Important Importables: Neo Geo Pocket

July 4, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Neo Geo Pocket

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Nostalgia, Handhelds, Handhelds-Other, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers

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Neo Geo Pocket ColorWhile it didn’t receive a lot of publicity or recognition, there was a portable handheld system that was fairly successful in Japan, and even received a release in North America and Europe. I’m talking about SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket and Neo Geo Pocket Color series of systems. The first generation, the Neo Geo Pocket, was a Japan exclusive, but its successor, the Neo Geo Pocket Color actually did find its way outside of Japan.

Both handhelds were fairly unique, with a handful of well known titles. They were almost like having small, portable arcade systems, and are notable for being one of the first handheld consoles to have an analog stick. Both systems also had CPUs built by Toshiba. They were also region-free units, allowing owners to import to boost their libraries.

Now, they’re somewhat difficult to find. If you see one and you enjoy portable gaming, it may be worth the effort. I know I enjoy my Neo Geo Pocket Color, though I initially bought it for collecting purposes.

King of Fighters R-1

Neo Geo Pocket

The Neo Geo Pocket was originally released in Japan in 1998 and quickly replaced by the Neo Geo Pocket Color. As brief as that is, that’s pretty much all that’s notable about the Neo Geo Pocket. A good way to look at it is that it was SNK’s way of testing the waters and preparing for the following Neo Geo Pocket Color. It was a region-free handheld and, oddly enough, was forwards-compatible with many of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games. So at least people who did invest in this handheld didn’t waste too much money, as they’d be able to play many of the games from the more robust Neo Geo Pocket Color library.

Notable Games

It’s somewhat difficult to discern Neo Geo Pocket games, because they tend to just get lumped in with all of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games due to the backward compatibility. There were also only a handful of Neo Geo Pocket games released, and the following are some of the best known.

  • Baseball Stars
  • King of Fighters R-1
  • Neo Geo Cup ‘98 Plus
  • Samurai Spirits

SNK vs Capcom Card Fighter Clash

Neo Geo Pocket Color

Not even a year after the Neo Geo Pocket was released, the Neo Geo Pocket Color was released in Japan, then North America and finally Europe in 1999. It had a fairly short lifespan, but that wasn’t due to a lack of popularity. It was fairly popular in Japan, and somewhat successful until it died out in 2001. The problem was that Aruze bought SNK, which marked the end of the Neo Geo Pocket Color overseas and its gradual demise in Japan.

The Neo Geo Pocket Color could be best compared to the Game Boy Color. It had a calendar and fortuneteller included in the base unit, and was backwards compatible with the few Neo Geo Pocket games that were released. It was able to connect to other Neo Geo Pocket Color units, by a cord or wireless connection peripheral, for multiplayer. It even connected with the Sega Dreamcast for several games, if you had the cords and appropriate games.

Notable Games

There were quite a few Neo Geo Pocket Color games, many of them quite good. The legendary Card Fighters series first made its appearance on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. SNK and Capcom both took advantage of the analog stick that the Neo Geo Pocket Color possessed in place of a D-pad, and released many fighters for the system.

Here’s a brief list of some of the best known Neo Geo Pocket Color games.

  • Cool Cool Jam
  • Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999
  • Evolution: Eternal Dungeons
  • Faselei!
  • Fatal Fury: First Contact
  • Gals Fighters
  • Ghost Photo Studio
  • The Last Blade
  • King of Fighters R-2
  • Memories Off Pure
  • Metal Slug: 1st Mission
  • Ogre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia Prince
  • Pac-Man
  • Rockman Battle & Fighters
  • SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash
  • SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millenium
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports takes a look at Bandai and it’s amazing history.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Two weeks ago Hot Japanese Imports reviewed the volume one of Nana by Ai Yazawa.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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