Jan 8, 2013

NeogeoX Gold Review

Hey guys, after some unfortunate shipping delays due to the monstrous Christmas shipping rush, we received a copy of the NeoGeo X Gold : Limited Edition bundle. I've been a long time fan of SNK, having grown up through the rise and fall of the arcades.

My first introduction to the prowess of the NeoGeo was at a local coffee shop with a cabinet running the ridiculously popular Samurai Showdown. Then came Metal Slug and a slew of other games that pushed the hardware beyond what the developers even though possible, but once the Arcades died a spectacular death it became increasingly difficult to enjoy the newer releases without relying on say, emulation. The NeoGeo X looks like it might finally solve that problem, through an ingenious combination of a handheld and a classic console. First, let's take a look at what the NeoGeo X is based off of.

The Original AES(Via)
Without a doubt, the NeoGeo was the king of all 16-bit consoles in the 90's, for those who could afford to pay for an arcade perfect experience at home. Dubbed as the 'Rolls Royce' of home consoles back in the day, a system would run you about $900, with the cartridges costing anywhere from $250-500 a pop.

Why so expensive? The NeoGeo AES (Advanced Entertainment System) featured the same hardware as the the arcade hardware (Dubbed the MVS), and the carts were pretty much the same ones that arcade vendors were using minus some different pin connectors. Due to the prohibitive pricing model and limited runs of various games, it never quite garnered a strong mainstream following that it could have had.

Metal Slug 3: One of the best games to come out of the NeoGeo era. (Via)
  • The majority of the hardware was actually contained inside each cartridge instead of the system, resulting in them being massive and much more expensive than the Genesis and SNES counterparts.
  • The AES was created as the result of the massive success of the arcade version (MVS) and as a response to consumer demand. The system was the first to bring an arcade perfect experience to people's homes.
  • The system also introduced the concept of mobile memory, a feature that wouldn't show up until the N64, Sega Saturn and Playstation era. 
  • The console also had a fourteen year lifespan (1990-2004), giving it the longest lifespan of any console out there.
  • Notable franchises that the system spawned: Metal Slug, King Of Fighters, Last Blade, Mark of the Wolves, Samurai Showdown

Fast forward to 2012. I'd been wanting to get my hands on a NeoGeo console for years now, but was hampered by the ridiculous costs of the bustling NeoGeo collectors market. Thus, the NeoGeo X was born, created to offer a more affordable version of the system using an ingeniously designed handheld/console combo. The well constructed, slick handheld featured about 20 games preloaded onto it with plans to re-release games using a flash based memory format.

The coolest feature I found was the faux AES console, which confused me at first until I realized it was a facade for a docking bay that would allow you to hook the system up to your TV via HDMI. Coupled with the classic Joystick, I was finally in possession of an affordable version of the once inaccessible AES, catered to a new generation of sprite loving freaks like myself. 

Would we recommend it?Absolutely, if you're looking to experience the history of one of the best arcade developers out there. And they're making a comeback with King Of Fighters 2013, following a few years squandered attempting to translate their franchises into a 3D format. Despite having sold out in most places prior to launch, it's still available on a few websites if you're so inclined for the modest price of $200. Check out more details regarding the console on the official SNK website.

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