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The Neo Geo Pocket returns, but can it survive where it failed before?

Neo Geo Pocket 2 SideThe SNK Neo Geo brand may be coming back, provided that is, these leaked images of a new handheld version of the console are real. The Neo Geo had its heyday during the 90s, when it could be found in several different forms including a coin-op in the arcade halls and as a home console.

SNK also made a pair of handheld Neo Geos, but like many similar devices of the day, they couldn’t compete with Nintendo. After a long period of insecurity and inactivity, SNK re-released some of its games on the Xbox and Wii a few years ago, but hasn’t dabbled in hardware since the late 90s.

Well, until the image you see above appeared on a Japanese website anyway. Clearly branded as an SNK Neo Geo, it’s a smartphone-like handheld console with a thumb-operated analogue joystick, four action keys, shoulder buttons and a 3.5mm headphone socket all visible on the chassis.

According to the Google translation of the page (which includes the wonderful phrase “great delight old gamer!”) the new Neo Geo will have a 4.3-inch screen, 2GB of memory, a 2200mAh battery and also an SD card slot.

It appears the handheld machine will have 20 games pre-installed, and that others will perhaps be supplied on SD cards in the future. The site provides a list of the games expected to come already installed, and they include Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Nam 1975 and both King of Monsters and King of Fighters ’94.

Now, unless you’re being deliberately obtuse, you’ll have noticed the striking resemblance between the pictured device and an iPhone 4, to the point it looks like a Photoshop job from some angles. However, other sources are saying the Neo Geo Pocket 2 is official, but there’s no information on the release date or pricing as yet.

Retro-gaming is very popular at the moment, and the Neo Geo still has an army of fans, however it’s surprising SNK has chosen to release another new handheld console — after failing to make an impact before — instead of adapting its games for iOS and Android. Will the gamble pay off?

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