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Not sure if there actually have been ten or not.
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Author name #1
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
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Subject: Neo Geo X
I'm sure the enthusiast crowd that Lawrence calls friends have already heard about this little gem:

http://neogeox.com/NeoGeo/gold

[Image: http://neogeox.com/image/cache/data/xgoldprod-600x600.jpg]

Essentially, this is a little handheld Neo emulator with all the right controls and twenty games built in. There's a docking station that looks like an actual Neo MVS unit, but isn't. What it does have is an HDMI output so that you can play those twenty games in a resolution that reveals all the blocky goodness of those old titles.

I'm most interested in that joystick. If it's a pin-for-pin substitute for the original Neo stick, and at least half the quality of the old hardware, then I'm getting ten of them.
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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We've discussed this thing briefly on IRC.  Here's the summary:

One person suggested the game list was the company director's favourite games when the Neo was popular.  I thought it was more likely the cheapest games to license from whatever is left of SNK.  Someone else thought maybe they were teasers and the rest of the library could be purchased, but then I reasoned Tommo would be talking up the online game shop by now, if that were the case.

I was keen to get one when I heard about the HDMI output, but then I remembered I already have a PC that can do HDMI to the TV, and I already have Neo sticks to play with if I really wanted the authentic crappy experience (those sticks are not very good IMO) so this $200 would be for the neat new hardware, not for the playing of games.

Edit: That screen needs to be 4:3 too.  And why does it have shoulder buttons?

Ultimately it's the same Chinese multi-purpose emulation handheld with a crappy but fan-friendly d-pad, a dock and a joystick port.  I'm struggling to maintain interest, but SNK's long dead and their legacy buried with a certain finality.
BLEARGH
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The shoulder buttons and screen aspect on the handheld suggest plans (or maybe only aspirations) for future expandability. Atomiswave ports in its future, maybe? Although the practical reality probably is that this is just a generic shell that they've reused.

There is a great portion of the old Neo library that isn't owned outright by SNK. A number of Taito games, a few non-game licenses, and even a Pac Man title. Reflecting on this, it's hard to forget that the vast majority of the proper Neo library is already available on the PSP and every other contemporary game system. The people who want to play these games have access to them already, and very likely have original AES and MVS hardware as well.

All the same, I still want a Neo X unit. It has the same appeal as a Retro Genesis and an Atari Flashback. When do we get our fifty-in-one Saturn brick?
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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I thought the shoulders suggested a re-purposed system, rebadged with the Neo logo, not created for this purpose.  I never once entertained the notion that this was a bespoke device.

There are a lot of non-SNK games, but even if we only considered SNK titles, there's a ton of better stuff in the library, even sequels to included games (Sidekicks) which are far better.  The title choice smacks of cost savings to me.  I'm quite surprised they went with such fancy trimmings (dock, stick) when the cost seemed so important.

I sort of want one but am wary.  =)
BLEARGH
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Too much for too little...I want to like it but I think the quality will be poor...
Author name #6
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It looks like the Joystick units will be sold separately, presumably so that you can add a second input to the X:

http://neogeox.com/joystick

I never did have Neo sticks in my house, only the pads that came with the Neo CD and CDZ systems. I was originally going to buy the X just for the stick, but if the quality is any good then I'll just buy two sticks and skip the system entirely.
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I thought I had read that nothing is compatible with the original systems.  You might want to double check before buying.
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I bought one. It should arrive at my house this evening. Moderate excitement!

The news has probably gotten around already that this first released hardware version has a small removable memory card where a permanent ROM chip would ordinarily go. A number of hacks have already been discovered: The simplest and most absurd involves copying new ROM images into the on-board memory using the hard-coded file names that the built-in menu expects to find. A more complex modification involves custom boot and emulator code. Link:

http://www.neo-geo.com/forums/showthread.…?239578-NeoGeo…

As Trev indicated, the stick controller is indeed incompatible with standard Neo home hardware. But some are reporting that it may be a HID-compliant USB device. Moderate excitement plus one unit of measurement!

By way of comparison, the collected Neo releases on the PSP are probably the main reason not to use the X out in the world. If I can stay sober long enough this weekend I'll see if I can't do some pro/con examination with photographic reinforcement.
Author name #9
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My PSP version of the SNK Arcade Classics collection has not arrived yet, but I do have some preliminary impressions of the Neo X to share:

  • The stick is a one-for-one reproduction of the original Neo controller, down to the odd mushiness of the Start and Select buttons. Disappointingly, it's a generic USB controller encoder inside, and one that reports more buttons to a PC than it actually has. I haven't opened it up yet, but it's likely that the stick has modern ROHS components that would stand up well to modification.
  • The handheld itself is nice for what it is, but nothing special. I think I called it ten year old technology emulating fifteen year old games when I talked about it on Usenet? The awful part is how slow the menu interface is, as compared to other standard handheld gaming systems. You wait for a year for the thing to boot, and then the menu system doesn't always respond when you want to pick or start a game. Once you get into the game the emulation is flawless, but it's not as if that hasn't happened on dozens of platforms before by now.
  • The dock is sort of odd. I had originally thought the handheld would slide into the cartridge slot for poetic reasons, but instead you flip open the console and jam it into a free-floating area that has the HDMI, A/V and USB connectors on it. It's not elegant, and it doesn't quite fit right. It also doesn't use anything but friction to hold the handheld in place, so I don't feel confident leaving it there. Troublingly, there's no apparent mechanism for charging the handheld without the dock, but I'm sure that problem fixes itself once the stand-alone handheld retail package hits the market.

I don't regret buying it, but that's $200 that might have been better spent on a Vita, or ten DS games I don't already own. We'll see how well the PSP collection stacks up in a day or two.
+1 NFG
Author name #10
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Well, I now have the PSP version of the SNK Arcade Classics collection. 16 games, slightly different roster than the Neo X, but they both have KOF 94, Metal Slug and Magician Lord in common.

In a nutshell, the Neo X is a better portable Neo experience. The PSP has some terrible lag, and not enough memory to store the whole Neo ROM image. It's also evident that the PSP collection has AES carts, whereas the Neo X uses the MVS images complete with lovely little tutorial segments after you start the game. But on loading time alone, the Neo X wins out over the PSP version, even though the PSP bizarrely gives you more video emulation choices.

I also have the Orochi Saga collection, which is KOF 94 through 98. My copy is for PSP but there was also a PS2 and Wii version available. This doesn't really count as a Neo emulation package because the games were rewritten slightly and optimized for whatever platform. But as a definitive Neo fighting game collection, it's going to be hard to beat.

With that said, I don't think the Neo X has a big future. It's cool, but to sum up Lawrence's viewpoint from before, it's a dead end.
+1 NFG
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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I wonder if it becomes more awesome when you've got one of the easily hacked models onto which you can load more games?  Though the RAM limitation is probably a killer, what a stupid thing to skimp on. 

And really?  The dock has to be opened to be used?  That's a tragic missed opportunity.
BLEARGH
Author name #12
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Mine is a first-run with the mini-SD card that can be hacked. With that said though, you have to be young and ambitious to want to do that. How many gamers are young enough to think that a full-on rectal probe of a hardware modification here is worthwhile, but old enough to be a Neo Geo fan?

That's not to say I'm not willing to break out the soldering iron. But with at least half a dozen other better emulation options available, it's not really all that awesome. It's a young man's leisure activity, and I'm not young any more.
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