SNK’s Neo•Geo

Many of the third-party publishers that had released games for the Famicom, such as Konami, Capcom and Enix, went on to produce games for the Super Famicom as well. However, SNK, a publisher of nine Famicom games, didn’t have anything initially available for the Super Famicom.6 Instead, SNK released an all-new type of system for the arcades. Its Neo•Geo MVS (Multi-Video System), which debuted in Japanese arcades on January 31, was the world’s rst cartridge-based arcade machine.

The Neo•Geo MVS was the next logical step in the arcade game evolution that began in 1985 with the JAMMA board. However instead of having PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) that had to be switched in order to change games, the Neo•Geo MVS merely required a switch of a game cartridge, which was no di erent than changing a cartridge in a home console. The cartridges themselves were VHS-tape-sized and could contain up to 330 megabits of code. Arcade operators liked the system because each cabinet could hold up to six cartridges, which allowed them to o er more games in a limited amount of space.

Gamers also liked the system. Besides providing fun, colorful graphics that featured large, detailed characters, the Neo•Geo MVS o ered a unique way for gamers to save their scores. The scores and positions of up to 27 games could be saved on 4K memory cards that could be inserted into the cabinets. Gamers could purchase the cards from the arcade operators and then use them in any Neo•Geo MVS machine in any arcade.

Check out more of the rich history of the industry in Leonard Herman’s book Phoenix IV available at Rolenta Press and make sure to sign up to get Old School Gamer Magazine for free by clicking here!


Leonard Herman Leonard Herman (26 Posts)

Leonard Herman, The Game Scholar, is regarded as one of the earliest and most respected videogame historians. The first edition of his book Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames, which was published in 1994, is considered to be the first serious and comprehensive book about the history of videogames. He has written articles for Videogaming & Computer Illustrated, Games Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Pocket Games, Classic Gamer Magazine, Edge, Game Informer, Classic Gamer Magazine, Manci Games, and Video Game Trader, which he also edited. He has also contributed articles to several videogame-related books, including Supercade, The Video Game Explosion and The Encyclopedia of Video Games. Mr. Herman has also written the book ABC To the VCS (A Directory of Software for the Atari 2600), a compendium of game summaries. He has also written and designed user's manuals for the following Atari VCS games: Cracked, Save the Whales, Pick-Up, Rush Hour, Looping, The Entity and Lasercade, as well as the user's guide to Ralph Baer's Pinball! for the Odyssey2. In 1994, he founded Rolenta Press, a publisher of videogame books, whose catalogue included Videogames: In the Beginning, by Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the videogame console, and Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel, the world's first videogame journalist. Two Rolenta Press books were included in a list of the top ten videogame books of all time by Game Informer magazine in 2008. Mr. Herman has served as an advisor for Videotopia, Classic Gaming Expo and the National Videogame Museum. He has appeared in several episodes of G4's Icons and in the documentary, The King of Arcades. In 2003, Mr. Herman received a Classic Gaming Expo Achievement Award in recognition for his accomplishments in documenting game history