Greetings, those enamoured with retro consoles, and welcome back to The Last Official Release. Here, I scrutinise, study and examine the last official games released on your favourite consoles. Today, I finalise my journey through the universe of Neo Geo, but I’ve covered plenty of different consoles previously that be found linked below.
The Neo Geo family has certainly been quite interesting to explore. It was not a line of systems that I was terribly familiar with, so researching the original AES and then the CD variant has been as much a learning experience for me as it hopefully has been for you.
After the CD was discontinued (very silently, I might add) in 1997, SNK was relatively quiet in the console gaming space for a year or so. However, in late October 1998, they released the Neo Geo Pocket. Only released for Asian markets, this monochrome screened console is considered to be a bit of a failure. Only nine games were ever released for it, and since they are all backwards compatible with the console’s successor, the Neo Geo Pocket Color, I have decided to not give the system its own article. Additionally, all Pocket Color games were playable on the monochrome model too, although there could be issues with playing some games on such a colour-challenged screen.
So, with the original being discontinued in 1999, the Pocket Color was swiftly released but with a worldwide launch. And what a launch it was; 14 games were available on day one of sales, which was a record for the time. The Pocket Color obviously included a colour screen (although it wasn’t illuminated), 40-hours of battery life and a “clicky stick” joystick that was perfect for the barrage of fighting and arcade games that SNK would release for it.
It struggled, however, against the behemoth that was Nintendo. With the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and with the Game Boy Advance looming on the horizon (and with it all being fuelled by Pokémon mania) SNK failed to gain a decent foothold in the market. Sales declined, and the console was discontinued in Japan in 2001. Following that, SNK its self went bankrupt. It’s around in a different form in the present, but 2001 marked the original end of SNK and its Neo Geo line of systems.
Over 80 games did see a release on the system before all of that, however, which certainly isn’t something you can angerly shake a stick at. While American and European markets would see the final Pocket Color games in 2000, it appears that at least four games were released in Japan in 2001.
The finality of those was SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash 2 Expand Edition on the 13th of September. If it’s one writing this series has taught me, Japan sure does love unnecessarily long game titles. A sequel to 1999’s SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (also on the Pocket Color) this digital card game featured characters from both SNK and Capcom games. While most are from fighting games, there are a variety of characters from elsewhere too. The gameplay resembled Magic: The Gathering in many ways, although is considered to be much simpler. Three cards are allowed on the playfield at any one time, although there is no mana to be spent, instead substituted for Special Points which are gained as the gameplay goes on. Riveting stuff.
Card Fighters 2 Expand Edition is the sequel and includes 124 new cards from games such as Onimusha, Mega Man Legends and even Dino Crisis. While the original was actually released as two different versions that allowed you to start with either a Capcom or SNK card deck, this only released as the one edition (although you can still choose which deck you wanted to start with).
There was a third version of the game on Nintendo DS in 2006, but the American variety was released with a game breaking bug and had to be recalled. Because of this, the game was poorly received and the series was never heard from again.
Previously, on The Last Official Release:
Neo Geo CD – The King of Fighters ’99: Millennium Battle (1999)
Neo Geo AES – Samurai Shodown V Special (2004)
TurboGrafx-16 – Magical Chase (1993)
Atari 7800 – Sentinel (1991)
Atari 5200 – Gremlins (1986)
Sega CD – Shadowrun
32X – The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire (1996)
3DO – Creature Shock (1996)
CD-i – Solar Crusade (1999)
Atari Lynx – Super Asteroids & Missile Command (1995)
N-Gage – Civilization (2006)
Fairchild Channel F – Alien Invasion (1981)
Atari Jaguar – Worms (1998)
Virtual Boy – 3D Tetris (1996)
Sega Saturn – Undefined Japanese Game (2000)
Intellivision – Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball (1989)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Metal Slader Glory: Director’s Cut (2000)
Sega Genesis – Frogger (1998)
Sega Master System – Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge
Game & Watch – Mario the Juggler
PS1 – Schnappi: 3 Fun-Games
N64 – Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
Game Gear – The Lost World: Jurassic Park
NES – The Lion King
Atari 2600 – Klax
Game Boy – Shikakei Atama o Kore Kusuru: Kanji/Keisan no Tatsujin
Dreamcast – Karous