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SNK

SNK Neo Geo AES & MVS

SNK Corporation is a Japanese video game hardware and software company. It is the successor to the company Shin Nihon Kikaku and presently owns the SNK video game brand and the Neo Geo video game platform. SNK's predecessor Shin Nihon Kikaku was founded in 1978 by Eikichi Kawasaki. The corporation was initially named Shin Nihon Kikaku. "New Japan Project"). The name was then informally shortened to SNK Corporation in 1981 before becoming the company's official name in 1986.

SNK is known for its creation of the Neo Geo family of arcade, home, and handheld game consoles in 1990. The Neo Geo line was halted in 2001 because financial troubles forced SNK Corporation to close in the same year. Anticipating the end of the company, Kawasaki founded Playmore Corporation in 2001, which acquired all of the intellectual property of the former SNK Corporation. In 2003, Playmore Corporation was renamed to SNK Playmore Corporation. In 2016, SNK dropped the name Playmore from its logo and reintroduced its old slogan, "The Future Is Now", officially changing its corporate name back to SNK.

In 1988, SNK created the idea of a modular cabinet for arcades. Up to that point, arcade cabinets typically contained only one game. When an arcade operator wanted to switch or replace that game, it would have to completely remove the internals of the existing cabinet or exchange the entire setup for another game. SNK's new system, called the Neo-Geo MVS (short for Multi-Video System), featured multiple games in a single cabinet and used a cartridge-based storage mechanism. The system debuted in 1990 and could contain one, two, four, or six separate games in a single cabinet. To swap in a new game, all the operator had to do was remove one cartridge and exchange it for another. The MVS was an immediate success. It greatly shortened the setup time needed for each game, minimized floor space for cabinets, and reduced costs for new cartridges to US$500—less than half of what a traditional arcade unit cost at the time.[9]

SNK wanted to bring arcade games to people's homes without making CPU and memory performance compromises that typical home consoles were forced to make. In 1990, the Neo Geo family was created. The company released a home version of the MVS, a single cartridge unit called the Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System (Neo Geo AES). Initially, the AES was only available for rent or for use in hotel settings, but SNK quickly began selling the system through stores when customer response indicated that people were willing to spend money on home versions. Several franchises of games derived from it, including Sengoku, The King of Fighters, The Last Blade, Super Sidekicks, Art of Fighting, Metal Slug, Burning Fight, Samurai Shodown, and Fatal Fury. The King of Fighters and Metal Slug series were continued on later consoles. SNK also helped publish third-party Neo Geo games such as ADK's World Heroes, Noise Factory's Rage of the Dragons and Sengoku 3, Sunsoft's Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors and Waku Waku 7, and Technōs Japan's Double Dragon and Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer. During this time, SNK also released stand-alone arcade games, some of which were ported to home consoles, including Vanguard, Athena, Ikari Warriors, Psycho Soldier, Touch Down Fever, P.O.W.: Prisoners of War, and Street Smart.[9]

Compared to other consoles at the time, the Neo Geo AES had much better graphics and sound.[9] It debuted at $599, sold with two joystick controllers and a game (either Baseball Stars or NAM-1975). Within a few months of the system's introduction in North America, SNK increased the cost to $649 and changed the pack-in game to Magician Lord. Alternatively, the console could be bought for $399 with one control stick and without an accompanying game. Other games cost at least $200 each. Joystick controllers contained the same four-button layout as the arcade MVS cabinet. The quality of AES games varied. Some, such as the Super Sidekicks series, were all-new creations, while others were updated versions of earlier successes, such as Baseball Stars Professional. SNK games were graphically bold and bright. Games such as Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy and the famous Metal Slug series were distinctive and instantly recognizable, contributing to the system's success in arcades.

SNK also produced the Neo Geo CD, the Hyper Neo-Geo 64, and two handheld game consoles, the Neo Geo Pocket and Pocket Color. Several more famous franchise titles, originally created for the MVS and AES systems, have been ported to other consoles such as the Sega Genesis, Saturn and Dreamcast; SNES; PlayStation and PlayStation 2; Xbox; and Wii.

 


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