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loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


"In a gentle way, you can shake the world." - Mahatma Gandhi





What is Neo Geo? Neo Geo is life. Neo Geo is a type of video game hardware made by SNK. Neo Geo is also the coolest home console ever made.

SNK designed the Neo Geo as a swappable arcade system. Instead of buying an entire machine for one game, you could buy a Neo Geo cabinet, then buy game carts, which were guaranteed to be programmed to the Neo Geo's specs and control scheme. The carts came with new cabinet artwork. This was not https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECO_Cassette_System the first example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_VS._System of a swappable arcade system, but it was certainly the most prolific and long lived. 147 games came out for the Neo Geo from 1990 all the way to 2004.



SNK also produced a portable console version of the Neo Geo hardware. This was not a compromised version - it used the same components, the games ran on the same code, looked and played exactly the same as their arcade counterparts, and usually added features like selectable difficulty. The controller was just a portable arcade stick.



There was also a mahjong-only controller sold:



Sleek and sophisticated. The AES looks incredible, like the Monolith from 2001. In an era when arcade conversions meant settling for stripped down graphics and gameplay, you could actually bring the same game home. They even had memory card support, which could be plugged into the corresponding arcade cabinet to carry over progress.



The Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo game carts could accomodate ~32 megabits of data. In contrast, the Neo Geo's carts packed enough space for 330 megabits of data. Pro-gear spec baby! This allowed more room for bigger sprites, backgrounds, animations, and even voice acting.

The Neo Geo had 2 processors, a Motorola 68000 (same as the Genesis!) and a Z80 coprocessor. The physical size of its carts and associated connectors allowed for larger data transfer rates. It had special sprite scaling technology. A Neo Geo game was unmistakable for any other platform, in terms of visual quality in the 2D era. A lack of 3D capability would lead to its eventual fall from grace, but some of the most beautiful 2D games ever lived right on the Neo Geo.

What does MVS and AES mean?

MVS stands for Multi Video System and means arcade. AES stands for Advanced Entertainment System and means the home console. Selecting the MVS difficulty in an AES cart means playing the original arcade difficulty.

How can I play Neo Geo games nowandays?



The kit: You could buy a used AES system and used AES cartridges. It's not my money, so I think that would really cool. Counterfeit carts are common. TerraOnion makes a flash cart for both AES and MVS hardware that starts at :20bux: x 23.

You could also rip an MVS board out of an old arcade machine and "consolize" it. Since MVS carts with AES releases also contained the AES version of the game, you can use the UniBios to switch between them at will. http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/cmvs.html https://www.neo-geo.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Consolize_an_MVS_Board Here's a guide describing the conversion. This is ""less expensive"" than collecting AES.



The Neo Geo X is a handheld produced by SNK that plays Neo Geo games! It features a 16:9 screen size, which no Neo Geo game supports. The games themselves are run through software emulation using a version of FinalBurn Alpha without permission from the developers, in violation of its licensing terms. It has a charging dock which can be used to output to an HDTV and plug in their arcade stick replica, allowing you to do... something. This is really stupid.



They also made an arcade stick with some built-in games. The software is presumably the same. The built-in games skew fighting, which makes sense but is a shame considering the breadth of the catalog. Custom firmware has been developed for this allowing you to add more games to it as well. The stick itself is reportedly "fine". This seems better than the above, but still not a great option.



The MVSX is a faux-cabinet that goes for about $550 at this time. It has a 17 inch LCD screen, 2 control sticks with 6 buttons each, and is designed to rest on a countertop or another surface. You can buy a separate riser if you want that cabinet look. It comes with 50 built in games and has custom firmware available to add more.



This is almost cool. It's undersized, though. Even with the riser the cabinet only stands about 5 feel tall, so I can't imagine this thing being very comfortable to play on for extended periods. The buttons and stick are reportedly low quality as well. For that kind of money, I would really expect more - a full sized cab, at least.

SNK has also produced some other Neo Geo handhelds and mini arcade machines, but IMO the real Neo Geo experience is on a big screen with a stick and four buttons.

Buy em: SNK has re-released compilations and individual titles on every big digital storefront. Plug in your favorite arcade stick and you're good to go! You can even buy and play Metal Slug on your phone (not recommend).

Emulation: Software emulation through FinalBurn Neo/MAME runs great, even on low powered devices like the Raspberry Pi. There's also a MiSTer core if you prefer FPGA emulation.

What is UNIBIOS?



Universe BIOS is a fan-made BIOS replacement. Please use it.http://unibios.free.fr/whatisit.html

By holding A+B+C during boot, you can access a menu to change region (US, Euro, and Japan) and version (MVS or AES), as well as some other features I don't personally use.



Pressing Start+Select while in-game brings up a handy cheat menu! This is also useful for restarting a game without getting up.





UNIBIOS can be installed in original hardware, AES or MVS, and can also be used in emulators.

What are some cool links?

https://www.neo-geo.com/

http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/

https://www.neogeokult.com/

https://snk.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page

What are the best 147 Neo Geo games, ranked?

so far:

S-tier
1. Samurai Shodown
2. King of Fighters 94
3. Super Sidekicks 2
4. Sengoku 2
5. Baseball Stars 2
6. Magician Lord
7. Sengoku

A-tier
8. Art of Fighting 2
9. Blue's Journey
10. Fatal Fury Special
11. Fatal Fury 2
12. Burning Fight
13. Crossed Swords
14. King of the Monsters

B-tier
15. Fatal Fury: King of Fighters
16. Art of Fighting
17. 3 Count Bout
18. Mutation Nation
19. Thrash Rally
20. The Super Spy
21. Viewpoint
22. Baseball Stars Professional

C-tier
23. Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy
24. Football Frenzy
25. Savage Reign
26. NAM-1975
27. Andro Dunos
28. Last Resort
29. Alpha Mission 2
30. Cyber-lip
31. Robo Army

D-tier
32. Super Sidekicks
33. Ghost Pilots
34. Eight Man
35. League Bowling
36. World Heroes 2
37. Ninja Commando
38. King of the Monsters 2
39. Riding Hero
40. Puzzled
41. Fight Fever
42. Super Baseball 2020

F-tier
43. World Heroes
44. Ninja Combat
45. Soccer Brawl
46. The Legend of Success Joe
47. Top Player's Golf

loopsheloop fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Jan 29, 2022

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loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


I'll be going through the games in order of production number, which is kind of chronological in a fuzzy way. All games played on Euro region / MVS.

#1: NAM-1975





NAM-1975 is a shooting-gallery game by SNK. It bears the production number 001 and was both a launch and pack in title.

In terms of showcasing what the Neo Geo hardware was capable of, the attract screen greets you with gigantic sprites and a full voice-over for the story text. The tone is very Apocolypse Now through Google Translate.





Stages are auto scrollers exploring the jungle, waterways, and cities of Vietnam. Shooting leaves you stationary and vulnerable. You move left and right to dodge enemy shots. Moving doesn't feel great. Your character is pretty slow. Holding C gives you a little speed boost, and back diagonals are a dodge roll of sorts. In practice the roll is a bit fiddly to use. I wish C were just a roll button.





There are a few different gun pick-ups. I saw a machine gun, a flamethrower, and a rocket, which might be it? You can also toss grenades, which drop pretty frequently. Occasionally you can rescue a held-up NPC who then joins your side and shoots with you.



NAM-1975 is not exactly feature-rich, but is still a decent ride, depending on how much you like Cabal. (I do.)


thanks to the Neo Geo, Marlon Brando will live forever

#2: Baseball Stars Professional





Baseball Stars Professional by SNK is a continuation of the Baseball Stars series on the NES. It was another launch and pack in title.





Aside from the attract mode and some cutscenes, the art is fairly basic compared to later titles. The menus are especially bad. In the tradition of non-licensed baseball games the fake teams are excellent. There are 14 total.







Of course, this is a much more arcadey version of Baseball Stars compared to the NES games. There's no roster management aspect. Each credit gives you a few minutes of gameplay, respresented by a timer on-screen.





It's baseball. I have a deep abiding love of 2D sports games, especially from this era where the controls and hardware limit the "realism". Pitching is tuned precisely so a heater down the middle is exciting but not impossible to hit. It feels great.

Fielding is trickier since there's no indicator which player you're controlling while the ball is flying. And since you're holding on the stick to run into position it's easy to throw it to the wrong base once you have it.





Baseball Stars Professional is not a technical showcase, but it does what it does pretty well, and I enjoyed it. A simple arcadey baseball game.

#3: Top Player's Golf





Top Player's Golf is a horrendous golf game by SNK. It was a launch game, though thankfully not a pack in.







The interface is ugly and a pain in the rear end to use. The golfing is a one touch system where your press determines your power as well as the hook/slice. What the screenshots can't capture is how stupidly fast the meter moves. Each stroke is a puckering moment.







It's not fun. I will never touch this game again. The history of golf on the Neo Geo will be revised later

#4: Magician Lord





Magician Lord is a side-scrolling beat em up/adventure game by ADK. It was the last launch and pack-in title.

It rules.







Compare these screens to the other launch titles. This is clearly a Neo Geo title. Backgrounds and actors are enormous and nicely detailed (check out that moon!). The enemies are Lovecraftian horrors, all swinging tentacles and gore.







It's a two-button game, attack and jump. You'll be picking up power upgrades which increase the size of your shot. You'll also find colored orbs. These grant transformations, and each combination of orbs is a different form. The transformations alter your appearance and completely change your attack animation. It's fun going through them all.

Gamer Tip: Green/Green is poo poo.

The level design is what's especially compelling about Magician Lord. The levels are sprawling, with multiple routes to go through. You'll see doors dotted throughout that might lead you to power ups, treasure, or even another path to the exit. Paths can go high or low. It really feels more like an adventure than a typical brawler. There IS a maze on one of the stages that's clearly designed to eat some quarters but I'll let it slide.

Magician Lord is super fun to whip through and definitely worth seeing the sights. Straight to the top it goes.







#5: Riding Hero





Riding Hero is a motorcycle racing game / RPG released in July of 1990.





RPG?



You have two options when starting Riding Hero: the more traditional Grand Prix mode which is as you expect, and then there's story mode.



Story mode starts you off in the heroes apartment. A love of expensive hi-fi equipment compels you to race. You explore the map, speak with townsfolk, buy parts/bikes, race for cash to buy better stuff, and so on. It's all mostly superficial, but still, c'mon.





Unfortunately, Riding Hero's greatest flaw is the riding itself. The joystick is an unwieldy way to steer, and your bike doesn't straighten itself out after turning - you have to correct it yourself. It might not sound like much, but it really ruins the driving experience. Which is kind of the core conceit of the game.

I wanted to like Riding Hero. I really did.


the very rare s e l e c t g u y s menu

#6: Alpha Mission 2





Alpha Mission 2 is a vertical shoot em up by SNK released in July of 1990.





The gimmick here is the armor pick ups you see in the box at the top of the screen. These transform you into a kind of supership, let you tank one hit, and grant a huge charge attack. These are also timed. I wish these drops were a little more frequent, as without it you feel a bit puny. Between missions you're taken to a store screen where you can spend points on them.





The level design is fine. Stage 2 takes place as a battle against 1 giant enemy ship, which I thought was novel.

Alpha Mission 2: it's fine.



#7: Ninja Combat





Ninja Combat is a beat em up by ADK released in July of 1990.





You play as Joe the ninja. Your basic attack has a bit of range to it, which actually plays out better than the majority of weapon drops. You can hitstun most enemies and they in turn can hitstun you. This is what I consider a huge flaw in the game. Every encounter is feast or famine. You're either locking down a screen by mashing, or getting wrecked with no recourse.





Like Riding Hero, Ninja Combat kind of fails in its namesake. It doesn't help that the drops are questionable. I don't care for it.


I do like these piggy guys though

#8: Cyber-lip





Cyber-lip is a run n gun released in November 1990 by SNK.





It's not bad. We're not working with the full pro-gear spec yet, but the designs are nice. The enemies are all clearly inspired by the era. Basic mooks explode into Terminator skeletons. You'll encounter Alien-types and some Akira fleshy monstrosities as well as you progress.





Instead of timed gun powers ups, every collectible has a set amount of ammo. You can swap between them at will and you'll encounter rooms where you can ammo refills for any of them. They also persist between lives. It functions more as an inventory system than a power up system, which I liked. I saw a machine gun, rockets, and a flamethrower.



Overall, Cyber-lip is a decent romp for true blue run n gun fans.

#9: The Super Spy





The Super Spy is a first person beat em up / adventure / RPG game by SNK released in November of 1990.





You're tasked with exploring different floors of a skyscraper to find and defuse terrorist bombs. Your buttons are punch, kick, and change weapon. You can also block with A + B and juke by holding down on the control stick.

Besides your fists you also have a pistol with fixed ammo per life and a knife which breaks when used too often. By going through the frequent event doors you can rescue civilians who will fix your knife, upgrade it, or occasionally give you a screen clearing Uzi with limited shots.





You strafe your way around each level looking for an elevator to take you further in. It plays out a bit like a dungeon-crawler. You can also find maps that'll point you in the right direction to go. The stages are pretty long if you're bumbling around like me.



There's also a very barebones levelling system where each enemy has an EX value, which increases your LV, which in turn increases your PW and AC. This is functionally useless since this is still an arcade beat em up and things are just going to get tougher. But hey, it's there.





This all equates to a pretty ambitious game that I think is cool as hell. It even picks up in visual quality compared to some of the prior titles on the system. My chief complaint is the lack of visual variety. There are maybe 4 types of enemies just palette swapped across levels. Even the levels tend to share the same type of office-building aesthetic. The backgrounds do have some cool interactivity though - knock a guy into a pipe and it'll burst and start steaming, shoot a window and it'll shatter, and so on.







The Super Spy is awesome.

#10: Mutation Nation





Mutation Nation is a beat em up by SNK that was released in March of 1992.





It's pretty simple and looks alright. Your basic attack feels nice and meaty and combos itself well. You'll also pick up various super items you can use by holding down A. I prefer item based supers vs using life in these kind of games.

Gamer Tip: C (blue) is the best super item. Keep an eye out.







There's not much to add. It's a simple game that plays well enough. I like all the freaks you come across.







#11: King of the Monsters





King of the Monsters is a wrestling game by SNK released in February of 1991.





It's a bulletproof concept; monster rasslin! You pick one of six and bludgeon your way through the rest of the cast.





You grapple by holding A then picking a direction. This is in addition to your basic punch and kick. The cities are surrounded by some kind of electric barrier that acts like a rope. Each monster comes with different grapples and a couple different special moves. To win, you need to pin them for a three count.





The environments are destructable, of course, and everything looks fantastic. KOTM was a huge hit for SNK and later recieved ports to the Genesis and SNES. You could argue that this is the first example of a fighting game on the Neo Geo. I wouldn't go that far myself - it's a bit clunky. What a game, though.

#12: Sengoku

Sengoku is a beat em up by SNK released in February of 1991.











You are brawling your way across a city where thing seem to have gone pear-shaped. As you go, you'll be occasionally transported to a spirit realm of sorts. Here you rescue lost souls who grant you additional power. This can be something like a colored weapon orb (?), or a transformation controlled with C(??). (why are all these games orb and transform centric)









It all plays really, really well. Weapons are nice to have unlike other Ninja Combat examples of the genre. When you're holding a sword there's a parry mechanic with a cool clink sound and even clashes. The transformations are good at feeling different.

Gamer Tip: Except the dog, who kind of sucks.









I also just love the way it looks. The cityscape is dotted with small details and the enemies have a Japanese folklore bent to them. Sengoku is a stone cold classic.











#13: Burning Fight





Burning Fight is a beat em up by SNK released in May of 1991.







It bears a similarity to some other popular beat em ups of the time. You control one of three characters with different fighting styles and lay a world of pain on hundreds of punks while making your way downtown. Each character has a different life-draining special attack. You pick up weapons and life ups as you go.







It's good. I especially like the orange guy. His basic combo looks cool and comes out about as fast as you can mash. There's pole, knives, beer bottles, and of course a pistol. The stages have bonus doors you can enter to smash furniture for items.







I don't have any complaints here other than perhaps being very similar to every other one of these. Then again, this type of beat em up became popular for a reason. And I think Burning Fight does stand with its contemporaries.




hogan-like count: 1



#14: League Bowling





League Bowling is a bowling game by SNK released in December of 1990.







It's a bit of a cream puff of a game. You're gonna bowl. The extra modes add a couple of different point schemes.







That controls explaination on the right side of the screen is there for the entire game. That's too bad. Bowling is a two touch system, one for control, and one for power. If your control touch is off you can move side-to-side right before you release to try and correct. There's wacky animations as you might imagine for strikes and spares but not many of them. It's a shame.





I'm a straight sucker for arcade sports games, but League Bowling is a low effort game.

#15: Ghost Pilots





Ghost Pilots is a vertical shoot em up by SNK released in January of 1991.







This is SNK's stab at 1942. You shoot and you bomb. Power ups increase your spread. Between missions you can pick a bomb type and a route.





There's just no diversity in the environments, enemies, or powerups, and certainly no innovation. They can't all be winners.







#16: Puzzled





Puzzled is a puzzle game by SNK released in August of 1990.







Each level presents a little balloon trapped under some garbage blocks. You, with the help of your trusty tetrominos, need to form lines in the garbage so your balloon can escape. When you make a line, all your other dropped pieces gain gravity, like so:





You can't hold pieces and the pieces aren't really random - there seems to be a lot of preference for L shaped blocks.

In the spirit of complete disclosure, I am terrible at this game. The pieces fall with a certain alacrity that I just can't keep up with. The only fault I can really give it not based on my own skill level is I wish the joystick moved the pieces a bit more smoothly.





#17: Blue's Journey





Blue's Journey is a platformer by ADK released in March of 1991.







An arcade platformer! Hell yeah!

Your basic attack stuns enemies and flips em over. From there, they can picked up and thrown like turnips in SMB2. Hell yeah! Besides the basic attack, you can collect attack power-ups like acorn bombs and a boomerang, and just jump on the smaller baddies. There are also speed power ups, life ups, and a bunch of other items to collect or buy from the game's shops.









There's a size change mechanic that seems maybe half baked. Your lil guy is very cute, and goes a smidge faster, but can't attack.


I didn't use it much, but hell yeah!

It's not an overly complicated or difficult game. It feels nice to control, and just look at it. There are a lot of different assets that all look outstanding.







I also appreciate the variety of events in the game.










Hell Yeah

Blue's Journey is a quirky exploration into a genre not often explored in an arcade game. It's a blast!

The current ranking of NEO GEO games:

1: Magician Lord
2: Sengoku
3: Blue's Journey
4: Burning Fight
5: Super Spy
6: King of the Monsters
7: Mutation Nation
8: Baseball Stars Professional
9: NAM-1975
10: Alpha Mission 2
11: Cyber-lip
12: Ghost Pilots
13: League Bowling
14: Riding Hero
15: Puzzled
16: Ninja Combat
17: Top Player's Golf

Coming next update: a sort of smorgasbord of sports, and finally some fighting.

The Kins
Oct 2, 2004


Sector Effector


Good thread, looking forward to seeing more of the non-fighting game stuff!

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


#18: Last Resort






Last Resort is a horizontal shoot em up by SNK released in April of 1992.









The gimmick here is that little pod orbiting the ship in the above screen. You'll pick one up and it can shoot 8 ways. You can also hold A to shoot it out like a cannonball. It's an inelegant system since you aim it with the control stick, same as moving your ship.





Your first boss encounter involves blasting T-2000 in the dick


Besides the pod there's your standard laser/missile/spead type powerups. They all look the part and do good work. The scenery is simple and drab, all muddled grays and cyber ruins. If Last Resort controlled in a more dynamic way I'd think more of it.












#19: Eight Man








Eight Man is a beat em up by Pallas released in June of 1991.









It looks like a sentai thing, is based on a 60's anime, and you fight Predator as the first boss. These are the highlights.







In its favor, I would say the game does a good job of staying fair. The stages themselves are nice and short and rotate between side scrollers, auto scrollers, and boss stages. Maybe fans of the show will get a kick out of it. You could also do better.










#20: The Legend of Success Joe












The Legend of Success Joe is a beat em up / boxing game by Wave released in July of 1991.









Remember the era where licensed games meant trash? Success Joe is based on a manga series. It is the ugliest game we've seen so far and I can't imagine they get much worse. It plays about as well as it looks.

You alternate between sidescrolling beat em up stages and boxing matches. You perform moves by holding the stick in a direction and pressing A - forward A is jab, forward down A is an uppercut, and so on. It feels like garbage. Goodbye, Joe.












#21: Super Baseball 2020






Super Baseball 2020 is a baseball game by Pallas released in September of 1991.









Set 2 years ago, this is a game about robots playing baseball. That should have been the end of it.





Instead, Pallas made some changes to the formula. For example, Cyber Egg Stadium itself - the only place to play ball in the future past. As the name implies the stadium is covered by a huge dome.





See those red squares? Those are "zones". They're littered around the edges of the field. There's no foul line or fence in Super Baseball 2020. Instead, there's one small home run zone centered directly in the back, and a few foul zones in the periphery. Every ball you hit outside those zones is fair play. Even if you knock it into the rafters, it'll roll back onto the field, because of the dome. Do you know how obnoxious it is to absolutely crank it, and then get caught out anyway?







Between innings the umps set up "crackers" on the field. These are mines. They blow up your fielders while they're chasing the ball.

There's also an upgrade system. Making plays earn you cash. You spend the cash on boosts, broken down by player. Your team has 16 players, and each player has 4 possible upgrades. To be fair you don't have to engage with this system. But... why????







Call me old fashioned. There's just a lot going on here for no good reason. Thank God it's all behind us now.



#22: Soccer Brawl






Soccer Brawl is a soccer game by SNK released in February of 1992.







Ah gently caress, they're robots again. This update will not be just awful games but we do have have some ground to cover.









It's a two button game. There's pass and shoot, and you can charge your shot to turn the ball into a bullet that will knock over defenders. On defense, you have a slide, a straight up body tackle, and can shoot your fist out like a rocket by charging. None of this is very fun to use. In fact, it's all quite bad.







I'd like to highlight the passing as perhaps the worst in a video game, period. I'm not even sure what the problem is exactly. Part of it is the perspective, too zoomed in to get a grasp of what's happening on the field. There's nothing to indicate where offscreen characters might be.

You also seem to gain control of the player you're passing to a half second before it gets to them. This leads to you running away from the ball, if it hasn't already been swooped up by an defender you can't see. It's completely frustrating.

Now imagine every other element of the game has been handled with the same care. Super Baseball 2020, at the very least, let you hit the ball. Soccer Brawl is simply tedious.








#23: Robo Army






Robo Army is a beat em up by SNK released in October of 1991.











The antagonist's name is Dr. Fron Jeed. The game takes place in Neo Detroit. You can beat a robot to death with another robot's arm. Sometimes you turn into a car.









It's alright.












#24: Fatal Fury: King of Fighters




Fatal Fury: King of Fighters is a fighting game by SNK released November of 1991.









We're on one now. This is the first game in the franchise, introducing Terry and Andy Bogard, as well as Joe Higashi. Billy and Geese are here too. It came out just a couple months after Street Fighter II. You can see the visual similarity. Fun fact: the designer of this game, Takashi Nishiyama, was the creator of the original Street Fighter.









I've been craving a fighting game since this started and I'm suprised it took this long to get there. Fatal Fury is relatively simple, but the hooks are there. The three playable characters all have a unique style of their own and different moves. It introduces the lane system used in later titles, where stages will have foreground and background layers. You can fight in either and some moves will take you in or out. Here, you can only follow the CPU's lead, and can't change layers on your own. The CPU will use this to their advantage to dodge attacks. It gets a bit annoying.







Special move inputs don't have the same kind of command smoothing we've come to expect in fighting games. Your quarter circles need to be precise. There are some inputs that look unusual compared to modern games; Terry's flash kick is DB > UF + A. The game tells you each character's special moves as you progress, which is a nice touch.

If you can get the first hit and time it when they're getting up, Terry's QCB + A can lock down every fight in the game.







hogan count: 2


It's a tough game. Damage is very bursty and the AI is programmed to suck quarters. Every couple levels you play a mashing bonus round. Backgrounds go through a day/night cycle between rounds:











Unfortunately, the Neo Geo version of Fatal Fury has a crippling drawback. The versus mode will only let you choose from Terry, Andy, or Joe, with no mirror matches. The SNES and Genesis ports let you choose from the AI controlled characters as well. This really kills Fatal Fury, but I can't fault their first bite at the apple for not getting it right.














#25: Football Frenzy






Football Frenzy is a football game by SNK released in January of 1992.











No robots here, thank Christ. It's football. The A button does everything, from sprinting to kicking to tackling. B C and D are used just for tosses. There's very rudimentary commentary! "TEAMNAME has the ball", "It's a touchdown", etc. You pick between run and pass playbooks, and each playbook has about 10 plays to choose from. Defense is chosen automatically.











It's a simple game in the same way as Baseball Stars Professional, and your enjoyment of it will be tempered by your desire for arcadey football. I think football is harder to get right than baseball though. The meatiness is not there and it's on the slow side.










#26: Crossed Swords






Crossed Swords is a first person beat em up with RPG elements by ADK published in July of 1991.











It's almost a spiritual sequel to The Super Spy. You'll recognize the perspective and the combat system right away. It is a very streamlined version, however, and feels a lot tighter to play. The map is gone and stages are autoscrollers. Weapon switching is also out, replaced by a two button system. A button controls your sword and the B button is used for magic.







There's a greater emphasis on picking your time to attack and the game tells you upfront "shield first, then swing". You have a split second to read the enemy's animation and hold up to block high or down to block low. It's not overly complex and the combat flows well.









The XP system is back and remains window dressing. I am a sucker for numbers going up. Enemies now also drop gold, which is spent on a merchant between levels. You buy life recovery items and different weapons. Each weapon has its own magic spell attached. These tend to be projectiles, though one is a shield, if you like having an "oh-poo poo" button.







Happily they've also increased the amount of unique environments and enemies. It's still not hugely diverse and you'll be encountering a lot of palette swaps, but it's an improvement. Given that Crossed Swords takes the Super Spy's novelty and shaves off a lot of the rough edges, Crossed Swords is taking its spot and The Super Spy is dropping a bit lower on the list.










#27: Thrash Rally














Thrash Rally is a racing game by ADK released in December of 1991.









The control stick isn't ever going to be an elegant way to play a driving game. Trash Rally circumvents this by presenting the track in an isometric, Micro Machines-style perspective. It plays out quite nicely. This is an offroad rally game, so you can expect sweet drifting action.









There's two tracks choose from and the African circuit has more and cooler vehicles to choose from. I love the motorbike. The tracks are checkpointed and the time requirement for these are pretty tight. It's a great feeling practicing til you squeak out a new checkpoint. Game's good.



just wanted to point out how hosed this turn is











#28: King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing






King of the Monsters 2 is a beat em up by SNK released in July of 1992.











Somebody really poo poo the bed here. The first King of the Monsters was a wrestling game in Rampage trappings. The sequel reduces it to a simple brawler. Stages begin with a side scrolling section then end with a boss fight. There's now a life bar instead of the pin system. The number of special moves has been cut drastically and require collectibles to use. You don't even get to run around smashing up a city - the game picks a block for you to fight in.









They also cranked the difficulty to 11, which is a problem when nothing is particularly fun. It's the type of sequel that not only fails to add to the formula, but also subtracts from what made the original so special to begin with.

I'll give it the graphics. It's a very nice-looking game.














#29: Sengoku 2






Sengoku 2 is a beat em up by SNK released in February of 1993.









It's awesome. Sengoku was already one of the best games we've seen so far, and this only improves that recipe.

You now start with a sword equipped and it's no longer temporary. Instead, the various powerups add a projectile effect to your attack. You have an overhead and a side swipe which each have different animations for cutting dudes in half. Parries and clashes are still in, and still make that amazing PLINK sound. Try parrying a bullet.











Your different forms are unlocked from the get go and they've all gotten buffed and feel more individual. The big guy has a pole for some range. The ninja does flips and has a quick strike. They even made the dog viable by giving it a roundhouse kick.











The real world/spirit realm warps also make a return. They added time travel chicanery so now each stage is more visually distinct. You'll be exploring a medieval hamlet, an underground station circa 1942, a contemporary downtown. Everything looks denser, more animated, more beautiful.

You owe it to yourself to play Sengoku 2.


















#30: Baseball Stars 2






Baseball Stars 2 is a baseball game by SNK released in April of 1992.









Screenshots can't possibly do it justice. This game is a looker. There's a level of animation that we haven't seen before in a Neo Geo game; it just seems lively. Players chew and spit, the crowd pulsates, bats get broken in half. Every time you hit the ball a small strip at the bottom shows your player's face as they make a run for it. It zooms seamlessly in and out of the action. Sprites are huge, detailed, and colorful. Look up a video. The presentation here is gorgeous.











It fixes my biggest complaint about the way Baseball Stars Professional played: the fielding. You pick a league, "Fighting" (easy) or "Exciting" (hard) before you select a team. In Fighting, your fielders will automatically move into position to grab an easy pop fly. It's exactly what I wanted.

Each team comes with a strength, such as batting, and each player has some bonuses as well, visible on the screen when they walk up to bat. It's hard to tell how much these really matter exactly but I like that they tried to add some differentiation between them. You can also press D to power up your batter a limited amount of times per game, perfect for when you have the bases juiced. Other than that this is still arcade baseball. The hits feel monstrous.

I think this is an essential Neo Geo game, regardless of what you think of real life baseball. It is an incredible treat to watch and play. It's also a signal that developers were starting to take advantage of the Neo Geo hardware to do things that other platforms couldn't. Baseball Stars Professional is going to take a slight dip in the rankings by virtue of this game being a complete upgrade.












#31: 3 Count Bout








3 Count Bout is a wrestling game by SNK released in March of 1993.











This is the first game we're looking at to break 100 megabits in game size. The 100 Mega Shock splash screen was SNK's way of advertising this. You can see all this space went straight to the art assets. We're getting to a level of detail and animation quality characteristic of Neo Geo games that has not been surpassed in pixel graphics. Just look at the models and the backgrounds.











You have punch and kick buttons, and each fighter has a few special moves. Grappling is done automatically when the wrestlers are close together. A bar appears on the bottom of the screen for a half second and you mash A as hard you can. Hopefully you mash better than them, and you do a wrestling move by holding a direction and pressing A or B. Once you've drained your opponent's life bar you can pin them once they're knocked over.









3 Count Bout was famous in its day for the level of difficulty. Matches are fast and don't always seem like you're impacting the outcome. The mashing system for grappling means you will almost certainly get to a point where you simply can't out-grapple the CPU. And this is my problem with it - you will lose quite often and it doesn't always feel fair. This isn't to say I wasn't having fun with it. I played it quite a bit more than most other games so far, trying to unravel it. I think it ends up being an above-average game, but not truly excellent.






#32: Art of Fighting
















Art of Fighting is a fighting game by SNK released in September of 1992.







Right off the bat, Art of Fighting corrects Fatal Fury's biggest misstep by allowing you to play as any of the characters in versus. It's a three button fighter - A is weak punch, B is weak kick, pressing C after A or B does the strong version of each, and D is taunt. This game introduces the concept of a meter. In this case, your special moves require a certain amount of your meter to perform. You start each round with a full meter and as it drains you can refill it by holding A or B. You character assumes a power posture and does a Dragon Ball cry as their meter fills. Taunting your opponent will knock a chunk off their meter as well. It's obnoxious and I love it. Some characters have a throw and some have a wall jump.









The fighting is medium. The animations aren't high enough quality to always tell what's going to hit. Special attacks seem very powerful and can end a round in 4 or 5 hits. The strong attacks are unwieldy to use, making it hard to string a combo together. The story mode seems very involved for a fighting game of this era. There's a bunch of cutscenes, a very silly cliffhanger, and a bonus round every couple stages. Winning the bonus round gives you a small bonus to life, your meter, or can even grant you a super-type attack.











Comparing this to Fatal Fury it's about the same graphically, which means SF2 level. The backgrounds are mostly static. The faces of the fighters get more and more disfigured as they take more hits which is a nice touch. It loses out to Fatal Fury in terms of specials - most of them look and perform the same. It does win overall by virtue of having access to the full roster in versus.

Let's end this with some win quotes.










#33: Samurai Shodown










Samurai Shodown is a fighting game by SNK released in July of 1993.











This was one of the first games to solidify modern fighting game conventions, and a jewel in the Neo Geo's crown. Cabinets were everywhere. It has an unmatched sense of style. It's eyecandy. It's a bloody mess. The character list is diverse and each one feels different.







A and B are light and medium weapon attacks, and pressing them together is fierce. C and D are the same for kicks. I personally prefer this system to 6 button fighters. Each character has their own unique weapon. Fighters can clash and lose their weapon, requiring them to pick them up from the battlefield. Without your weapon your blocks incur chip damage. Each fighter has a couple special moves and throws. Throw commands aren't over complicated like some other fighting games, usually a direction and medium kick/punch. It also seems like there's some kind of input smoothing here, as quarter circles and dragon punches come out consistently.







The pace of the fights is very deliberate, with weight behind moves. There's even a cinematic slowdown when hits land. Guarding with your weapon is a perfect guard, so picking your moment is important and why the easy throws are so nice to have. You have a meter at the bottom that fills as you take damage and you do more damage once it's maxed. It's an elegant comeback system. The projectiles tend to be slow moving and there's no supers, meaning the fundamentals matter most.







I can't say for sure that this game introduced zooming instead of scrolling. It's the first game on the list I noticed it on. The Neo Geo had hardware that could scale in a different way than others, so backgrounds will zoom in and out smoothly depending on where the action is. The backgrounds themselves are thematic and have some interactable elements. A bamboo shoot gets cut in half, a chandelier smashed. It's an example of the gravity of the game. Very big brain design.

Samurai Shodown is a hell of a game. Here's some win quotes and a healthy amount of Haohmaru.
















---

The current ranking of Neo Geo games:

S-tier
1. Samurai Shodown
2. Sengoku 2
3. Baseball Stars 2
4. Magician Lord
5. Sengoku

A-tier
6. Blue's Journey
7. Burning Fight
8. Crossed Swords
9. King of the Monsters

B-tier
10. Fatal Fury: King of Fighters
11. Art of Fighting
12. 3 Count Bout
13. Mutation Nation
14. Thrash Rally
15. The Super Spy
16. Baseball Stars Professional

C-tier
17. Football Frenzy
18. NAM-1975
19. Last Resort
20. Alpha Mission 2
21. Cyber-lip
22. Robo Army
23. Ghost Pilots
24. Eight Man

D-tier
25. League Bowling
26. King of the Monsters 2
27. Riding Hero
28. Puzzled
29. Super Baseball 2020

F-tier
30. Ninja Combat
31. Soccer Brawl
32. The Legend of Success Joe
33. Top Player's Golf

Coming next update: a whole lot of sequels.

loopsheloop fucked around with this message at 14:00 on Jan 23, 2022

beer gas canister
Oct 30, 2007

W E L C O M E T O M Y C U S T O M T I T L E ! ! !


Plaster Town Cop

this thread is good and i'm going to put some of these on my rg351p

bloodysabbath
May 1, 2004

OH NO!


This is an amazing all time banger of a thread OP.

That said if Blazing Star isnít S-tier Iíll fuckin fight you.

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


Rest assured, all games will end up in their rightful place :haibrow:

I am excited to get to a truly great shmup, there's gotta be at least one

Good soup!
Nov 1, 2010



The Super Spy loving rules

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


#34: Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy










Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy is an action platformer by SNK released in June of 1994.









You have a choice between four stages to start in. There is a foreground / background lane system similar to Fatal Fury. You can press C to jump between them as long as there's room for your character to land. This is the platforming conceit of the game. It's less vertical exploration and more managing your lane and hopping between them to avoid hazards.

You can punch combo by tapping A, or hold it to shoot out a big stretchy arm. This will pick up baddies and throw them at other foes. You'll also be picking up environmental objects like barrels and dropped items such as limited use guns. The levels are packed with collectibles for points and extra game time. There's even a little punchy tank you get to putter around sometime, Metal Slug-esque.













It's an interesting game. Despite being earlier in the production order this didn't come out until 1994. The spritework is exquisite. You can tell the hardware was being pushed by the time this came around. I wish the stretchy arm was a bit easier to use. It can be difficult to get it do what you want it to when things get hectic. It's also on the harder side, with plenty of kill-you things to watch out for. I really appreciated how Blue's Journey was a more casual romp, and this game could use some of its care-free attitude. It's not terrible, just not as spectacular as the art would lead you to believe.









#35: Fatal Fury 2













Fatal Fury 2 is a fighting game by SNK released in December of 1992.









You can tell immediately the influence Street Fighter 2 had on this game, and really the entire fighting market. The story mode has been excised and replaced with a "battles around the world" single player campaign. I understand why but I do miss the goofy cutscenes and melodrama. The pace of fights has been increased. Damage is much less bursty and special moves have been toned down. The 3 button system has been replaced with weaks on A and B and strongs on C and D. The game retains the unique lane system and now allows you to change between them at any time, not just in response to what your opponent is doing. You can also now choose any character in versus instead of the 3 story protagonists.











It feels more like a modern fighting game now. Inputs are easier to perform and use motions we're more familar with, like quarter circles and dragon punches. They added special super moves called desperation attacks. You can only use these once your life bar is flashing low, and they do a huge chunk - something like 30%. The visuals got a nice bump. Backgrounds still have the day/night cycle per round.









Overall, it's a great update to Fatal Fury. It fixes the versus mode and generally feels better to play. It's still not my ideal of a fighting game. Samurai Shodown has a harmony between design, gameplay, and presentation that isn't reflected here. It might not be fair to compare to one of the greatest of all time, however. Fatal Fury 2 is a great game. It's just not a perfect one.







#36: Andro Dunos







Andro Dunos is a hortizonal shoot em up by Visco released in June of 1992.











Your ship has 4 different shot types you can switch between at will, a la Gradius. There's the standard bullet, a forward and back shot, a laser, and a spread type. You pick up powerups to add other projectiles to your loadout like missiles. Each powerup has 4 levels to increase and they drop pretty frequently. You can also charge up a super shot at the cost of 1 level of upgrades.









It's fine. It gets hectic and eschews closer to a bullet-hell philosophy than the other shooters we've seen so far. I do like the feeling of having a bunch of upgrades and unleashing Hell with every press. It's a very basic game for fans of the genre.











#37: Ninja Commando


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Ninja Commando is a vertical run n gun by ADK released in May of 1992.













It's the return of Joe the ninja from Ninja Combat! ADK has changed the game entirely from a bad beat em up to a mediocre run n gun. You have a choice between one of three playable characters with different shot types. A shoots, B does a sort of dodge flip, and C is "ninja arts" (bomb). As you jam on the shoot button, your shot gets bigger and better until you stop mashing. Always be mashing.













There's some kind of time travel thing going on. This keeps the areas and enemies looking different but overall it's an ugly looking game. Your character keeps a running commentary in the bottom left of the screen while you play. It's not great, but Ninja Commando is certainly better than Ninja Combat.













#38: Viewpoint







Viewpoint is an isometric shoot em up by Sammy released in November of 1992.









It's not complicated. A shoots, hold for a charge shot, and B bombs. There's one type of powerup that gives you extra shots and three different kinds of bombs. What makes this worth the experience is just how cool everything looks.











IMO, it's awesome. Maybe I'm a sucker for isometric stuff. It's very of the era. The levels each have different themes. You'll be running around in a mech factory, an underwater reef, a garden fighting insects.









the original Giant Enemy Crab


Make sure you play with the volume on, the soundtrack is appropriately awesome too. It's funky! They squeezed a lot of brass sounds into it.

There's not much to say about the game itself, since it is so simple. It's pleasantly bland, like The Sims. I wish the bosses weren't so spongey. If you had to pick one Neo Geo game to take home, it wouldn't be Viewpoint. But we don't live in that kind of time now, and it is a lovely experience.











#39: Super Sidekicks











Super Sidekicks is a soccer game by SNK released in December of 1992.









There's two buttons, shoot/pass on offense and slide/tackle on defense. It doesn't control very well. A player needs to rotate their entire body before they start running in a different direction, not quite tank controls but in a similar vein. It's hard to explain why that doesn't feel right other than it sucks momentum out of what should be a fast-paced arcadey sports title. The pass is also egregious - you can only pass to one set player indicated by the arrow under whoever you're controlling. This makes it hard to move the ball with any distance, and can even go backwards or straight at a defender. Finally, the game autoswitches who you're controlling and there's no manual switch. It tries to keep you near the ball; not always successfully. This is frustrating. You'll be running, the game auto switches, and now you're running in the wrong direction.











In its favor, the game is pretty lax with defensive penalties. You can be generous with the tackles. It looks alright, not quite Baseball Stars 2 but decent enough. I just can't get over how it plays. It's obvious they were still figuring things out at this point.













#40: World Heroes











World Heroes is a fighting game by ADK released in July of 1992.









This is about as off-brand as a game can get. It's Street Fighter 2 through a Magic Eye. It looks like a big wet rear end.









Things I like: there is a Hogan-like named Muscle Power. Jeanne has a nice little loop of DF+A into D+A. One guy has big hands and feet. They're very very big.







hogan-like count: 3


Of all the fighters on a system known for them, why would you pick this one?







#41: King of Fighters 94



















King of Fighters 94 is a fighting game by SNK released in August of 1994.









King of Fighters began life as a sidescrolling beat em up featuring characters from Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury. At some point it became much more than that. The roster idea was kept and retooled into a 3-man team battler. They added some original characters as well as the characters from Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier. We're looking at the birth of both the crossover concept and team battles in fighting games. All the Marvels of the world owe it to KOF.









It's a light/light/heavy/heavy system with button combos to charge meter and for a dodge move. There's 8 teams with 3 fighters each, for a total of 18 characters. Teams have set characters and you can swap the order they appear in, but not the characters on the team. There's also no tagging out during fights. Supers can be performed with either a full bar or when the life bar is flashing. The inputs for these can be a bit esoteric. The AES version of this game also has a 1-on-1 mode with 3 rounds like a more traditional fighter.









You can tell this is a product of some love; production value is unprecendented here. Sprites have millions of frames of craftsman animation. The soundtrack has a similar amount of attention. I sat on the attract/title screen just listening to the music. [url="https:////www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnz3HOWFlHU"]There's a version of the Psycho Soldier theme for christs sakes.[/url] And now the backgrounds are starting to match the level of detail afforded to the characters.









KOF is a venerable franchise at this point and everyone knows it's good. I, personally, didn't know just how far back the legacy went. It's pretty cool having played through Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting and now getting to this point and recognizing all the references to those games. This is a classic.







#42: Art of Fighting 2













Art of Fighting 2 is a fighting game by SNK released in February of 1994.










It adds the conventional four button control scheme and four more characters to the roster, bringing the total to 12. The pace of the game has also been brought in line with modern fighting games. It retains the limited meter for special moves from the first. You can still charge it and taunt to drain your opponent's.









It's not really fair to compare this to Fatal Fury 2 since there was a year and some change between them. That said... I like Art of Fighting 2 more than Fatal Fury 2. You can see it's a more advanced looking game. The art is colorful and intricate. It also feels better to play. Attacks combo into themselves in a smooth, clean way. The meter system lends some thoughtfulness to when and where to use your specials; it's nice. Less special spam leads to more, y'know, fighting.











They cut out the story beats from the first game. Instead, each fight opens with some goofy banter that's different for each combination of characters. It's cute but only shows up in single player. Would've been nice to see it in versus too.

Art of Fighting isn't a name-brand the way Fatal Fury is, so I was quite pleasantly suprised by Art of Fighting 2. It's a high quality title and one I'll be revisiting.























#43: World Heroes 2











World Heroes 2 is a fighting game by ADK released in April of 1993.











It's amazing World Heroes got a sequel. That said, they have put more time into this game than they did the previous. The pixel work is better on a technical level, although the art design itself still leaves something to be desired. All your favorites are back with a few new characters in the mix. The move list has been expanded and the game runs at greater than 20 FPS now. It's still a three button fighter which is beginning to feel primitive. It's lacking flow in the fighting.













I'm bagging on it but I could totally see this being your jam if it's all you had back in the day. It is playable. The problem is the fighting library on the Neo Geo is so stacked. That makes this way below average for the system. It got ported around to all kinds of consoles, so there was a market for this somewhere.













#44: Fatal Fury Special













Fatal Fury Special is a fighting game by SNK released in September of 1993.









Released 10 months after Fatal Fury 2, it is essentially a roster update. It adds the bosses of FF2, a few from the first game, and Ryo from Art of Fighting as a secret character, bringing the versus list to 15 playable. There's nothing wrong with more of a good thing. The presence of Ryo and the game's popularity would inspire the direction of King of Fighters.













#45: Savage Reign

















Savage Reign is a fighting game by SNK released in April of 1995.











It's a three button fighter, punch/kick/weapon attack. Each character has a different weapon. The characters have a few weapon specials and you can also use them to release a projectile at no cost. There's foreground and background layers similar to Fatal Fury. Your projectiles can travel between layers here. If you love projectile spam, this is the game for you.













It's all very lush looking. Kudos to SNKs art department, who were cranking out things like this on a tight timetable. As a fighting game, it's lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. The setting, the characters, the moves... There's nothing cohesive about it. The lane jumping and spam gets repetitive for me. It's not a horrible game by any means, just not a standout.



















#46: Fight Fever







Fight Fever is a fighting game by Viccom released in June of 1994.













You can tell what kind of game it is straight away. You pick one of 8 worldly fighters and duke it out on the streets. Each character has a couple special moves to perform. This list being set by production order can lead to some anachronisms, but this did come out in '94, past Fatal Fury Special. It must have felt dated even then. There's a fidelity missing to the art and the game itself. And there's nothing really interesting about it. It's a plain oats game.











#47: Super Sidekicks 2: The World Championship











Super Sidekicks 2 is a soccer game by SNK released in April of 1994.











This might the greatest sequel of all time. The first Super Sidekicks was a bad game. This is one of the best titles on the Neo Geo. The art has gotten a substantial upgrade, and now everything is beautiful and lively. The players in particular have an astonishing level of expressiveness on the field. It verges on rotoscoped. Big graphical overlay accompany every event, from shots, to penalties and goals. If you think the screenshots look dull, you have to see it in motion.















Gone are the controls woes of the first game. You now have lob kicks, can pass to anybody, and can change players with C. Your character moves the way you're holding the joystick without the need to turn around. Defensively it still plays fast and loose with penalties, so you can get some action going even when you don't have possession. You don't even need to knock your opponent out to take the ball; running over the ball while another player has it will steal automatically. This one feature makes the game an absolute blast in action. It keeps possessions short and sweet and maximizes your passing ability.











While carrying the ball you have two options for shooting, a standard shot when close to the goal and a "Chance" shot when a little further off. The perspective switches to a behind the back angle and you choose a direction to send it. Penalty kicks work in the same way. Just a little diversity makes such a difference in how a sports game plays out. There are 48 teams to choose from who each have some difference in their stat line. I'm not sure how much it matters but I love the choice offered.











This isn't a game where I can make a list of compelling features. It's an arcade soccer game and it feels loving fantastic. It's fun in every way it possibly could be. Anyone with access to the Neo Geo library should play Super Sidekicks 2 or one of its sequels.











---

The current ranking of Neo Geo games:

S-tier
1. Samurai Shodown
2. King of Fighters 94
3. Super Sidekicks 2
4. Sengoku 2
5. Baseball Stars 2
6. Magician Lord
7. Sengoku

A-tier
8. Art of Fighting 2
9. Blue's Journey
10. Fatal Fury Special
11. Fatal Fury 2
12. Burning Fight
13. Crossed Swords
14. King of the Monsters

B-tier
15. Fatal Fury: King of Fighters
16. Art of Fighting
17. 3 Count Bout
18. Mutation Nation
19. Thrash Rally
20. The Super Spy
21. Viewpoint
22. Baseball Stars Professional

C-tier
23. Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy
24. Football Frenzy
25. Savage Reign
26. NAM-1975
27. Andro Dunos
28. Last Resort
29. Alpha Mission 2
30. Cyber-lip
31. Robo Army

D-tier
32. Super Sidekicks
33. Ghost Pilots
34. Eight Man
35. League Bowling
36. World Heroes 2
37. Ninja Commando
38. King of the Monsters 2
39. Riding Hero
40. Puzzled
41. Fight Fever
42. Super Baseball 2020

F-tier
43. World Heroes
44. Ninja Combat
45. Soccer Brawl
46. The Legend of Success Joe
47. Top Player's Golf

Coming next update: less fighting, more jamming.

Kid Fenris
Jan 22, 2004

If someone is reading this...
I must have failed.

This is a cool thread, but putting Super Baseball 2020 down in the same tier as Riding Hero is some bullshit.

quote:

See those red squares? Those are "zones". They're littered around the edges of the field. There's no foul line or fence in Super Baseball 2020. Instead, there's one small home run zone centered directly in the back, and a few foul zones in the periphery. Every ball you hit outside those zones is fair play. Even if you knock it into the rafters, it'll roll back onto the field, because of the dome. Do you know how obnoxious it is to absolutely crank it, and then get caught out anyway?

Yeah, that doesn't actually happen, because any ball you blast into the stands counts the same as a grounder once it rolls back on to the field. The other team can't catch you out unless they nab the ball before it hits an object. And the power-up system is pretty cool.

There are some problems with the mechanics: the lack of an infield fly rule, and the way a fielder's AI will sometimes make them chase a ball too far before switching to another player. But it's a darn fun game with a lot of neat ideas that aren't found anywhere else.

It's also a disservice to call Last Resort "drab." SNK was imitating Irem's densely detailed arcade games, and there's a lot of quality work in the backgrounds and designs, all well before ex-Irem folk would come aboard and make Metal Slug for SNK. The first stage's Neo Tokyo backdrop is still amazing.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


Kid Fenris posted:

It's also a disservice to call Last Resort "drab." SNK was imitating Irem's densely detailed arcade games, and there's a lot of quality work in the backgrounds and designs, all well before ex-Irem folk would come aboard and make Metal Slug for SNK. The first stage's Neo Tokyo backdrop is still amazing.

I agree Last Resort's visuals are beautiful.
It was made by some ex Irem employees who were rumoured to be frustrated with Irem as far as I understand it. It's a stunning looking game, to me anyway.
This thread though is insanely cool, and I have read it all, it's wonderful to read, and will really help me navigate the seemingly endless fighting games :v:

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010



Drab was meant as a reflection on the game's palette, not necessarily the quality of the art itself. It would be awesome to have more historical context or dev history for the writeups instead of adverby rambling on, I just haven't found a source for that kinda thing outside the odd sentence on the Fandom site.

Super Baseball 2020 tho? Got nothing for it. The design decisions are bizarre. Fielding is tough because your guys are offscreen while the ball is flying? gently caress you, we're gonna lay mines on the field so you blow up while controlling the player that you can't see. Out of the park runs are cool? gently caress you, you gotta crank it into our arbitrary zone directly into the middle of the outfield to get em. It's in D tier not F specifically because I could see someone learning all the systems and thinking it's interesting. But I bounced off it hard.


Yeah there's a bunch of cool stuff on this thing! I do like all the fighting games a lot, in spite of a complete lack of skill.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


loopsheloop posted:

Drab was meant as a reflection on the game's palette, not necessarily the quality of the art itself. It would be awesome to have more historical context or dev history for the writeups instead of adverby rambling on, I just haven't found a source for that kinda thing outside the odd sentence on the Fandom site.

You're pretty spot on, it's just the word drab is usually used as an insult / down point. It's a good descriptor though I think, the colour pallet was intentionally limited.
My recollection is that some of the R Type team didn't like direction R Type Leo was taking, which was colourful, easier and the force weapon was totally changed, so they splintered off from Irem and helped make Last Resort. It's a cloudy mystery like most things back then though.
Look at stuff like In The Hunt as well, which came out a year after Last Resort, it's again a really similar style

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8YRUlesVec

I finds this story really interesting

quote:

The developers deny the popular rumour Irem employees went to work to Aicom (the Viewpoint/Pulstar guys) to make Pulstar. Infact, itís stated they ďdidnít take kindlyĒ to the game and saw it as rip-off made to fill the void of Iremís death. Top Hunter and Last Resort are the actual Neo Geo games to have been made by former Irem employees.

https://www.retrogameboards.com/t/a-very-detailled-look-at-the-history-of-metal-slug-in-the-hunt-and-gunforce-2/620

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010



Thanks for this, it's a cool read and I love that there's a link between Moon Patrol (one of my favorite arcade games) and Metal Slug

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

The NEO GEO is insanely loving awesome. I remember being so blown away by it when it first came out, but it wasn't til ages later that I could afford to have one. It's where the Neo in my online name comes from.

This is a system has a really high ratio of games that grow up with you imo. Like as an adult you can really appreciate the aesthetic of some of them and how focused their look and feel is. Like Last Resort borrows quite a bit from Akira visually and even with some of its music. But they spin it off into its own unique thing very effectively. Ownage soundtrack too. The way Art of Fighting was a game made in 1993 that takes place in the early 80s and has more of a resemblance to stuff like Sonny Chiba's The Street Fighter than it does to more current games. I also really appreciate how many of the locations in SNK's fighters that take place today are real places. I fuckin' love SNK.





loopsheloop posted:


thanks to the Neo Geo, Marlon Brando will live forever
Coming next update: a sort of smorgasbord of sports, and finally some fighting.

This and some folks in later cutscenes are actually traced from Full Metal Jacket. :D



loopsheloop posted:

Drab was meant as a reflection on the game's palette, not necessarily the quality of the art itself. It would be awesome to have more historical context or dev history for the writeups instead of adverby rambling on, I just haven't found a source for that kinda thing outside the odd sentence on the Fandom site.


Regarding Last Resort/NEOGEO connection, at least a few sprite artist/animator from Irem worked on Last Resort, and those same folks[/url did the graphics for KOF '94, but you can tell that just from the art style - there's a drastic change to it in '96. Interestingly KOF'94's new protagonist, Kyo Kusanagi himself, was way more of an Akira style biker in his earlier designs, also check out his background :O

[url]https://twitter.com/SpinningSkull/status/1363630162559062019


Pulstar is a game I deeply love (and Harumi Fujita has said it's her favorite of the soundtracks she's done) but you can tell it wasn't really an Irem-folks game in some ways, because it's more of a remake sorta thing and the artstyle is very different - you can tell from KOF how the Irem people weren't around anymore circa by the time KOF '95 was out. It is an incredibly gorgeous game though, it has traditional sprite/art backgrounds and foreground elements at points, pre-rendered sprites, very colorful effects, such a great look all around.


Either way I think drab is a good way to design Last Resort's graphics even in the fiery factory level. It's a genuinely successfully bleak looking (and often sounding) game and I love that.
Check out the game's endings too, it's cool to me that it and Cyber-Lip and Super Spy and NAM'75 have these downer "you won, but...." endings.



I love all their background cameos too that stuff really helped sell you on the stories in the fighting games, like even early on, from left to right,






This has been an awesome thread to read through, it's really cool to see your reactions here. Always good to see Art of Fighting 2 and Sengoku 2 appreciation. The old Samurai Shodown games are so drat cool, they put a ton of thought into the character designs too not just with how they look and fight but the voice acting is way above average, the backgrounds and music for each had a lot of thought put into them too in really cool ways.


Sengoku, drat. So many awesome graphics and songs, so little enemy variety and it gets worse with each sequel. :/ I still love'em though. In Sengoku 1 if you're unarmed, you can catch and break an enemy's sword which makes them freak out and changes all of their attacks. :black101:


I have so many things I want to say about these games all the time sorry.

Neo Rasa fucked around with this message at 03:06 on Feb 3, 2022

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


Neo Rasa posted:

This and some folks in later cutscenes are actually traced from Full Metal Jacket. :D

Oh is that supposed to be Pvt Pyle? I saw fat baby and went Brando :v:

Yeah, loving this so far. It's great for how I want to play games now - 20 minutes at a time, no hour long tutorials. I'm gaining a greater appreciation for arcade games in general

And if you like talking NEO GEO, :justpost:

What do you think of Three Count Bout? I had a hard time evaluating it

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

loopsheloop posted:

What do you think of Three Count Bout? I had a hard time evaluating it

It's a game I want to love for the presentation and off-brand roster, but I have to be real - I just cannot mash the A button fast enough for that game later on lol. I won't act like I didn't have fun whenever I played it, but I haven't played it for years when the NEOGEO already has King of the Monsters on it.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


Neo Rasa posted:

The NEO GEO is insanely loving awesome...

I used to have (and this is a genuine regret) a 2 player, 6 button JAMMA cabinet with a load of games, and a Neo Geo 4 slot loader.
The machine came straight out of an arcade, so coin operation still intact.
My fav memories is playing Blazing Star on that, all original hardware.
I don't do regrets, but I leant the machine to someone for a grand opening of their recording studio, the place flooded overnight and totalled my machine. Still gutted about that as it was my perfect machine. I had CPS2 Capcom Vs Marvel, Tekken, Streetfighter, all original boards, man, it sill hurts...

bloodysabbath
May 1, 2004

OH NO!


There are three things I check on a daily basis on the internet: my portfolio, whether or not ringside collectibles has any new AEW/NJPW preorders, and this thread.

My only real memories of Neo Geo growing up are, while waiting for those personal pan pizzas you used to get at Pizza Hut for Book It, there was a big red cab that had Samurai Shodown on it. I donít think I played it more than a handful of times but even then I think I realized just how loving cool it looked.

I wasnít much of an arcade gamer growing up but I am a loving weeb so, after two months in Japan, I bought an Astro City cab that, while in fabulous condition overall, unfortunately has splice job wiring that basically in its current state prohibits any power being supplied via JAMMA. This is a problem that can eventually be solved with enough time and money, but needless to say my options for game boards/multi carts/mini pc stuff are limited. I finally found a multigame with 1) JAMMA connector, 2) CGA support, and 3) a separate DC input.

When I did, I found that the Neo Geo stuff gets the most play. I think thereís a reason for this, in that most (not all) but most games from this era donít hold up well. Sure, the 1st party Nintendo and Sega stuff largely did age well, and admittedly the Neo Geo doesnít have any extended play titles or RPGs. But the best way I can put it is that a large portion of Neo Geo games look and play the way your brainís childhood rose colored glasses ďrememberĒ games from the 90s. Iím also of the mind that these games need the spectacle of being played on a giant, impractical, gently caress off arcade cabinet with a 100 pound CRT in it in order to get the full effect, especially the massive buttons and a clicky joystick. Itís not the same with a gamepad or, god help you, touch controls.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


bloodysabbath posted:

But the best way I can put it is that a large portion of Neo Geo games look and play the way your brainís childhood rose colored glasses ďrememberĒ games from the 90s.

I feel exactly the same way.
The period where Sega's super scaler stuff was at it's ultimate peak, Neo Geo and Capcom's CPS2 stuff was out is the absolute pinnacle for me. I love the period after too when 3D started kicking it, but that period was when 2D artistry was still the focus, and where most of the most beautiful / impressive sprite stuff was churned out.

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

peter gabriel posted:

I used to have (and this is a genuine regret) a 2 player, 6 button JAMMA cabinet with a load of games, and a Neo Geo 4 slot loader.
The machine came straight out of an arcade, so coin operation still intact.
My fav memories is playing Blazing Star on that, all original hardware.
I don't do regrets, but I leant the machine to someone for a grand opening of their recording studio, the place flooded overnight and totalled my machine. Still gutted about that as it was my perfect machine. I had CPS2 Capcom Vs Marvel, Tekken, Streetfighter, all original boards, man, it sill hurts...

That suuuucks. :( The Song of Life. :(



peter gabriel posted:

I feel exactly the same way.
The period where Sega's super scaler stuff was at it's ultimate peak, Neo Geo and Capcom's CPS2 stuff was out is the absolute pinnacle for me. I love the period after too when 3D started kicking it, but that period was when 2D artistry was still the focus, and where most of the most beautiful / impressive sprite stuff was churned out.


bloodysabbath posted:

But the best way I can put it is that a large portion of Neo Geo games look and play the way your brainís childhood rose colored glasses ďrememberĒ games from the 90s. Iím also of the mind that these games need the spectacle of being played on a giant, impractical, gently caress off arcade cabinet with a 100 pound CRT in it in order to get the full effect, especially the massive buttons and a clicky joystick. Itís not the same with a gamepad or, god help you, touch controls.

There's a maturity to the music composition and art in a lot of SNK's games that many other arcade games of the time simply didn't have that I think helps them hold up really well. Like even the character's themes and move sets have good story continuity with where the characters are at which is really impressive to me for arcade games from the 90s. I feel like that stuff can be felt more as an adult even if one isn't digging deep into the lore or the drama CDs or whatever because even without that you can still perceive the effort.


Speaking of effort and NEO GEO games, obligatory:

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

30 years now, this has to be the longest run for a single video game character having the same VA I would think


https://twitter.com/UltimaShadowX/status/1490391920216096774

Jazerus
May 24, 2011




love that neo geo man

i've only really played the fighting games but they're bangers from top to bottom. except art of fighting 2, which is so pretty but so, so clunky. gotta admit i've never played it on an actual cabinet tho so maybe you can actually do yuri's desperation move on the original stick?? the detection for the more complicated special inputs is incredibly janky on a pad. i just don't see how samsho and kof94 came out in such close proximity to aof2 while having exponentially better input detection. i'm willing to forgive like, aof1 and fatal fury for being stiff, because they basically are like a transition fossil; "what would sf2 have been like if it hadn't departed so radically from sf1?" but aof2...i dunno. it feels like it just needed to be playtested for another month to make it a real classic

Jazerus fucked around with this message at 04:03 on Feb 7, 2022

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

Jazerus posted:

love that neo geo man

i've only really played the fighting games but they're bangers from top to bottom. except art of fighting 2, which is so pretty but so, so clunky. gotta admit i've never played it on an actual cabinet tho so maybe you can actually do yuri's desperation move on the original stick?? the detection for the more complicated special inputs is incredibly janky on a pad. i just don't see how samsho and kof94 came out in such close proximity to aof2 while having exponentially better input detection. i'm willing to forgive like, aof1 and fatal fury for being stiff, because they basically are like a transition fossil; "what would sf2 have been like if it hadn't departed so radically from sf1?" but aof2...i dunno. it feels like it just needed to be playtested for another month to make it a real classic

I always wished there was an Art of Fighting 4 to fully refine what they had going on in either 3 or 2. I really liked the more movie-inspired lower stakes martial arts movie feel of those games and I think even today that would be a unique thing for a fighting game. Especially now with way more people playing in consoles than ever play in arcades and those recent MK games came out I think SNK dropping a fighting game with some heavy story mode stuff would go over really well.



I always wished we got one more KOF on the NEO GEO also. There's a couple of tracks and backgrounds I like a lot in KOF 2001 and 2002, but 2003 feels like they were really starting to hone in the feel they were going for with 01 and 02's backgrounds and music.


The soundtrack to 2003 though, listen to the AOF and Ikari team themes, they HAD to have accidentally mixed those two up between the two teams, I'll never be convinced otherwise no matter what. There's a cleanness to the music and backgrounds in 2003 that's really impressive imo.

Neo Rasa fucked around with this message at 04:47 on Feb 7, 2022

PaletteSwappedNinja
Jun 3, 2008

One Nation, Under God.

Neo Rasa posted:

30 years now, this has to be the longest run for a single video game character having the same VA I would think


https://twitter.com/UltimaShadowX/status/1490391920216096774

I was going to suggest Scorpion from MK but looking it up, AOF came out in Japan around two weeks before MK came out in the US.

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


Jazerus posted:

the detection for the more complicated special inputs is incredibly janky on a pad

I really think a stick is required for most of these games. It adds so much to the experience. Didn't have an issue with any of AOF2's supers; I'm on Fatal Fury 3 right now and I'm having way more problems with it.

loopsheloop fucked around with this message at 14:41 on Feb 7, 2022

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

FF3's controls are very strange feeling. They added so much animation and all of the feint moves and different closeup/combo moves for each character but almost none of it feels as snappy as Fatal Fury Special once you go beyond the basic fireball motions. Like I love what they have going on it but you can tell it needed some refinement. RBFF1 is cool but I kind of wish they kept or made ringout version of the previous game's backgrounds too.

I have to agree though a lot of those games just play way more smoothly with a stick.

Then some of their games go in the opposite direction like KOF '97 when you start out you'll probably be throwing out tons of special moves and supers by mistake because it's so loose.


Difficulty-wise if you're not playing with a friend, IIRC AoF2 is one of the games where it's actually easier if you set the difficulty higher. Because the computer reads and responds to your inputs either way but as you set it higher it makes it stupid aggressive enough that you can actually punish it.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


I've been reading loads of the SF2, Art Of Fighting (as well as super scaler stuff, yes!) etc developer interviews here:
https://shmuplations.com/archive/

And it's blown my mind, to me these were just games that sort of plopped out of Japan with no rhyme or reason, so it's just wonderful to me reading how much the game concepts, stories and gameplay actually meant to the people that made them. It really humanized the games in a new way to me

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


peter gabriel posted:

I've been reading loads of the SF2, Art Of Fighting (as well as super scaler stuff, yes!) etc developer interviews here:
https://shmuplations.com/archive/

And it's blown my mind, to me these were just games that sort of plopped out of Japan with no rhyme or reason, so it's just wonderful to me reading how much the game concepts, stories and gameplay actually meant to the people that made them. It really humanized the games in a new way to me

quote:

Originally, we planned to make Lucky Grauber a black man who was obsessed with Japanese culture, but as his design got updated and we added his American clothes and appearance, it no longer made sense for him to be a Japanophile, so we dropped the idea.

:eyepop:

Yeah, I love devs having a motivation for absolutely everything. The Metal Slug interview is great for that

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

peter gabriel posted:

I've been reading loads of the SF2, Art Of Fighting (as well as super scaler stuff, yes!) etc developer interviews here:
https://shmuplations.com/archive/

And it's blown my mind, to me these were just games that sort of plopped out of Japan with no rhyme or reason, so it's just wonderful to me reading how much the game concepts, stories and gameplay actually meant to the people that made them. It really humanized the games in a new way to me

You can really feel that with KOF'94 too. A few KOF books have come out in the past few years so I forget which one has the interview I'm thinking of but a lot of the stuff that was cool and unique about KOF'94 was like a struggle to get the corporate people of SNK to sign off on like Kyo's design and other stuff that ended up making the series a huge hit.

The various wildly different designs they went into before arriving at Rugal were crazy too including like, a woman in a huge black dress with zils and a body horror boss that had more than two arms and a head that had Geese/Krauser's faces on it and stuff. Like even with Kyo specifically starting out as a pure Akira biker ripoff you can tell a ton of time went into refining each character.

I think that's part of why SNK's fighters hold up so well to us as adults too like playing the games with a more matured outlook you can really feel the effort and work that went into them. There's real design and thematic continuity to the characters' looks and their theme music from game to game and stuff too.


The shift in look and sound around Andy an Mai from Fatal Fury 2/Special to Fatal Fury 3/RBFF is a great example of that. In the backstory Mai's grandfather Hanzo passes on so between the two games Andy and Mai become the official real deal inheritors of the Shiranui ninja stuff so they both get some more fiery moves. Andy gets a move functionally similar to Mai's jump in from the background special move from the past game that could only be done on her background. Both get more ninja-like outfits in that game. Mai's character is someone who takes her family's traditions very seriously but also her favorite genre of music is heavy metal, and you get a sorta mix of traditional instrument+hard rock stuff in her FF2/Special theme song. But in FF3/RBFF she gets a more graceful/mysterious sort of track that fits with how the character has changed.

Anyway I appreciate how much they would deviate and change the character's themes from game to game based on story stuff that often wasn't even really in the games.

The Automator
Jan 16, 2009


I was never particularly good or even really loved playing SNK fighters, but they were by far cooler than Capcom's. I always loved looking at the character designs. I also liked how seemingly lore heavy they were, something that Capcom would kind of hint at but was much more easily missed in their games. They also had cooler bosses


Thanks for that link to interviews, I've been spending the morning reading a bunch and loving it

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

SNK itself was inconsistent with translating them but a big part of it too is the win quotes, there's unique win quotes for every combination of character beating another character in their games so right off the bat the characters feel a lot more fleshed.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


The Automator posted:

Thanks for that link to interviews, I've been spending the morning reading a bunch and loving it

Space Harrier is a good one, such an iconic game and the story behind it is really very cool, from it initially being a fighter jet game to the accidental way they discovered the pastel colour pallet, just awesome

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

Have to gush about the sound on the Neo Geo a lot of the track are some mix of FM synth and a ton of samples they could have thanks to the cartridge size and there's even some streamed audio tracks on a couple of games like Metal Slug 5 that sound fantastic. It's one of the most immediately impressive things to show people imo when introducing the system/games to someone who hasn't played them. SNK's sound team and their use of the hardware has a mastery and depth to a lot of their tracks that to me stands up there with any of the other legendary game music composers that get brought all the time.


There's of course the outstanding arranged soundtrack albums they would put out that you'd get to hear in-game when playing the games on CD systems but the original Neo Geo tracks are loving awesome too.



Like, the Neo Geo hardware was out in 1990, and would go on to have tracks like these on it, just so many stone cold loving awesome songs on this system all worth listening to.





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beshLnJMeFM


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL1XqCtj1Xk


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooNYX1RVHoI


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a39L3AhJDdw


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnQRuE8Q_SE


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw6cL60aJFY


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOp5qHH-VR0


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWa3OUqqSLc


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmU3zNnNBLU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0cYnmIqlac


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef2BmffEYrI


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3O5ukfCnCI



:hellyeah: :hellyeah: :hellyeah: :hellyeah:

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

Stage one of Last Resort is an obvious homage to Akira with its colors and cityscape coming right out of the anime, and a depiction of the crater as the background during the boss fight. But to me stage 2 is like the real deal both for taking some visuals from Akira and also the bleakness of the music in it.




Nice boss track too for that level, starts at around 2m12s here


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQfnxqV8t-U

Neo Rasa fucked around with this message at 05:59 on Feb 17, 2022

Hispanic! At The Disco
Dec 25, 2011




Well, this is the only Neo Geo thread I can find, so maybe someone here can help me. I was digging through storage and found these...



I vaguely remember buying a couple of decades ago, it's the Neo Geo Pocket (B&W version) and two games. Problem is, googling "Neo Geo Pocket" gets me a ton of results for the color version and very little beyond a short wikipedia article for the version I have. So is there anything you guys can tell me about this?

loopsheloop
Oct 22, 2010


Not sure how much there is to say about it. The original Neo Geo Pocket was a bust for SNK. That KoF game is good though!

loopsheloop fucked around with this message at 19:21 on Mar 21, 2022

Hispanic! At The Disco
Dec 25, 2011




Actually I did find out that it's forward compatible with the color games, although obviously it will display them in black and white. So that gives me a few options at least.

bloodysabbath
May 1, 2004

OH NO!


I know this thread ainít getting the love it deserves but please come back and finish the countdown OP, I have become far too invested.

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AuroMarshmallow
Jan 21, 2007

If theres anything a werewolf hates, it's a vampire- especially dumbass vampires



This thread is good, and it makes me incredibly bummed that I completely missed out on the Neo Geo when it was in production. I didn't even know anybody who owned one.

I wonder if it was more prominent in different parts of the US, or if I just didn't know the right folks.

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