View Full Version : What makes the Neo Geo special?

January 7th, 2010, 12:58 AM
Over the years I came to discover this "Neo Geo" system which in the more recent years (and according to wikipedia) supposedly has become a system so prized, people have sold their unborn children (that was not mentioned on wikipedia) just go get hold of a console.
Okay, so supposedly all the games had limited production runs but really? $12000 for a game cartridge?
I know very early computers (PDP "straight" 8 is an example) that have sold for less than that.
Someone please fill me in.

January 7th, 2010, 04:17 AM
I don't know much about it, but there were a series of Neo Geo machines: the AES, the MVS and the CD at least. From what I have observed, rarity and value depends much upon which of those systems you refer to. However I doubt any $12000 game unless it was a one-of-a-kind special competition cartridge. It is possible you may see both $100 and $1000 cartridges though. The Neo Geo is very tightly coupled with arcade game hardware of its day, so compared to the arcades it may have offered the best home gaming experience.

It could also be a regional thing, whether NTSC editions were more or less common than PAL ones. I'm not sure if the Neo Geos origin from Japan like most other gaming stuff, but then again I'm too lazy to look it up (shoot me).

January 7th, 2010, 01:50 PM
It's a system that combined full arcade-quality (at the time) hardware into a home console game system. Games from the arcade were directly ported to this system, "Insert Coins" messages and all. The cartridges are HUGE, and have dual edge connectors. Basically it was like getting a Playstation 3 when the Playstation 1 was new, in comparison. Sure they both do 2d graphics, but the Neo Geo far outweighed it's weaker cousins in power.

The reason it's so expensive is because it was so expensive when it came out. It was more popular in Japan then other places, but expensive anywhere. Since so few (comparatively) people could afford them, there are few around, and thus high prices. They aren't as rare as some of the more obscure computers, but people shell out to play arcade games in their home a bit more easily, generally speaking.

January 7th, 2010, 05:21 PM
I happen to own a Neo Geo MVS (that's the arcade version) which I have converted to be used with a TV and custom joysticks which use the same pinout as the home console joysticks. The expense of the Neo Geo AES, or home version, is linked to the fact that they were incredibly expensive at the time, and thus are quite rare. That, and they have a strong cult following because they were more frequently lusted over by children/teenagers in the day, while PDPs probably weren't.

To elaborate, the Neo Geo AES cost about $500 USD when it was released in the early 90's. That was for a system which did not come with any games. Each game was in the neighborhood of $100-$600 depending on the title. This is because the home console and the arcade machine versions of the Neo Geo were using literally the same hardware and software. Now, the home carts were of a different pinout than the arcade versions to discourage arcade operators from using the cheaper home cartridges to make money in arcades.

The Neo Geo was and still is prized for it's exceptionally excellent 2d games. Part of this was that the system was literally top of the line. It had a 68k for the main processor, as well as a dedicated z80 which ran the sound section of the board, which included FM and sampled sound. It also had a special custom chip for generating the graphics, as well as a very fast a powerful bankswtiching scheme. Each cartridge consists of 2 PCB's which are literally jam-packed with ROM chips, with some cartridges clocking in at close to 1 gigabit of data. The $500 price tag for the AES actually left little room for profit in the home console market with this much hardware inside, which is why SNK did not produce them for very long. They did continue to make games for the system for many years, all the way up to 2004, I believe.

And of course, the price tags on some games get insane. For example, the most expensive Neo Geo AES cartridge of all time is the English language European release of Kizuna Encounter, which supposedly had a printed run numbered to about a dozen, of which only a handful have been accounted for. Close runner up is the original print of Metal Slug, a game which was from a then-unknown game company Nazca, which which sold out very quickly and never reprinted by SNK. That game runs in the $6k range when it comes up for auction.

January 7th, 2010, 10:31 PM
Okay I see now.
So the reason I see the hardware and games catch for crazy prices is because initially they were sold...at crazy prices.
I guess that makes sense.

January 7th, 2010, 10:36 PM
Besides, any game only known to exist in a couple of dozen copies tends to be highly valuable by collectors no matter the system. Perhaps not $6K valuable but at least $200-$500 valuable for a single game. I am not sure if genuine vintage computer collectors put as much value to individual utility software releases, e.g. if a virtually unknown word processor for the TRS-80 would be worth hundreds of dollars if you had the original disk and manual.

AB Positive
January 11th, 2010, 10:21 AM
that $12k cart is the European version of Kizuna Encounter. I was watching the last auction that one sold on.

AES collectors are CRAZY, I know - I used to be one. ;)

Neo Geo is great though - it was literally an arcade board as a home machine (AES). The only difference is the Cart slot, so a convertor meant you could play MVS (arcade) carts on your home machine.

Not too many AES carts really hit above $1k in value though. KE is one, English complete Metal Slug 1 is another but I remember getting Garou: Mark of the Wolves (a top notch fighting game) for the AES at around $450.

If you're into Neo Geo, I recommend a consolized MVS arcade board. It's a bit steeper on hardware costs but saves TONS of money on the software. MVS Metal Slug 1's rarely go for more than $50 for the cart.

January 11th, 2010, 10:31 AM
Hmm, yes you're right. The MVS hardware is only a a little bit steeper because of the modding you have to do in order to use it for a console, or the cost of having a whole arcade machine.