In 1999, SNK (creators of the Neo Geo) was struggling, Their Neo Geo MVS and AES Systems was declining due to the decline of arcades, and they're system not being up to par with its competition. Heck, the successor to said system the Hyper Neo Geo 64 pretty much failed. They tried to compete with Nintendo's ever dominant Game Boy line, the original Neo Geo Pocket, It failed due to the just released Game Boy Color (which actually had color, obviously) and the ever growing Pokemon Franchise, and it wasn't released outside of Asia. A year later in 1999, SNK released a new portable worldwide...
The Neo Geo Pocket Color (released for around $70), was identical to its predecessor, but in color (4096 in fact with 146 being displayable at a time). Other features include a 40 hour battery life on 2 AA Batteries, 6.144 MHz 900H processor with 16 KB of RAM, 3.072 MHz Z80 Processor with 4 KB of RAM, 64KB ROM, Backwards compatibility with the original Neo Geo Pocket, 2 Face Buttons, a Option Button, an 8 Way Thumbstick, horoscopes, real time clock, and alarm system. It had an internal battery that could be replaced if it went bad (and knowing watch Batteries at this time, it probably WILL Go Bad).
There was a variation of the NGPC, only released in Japan. Known as the New Neo Geo Pocket Color. It was thinner, had improved sound, and a larger screen.
There were peripherals released, but this system never caught on, so don't expect anything weird or unique, just a link cable for fighting games, a wireless connector, and a link cable to link it to the Dreamcast. An MP3 Audio Player was planned, but canceled after SNK's Closure.
There were a couple others released by 3rd parties, but they were released for the Game Boy Color as well as the NGPC, so yeah, nothing interesting... Speaking of, there's a reason this didn't catch on in the west, or even Japan for that matter, Game Boy Color was one of them. it just had a better variety of games, games that appealed to Portable Gaming Niches, and a really good Killer App, Game Boy Color had Pokemon, what did the NGPC have? Fighting Games? Miniaturizations of Neo Geo Games? Not quite there yet, Since after all, there was an alternative for the Game Boy/Game Boy Color (thank the loyalty of the game boy line for making this possible). Another reason it failed was because of the WonderSwan in Japan, which'll get its own blog, but even that had variety and games that appealed to Japanese tastes.
A majority of the NGPC's library was just fighters or spin-offs of SNK Properties like Beast Busters and Metal Slug. You're better off with the originals, which isn't to say they're bad, just they weren't all unique enough to justify the purchase.
The NGPC also had its own share of Puzzle/pick up and play games. Much like the Game Boy Line, however, there was an alternative for every single one of them on the Game Boy Line. There were a couple unique games that you need to check out...
Sonic Pocket Adventure was the first modern Sega game not on a Sega system, this was because the Game Gear was YEARS OLD, and Sega was tight with SNK, The Graphics are really good, and it feels like a Sonic game...
Faselei is a personal favorite of mine. It's a mech strategy game like Front Mission. It's a rather deep game for a portable game, has nice graphics, and wasn't really that successful, in fact it's quite the rarity today.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARD?
In 2001 SNK Could not handle much more of its failures, so it collapsed onto itself and was revived as SNK Playmore shortly thereafter... They had one other interesting system that we'll talk about next time...
HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE IT FOR MYSELF?
1. The Legit option (buying the system and games, which should be pretty reasonable price wise since they aren't in high demand at the moment), or 2. the lazy option (Emulators and ROMs, which should be pretty straightforward since there's only one great emulator, I'm letting you guess what it is).
Sorry for the short length, but there wasn't that much on this system, besides, the next 2 gaming bits make you wish you didn't say those nasty things about this one...
^Fingers crossed that I can dedicate a whole blog to this thing...^
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