Nintendo may not have been the first company to come up with the ingenious idea of leveraging the unbridled nostalgia of your average gamer to sell bucketloads of ROM-filled micro-consoles, but the arrival of the NES Classic a few years ago certainly gave this previously niche sector of the market a swift kick up the backside. Since then we've seen another Classic Edition as well as a considerable surge of interest in 'reheated' vintage hardware; Sega, which ironically has had a presence in this field for well over a decade thanks to its association with AtGames, is set to release a new 'Mini' console based on the Mega Drive / Genesis later this year, but it has been beaten to the punch by one of its erstwhile rivals, SNK.
Shin Nihon Kikaku, as we all know, is the company that launched the legendary Neo Geo arcade and home hardware back in the '90s. Notably dubbed 'The Rolls Royce of games consoles' by one outlet in the UK gaming media back in the day, this extravagantly expensive system was a contemporary of the SNES and Mega Drive, but offered arcade-quality graphics, sound and animation that put Sega and Nintendo's machines well and truly in the shade. The catch, of course, was that the AES console – which was the domestic version of the MVS coin-op hardware – was vastly more expensive than its rivals and each game cost around £150-£200 a pop; as a result, the Neo Geo became an unobtainable object of desire for many a young gamer growing up in the '90s, but never a system that they could realistically own – unless of course, they had very rich parents.
Fast forward to the present, and Neo Geo games can now be purchased for the price of a decent sandwich via the Switch eShop. Yet for some, that captivating allure remains; it is these people that SNK is clearly targeting with the Neo Geo Mini, its take on the whole 'Classic Edition' concept. Rather than slavishly clone Nintendo's approach, the company has decided to give its new hardware a unique hook which respectfully references its arcade heritage – in short, the unit itself is shaped like a mini arcade cabinet and even has its own LCD screen.
Neo Geo Mini: The Hardware
SNK certainly scores points when it comes to sheer aesthetic charm with the Neo Geo Mini; it's adorable. At just 390g it feels a little lightweight and cheap when you actually pick it up – it's an entirely plastic design and there's no internal battery to add heft (more on that later) – but overall, it's an object that's pleasing to handle and looks great from any angle. On the front you'll find the traditional 'stick and four-button' layout that is common to the Neo Geo line of systems; the stick sadly isn't microswitched, but it's nevertheless responsive and accurate. The speakers on the unit are quite weak (thankfully a 3.5mm headphone socket is included) and there are no physical volume controls – you have to press Start and Select together to access a sub-menu, from where you can exit the game, handle save states, adjust the screen brightness and tinker with the volume level.
The Neo Geo Mini's stick may be a little too stubby for some players, but we didn't have any major complaints once we'd become accustomed to it. There are times when it feels like there's a tad too much travel and the stick on our review unit felt like it had a small 'dead zone' when pushing right, but overall it's actually very comfortable to use for prolonged periods – which is slightly surprising, as we know we weren't alone in expressing our concern about usability when we saw the first leaked images of the unit. Of course, the real test is how the stick handles the complex inputs required in the many fighting games bundled with the system, and the answer is a positive one; we wouldn't say this is the preferred way to crack skulls in King of Fighters '98, but we didn't have too many problems pulling off special moves.
Around the back of the unit you'll find the power button – emblazoned with the Neo Geo logo, naturally – plus the USB Type-C port for power and the aforementioned 3.5mm audio socket. The inclusion of a screen may give the impression that this is a fully portable device, but that's sadly not the case – as we briefly touched upon in the previous paragraph, there's no power source inside the Neo Geo Mini and it has to be provided with external power in order to function. The good news is that you can use a portable battery pack to run the system; we used the SwitchCharge case and it worked just fine. Next to the USB socket is a mini-HDMI port for TV-out. This is sure to be a bone of contention with buyers as mini-HDMI is not a common connection (the only other device we've seen with one is the Nvidia Shield handheld). SNK doesn't include a mini-HDMI to standard HDMI cable in the box, so you'll have to source one for yourself if you want to hook it up to the TV. The only lead you get in the box is a USB to USB Type-C cable; there's no power supply included, but the one you use to charge your average smartphone will do.
The 3.5-inch screen itself is decent enough; it's pin-sharp, colours are bright, contrast is generally good and viewing angles are solid. It's also the perfect 4:3 aspect ratio for Neo Geo games; this might seem like an odd comment to make, but those of you who bought the ill-fated Neo Geo X handheld a few years back will remember that it inexplicably came with a poor-quality 16:9 display, which looked plain odd. It's also worth noting that the display matches the native resolution of the original console. When you plug the unit into a TV, the LCD screen simply displays the Neo Geo logo while the image on your telly is boosted to 1080p.
The unit's main menu clearly takes a lot of inspiration from the one seen on the NES and SNES Classic Editions; you browse the library of 40 titles horizontally, and each one has four save states. Even the 'Settings', 'Help' and 'Copyright' icons at the top of the UI look eerily similar to those seen on Nintendo's micro-consoles. The unit we reviewed is a Japanese one, but it's possible to dive into the settings and change all of the UI text to English – although it should be noted that this does not change the in-game text, which remains in Japanese for those titles which contain Japanese text, such as Top Player's Golf. If you want to play everything in English, you'll have to wait for the western release – on the upside, because all of the ROMs included here are the Japanese versions, there's blood in Metal Slug and Mai Shiranui's – ahem – assets are bouncy in all of the King of Fighters games.
When playing on the TV, a limited number of display options become available. You have the option to stretch the image to fill the entire screen both horizontally and vertically but thankfully can toggle both of these settings off so that you get the correct aspect ratio and avoid any overscan. 'Image Quality Optimization' is also a thing; with this disabled, the picture is quite fuzzy and lacks the clean pixel look of the NES and SNES Classic Editions – in fact, it looks very similar to a composite connection, which should send chills up the spine of any retrogaming purist. Annoyingly, turning image quality optimization on simply applies an emulator-like screen filter that softens out all of the pixels; it's marginally better than the standard image but still not as appealing as the 'pure' pixel-heavy look. Alas, there's no way of applying scanlines to the image, which will be a massive blow to those who consider the CRT-style filter a must for that authentic '90s experience.
When playing on the TV, using the Neo Geo Mini's controls becomes slightly more awkward, although by balancing the unit on your fingertips you can rest your thumbs on the stick and buttons, rather like you would with a Switch Pro Controller, so it's still serviceable. If you can't get on with this setup then you'll be pleased to learn that the Neo Geo Mini has two additional USB Type-C ports (one on each side) into which you can plug the Neo Geo Mini controller, which is, of course, sold separately. Based on the design of the iconic Neo Geo CD pad, these are a joy to use – although the stick isn't microswitched, as it was on the original. Despite this omission – which will no doubt befuddle purists who need to hear that somewhat obnoxious 'click' as they play – the pad is precise and responsive; given that the microswitched stick on many original Neo Geo CD controllers failed over time (we've suffered this ourselves), it's perhaps a design change for the better. On a side note, you can't remap any of the buttons in the settings menu.
Neo Geo Mini: The Games
We've taken a good look at the hardware, so now would be the perfect time to analyse the selection of bundled software. 40 titles are included on the Neo Geo Mini to tie in with the fact that SNK is now 40 years old, and if you have even a passing knowledge of the company's library, then you'll spot plenty of the usual suspects here.
The entire Neo Geo King of Fighters series is included, which should perhaps come as no great shock given that it's one of SNK's most popular franchises, but elsewhere titles have been cherry-picked a little more carefully. For example, there's no Fatal Fury or Fatal Fury 2, but Fatal Fury Special, Real Bout Fatal Fury, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 and Garou: Mark of the Wolves make the cut. Likewise, we get Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown IV and Samurai Shodown V Special, but not the first and third entries. The first three Metal Slugs are included, but Metal Slug X and the others are absent. Other franchises only get a single helping; only one Art of Fighting game is included, and the same goes for World Heroes, Super Sidekicks, King of Monsters, Shock Troopers and Sengoku.
Here's the full list of software for the Japanese version of the Neo Geo Mini:
- King of Fighters '94
- King of Fighters '95
- King of Fighters '96
- King of Fighters '97
- King of Fighters '98
- King of Fighters '99
- King of Fighters 2000
- King of Fighters 2001
- King of Fighters 2002
- King of Fighters 2003
- Samurai Shodown 2
- Samurai Shodown IV
- Samurai Shodown V Special
- Fatal Fury Special
- Real Bout Fatal Fury
- Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- World Heroes Perfect
- Kizuna Encounter
- Art of Fighting
- Last Blade
- Last Blade 2
- Ninja Master's
- Aggressors of Dark Kombat
- King of Monsters 2
- Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad
- Top Hunter
- Ninja Commando
- Burning Fight
- Metal Slug
- Metal Slug 2
- Metal Slug 3
- Sengoku 3
- Alpha Mission 2
- Twinkle Star Sprites
- Blazing Star
- Top Player's Golf
- Super Sidekicks
- Joy Joy Kid
Picking 40 games from the Neo Geo's small-yet-appealing back catalogue was always going to be a thankless task; you can't please everyone. Still, there's the predictable deluge of fighting games on offer here, with a whopping 24 of the 40 titles being one-on-one brawlers, SNK's preferred genre during the '90s. Did we really need every single King of Fighters entry? That's debatable, and it's a shame that some of the later Super Sidekicks games weren't included, as well as more unique releases like 2020 Super Baseball, Soccer Brawl, Three Count Bout and Pulstar. The omission of what will perhaps be the most-requested game – Windjammers – is easier to fathom; originally a Data East title, the rights now belong to Paon, which recently licenced the game to DotEmu. As such, SNK has no control over the title, despite it being one of the console's most famous releases.
Even so, if you're a seasoned fan of SNK then we can't imagine you'll have too many complaints with the selection of games included here; after all, the company built its fanbase on its mastery of the one-on-one fighting genre, and at one point King of Fighters was the most popular arcade series in Japan – even beating Capcom's efforts. However, it's still a shame that so many hidden gems in the Neo Geo library – gems which are freely available on the Switch eShop at the time of writing, such as Neo Turf Masters, Spin Master, Aero Fighters 3 and NAM-1975 – didn't make the cut, as they would have added some welcome variety to a system which has an almost overwhelming focus on brawlers. Don't like fighting games? Then this really isn't the system for you; but having said that, we can't imagine there are many SNK diehards out there that don't like the genre.
It's worth noting that the international edition of the system will offer a slightly different lineup of games:
- 3 Count Bout
- Art of Fighting
- Blazing Star
- Blue’s Journey
- Crossed Swords
- Fatal Fury Special
- Foot Ball Frenzy
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- Ghost Pilots
- King of the Monsters
- King of the Monsters 2
- Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle
- Last Resort
- Magician Lord
- Metal Slug
- Metal Slug 2
- Metal Slug 3
- Metal Slug 4
- Metal Slug 5
- Metal Slug X
- Mutation Nation
- Ninja Master’s: Haou Ninpou Chou
- Real Bout: Fatal Fury
- Robo Army
- Samurai Shodown II
- Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa’s Revenge
- Samurai Shodown V Special
- Sengoku 3
- Shock Troopers
- Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad
- Super Sidekicks
- The King of Fighters ’95
- The King of Fighters ’97
- The King of Fighters ’98
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The Last Blade 2
- Top Player’s Golf
- World Heroes Perfect
Given that the Neo Geo Mini is clearly based on 'system-on-a-chip' emulation – just like Nintendo's Classic Edition series – there's a good chance that in the fullness of time someone will hack the unit and work out a way of adding more titles, as has been the case with both the NES and SNES Mini. When that day inevitably comes it will offer the potential to tinker with the library of titles, but until then you'll have to make do with 40 games that do a good job of highlighting the strong points of the console's fighting game repertoire, but perhaps don't go far enough to show how much variety there was on the platform when it came to other genres.
The quality of the emulation seems fine to us; everything runs at the speed its supposed to and the only slowdown we spotted is slowdown that exists on the original hardware (Metal Slug, we're looking at you). Some of the audio sounded slightly different to our ears, but that might just be us. On the topic of audio, the UI's sound effects – which manifest themselves when you're scrolling through the menu and selecting items – are quite laggy and don't sound right at all, but this naturally doesn't impact the standard of the emulation in each game. It's just rather annoying.
Neo Geo Mini: The Verdict
The good news is that by and large, the Neo Geo Mini avoids most of the issues that crippled the Neo Geo X – but it's far from perfect. The display options are lackluster, with limited filters to play with and an image that curiously ignores pixel-perfect quality and instead opts for a choice between muddy, composite-style graphics and a smoothed-over, emulator-style appearance – neither of which are really satisfactory, but won't be all that noticeable when you're sat a few feet away from your TV.
The lack of a bundled HDMI lead is frustrating – especially as few households are likely to have a spare mini-HDMI lead lying around – and the fact that it's not very feasible to play the system on a telly using the unit's controls means that an extra controller is a must, which drives the cost of ownership up further. Should SNK have included a pad with the console? It would have been nice, even if it added to the retail price; so many of the bundled games rely on a second person being involved, so most players will want to invest in at least one pad.
It's also puzzling that SNK didn't include an internal battery so the unit could be played on the move; while it's not a traditional portable console, it's such a cute little unit that there's the temptation to take it out and about with you and set it down on any flat surface for a quick blast on Metal Slug. At least the USB Type-C port will accept portable power banks, so you can always satisfy your urge for mobile play with one of those, even if it's not the most elegant solution in the world. Finally, the roster of 40 games won't please everyone, but then that's an impossible task anyway; ultimately, it showcases some of the console's best games in King of Fighters '98, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Last Blade 2, Blazing Star and Metal Slug, so it's hard to complain too vigorously when there are so many solid-gold classics on offer.
The Neo Geo Mini is only available in Japan at present, with a western release coming later this year. The retail price is still very much up in the air, but we've heard rumblings that it could cost as much as £100 in the UK; that makes it more expensive than both the NES and SNES Classic, but then again, it does include an LCD screen and contains more games (although you could argue that the lack of a mini-HDMI cable and controller in the base package balances that out somewhat). Still, that's the ethos of the Neo Geo brand; you pay more for access to this exclusive club. Some things really never change.
Thanks to Funstock for providing the unit used in this review.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 2nd August, 2018.
If its £100 or less I am Buying it day one.
Extra controller needs to be £10 or less.
£120 for console and 2 controllers and I’m in.
I would love to own one, but thanks to the Switch, I honestly don't think I would ever use it. Thing is, I will probably cave when it's released in the West lol.
Gorgeous looking piece of kit, if money were no object I'd buy in a heartbeat, but the switch offers more.
Great review and I'd really, really love to get one. £100 is way too much for me right now though, especially as I know I'd have to buy two controllers for it. If it goes on sale a bit lower than that I'd be very tempted though.
I imported a Japanese unit which is still on its way over. The pads were all sold out sadly so I’m glad the stick is somewhat playble still. Lack of a mini HDMI is sorely disappointing and no internal battery is a massive shame.
Im sure that could be remedied with a mod.
Thanks for taking the time to review.
Looks a nice bit of kit, but the games list kills it for me. Not enough variety.
@ReaderRagfish A new version of the Neo Geo X already exists, it's called the Nintendo Switch. And it's the best Neo Geo console ever made.
The lack of a pixel perfect option when connected to a television is really disappointing. Otherwise i'd be all in, I might wait and see what the quality looks like for myself before dipping in.
After this review I think I'll pass. The filter options are not good and too many KoF games taking up slots. Its a shame because it looks cool but the Switch does Neo Geo better.
Same...don’t need, but I’m starting to want!
The international version seems to have a much better game list (including the first Shock Troopers, Blues Journey, Metal Slug 4/5/X, Last Resort and Magician Lord).
I JUST WANT A POCKET COLOR
Criticizing this unit for not offering an option for portable play is rather unfair, in my opinion, seeing as Nintendo's mini consoles don't have that option either, and equally, they also don't have an internal battery...
I can live without it. Looks cute though and if I was a fighter fan, this would be a nice gift for oneself.
@Agent721 @GrailUK Yup. I don't need one of these but... I'm really quite liking the idea...
I saw these type of games at Walmart.... But they weren't Neo Geo.... It had like Pacman and these other games and it was super small. Only had one game in it and it was super cute how small it was haha
Thanks to the developer Hampster, I already have all these games on my Switch. Even though I love SNK, I have zero interest in this device.
I was furious enough at the international edition not having Twinkle Star Sprites, but those control and graphics issues ensured that I never need either version.
That's the (almost) perfect release for me. Neo Geo was always a dream, but never something achievable due to system and games high prices. Once again, if the price is really something around a hundred pounds, I'm out again. Money always draws the line...
It'd be more interesting (and cheaper) to select some titles that really please me and pay 8 dollars each to play them on Switch.
Way too many KOF's games.
I was initially jazzed to pick this up but now I think I'm going to pass. Maybe a MAME cabinet instead...
Can't wait to get mine unfortunately the delivery date got pushed back to mid august (had to buy at nin-nin games since amazon japan didn't allow delivery to the states). The pads seem impossible to find, nin-nin games had them for $46 each which is crazy so I'm hoping these become easier to find in the future especially with the international release or we get third party controllers hell I'll even take chinese knock offs.Also I don't mind the internal battery that much because it's so awkward looking that I don't think I would lug this around playing on the train or a car plus it would have driven up the cost even more so I'll just stick with my switch to get my snk fix on the go.
I don't get the hate for the neo geo x. I think it's better than this. You could play it on the go and the controller was an actual arcade style joystick. It wasn't perfect and the widescreen was an odd choice but it was pretty cool. Was designed to have extra games added to it too though it stopped getting support.
I think that people complaining about the games on offer, are SORELY missing a couple of points:
1. The unit reviewed is the Japanese one. The international version has a different list of games, which is quite a bit less focused on bringing the entire King of Fighters series to the console.
2. Since this thing is more than likely going to be VERY easy to hack, you can add any game that you damn well please, so if the game of your choice is not on there, just put it on there yourself.
Really cool little machine....neatest little mini console to date. Though, the trouble is, cool as the retro aesthetic of the thing is, with all the Hamster Neo Geo ports on switch, the Switch is a much better Neo Geo Mini than the Neo Geo Mini. More expensive....but much better and most of us here already have it without waiting
so far only nintendo seem be able make a half decent mini console sad
@jbrodack That was my main problem with it. It was a decent device, I suppose, but the emulation wasn't great, and the screen's aspect ratio was definitely a poor design choice given the cost of the device. It was just too expensive for a decent device. At that price, it needed to be outstanding, and in my opinion, it just wasn't. As a collector, and especially as a collector of portable devices, I'm glad to have one, but I wouldn't have recommended it for most people.
@jbrodack Because it had a considerable list of shortcomings. It hardly delivered on all of the wonderful promises that were made before it was released.
And SNK dropped it like a ton of bricks pretty soon after, by retracting manufacturer Tommo's license, and that will most certainly not have been without reasons.
I keep my arcade cabinet !
Playing on a real arcade CRT with a real control panel, nothing can beat that... ^^
PS : the button layout is disgusting on the NeoGeo Mini...
@NEStalgia That's just about the same thing as saying that NES and SNES games are better on virtual console, but the popularity of the Minis has already proven that to be MASSIVELY wrong.
And true retro lovers/Neo Geo fans will probably sell their right arm to own one of these, regardless of the few shortcomings that it has...
If this thing can be modded to play Mame and other systems.. then it may be the perfect mini arcade system.
What’s a microswitched joystick? Tried Googling it but I just seem to find shops selling micro switches!
I always struggled with joysticks in the arcades back in the day, I was so used to playing with a d-pad. I’d be able to reel off countless shoryukens and tiger knees on SFII Turbo back at home on the SNES, but then could hardly pull any off in the arcade.
Christ I should have taken the day off to read this review....
@GravyThief Back then, a micro-switched joystick was the Holy Grail of game controllers. For example: on the Commodore and Atari range of home computers in the 80's and early 90's, almost everyone had at least one so-called "The Arcade Stick", made by a company called Suzo.
Many people also simply called them Suzo Arcade sticks.
It was the best of the best single stick/single button joysticks ever made, and probably still is.
Later in its life, they also had a two button model, and even a three button one, but these weren't nearly as popular as the originals.
Here's some additional info.
And here's an overview of an arcade cabinet style joystick with a microswitch clearly visible in the diagram:
I love fighting games and I love the Neo Geo. But I have way so many Neo Geo games on Switch. I’ll probably pass on this.
@ThanosReXXX Er, they don't have screens? How would you play them outside of the house? 🤔
Sounds like a nice novelty item, but think I'll stick to Hamster's ACA Neo Geo series on Switch. I assume flashing is included in the Neo Geo Mini games, though sounds like display wise isn't too hot in regards to emulation?
There are also some really strange choices? Super Sidekicks, Burning Fight, and Art of Fighting, as opposed to likes of Pulstar Art of Fighting 3 and Super Sidekicks 3/4?
If it can be hacked maybe the display options can be fixed as well?
No HDMI cable included even though it's meant for the television, no battery back-up, no controllers, no power adapter included, no way to remap buttons, not compatible with other controllers, wasn't meant for portable play and they are asking for well over $120 (not including S & H) for this at Play-Asia and Nin-Nin Games? Ummm SNK, are you selling this product for customer to play or are you selling it for them to show off cause if it's for them to play then why are you not including the things they need to get started, Seriously Not Kool man. This makes the NeoGeo X feel less like a ripoff.
@ThanosReXXX @frogopus Wow, thanks for all the info guys. It’s a rare treat to find a retro gaming subject I don’t know anything about, I’ll enjoy reading all the links you sent. Cheers!
@GravyThief FWIW All modern "Fight Sticks" including the Hori Real Arcade Pro for Switch are still "microswitched" and quite clicky. And the actual arcade cabinets (the commercial sticks of which are the same ones used in the ones for consoles) are mostly still switched. The Japanese style sit-down candy cabinets still use the standard switched sticks. Upright Western cabs vary, crane-games and such with the bat (non-ball) top sticks often are not switched, and just have a really high tension spring.
But like the others said "microswitched" is just 4 industrial grade mouse buttons, basically for up, right, down, left, and when you move the lever, it just presses the buttons. Two for the diagonals for the classic 8-way stick. (By contrast the potentiometers in an analog thumbstick measure the change in resistance as you slide the wiper back and forth by moving the stick. One L/R, one for U/D. Thus arcade sticks can be beat up all day and rarely wear out, while analog sticks fall out of calibration if you look at them funny.
@ThanosReXXX Well....there's a reason VC isn't on Switch....
Not many people own a WiiU, and a Wii is kind of sucky for VC with the controls and analog-out only, and 3DS has no TV out. And Switch has no full VC, so NES Mini and SNES Mini really are the only way to get those bundles of games conveniently on your TV with good controllers. Plus the nostalgia/cultural factor for tons of people.
Neo Geo doesn't have much nostalgia/culture factor other than the gaming enthusiasts of the 90s, and Hamster has made sure Switch has a lot of support for its library, so it's more viable as its own "mini" The thing is the Switch running the Neo Geo games from Hamster not only has full portable play and TV play with digital out, and good controllers, but it also has all the CRT and arcade audio filters to make it a bit more authentic too. So the Switch is definitely the better Neo Geo box. For more money. But isn't that the authentic Neo Geo experience?
Still, this thing is, like, totes adorbs.
"but the arrival of the NES Classic a few years ago"....it hasn't even been two years.
@SuperWeird Thanks for making me realize I don't quite need this, I just want it
@Damo With a portable telly, of course...
But all joking aside, good point. Overlooked that one.
Although I'd dare to wager a bet, that any day now, the same guy that came up with the "truly" portable Wii U in a backpack, or some other YouTube tinkerer, will come up with a way to "portable-ize" the NES and/or SNES Mini...
@Stocksy think you'll be disappointed if you're expecting the controllers at £10, probably £20-£25 I'd guess, but would love to be wrong and you be right
@GravyThief You're welcome, any time.
@NEStalgia Neo Geo has no nostalgic value? I think you're HIGHLY underestimating that. Back in the day, every kid I knew, including my already older self, wanted one, except we simply couldn't afford it, much like the article so correctly mentions, and what the article also nailed, is the sentiment that we all thought that it was the Rolls Royce of consoles, the Holy Grail of gaming, so to speak.
I always had the intention or thought that I would be able to get one, eventually, but by the time that I had a decent enough job to provide for that, the console itself was already surpassed by newer, and at the time, more interesting ones, so I kind of forgot about it for a decent while.
By the time I became interested in it once again, it had become a collector's item, and the already expensive games had, in some cases, reached stellar heights, or weren't even available at all anymore, so for me, this little arcade cabinet is a dream come true, at last...
This is most certainly on my radar! I have been keeping an eye on this since I first heard about it. Will make a great addition to my classic gaming collection. I'm old school so I've played the majority of these when they first released. Ah, the memories of standing in an arcade with a crowd of people looking on. Young ones these days will never know that feeling... I sorely miss the arcades of yesteryear...
"Criticizing this unit for not offering an option for portable play is rather unfair, in my opinion, seeing as Nintendo's mini consoles don't have that option either, and equally, they also don't have an internal battery..."
Why have a screen, small controller, and a premium price then?
@cleveland124 Premium price? For a system that features an in-built controller, and a good quality screen, I'd say the price is more than fair.
Besides that, it is meant to be a tabletop, so having a tabletop without controls and a screen would of course be GROSSLY missing the point...
And I already amended part of what I said, a couple of comments back...
@ThanosReXXX well, i said other than 90s gaming enthusiasts. That would be us and I'm guessing other people you knew at the time
But the Nintendo minis have broad nostalgia and culture appeal to non enthusiasts... People that weren't pining over real arcades at home 20 years ago still were familiar with Nintendo
@NEStalgia I wouldn't call those people I knew "gaming enthusiasts", back then, it was more like all but the most poor kid, or kid with the most strict parents, had gaming devices, so we were all gamers, but if that's the same thing to you, then I guess you have a point.
And if those are gaming enthusiasts, then so are the people that want to play with the Nintendo Minis, seeing as they are, or have become enthusiastic enough to buy one and play with it.
See what I did there? Huh, huh, huh?
I never really had that kind of affinity for Neo Geo, so this won't be something I'd be getting. But I will say that if I did have one, I'd sit on it and not even open the box. DatBoutIt.
@Shufty I was being hopeful for sure. Just not sure I’ll bite at £150
@ThanosReXXX No worries!
And I'm glad my thoughts on the Neo Geo being the Rolls Royce of gaming hit the mark with you. It was like discussing a Unicorn when talking about this on the school playground; people swore they'd seen one in the flesh and even touched one, but couldn't say when or where. Magical times indeed!
I prefer appropriate Nintendo games rather than any SNK games.
I don't have one so I couldn't say if it's better or worse (merely this reviewer's opinion). However, I think we can all thank Nintendo for stepping up the quality of the retro console business. So many flashback systems and retro style systems were really crappy. Poor build, poor game selection, poor sound and emulation (Etc). If nothing else, Nintendo has raised the bar with the NES and SNES classics and other companies are taking notice that quality products will sell to the masses opposed to inferior products to a niche crowd. Now, if only Sega could get it right. I'd also love a PS1 mini!
@ThanosReXXX Yeah, but Nintendo's offerings don't include a portable screen that then wrecks the ergonomics of the controls. This thing was designed to be a portable system, yet somehow it's not.
Without it working as a portable system (at least not without jumping through hoops), I don't think they should've bothered including the small screen at all. It would've been better to just design it like a traditional console with an ergonomic controller. They could cut the price a little that way, as well.
@electrolite77 Did you see the list of games for the international version? It has more variety than the Japanese version.
Isn't "Metal Slug X" just (widely considered to be) an improved version of "Metal Slug 2"? Why would the Japanese version pick 2 over X?
Shame, it seems like a few stupid little niggles have kept if from being something special--especially the decision not to include a pixel perfect setting.
@ThanosReXXX Well, I think @NEStalgia was referring to people like us who religiously follow the video game scene and constantly check for news and updates rather than the average gamer. I didn't hit that point until my late teens, whereas when I was a kid I was just an average gamer with a Sega Genesis who had never heard of any consoles made by anyone other than Nintendo or Sega.
@Damo Haha, yeah, indeed. I remember it well from back then, since we had this one annoying Chinese classmate (not annoying because he was Chinese, but because of the rest of this story), who's father was an international business man, who traveled all over the world, and he brought his son all kinds of things from his trip, that the rest of our class, including me, could only dream of:
super expensive waterproof Sony walkman's with double tape decks, and indeed also a Neo Geo, with no less than 5 (five!) games. The brat...
@BulbasaurusRex No offense, but all these points were already tackled in my discussion with others, who also reacted to my comment. And it was not designed as a portable, but as a tabletop, which is something ENTIRELY different.
As for my talk with @NEStalgia: we're just taking pot shots at each other, more out of fun and out of already having had dozens upon dozens of discussions with each other, so you probably shouldn't take most of what we say to each other seriously, especially when there's smileys involved...
@N00BiSH buy one then. 🤔
@impurekind And let's also not forget the omission of a scanline option...
It's sinful that they removed twinkle star sprites from the international edition.
I imagine this will please the fans of this new "plug and play mini console" fad. But I have said it before and will keep saying it, I prefer to have the retro games on the Switch. I do not want a pile of these plug and play systems hooked up to my TV. While there is some appeal to collecting them for display pieces, I would prefer to play the games on my Switch.
I do not understand the tiny arcade cabinet idea, it adds costs and I cannot see anyone realistically playing with it. Why not just have a small replica console (e.g. snes mini) and include a controller. I like the idea and l like the games included in the EU edition (how could you not!) but I am not sold on the mini arcade style.
"And it was not designed as a portable, but as a tabletop, which is something ENTIRELY different."
A 3.5" screen can't be a tabletop to me, it's a handheld since your eyes would ideally be no more than about 18" away and two players in tabletop would be impossible. You'd have to slouch uncomfortably to make that look decent on a tabletop or have a 6' high table. That's about the size of the original DSi top screen. I just don't see the point of a nearly unusable screen without a battery. It could have included a slot for AAs or something if they didn't want a battery. And I don't think the camparison to the Nes/Snes mini is fair either because they don't have screens. If they did they wouldn't hit the nastolgia itch since they weren't what most gamers had in their homes, and I don't think tacking on the $40-50 would have hit the sweet point for an item like that. But if they did have screens, like if Nintendo releases a GB mini, I'm guessing they'd put a battery in it. But to each it's own. Some people will see the benefit in the features and purchase it. I don't think it will become the NES mini that led the US console sales for a month in 2018 .
@ThanosReXXX Nothing is designed purely as a tabletop electronic, at least they shouldn't be. If an electronic is capable of being played on a tabletop while connected to an outlet or other external power source, it's almost always a secondary feature of a portable electronic device. After all, it's not any more difficult to give an electronic device internal battery support (whether rechargeable or not) than it is to give it support to access an external power supply, yet the former is easily the superior functionality.
Well, on second thought, devices that are too bulky to easily carry around may forego internal battery support, but that's clearly not the case here.
@roadrunner343 The emulation on the neo geo x got a lot better with firmware updates. The screen though the wrong ratio wasn't too bad and you could change it to display in 4:3.
I just feel like the mini is worse in every way besides the 4:3 screen. It looks like an arcade but the button layout isn't like a neo geo arcade at all. The x portable had a similar layout but the controllers had the proper arcade layout making button combos easier. Joysticks were all micro switched too. X could be played on the go and hooked into hdmi with the cool looking dock.
The hardware and emulation weren't perfect but I feel like the design should have been the starting off point for future neo geo recreations. With some tweaks could have been perfect.
Or at least SNK should do something like what arcade1up is doing.
Cute, but too small. I see a lot of cramped, hurting hands.
Read until no scan line filter, then realised I don't care anymore.
The Switch is my Neo Geo microconsole.
I am curious, if the pad uses a USB C connection, does it work on the Switch (handheld mode)?
I probably will get one of these but I’m not keen on the filter options I love to see these games in all their pixilated glory I always turn off the filters when I play neo games on the switch the more I think about it tho the more I think these are better played on the switch and I could buy quite a few off the eshop for the price of this
some of you are missing the point. This is just a collector's item. See it as a homage to the legacy coin op machines. Its not the most practical way for retro gaming. I think it looks cool.
I need this on my desk at the office.
Looks like I won't buy it then. I wasn't expecting Windjammers for the aforementioned problems -but still hope to see it on ACA Neo Geo, if Donkey Kong legal issues were solved this definitely can be done too-, but so many brawlers... I just don't want them. No variety, not for me.
I'll stick to ACA Neo purchases. And if the emulation, as the review says, is worse in options than in NES and SNES minis, we need to buy a mini-HDMI and there's only one controller (and tiny)... well, I'll pass on it.
@jbrodack I won't disagree, I think the Neo Geo X made a better starting point. That may be because I'm strongly biased towards portables, but who knows. I know you can switch the aspect ratio, but using only a fraction of the screen and playing with black boarders really bothers me, so that may be another reason why I wasn't as enamored with the Neo Geo X.
As for arcade1up, I had never heard of them before now, so thanks for the info. That does look pretty cool - getting a full blown arcade cabinet for $300 is crazy. I'm pretty worried about the build quality, but then again, at that price, it would be pretty hard to complain. Could definitely use that as a starting point for your own MAME build, rather than building/purchasing a custom cabinet for much more.
@cleveland124 I never said that it would, but for Neo Geo fans like me, this is most definitely an interesting item.
And that screen is more than big enough, from all the videos I've seen of it. If you can play on a DS or a 3DS, then you can play on this quite easily. And the viewing distance is also about the same, if you use it like you're supposed to, because a tabletop should also be used at semi-arm length, much the same as with a handheld.
And then there's of course the connect it to TV option, if the image is still too small for some, or if you simply want to relive those Neo Geo days on the big screen...
@BulbasaurusRex Excuse me for saying so, but it's not about what it is to any of us individuals. They've said it's a tabletop.
It really is quite simple: we can all clearly see, that this Mini is shaped like an arcade cabinet, and seeing as all tabletops are shaped like that, it falls into that category, regardless of the size of any of its components.
Most sites that mention it, also label it as such, so it seems they all largely agree on that distinction.
Good shout, cheers. That is a bit more interesting. I mean, I know any Neo Geo system is going to have a lot of fighting games but that Japanese line up goes a bit overboard for my taste.
@ThanosReXXX Well, of course it is a tabletop, but it needs to also be a portable to be any good. Like I said, that's only the secondary function of any good tabletop device. People buy them to be portable first and foremost and prefer to play them on the tabletop without requiring it to be plugged in all the time (at which point it's both a tabletop AND a portable). Any tabletop electronic that does require a constant outside connection just sucks and fails to attract many consumers, especially when it's such any easy design issue to fix. Even giving it a slot for AA batteries would be preferable over absolutely no portable functionality whatsoever. Otherwise, it's just not worth it to the consumers to even bother including a tabletop screen at all.
@BulbasaurusRex Why? When I was young, I had a Space Invaders tabletop, one of those early ones, with the bright green and red back-lit graphics, and I always used it in the house, or in the caravan on holidays, but I never dragged it along with me to play outside with it or something.
I do agree with you on the lack of an external battery, though. That was most definitely an oversight. My old tabletop worked with batteries, as well as with an adapter, so they could have at least made that an option.
And personally, I also find the lack of a scanline option a mistake, but one that I'll probably learn to live with, because I'm going to get one anyway...
Tap here to load 84 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...