Neo Geo ROMs

Console History: Neo Geo

The Neo Geo, originally released in 1990, was basically an arcade machine in a console. It had the high-end specs to trump other consoles on the market, and its arcade ports were perfect because they barely had to do anything to port them. The drawback? It launched at $649 in the United States. Compared to the $199 SNES, it’s clear that the two weren’t even in the same league.

And that’s okay. The Neo Geo filled a niche market of expensive, high-end video games — but today, it’s just as easily emulatable as any of the other consoles. The arcade version of the Neo Geo, called the Multi Video System, or MVS, was unique because it could play multiple games. Swap out the artwork on the side of the arcade machine, and you’ve got a machine that can be changed at will, which was a big deal for arcades at the time.

On the other hand, the home console version was called the Advanced Entertainment System, or AES. It was a small, sleek, black console with a huge game pad that used a joystick and buttons, much like a traditional arcade console. It certainly didn’t give in to the controller interfaces of the SNES and Sega Genesis. It may turn away some, but for others, those joystick-controlled games are the definition of nostalgia. It was even the first console to use external memory cards for storing data.

People were buying this console for one reason or another, since it was being produced for seven years and continued to get software development for a total of fourteen years. A big reason for that was the incredible games. Samurai Shodown and Samurai Shodown II are classic fighters that any video game enthusiast should at least try out.

The Neo Geo was also home to Metal Slug, which would go on to spawn tons of sequels on tons of different consoles. Tons of fighter games were available for the console like The Last Blade, Fatal Fury Special, and King of Fighters 98: The Slugfest. For the multiplayers lovers, Windjammers was a glorified pong that provided hours of fun between friends. Want a good challenge? Try Pulstar — that’s a difficult game. Get through it, and you’ve truly earned yourself a gaming reputation. The games made for this console were definitely of high quality, but it only got just over 140 games in its lifetime.

The Neo Geo is a must-play for any nostalgic gamer, but it certainly wasn’t the only console put out by Japanese company SNK. They attempted multiple successors for it, including a Neo Geo CD (which suffered from long loading times), a Hyper Neo Geo 64 (which only came out in arcades and never made it to the home console phase), two Game Boy competitors called the Neo Geo Pocket and Neo Geo Pocket Color, and the Neo Geo X (which was a retro console released in 2012). SNK really was all over the place, but their original Neo Geo remains a significant point in gaming history.

It really is a testament to how far the gaming industry has come that games that once cost $200 and played on a $650 console can now be played for free on any modern computer, smartphone, or tablet. What used to be bleeding edge technology is now so simple that your phone can handle it with easy. The Neo Geo was ahead of its time, but now its available for everyone no matter your price range through emulation.

So nothing should be holding you back. Go try out the Neo Geo today! Experience for yourself what used to be a very rare and expensive game console.