Neo Geo AES – Review

My love of gaming over the years brought me to a point of wanting a machine that would deliver results of an arcade simulator. Whilst I would of loved to have purchased an arcade machine back in the day, the Neo Geo AES was the next best thing.

The console was released on 31 January, 1990 by SNK in Osaka, Japan, and whilst the ever so popular MVS (Multi Video System) was around in shopping centers and milk bars, I dreamt of having my own personal arcade at home.  The AES  home systems was only available to rent to commercial establishments, due to the massive cost of $650.00 for a console. Hence the reason why I never bought one until only 2 years ago!!! Unlike most consoles of the time, the Neo Geo boasted a massive 16 Bit. MVS beloved titles became available, in fact, if you purchased one in the 90’s it came with one game, either Baseball Stars Professional or NAM 1975 and two massive controllers (to emulate the arcade) Classic titles became available, such as Metal Slug, Samurai Showdown, King Of Fighters and the ever popular Fatal Fury Series, In fact Fatal Fury was in development before the massive (Sonic) boom of  Street Fighter 2 and offered a unique alternative.

Whilst kids were lining up for Street Fighter, I was over at the Neo Geo MVS kicking ass with Terry Bogard.  Interesting fact both creators of Fatal Fury fighting game series, Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto were the planners of the original Street Fighter and are also known for the Art of Fighting series. The last official game released by SNK  for the Neo Geo AES was Samurai Showdown V Special, it was released in 2004. In a twist of fate, SNK went bankrupt in 2001, largely caused by the rampant piracy of games as they would have you believe, whilst they stopped manufacturing home consoles in 1997 they did  however continue to release games for both the MVS and AES for a further 8 years. The AES carts, whilst massive in size compared with the Mega drive or Super Nintendo, fetched a whopping $200 per game at the time.

 

This was expensive back then, the game prices for this console now have reached record highs. You can still pick up World Heroes or Fatal Fury for around $30, however the games with limited release, which funnily enough was the majority can fetch anywhere from $200 – $1000.00. The European titles sell for a lot more than their Japanese counterparts, mainly because the Euro versions were never mass produced. The rarest of them all has been rumored to have sold between $5,400 – $13,500 Euros, making this game the most rarest game across any platform, the Holy Grail of game collecting – Kizuna Encounter. The list goes on, Metal Slug titles that are original (and not MVS/AES conversions, which still sell for over $200) can fetch anywhere between $1500 to $3000.

The most expensive sports title known to man, Super Sidekicks 4 AKA Ultimate 11 has been rumored to go for $4800 – $10,000 Euros. Don’t be discouraged by the high prices, you can pick up all your favorites, including most fighting games for around $50.00 USD.  Whilst many prefer to play SNK games via EMU or MAME, take it from me, nothing beats playing these games in the original format, the way they should be played. Plus the Carts make great shelves 😉

List of games I currently own ·

Metal Slug (MVS Conversion), Neo Turf Masters (MVS Conversion), Fatal Fury Special,  Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown,  Samurai Showdown 2,  Samurai Showdown 3, Magician Lord, Super Sidekicks 2, Super Sidekicks 3, King of Fighters 95, King of Fighters 96, King of Fighters 97, Baseball 2020, Burning Fight, Nam 1975, ASO 2 Last Guardian and Sengoku.