It was in 1992. You either had a Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo, perhaps both if your parents were loaded. Then, one kid with filthy wealthy parents had the Neo Geo. It was arguably the first home console to truly bring the arcade experience home without any technical compromises. If you’ve never heard of the Neo Geo, or perhaps have only heard about it in passing, I wouldn’t blame you. It was a whopping $649.99 in the United States when it was released, and you’re not going to get it any cheaper in 2020. While Shin Nihon Kikaku Corporation (SNK) rolled out the Neo Geo Mini a couple of years ago, the fighting game giant has been relatively quiet outside of compilations for pre-existing consoles. That is, until now.
Details have been sparse since SNK slipped this promotional image. Besides this tweet, all they have said regarding the upcoming hardware is that it will be “a system to bridge the needs between passionate fans and console gaming enthusiasts.” Given the wifi logo and the image’s nod towards competition, the unit may emphasize online play. After all, SNK is known best for its 2D fighters- arguably the most competitive genre out there. The ability to play older games with a friend online has existed for quite some time. It usually involves the use of emulators (which aren’t always perfect, especially in arcade games). A console that streamlines this process would be great to have in the living room.
Additionally, I’m hoping the new console will have its own digital store. Most of my experience with SNK stems from compilations such as the recently released SNK 40th Anniversary Collection and a smattering of obscure titles. The company has put out titles on services such as the Wii’s Virtual Console and the Switch’s Eshop. I’d love the chance to dig a bit deeper into the company’s history after experiencing titles such as Metal Slug, Athena, Spin Master, and Blue’s Journey. Being able to have it all in one place would be a sweet bonus.
The chances are that this new console won’t be out to compete with Sony and Microsoft’s latest products. However, it might just be able to find its niche in the same way the company’s earlier stabs at dedicated consoles and handhelds did. We’ll have to see what else this mystery machine has in store after the ball drops.