SNK Playmore’s handheld Neo Geo X allows gamers to relive the glory days of SNK’s ridiculously expensive Neo Geo home arcade system. With 20 pre-loaded Neo Geo games, an optional arcade stick and an optional docking station that allows for games to be played on the TV, both the standard package and the accessory-including Neo Geo X Gold package will have retro gamers the world over reaching for their wallets.
In North America the Neo Geo X is distributed by Tommo, whereas Blaze Europe, in partnership with FunStock, distribute and sell units to European, Australian, Russian, African and Middle-Eastern customers and retailers.
I caught up with FunStock’s David Chitty at MCM London Comic Con to talk about the Neo Geo X, its peripherals and the response it’s gotten from their customers.
“What it’s all about is that the Neo Geo was a fantastic console back in the day but it was four hundred pounds to get one console and then two hundred quid to get the games,” Chitty said. “Basically, we’ve brought it up to date so it works on modern day TVs.
It’s a limited edition – fantastic – comes with a handheld in it, inside it, it comes with twenty games on it and, announced just today – we do have some classic gaming packs where you get three and they’re about twenty five quid each – we’ve just announced the Mega Pack, which is all 15 games for sixty quid. That includes Metal Slug 2, all sorts of fantastic games, just come up on–. I’ve only just got this news myself about fifteen minutes ago so I’m not really in authority. It’s just–. It goes onto your TV. It’s a fantastic console.
Yes, it uses a HDMI input, they’re the squarest pixels you’ll ever see! You know, it’s kept with the true tradition of classic Neo Geo, so it really is an absolutely superb console.”
The Neo Geo X Mega Pack Adds 15 More Neo Geo Games
The “Mega Pack” Chitty refers to is the recently revealed Neo Geo X Mega Pack: Volume I, an additional SD card that contains 15 more Neo Geo titles not currently found on the Neo Geo X. The games will also be available as separate in packs of three Neo Geo titles. Here’s the games on offer:
- Vol. I:Sengoku,Metal Slug 2,Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy
- Vol. II: Samurai Shodown 3, Savage Reign, Super Sidekicks 3
- Vol. III: King of Fighters ‘96, Blazing Star, Kizuna Encounter
- Vol. IV: Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Shock Troopers, World Heroes 2 Jet
- Vol. V: The Last Blade, Blue’s Journey, Art of Fighting 3
As mentioned earlier, the Neo Geo X Gold package also includes a 1:1 replica of the original Neo Geo arcade stick, which can also be bought separately. The stick connects to the Neo Geo X via a USB cable, which immediately made me wonder if the stick could be used with other devices.
“We have heard from people that have bought them that they’re compatible with the PS3,” Chitty said. “I haven’t tried it myself so I wouldn’t be able to–. If you were to plug it into a computer and use a keyboard mapping program it will provide an input signal, so technically it can be put into anything else.”
Considering the ubiquitous nature of USB, I also wondered if other USB controllers would work with the Neo Geo X docking station.
“No, we haven’t tested that. If you go onto our website and say ‘we want you to test something’ and send something in, I’m the person who’s involved with the project, so we’ll do out best to test it and see what we can do for you.”
FunStock’s customers are an important part of further Neo Geo X development
FunStock’s after-sales communication with their customers seems to be a key source of information on improvements that can be made to the Neo Geo X. Chitty went on to explain the importance of their user forums in the development of the upcoming Neo Geo X system update.
“We’ve got plenty of firmware updates, responded to people who have been using our forums, and one of the biggest issues we had was people complaining it wasn’t going on the TV correctly. But with the new firmware, now it’s all governed by the the actual television itself. If you want it on widescreen or 4:3, which it is at the moment, obviously you can’t see [The Neo Geo X on display wasn’t in our line of sight], but we’re doing our best to meet the demands of our consumers and the people who really enjoy it.
We set Metal Slug up today and it has just been just been–. I’ve been sat there smiling most of the time actually, while actually doing my job trying to flog the thing, so it’s an absolutely brilliant piece of kit.”
“If consumers demand it we’ll do our best to make it.”
While the original Neo Geo home console fetches high prices on auction sites like eBay, its chunky cartridges aren’t always too expensive; just so long as you’re not trying to hunt down cult classics like the Metal Slug series.
Looking at the faux cartridge slot on the Neo Geo X’s docking station, I couldn’t help but ask Chitty if there was any plans to introduce a Neo Geo X variant that can play the original Neo Geo cartridges.
“No, the cartridge slot–. The cartridge [slot] on the top is not functional unfortunately, it’s there for aesthetic reasons” Chitty said. “You can’t use the actual old style Neo Geo cartridges in there. We provide an SD card which plugs in the side for the [games] and updates. But if consumers demand it we’ll do our best to make it.
Thanks to David Chitty of FunStock for taking the time out to chat with me at MCM London Comic Con. If you’re the proud owner of the Neo Geo X then let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!