Japanese game company SNK revives 40 classic games with the Neo Geo mini

Neo Geo mini

SNK has announced the Neo Geo mini, a handheld stand-alone video game system loaded with 40 games originally released on the Neo Geo arcade system. Rather than plug into a television like the majority of the retro-throwback systems we’ve seen as of late, the Neo Geo mini doesn’t use a television, instead coming equipped with a 3.5-inch display for playing games directly on the console.

Designed to look like a tiny arcade cabinet, the Neo Geo mini features a joystick, four face buttons, and the traditional “start” and “select” buttons we see on most game systems. It will ship in two different designs – the Japanese version looks nearly identical to the original Neo Geo arcade cabinet, while the overseas version has a sleek blue, black, and gray design that looks a little bit more contemporary.

To celebrate SNK’s 40th anniversary, the Neo Geo mini features 40 pre-loaded games. The final list of titles has not been revealed, but as shown on the front of the system itself, some of the games you can expect to play include Metal Slug, The King of Fighters ’98, and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers.

A list released shortly before the announcement reportedly showed the rest of the games, including Blazing Star, Metal Slug 2 and 3, and Samurai Shodown II. However, this list included Real Bout Fatal Fury rather than its sequel, so it’s possible other games aren’t accurate. No release date has been given for the system yet.

The C64 Mini — a pint-sized re-creation of the Commodore 64 home computer — launches in North America soon. And Sega recently announced the Mega Drive Mini (the Japanese version of Sega Genesis) for release in Japan.

It will be interesting to see the level of interest people have in a Neo-Geo retro system. While Neo-Geo consoles had some good games in their day, they were always competing with the likes of Nintendo and Sega. The Neo Geo line of systems floundered in the late ’90s after the Hyper Neo Geo 64 and Neo Geo Pocket recorded poor sales.

With plenty of Neo Geo games available for purchase on Nintendo Switch, and a 40th-anniversary SNK compilation also in development for Switch, it’s not like there aren’t avenues already available to play Neo Geo titles in their original form.

This also isn’t the first time SNK has entered the retro console market. The Neo Geo X, a handheld with 20 pre-loaded classic games, launched in 2012 to little fanfare and was quickly discontinued.

Still, we’re intrigued with the idea of a retro Neo Geo console. Video game nostalgia is in right now, so perhaps it’s finally time for the Neo Geo to shine.

Updated on May 10, 2018 with official announcement from SNK.

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