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What was so good about the Neo-Geo?

Conker2012

Intrepid Member


What was so good about the Neo-Geo? I've never used one (never even seen one in real life), but I've tried one via emulator, and the few games I've tried were very good (some of the Metal Slug games, a Mr Do! game, and some 2D shooters) but that was a long time back so I can't remember much about them, other than them being enjoyable and graphically/audibly very good.

So I thought I'd ask why the Neo-Geo is so popular (as it seems to be) amongst it's fans. I'm certainly not trolling, I'm just curious, and I'm making a similar post to this in a couple of other forums about consoles I've never used (the Sega Saturn, and Atari Jaguar), and if someone asks, I'll make similar threads about the consoles I do know about (such as the N64, XBox 1, and Gamecube). The Neo-Geo name seems to be synonymous with quality in the eyes of it's fans, and yet I don't even know if it was released officially in the UK (when was the machine first released, wasn't it in the late eighties?). How many consoles were sold, and why did it not become more prominent in the console wars (was it down to the cost, which I undestand was huge, something like $150-$200 per game?), what was it's strengths and weaknesses, what genres was it good/bad in, and what was the machine's strengths and weaknesses.

I know I could google for the answers, but I thought it would be more interesting to get a discussion going, especially if it results in my looking for another machine to add to my collection.
 

Calpis

Champion of the Forum


The consumer hardware is identical to the arcade hardware; arcade games at home was a big deal in 1990.

Neo Geo has a very cleverly designed graphics system; gigantic sprites with pseudo-3D effects give the appearance of high technology. Relatively high quality audio sample playback was also important to its image, so games use sampled audio extensively, which was impressive--most people didn't even have CD players for the first few years of its life.

It's extremely expensive so there's an elitism that follows. I would argue that Neo Geo is synonymous with elitism, not quality. The majority of the hardware is poorly engineered (many mistakes), and the games are poorly programmed (time to market was extremely important in the arcades). Neo Geo's strength lies in the clever graphics system, and the art production of the games, which improved significantly over time.

It actually takes a lot of brand loyalty to be a Neo gamer, a lot of the games were/are considered to be crappy Capcom knockoffs. There is a certain camp value to Neo Geo games that diehard fans must appreciate, particularly with the early titles.

It's not really fair to compare the Neo Geo with other home consoles, both for the other console's sake and for the Neo Geo's. They're apples and oranges, even if many people choose not to acknowledge it. Anyways, the Neo home consoles were niche because of the game prices and the game library's limited appeal to casual/the majority of 90s gamers. If SNK were bigger perhaps they could have competed with Nintendo or Sega by creating a home-friendly console and more accessible games (platformers, or deeper games or licensing familiar IP), but by the time they sort of attempted this with the Neo Geo CD it was too late. NGCD had to "compete" (I don't think they even tried) with 32-bit consoles and had already licensed their IP for ports to 16-bit consoles. SNK always put all their focus on arcade style games because they were an arcade company, and despite barely breaking into the home market they were very successful in the arcade market. It's not as if SNK truly failed in any market, their reputation alone sold millions of Neo Geo Pockets.
 

Retrograde

Active Member


Commenting on the Arcade version;

Neo-Geo was what was sold to local shops, pizza places and the like in my country during the early 90s, it was the arcade action you could easily get at (we didn't have a big arcade culture in Sweden really as I recall) , and you usually had the choice of 4 games (I think) in one machine, which was a plus.
The graphics were large and colourful, the sound meaty, and well I probably like it for nostalgic reasons by now.

I did have some good times co-op with Alpha Mission II, Cyber Lip. And some Blues Journey etc.

I didn't even know there was a home console version until recent years, and as I've seen it was very expensive vs. other contemporary offerings (SNES, Megadrive, Amiga, Atari) for gaming. Would be cool to have one now, but it's going to be hard to find and expensive here in 2013 I reckon.
 

RetroSwim

<B>Site Supporter 2013</B><B>Site Supporter 20

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="Retrograde">

<div class="attribution type">Retrograde said:

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Would be cool to have one now, but it's going to be hard to find and expensive here in 2013 I reckon.[/quote]

</div> Consolised arcade (MVS) systems are the most economic route by far, and give you the same experience by virtue of being essentially the same hardware.
 

Mendel

Spirited Member

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="Conker2012">

<div class="attribution type">Conker2012 said:

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What was so good about the Neo-Geo?[/quote]

</div> Blazing Star and Shock Troopers 1. Also Neo Turf Masters <img alt=":)" class="mceSmilieSprite mceSmilie1" src="styles/default/xenforo/clear.png" title="Smile :)"/>
 

retro

Resigned from mod duty 15 March 2018


The attractiveness was, as Calpis said, arcade gaming at home. It was, in effect, the same as their arcade MVS system. The games were the same, but they made them incompatible so the arcades couldn't use the cheaper home carts. As Calpis said, it was a big deal to have arcade quality games in the home, as all console conversions were somewhat ropey in comparison. It also had a memory card system, as did the MVS, so you could save high scores (or perhaps other features) and take them home. I don't think that feature was really utilized much, though.

In reality nowadays, it's more for the elitist gamer with big pockets. There were more games released for MVS and they are more often than not much cheaper than the home system carts now - extremely so. If you're considering getting one - don't! Get an MVS board and an interface so you can play it on your television instead. Far cheaper.
 

MottZilla

Champion of the Forum


It was definitely alot to do with the quality of the graphics and sound. The games certainly weren't all bad either. My favorite titles are Metal Slug and King of Fighters. Particularly MS1, X, and 3 as well as KoF 98 and 99. The other details about the NeoGeo that were interesting about it was the Cartridge System to reuse the same board. The Multiple Cartridge Systems to have 2, 4, even 6 different games in one machine. The fact that they offered the exact same hardware to consumers at home.

And I don't think you can count out the huge piracy via emulation of NeoGeo for part of why the NeoGeo is so popular today. I think alot of people did their bulk of NeoGeo game playing via emulation, specifically on NeoRageX.
 

Rori

Active Member


Yeah back in the 90's, having the ability to play arcade games at home were a big deal. I mean now we got PS3 and Xbox which can play older arcade ports which now isn't as impressive and at the same time game developers release arcade versions of the same game to consoles (SSFIV:AE) around the same time to maximize profits so it's become common...

But yeah think back to the early to mid 1990's when most people still had NES and SNES was out of reach because your parents wouldn't buy it. So you'd hang around your local liquor store, laundromat, arcade/game center and play some of the best looking 2d video games out there! Most people back then didn't have access to information so not many people knew about things like video connections so imagine that you were used to playing on an NES hooked up to your T.V. via composite with it looking all blurry and colors bleeding all over the place. Then you go to play some Metal Slug or Art of Fighting 3. I think what made the Neo Geo special was that they used uncompressed texture data so seeing the art graphics was just simply draw dropping because you could actually see a lot of detail. Not to mention that these arcade machines were probably hooked up to display RGB or S-Video or better (i'm not too certain)! So it was pretty cool!

Hell, I just barely came to my own realization what the bootup screen means:

Neo-Geo
MAX 330 Mega
Pro-Gear Spec.

I think it means:

(It's a) Neo-Geo
MAX (cartridge size) 330 Mega(bit, for all texture and sound data which is a huge cart size hence the size!)
Pro(fessional)-Gear Spec(ficiation, because even though they used the Moto 68k, same process in the Genesis, having such a large cart size really allowed them to do some magic -- size does matter! hehe)
 

Flash

Dauntless Member


It was the most powerful 2D console before Saturn, and Saturn still had lower sample quality in many games. And playing arcade games at home was awesome back then.
Today arcade game is just your ordinary PC game, designed to accept coins and work with JVS inputs instead of HID/Xinput devices. Back then memory and other components were expensive so home consoles were not even half as powerful as high end arcade systems.
I remember when i saw first Scud Race arcade machine in Moscow it was damn jaw-dropping stuff. Same was Neo-Geo in early 90s.
 

Kaicer

Site Supporter 2014


People where often comparing Capcom and Neo Geo I have to say that both have pretty good games. But Neo Geo was always the top for me the reason very simple, when capcom release the Street fighter 2 is when the milking began with them. Most of the capcom fighting games where the same but with an addition. SNK always take the risk to do something different in each entry some where good, some hold back like the king of fighters series. Another thing is that capcom tried to do the same as snk with the neo geo aes, they tried to take the arcade home but fail miserably with the CPS changer. Obviously the price was high because of the hardware and also they give you an arcade stick instead of a control pad. I have both the AES and the consolize MVS I made and I'm very happy with both.

There is always a chance to find an AES at a good price is pretty low but it happen I bought mine on ebay for $80 bucks. I spend more making the MVS $50 for the pcb, $55 for the video encoder and the list goes on. But the great difference is the price on the games, mvs a little cheaper and easy to find than the AES. Also the mvs has the multicart that are a hit.
 

Flash

Dauntless Member


AES itself is cheap, However most games for it aren't.
That's why consolized MVS is the best way.
 

Rori

Active Member


I want an AES, but want to use a pass-through for an MVS multi-cart, it can be done I think but those pass-through's are expensive ;___;
 

MottZilla

Champion of the Forum

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="Rori">

<div class="attribution type">Rori said:

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Not to mention that these arcade machines were probably hooked up to display RGB or S-Video or better (i'm not too certain)! So it was pretty cool!

Hell, I just barely came to my own realization what the bootup screen means:

Neo-Geo
MAX 330 Mega
Pro-Gear Spec.

I think it means:

(It's a) Neo-Geo
MAX (cartridge size) 330 Mega(bit, for all texture and sound data which is a huge cart size hence the size!)
Pro(fessional)-Gear Spec(ficiation, because even though they used the Moto 68k, same process in the Genesis, having such a large cart size really allowed them to do some magic -- size does matter! hehe)[/quote]

</div> Arcade Machines such as the NeoGeo, CPS2, and any other JAMMA compliant game always output RGB video. It's crystal clear compared to anything people had at home during the 90s, except for lucky people in PAL territories that had RGB via SCART.

Yes the splash screen at the beginning of some games is to brag about the amount of memory in the cartridge. It was an enormous amount of memory at the time. King of Fighter 94' which would have been around the time games like Chrono Trigger (SNES) and Mortal Kombat 3 (Genesis) dwarfed them in size. With the mentioned SNES and Genesis games having 4 Megabytes of ROM memory, KoF 94 uses a bit over 24 Megabytes. Six times as much memory. By 1998 there was KoF 98' which had 90 Megabytes of ROM. N64 was around then, but the larger N64 cartridge ever produced was still only 64 Megabytes.

But ofcourse not only did NG dwarf the competition in size but in PRICE as well. All that memory costs money. They tried the Neo-Geo CD to address this, which I think could have been more successful with some planning ahead. The games should have been programmed to potentially take advantage of later memory upgrades. And in general they probably could have used optimization to handle loading times better. But I'm not into the NG CD alot so I'm not entirely sure. But a memory upgrade with all games able to take advantage of it would have helped. RAM did get cheaper after the NG CD release and adding more via upgrade would have atleast enabled games like Garou and Metal Slug 3 to come out on the format.
 

Flash

Dauntless Member


It's laughable as it fails at emulating a system that was perfectly emulated for at least 6 years.
 

coal stepping

Site Supporter 2014

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="MottZilla">

<div class="attribution type">MottZilla said:

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Arcade Machines such as the NeoGeo, CPS2, and any other JAMMA compliant game always output RGB video. It's crystal clear compared to anything people had at home during the 90s, except for lucky people in PAL territories that had RGB via SCART.

Yes the splash screen at the beginning of some games is to brag about the amount of memory in the cartridge. It was an enormous amount of memory at the time. King of Fighter 94' which would have been around the time games like Chrono Trigger (SNES) and Mortal Kombat 3 (Genesis) dwarfed them in size. With the mentioned SNES and Genesis games having 4 Megabytes of ROM memory, KoF 94 uses a bit over 24 Megabytes. Six times as much memory. By 1998 there was KoF 98' which had 90 Megabytes of ROM. N64 was around then, but the larger N64 cartridge ever produced was still only 64 Megabytes.

But ofcourse not only did NG dwarf the competition in size but in PRICE as well. All that memory costs money. They tried the Neo-Geo CD to address this, which I think could have been more successful with some planning ahead. The games should have been programmed to potentially take advantage of later memory upgrades. And in general they probably could have used optimization to handle loading times better. But I'm not into the NG CD alot so I'm not entirely sure. But a memory upgrade with all games able to take advantage of it would have helped. RAM did get cheaper after the NG CD release and adding more via upgrade would have atleast enabled games like Garou and Metal Slug 3 to come out on the format.[/quote]

</div> NG CD games were also ported or created using a resolution of 304x224 while the MVS used 320x224 except for some earlier MVS games like KOTM which used 304x224. I've seen a standalone MVS cab where a side of the right screen was clipped too 304x224 it was shock troopers. It was kinda odd . Is their a difference in different versions of MVS video encoding or maybe a flaw in the games software? I played the standalone sam sho 4 made a year b4 and it did not have those issues. Btw I'm in the USA they were BIG OLD RED BOX MVS's with the original curved tubes if that helps.
 

MottZilla

Champion of the Forum


You're just talking about clipping or hiding 8 pixels on each side of the screen. This isn't a major issue. Older TVs had issues with overscan so the edges of the screen were generally considered "unsafe" for critical things to be seen. Since Neo Geo CD was a home machine maybe this had something to do with it. NeoGeo MVS and it's pairing AES were intended to run on Arcade monitors which would be properly adjusted for overscan. I had a typical consumer TV that eventually the picture was slanted on a slight angle. Basically a given scanline on the left's end on the right was not in a straight line to the right but right and down slightly, a mm or two. I don't remember its situation with overscan but you get the idea. Consumer TVs were often crappy and maybe that's why they decided to hide the edges.
 

tcdev

Member

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="MottZilla">

<div class="attribution type">MottZilla said:

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And I don't think you can count out the huge piracy via emulation of NeoGeo for part of why the NeoGeo is so popular today. I think alot of people did their bulk of NeoGeo game playing via emulation, specifically on NeoRageX.[/quote]

</div> I don't recall ever seeing - or at least taking any notice of - Neo Geo hardware in the arcades when I was frequenting them. So my first experiences were via emulation, though more-so MAME than the earlier emulators. For me, the sheer quality of the Metal Slug series and Puzzle Bobble got me interested in the platform. Since then I've dug around and although I was never a fan of the 2D fighters, the system does have some other titles that stand out for me.

Once you immerse yourself in the Neo Geo 'scene', you do get influenced by other's loyalty and enthusiasm for the machine. And to be honest, the 'elitism' does draw you in a little as well. But it's exciting to see new games for the system being released, several consolization services available, the hybrids (or promises thereof), the Neo Geo X, the adapter cards and the bootlegs and the rising prices for the games. It's certainly not going to wane in popularity anytime soon.

As for me, I now have MVS and AES systems, a Neo Geo X, and only a handful of games (thus far). But I'm sure it's not going to end there...
 

MottZilla

Champion of the Forum


I remember seeing the NeoGeo in a few local spots with arcade machines. The two games I remember were Metal Slug and Bust-a-Move. I was amazed when I found out way back then that it was possible to get Metal Slug on the computer.
 
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