Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Veyron of video games is back!

Back in the early 90's when consoles were really taking shape and the sales war between Sega and Nintendo was in it's early stages, there was a flashy system sitting in the corner quietly beaming about how awesome it was. Namely thus:


And it was awesome, with graphics as slick as slick could be back in the day coupled with fighting games a lot of current contenders still steal from. The only thing was, the Neo Geo was just like the Bugatti Veyron: sleek as all hell, completely ahead of all the competition, sharp as a fresh razor but completely out of reach for anyone who wasn't on a doctor or a lawyers wage.
And while it was terrific to look at, I never met anyone who actually sold their house to buy one...

Thankfully team Neo Geo has returned for another crack...

...but more on that in a second. Firstly I want to take you back to when the system above was the uncrowned king in an emerging new land of console fun. The year was 1993 (or 94? 95 maybe? Yeah I'm a bit blurry on things) and department store Myer had a section where you could test drive rows Sega Megadrives and Super Nintendos loaded with the latest games. Hordes of unwashed children would descend like locusts on the displays and many a spare weekend hour was spent trying all the latest and greatest. And then at the end of it, in its own special section was a giant rear protection TV hooked up to a sole Neo Geo.
It was such a special section, it even had comfy seats in red leather!

I am ready, Neo Geo
(Part of the reason for needing some space was for the mini laptop like size of the controllers..) But why did the Neo Geo deserve it's own little area with comfortable seating that was more popular than Kate Middleton topless photos? Two reasons ultimately. Games like this which looked the business:

King of the Monsters
And the jaw dropping price tag (not jaw dropping in a good way) of $600 for the console and one controller alone. While that doesn't seem so much here in 2012, this was the early 90's where 600 shekels could actually buy a semi decent used car that wouldn't spontaneously explode when you hit the brakes. Or a house in Colac.

(In comparison when the first Sega Megadrives arrived here in Australia the asking price was $400...)

To make matters worse, each game was upwards of $150+ which was a huge ask at the time. Regardless of the incredible arcade titles Neo Geo was famous for pouring out including World Heroes, Art of Fighting, King of the Monsters and Fatal Fury, it was still completely out of reach for most of the masses.
Which is why unless you were a kid who visited Myer often or you played the Neo Geo arcade games in their multi selector cabinets (a personal favorite of mine), dropping the name Neo Geo was ultimately met with blank looks by Sega and Nintendo fan boys.

Thankfully aside from the Neo Geo CD, team NG spent a lot more time focusing more on awesome games than they did expensive consoles the size of coffee tables that could do 0-100 in no time flat and undoubtedly you've probably played a few in your time: These include The Metal Slug Series, King of the Fighters and Samurai Showdown.

Nowadays if you're after some Neo Geo console goodness, you have a couple of choices. You can buy this one which we found on an auction site for....a mere $1500...




Or save yourself a whopping $1300 (that's quite a saving) and buy the upcoming Neo Geo X!
Yay, Neo Geo are back baby!


According to an article on The VergeThe Neo Geo X handheld, which was previously confirmed as part of a $199.99 "Neo Geo X Gold" package including a dock and joystick, will also be available by itself for $129.99, according to the product's website.

Yay!

And the pre-installed games read like a Neo Geo gamers bible: 3 Count Bout,Alpha Mission 2Art of Fighting 2Baseball Stars 2Cyber LipFatal FuryFatal Fury SpecialKing of the MonstersLast ResortLeague BowlingMagician LordMetal Slug,Mutation NationNam-1975PuzzledReal Bout Fatal Fury SpecialSamurai Shodown 2,Super SidekicksThe King of Fighters '95, and World Heroes Perfect.

Yes!

I want one, I want one now. I want to relive my glory Neo Geo days without having to go without a couple of house payments or food for a month. Hurry up and get this beauty over here.
And while I'm not the first one to say this, I will add my voice to the chorus of happy retro gamers the world over: Welcome back Neo Geo. It's been too long.

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