Released in 1990, SNK's Neo Geo was referred to by some media outlets as the 'Rolls Royce of video gaming'. Compared to rival home formats, it offered the kind of power that people could only dream of, thanks to the fact that SNK used the same base hardware for both its home console variant (the Advanced Entertainment System, or AES for short) and its arcade sibling (the Multi-Video System, or MVS).
The upshot was that the domestic versions of Neo Geo games were identical the those you'd see in the arcade; there was no 'conversion' process here; you got arcade-perfect software in your living room. The obvious downside to this is that each game cost an astronomical amount of money compared to those on the Mega Drive, SNES or PC Engine. Owning a Neo Geo required a lot of cash and was a sign that you were part of the true gaming elite.
Despite the fact that Neo Geo games are available on a wide range of modern-day systems – including the Switch and PS4 – the market for the original hardware and software remains buoyant. If you're looking to start your own Neo Geo collection, be aware that the AES and MVS units are not compatible with one another. AES has fewer games, and they tend to be more expensive, while MVS titles require special 'consolised' hardware to run on. Alternatively, you can pick up the Neo Geo CD, which benefits from a couple of nice exclusives but mainly runs a cut-down selection of AES/MVS games using cheaper compact discs.
What are the best games on Neo Geo?
Our list features a selection of must-have Neo Geo titles across both AES and MVS. These aren't presented in any order, and we've tried as hard as we can to include a wide range of genres – although, as you'd expect, there are a lot of one-on-one fighters listed, as the console was famous for that particular genre.
Think we got something wrong? Take to the comments section and tell us what titles you would have included.