News Article

Neo Geo X Handheld Shut Down By SNK

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

And just like that, it's gone

Not so long ago we reviewed the Neo Geo X and Mega Pack Volume 1, a potential low cost option for gamers to own a piece of portable hardware that could run games from the iconic system, ideal if a Wii Virtual Console or pricey Neo Geo system aren't handy. While it had its merits, our conclusion reflected some disappointment in certain aspects of the hardware, leading to a sense of missed opportunity.

However, the elements which hold the Neo Geo X back — the poor quality screen, unimpressive battery life and outdated game delivery method — sour the experience slightly. The Neo Geo X may well end up being more authentic than intended — it's destined to be adored by SNK devotees and is unlikely the find mainstream acceptance — just like the original system.

It seems that SNK isn't keen on the machine either, as somewhat out of the blue it's withdrawn the license from the Neo Geo X manufacturer Tommo. The manufacturer has been ordered to cease "all manufacturing, distribution, marketing & promotion and selling" of the handheld, with that restriction reportedly also applying to the Neo Geo X Arcade Stick. Stock is supposed to be withdrawn from all retailers — online and offline — while SNK issued the following blunt statement.

In order to protect our intellectual property rights such as 'NEOGEO' and 'SNK', decisive measures will be taken against all unapproved NEOGEO X products not subject to the License Agreement.

Perhaps the disappointing performance of the X was an issue for SNK, or there were problems in other areas of the agreement or business. Whatever the reasoning, Tommo's dalliance with Neo Geo hardware is coming to an end.

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (30)

unrandomsam

#3

unrandomsam said:

SNK should just release their own multicart. (For AES and MVS).

You can get one of the tiny MVS boards brand new for 200€.

(Others used from about £30 I have seen).

Even just starting to rerelease the old carts would be better than what they currently have. (A market where stuff like a legit US AES Metal Slug goes for 1500$) and SNK is getting none of it.

A new HD Neo Geo would be interesting. (I could afford it now).

unrandomsam

#5

unrandomsam said:

It did have mainstream acceptance. The MVS was everywhere for ages. (Naomi did well also even though the Dreamcast was axed).

RupeeClock

#6

RupeeClock said:

I wonder if this fact had anything to do with the system's withdrawal?
The system operated an emulator, which itself is not irregular for such a device, but what was irksome was that it evidently ran a modified and outdated version of Final Burn Alpha, a Neo Geo and multiple arcade machine emulator for Windows and numerous open-source handhelds.

SphericalCrusher

#7

SphericalCrusher said:

I am a huge SNK fan. I still own my original Neo Geo and my Neo Geo Pocket Color. I wanted one of these... sad to see it go.

unrandomsam

#8

unrandomsam said:

@RupeeClock Final Burn Alpha has a non commercial use license. (It has to due to the Mame code that it uses). That is the important thing.

If it was a GPL emulator they used that didn't use any Mame code or something else that was licensed it would be different. (I presume the WIi VC one and the PS3 one are not based on anything).

They should have done it using an FPGA like the MSX on a chip that D4 did.

E_maniac

#9

E_maniac said:

I have one, since the patch (which was absolutely HORRIBLE to install-so bad i had to send mine back to the supplier! i wasnt the first sure i wasnt the last) it has been a great experience, i love the games (though more choice would have helped) and since the patch the presentation issues are mostly sorted (cant think of any issues currently off the top of my head) just far too expensive, i dont regret buying it for the price (it feels well made, not like those cheap megadrive knock offs) but i think if it was sub 100 pound more people would have got into it

ungibbed

#12

ungibbed said:

I was really going to throw my money at one if these until I seen one in action. The games are poorly emulated and the LCD is not the best quality (making the front lit GBA SP look awesome) and the sound... My ears bleed

On the other hand, the Neo Geo games run wonderful on the original Wii with perfect sound. I wish SNK would re-release a AES system for the masses. Not something that would diminish the value of the original system and carts, but a new system that's a bit more with the times with either component or HDMI and with a select collection of games that run like they should with the Neo Geo CD controllers. Online multiplayer would be awesome if WiFi was included on some new hardware.

Essentially a system for the gamers that love the games without upsetting the market for the collectors of the original system. I have a AES console with a couple games but finding more requires risking a lot of money on a bootleg cartridge or a long trip to inspect the games I have been looking for.

Frapp

#13

Frapp said:

It's my dream that it would be possible for SNK to manufacture AES carts again and retail them at modern console game prices, killing the insane eBay-fuelled secondhand market. Alas, it is just a dream... {strokes AES}

AdanVC

#14

AdanVC said:

Well, at least now it would be a brilliant collection piece of hardware for fans. Maybe later in the future would cost thousands of dollars

unrandomsam

#16

unrandomsam said:

@ungibbed They shouldn't care about that market. None of that money is going to SNK. It is all going to bootleggers and people who are not SNK.

AVahne

#17

AVahne said:

From the reviews I've seen, Tommo made a very low quality product. It's no wonder why SNK would shut them down; they don't need some obscure company ruining the legacy of their brand.

retro_player_22

#21

retro_player_22 said:

Damn, it hasn't even been one year yet and SNK is already taking this off the market? What a shame, at least they are still releasing games on Virtual Console so that's good but man their own products seems like it was meant to be sold for the wealthy.

ungibbed

#22

ungibbed said:

@unrandomsam The companies that produce these games do care about these markets for gamers, collectors and such if they didn't care we wouldn't have copy protection measures etc.

Just like limited runs of the Wii games Metroid Prime Trilogy and Xenoblade Chronicles, many original Neo Geo games see the same problem being limited in numbers and a high cost to boot depending on the rarity and condition of the game.

What really killed SNK was the insane piracy after decent emulators for the console surfaced. So everyone who didn't care about supporting a company just stole the software (games) and moved on. I've personally found it more entertaining to play such classics on the original hardware.

I don't have many games but thanks to the Wii, I also had access to many games that would have cost me far more than the purchase of the game image via Wii Points.

For games that may never see the light of day without resorting to piracy, they are not only a gem to have but also often never emulated correctly. One common example is Bad Fur Day on the N64.

One of my personal favorites that I have complete with its original box and manual. Playing it on the N64 hardware made the experience more rewarding to me in ways not easily explained.

I'd really love to see a redux of a modern Neo Geo console that supports both the collectors of AES carts but also mass market less expensive images of the games so that more people could enjoy the system on the TV with some great speakers hooked up. Just listening to the music in Magician Lord is worth it alone.

For those with the original AES carts, having a built-in memory card would be a huge bonus and if SNK added some reward (soundtrack playback or other info on rarity, "owners club" etc.) for owning the original AES games would be a killer incentive without killing the value of the collectible price of the original hardware or the games.

It would be a boon to both who loved the system in the arcade or had the AES console. A system using the real hardware which also supports indie developers that still make games for the system or people interested in great games they really missed out on growing up with a far newer generation console.

I keep forgetting that there are much younger people here that would dismiss these games due to the age of the hardware which debuted while the NES was still raking in cash with SMB3.

masterLEON

#23

masterLEON said:

The NeoGeo X emulation doesn't seem that bad for me, though the screen quality is my biggest gripe. I didn't care for certain aspects of the Wii VC NeoGeo emulation. When I first got some Wii Points, I downloaded Baseball Stars 2 and Samurai Shodown 2 for comparison (I own both of those for the NeoGeo home system, and I was away from my AES for some time). Immediately I noticed that full screen flashes, the type that was probably encouraged all the epilepsy warnings in video games, were absent. Further, I suspected that the emulation simply dropped frames altogether. Specifically, in Baseball Stars 2 when the player portraits scroll onto the screen, there's supposed to be some screen flashes when the portrait changes direction before arriving at its final spot. In SamSho 2, the screen is supposed to flash red every time someone scores a hit that cuts or flash white when blocked. The health bar is supposed to alternate white and red when a player's health is in danger. The weapons, themselves, are supposed to have a frame of animation with a brighter gleam (they color cycle really fast as if they're powered up, but only subtly). And the kicker, when fighting Mizuki, that hand slap attack of hers, the one where she's waving her hand back and forth but hits you so many times, is missing so many frames of animation that it's choppy. That was easily the smoothest snippet of animation in the entire game (I'd hate to think what happened in VC KoF '94 and '95 with Mai's idle animation). The NeoGeo X is spot on, at the very least, with these things I pointed out. My Mega Pack is coming in on Wednesday. Glad I ordered it before things got a chance to get ugly.

CanisWolfred

#24

CanisWolfred said:

You guys better put Kizuna Encounter, Blazing Star, and Mark of the Wolves on VC then. I really want to legally play those games...

Rawk_Hawk

#25

Rawk_Hawk said:

I've heard mixed things about this. I've heard some people like the portable system but say it looks terrible when hooked up to TVs. I'll stick with my Wii VC games and maybe check out the SNK collection.

MadAdam81

#26

MadAdam81 said:

Good to see it disappear, a terrible product that preyed on fans, it was a poor quality system with a handful of lame games and high prices for other games.
Better off with a Wii U and buying VC games in Wii mode.

unrandomsam

#27

unrandomsam said:

@ungibbed I do value the games. (I own most of them that I am interested in playing in some form or another.)

Funny thing is that SNK in using that emulator against its license did exactly the same thing as someone ripping off their games for commercial use.

I agree that N64 is badly emulated. (The few I have bought are terrible. There is loads of stuff that just isn't done properly).

TheBlackKnight8

#30

TheBlackKnight8 said:

If you haven't picked one up yet it's not a bad purchase. I'm pretty happy with mine as I played it at the arcades when I was younger (couldn't afford an actual one). You can also get the jailbreak tools that make your device open source which is pretty neat; pre-ordered mine already (http://www.xploder.net/products/234/NGX-Tools-for-Jailbreak-of-NEOGEOX.htm)

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