simply as a cartridge or cart, is a removable memory card containing ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console or, to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments. ROM cartridges can be used to load software such as video games or other application programs.

The Neo Geo originally launched as the MVS (Multi Video System) coin-operated arcade machine. The MVS offers owners the ability to put up to six different cartridges into a single cabinet, a unique feature that was also a key economic consideration for operators with limited floorspace, as well as saving money in the long-run. [2] With its games stored on self-contained cartridges, a game cabinet can be exchanged for a different game title by swapping the game's ROM cartridge and cabinet artwork. A home console version was also made, called AES (Advanced Entertainment System). It was originally launched as a rental console for video game stores in Japan (called Neo Geo Rental System), with its high price causing SNK not to release it for home use – this was later reversed due to high demand and it came into the market as a luxury console. The AES had the same raw specs as the MVS and had full compatibility, thus managed to bring a true arcade experience to home users. [3] The Neo Geo was revived along with the brand overall in December 2012 through the introduction of the Neo Geo X handheld and home system. [4] [5] [6] [7]

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

The Neo Geo X (NGX) is a handheld video game console manufactured by Tommo, licensed by SNK Playmore. Information about the Neo Geo X was first reported in January 2012 and later confirmed in March. It is the first Neo Geo system to be released since the discontinuation of the brand in 2004 and the third Neo Geo handheld device, following the 1999 release of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, which was supported until 2001.

The Neo Geo was a very powerful system when released, more powerful than any video game console at the time, and many arcade systems such as rival Capcom's CPS, which did not surpass it until the CP System II in 1993. [8] The Neo Geo MVS was a success during the 1990s, due to the cabinet's low cost, six ROM slots and compact size. Several successful video game series were released for the platform, such as Fatal Fury , Art of Fighting , Samurai Shodown , The King of Fighters and Metal Slug . The AES had a very niche market in Japan, though sales were very low in the U.S. due to its high price for both the hardware and software; but it has since gained a cult following and is now considered a collectable. Neo Geo hardware production lasted seven years, discontinued in 1997, whereas game software production lasted until 2004, [9] making Neo Geo the longest supported arcade system of all time. [10] The AES console was succeeded by the Neo Geo CD and the MVS arcade by the Hyper Neo Geo 64. As of March 1997, the Neo Geo and the Neo Geo CD combined had sold 980,000 units worldwide. [11] In 2009, the Neo Geo was ranked 19th out of the 25 best video game consoles of all time by video game website IGN. [12]

Capcom Japanese developer and publisher of video games

Capcom Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher known for creating numerous multi-million selling game franchises, including Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Onimusha, Dino Crisis, Monster Hunter and Ace Attorney as well as games based on Disney animated properties. Established in 1979, it has become an international enterprise with subsidiaries in North America, Europe, and Japan.

CP System arcade system board developed by Capcom

The CP System is an arcade system board developed by Capcom that ran game software stored on removable ROM cartridges. More than two dozen arcade titles were released for CPS-1, before Capcom shifted game development over to its successor, the CP System II.

The CP System II or CPS-2 is an arcade system board that Capcom first used in 1993 for Super Street Fighter II. It was the successor to their previous CP System and Capcom Power System Changer arcade hardware and was succeeded by the CP System III hardware in 1996, of which the CPS-2 would outlive by over four years. The arcade system had new releases for it until the end of 2003, ending with Hyper Street Fighter II.

History

The Neo Geo AES shipped with large, arcade-style controllers. Neo-Geo-AES-Controller-FL.jpg
The Neo Geo AES shipped with large, arcade-style controllers.

The Neo Geo hardware was an evolution of an older SNK/Alpha Denshi M68000 arcade platform that was used in Time Soldiers in 1987, further developed in the SNK M68000 hardware platform as used for P.O.W.: Prisoners of War in 1988. Contrary to other popular arcade hardware of the time, the SNK/Alpha Denshi hardware used sprite strips instead of the more common tilemap based backgrounds. [13] The Neo Geo hardware was essentially developed by Alpha Denshi's Eiji Fukatsu, adding sprite scaling through the use of scaling tables stored in ROM as well as support for a much higher amount of data on cartridges and better sound hardware. [14] [15] [16]

<i>Time Soldiers</i> 1987 video game

Time Soldiers, known in Japan as Battle Field, is a 1987 top-viewed run and gun video arcade game developed by Alpha Denshi, and published by SNK, while later distributed outside Japan by Romstar. A Sega Master System version was also produced, as well as versions retitled Time Soldier for the Amiga, Commodore 64 and Atari ST.

<i>P.O.W.: Prisoners of War</i> 1988 video game

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War, released in Japan as Datsugoku -Prisoners of War-, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up produced by SNK originally released as an arcade game in 1988.

Sprite is a computer graphics term for a two-dimensional bitmap that is integrated into a larger scene, most often in a 2D video game.

The Neo Geo was announced on January 31, 1990 in Osaka, Japan [17] and released on April 26, 1990. [18] Initially, the AES 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 in 1991.

Osaka Designated city in Kansai, Japan

Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region of Japan. It is the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and the largest component of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and among the largest in the world with over 19 million inhabitants.

Renting agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another

Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlord pays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership. An example of renting is equipment rental. Renting can be an example of the sharing economy.

Hotel Establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis

A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large suites with bigger, higher-quality beds, a dresser, a refrigerator and other kitchen facilities, upholstered chairs, a flat screen television, and en-suite bathrooms. Small, lower-priced hotels may offer only the most basic guest services and facilities. Larger, higher-priced hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference and event facilities, tennis or basketball courts, gymnasium, restaurants, day spa, and social function services. Hotel rooms are usually numbered to allow guests to identify their room. Some boutique, high-end hotels have custom decorated rooms. Some hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. In the United Kingdom, a hotel is required by law to serve food and drinks to all guests within certain stated hours. In Japan, capsule hotels provide a tiny room suitable only for sleeping and shared bathroom facilities.

Neo Geo's graphics and sound are largely superior to other contemporary home consoles, arcades, and even computers such as the Sharp X68000. The MVS was one of the most powerful arcade units at the time. Furthermore, since the AES was identical to its arcade counterpart, the MVS, arcade titles released for the home market are perfect translations. Although its high price tag kept it out of the mainstream gaming market, it outlasted the market lifespan of its more popular Nintendo and Sega rivals, and also made a unique niche market for it. In addition, its full compatibility meant that no additional money was being spent on porting or marketing for the AES, since the MVS' success was thus automatically feeding the AES, making the console profitable for SNK.

In the United States, the console's debut price was planned to be US$599 and included two joystick controllers and a game: either Baseball Stars Professional or NAM-1975 . However, the price was raised and its American launch debuted as the Gold System at US$649.99 (equivalent to $1,196in 2018). Later, the Gold System was bundled with Magician Lord and Fatal Fury. The Silver System package, launched at US$399.99, included one joystick controller and no pack-in game. Other games were launched at about US$200 and up. At double or quadruple the price of the competition, the console and its games were accessible only to a niche market.[ citation needed ]

When realtime 3D graphics became the norm in the arcade industry, the Neo Geo's 2D hardware was unable to do likewise. Despite this, Neo Geo arcade games retained profitability through the mid-1990s, [19] and the system was one of three 1995 recipients of the American Amusement Machine Association's Diamond Awards (which are based strictly on sales achievements). [20] SNK developed a new console in 1994, called the Neo Geo CD. A new arcade was also made in 1997, called Hyper Neo Geo 64. However these two systems had low popularity and only a few games.

Despite the failures of these 3D hardware, and the ceasing of manufacturing home consoles by the end of 1997, SNK continued making software for the original 2D Neo Geo. Despite being very aged by the end of the decade, the Neo Geo continued getting popular releases, such as the critically acclaimed The King of Fighters 2002 . The last official game by SNK for the Neo Geo system, Samurai Shodown V Special , was released in 2004, 14 years after the system's introduction.

On August 31, 2007, SNK stopped offering maintenance and repairs to Neo Geo home consoles, handhelds, and games. [21]

The Neo Geo X, an officially licensed device with a collection of Neo Geo games pre-installed, was first released in 2012 by TOMMO Inc. After just one year and a lukewarm reception due to its price and poor quality of the emulation, on October 2nd, 2013, SNK Playmore terminated the license agreement and demanded an immediate cease and desist of distribution and sales of all licensed products. [22]

Reception

In a 1993 review, GamePro gave the Neo Geo a "thumbs up". Though they voiced several criticisms, noting that the system was not as powerful as the soon-to-launch 3DO and had few releases which were not fighting games, they generally praised both the hardware and games library, and recommended that gamers who could not afford the console (which was still priced at $649.99) play the games in the arcade. [23]

Technical details

Inside a four cartridge Neo Geo arcade machine Neogeoguts.JPG
Inside a four cartridge Neo Geo arcade machine
The Neo Geo AES motherboard. Neo-Geo-AES-Opened-FL.jpg
The Neo Geo AES motherboard.

Each joystick controller is 280mm (width) × 190mm (depth) × 95mm (height) ( 11 × 8 × 2.5 in.) and contains the same four-button layout as the arcade MVS cabinet.

The arcade machines have a memory card system by which a player could save a game to return to at a later time and could also be used to continue play on the SNK home console of the same name.

The arcade version of the video game hardware is often referred to as the "MVS," or Multi Video System (available in 1-slot, 2-slot, 4-slot, and 6-slot variations, differing in the amount of game cartridges loaded into the machine at the time), with its console counterpart referred to as the "AES", or Advanced Entertainment System. Early motherboard revisions contain daughterboards, used to enhance the clarity of the video output.

The MVS and AES hardware can execute identical machine code. Owners can move EPROMs from one type to the other, and the game will still run. The program specifics for both MVS and AES game options are contained on every game ROM, whether the cartridge is intended for home or arcade use. However, the arcade and home cartridges do have a different pinout. They were designed this way to prevent arcade operators from buying the cheaper home carts and then using them in arcades. It has been found that in a few home version games, one could unlock the arcade version of the game by inputting a special code.

ROM sizes and startup screens

The original specification for ROM size is up to 330 megabits, hence the system displaying "MAX 330 MEGA PRO-GEAR SPEC" upon startup. While no technical advances were required to achieve it, some games over 100 megabits, such as Top Hunter , followed this screen by displaying an animation proclaiming "THE 100MEGA SHOCK!". The original ROM size specification was later enhanced on cartridges with bank switching memory technology, increasing the maximum cartridge size to around 716 megabits. These new cartridges also cause the system to display "GIGA POWER PRO-GEAR SPEC" upon startup or during attract mode, indicating this enhancement.

Specifications

The game cartridges measure 19 centimetres (7.5 in) by 13.6 centimetres (5.4 in) Neo-Geo-AES-Cartridge-Bottom.jpg
The game cartridges measure 19 centimetres (7.5 in) by 13.6 centimetres (5.4 in)

The system uses seven different specialist processors, which divide the workload for the visuals, audio and gameplay. [24]

CPU

RAM

RAM: 214 KB SRAM [26]

On-board ROM: 512 KB [26]

Display

The SNK custom video chipset allows the system to draw sprites in vertical strips which are 16 pixels wide, and can be 16 to 512 pixels tall; it can draw up to 96 sprites per scanline for a total of 380 sprites on the screen at a time. Unlike most other video game consoles of its time, the Neo Geo does not use scrolling tilemap background layers. Instead, it has a single non-scrolling tilemap layer called the fix layer, while any scrolling layers rely exclusively on drawing sprites to create the scrolling backgrounds (like the Sega Y Board). By laying multiple sprites side by side, the system can simulate a tilemap background layer. The Neo Geo sprite system represents a step between conventional sprites and tilemaps. [26]

Sound

The onboard Yamaha YM2610 sound chip gives the system 15 channels of sound.

Other

Power
Dimensions
Neo Geo Memory Card Neo-Geo-Memory-Card.jpg
Neo Geo Memory Card
Console storage
Arcade storage

Legacy

The Neo Geo is the first home game console to feature a removable memory card for saved games.[ citation needed ]

The GameTap subscription service has included a Neo Geo emulator and a small library of Neo Geo games. In 2007 Nintendo announced that Neo Geo games would appear on the Wii's Virtual Console, [35] [36] [37] [38] starting with Fatal Fury: King of Fighters , Art of Fighting , and World Heroes . Neo Geo games were released through Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, including Fatal Fury Special , Samurai Shodown II , Metal Slug 3 , Garou: Mark of the Wolves and The King of Fighters '98 . Many Neo Geo games were released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch through the Arcade Collection Archives (ACA) service.

Homebrew activity began after the console's discontinuation, both by noncommercial hobbyists and commercially. [39]

Neo Geo has a community of collectors. Because of the limited production runs received by cartridges amongst the sizable available arcade library, some of the rarest Neo Geo games can sell for well over $1,000. The most valuable game is the European AES version of Kizuna Encounter . The MVS market provides a cheaper alternative to the expensive and rare home cartridges, and complete arcade kits are priced at a premium. [40] It is also possible to play the MVS cartridges, which generally cost much less, on the AES home system through the use of adapters.

On June 9, 2018, SNK announced the Neo Geo mini, a miniature portable arcade cabinet which features 40 built-in SNK titles, would be released on July 24, 2018 in Japan.[ needs update ] The games are the AES versions, but the Neo Geo mini features a system which allows players to save and load the game at anytime. Neo Geo mini also can connect to a TV screen with a separately sold HDMI cable. It has a headphone jack and two ports for external Neo Geo mini Pad controllers (also sold separately), which are a re-design of the Neo Geo CD controllers. SNK also announced a Neo Geo mini international version which contains the same features as the Japanese Neo Geo mini but with 14 titles changed.

See also

Related Research Articles

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