Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Neo Geo Pocket Color Saga

For five points, please guess the appropriate response from a typical gamer who is only impressed by the latest tech. Answers to follow, but really, you should know these.

1 - I got a PSP.

2 - I got a DS.

3 - I got a GBA.

4 - I got a Game Boy.

5 - I got a Neo Geo Pocket Color.

Think on that for a bit before going ahead.

Done? Okay, here's my take:

I got a PSP. Wicked! That's teh shit, dude!

I got a DS. Awesome! That's such a kid's toy!

I got a GBA. Sweetness!

I got a Game Boy. Amazing! That's... kinda old.

I got a Neo Geo Pocket Color. What the fuck is that, dude?!

I had picked up a Neo-Geo Pocket Color handheld unit. No doubt many of you (but certainly not all of you) are wondering just what the hell is a Neo-Geo Pocket Color. Well, it was SNK's second foray into the handheld gaming market, the first effort being the Neo-Geo Pocket... um, no color.

Released in August 1999, the NGPC was meant to be a competitor against Nintendo's Game Boy portable unit, which had just gotten a color upgrade itself. Six launch titles were released and close to eighty games were released globally (with only half of those hitting North American soil).

The NGPC looked like it would be a worthy competitor to Nintendo, as it included several of SNK's trademark franchises such as King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, and Metal Slug, as well as some third-party classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Pac-Man. The console was also home to the first crossover fighting game between SNK and Capcom, finally pitting fighters from the King of Fighters and Street Fighter universes together in one-on-one combat and opened the doors for later games of this ilk to be released in arcades and home platforms.

The NGPC, despite having a decent library of games to choose from, would cease to be as far as North America is concerned, as the acquisition of SNK by a company called Azure had forced a recall of most (but not all) units. Reasons behind this were cited as poor commercial performance overall, lack of communication between SNK heads and third-party developers, and perhaps the most deciding factor, the anticipated arrival of the Game Boy Advance and its 32-bit ability to port old Super NES games.

So how did I snag one of these?

Ebay? No.

Amazon. No.

Flea Market? No.

A video store. Yep.

It also came with six games. Neat-o.

Anyway, that's all.

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