Neo Geo Pocket/Color |OT| complete control

Hey, I’m new to RGB — this is a cool forum, but there’s nowhere to talk about the Neo Geo Pocket… Even the WonderSwan has a thread!

So, SNK released a monochrome handheld on October 28, 1998 to minimal fanfare. The Game Boy was dominant and Pokémon was taking over the world. In fact, the Game Boy Color had just launched the previous week! The NGP was pretty powerful but the black and white screen was unappealing to the masses at the time.

I was happy to move on from black and white back then too. However, I’ve come to appreciate the aesthetic later in life. Baseball Stars is my favourite game for the original NGP — the sprites are charming and the gameplay is tight. It was among the games colourised and rereleased for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, though I never felt any desire to try that version.

Anyway, SNK went back to the drawing board and released the NGPC on March 16, 1999. It’s widely known that the company was struggling, but I love that they fully committed to one last hurrah. The specs are solid:

  • CPUs: Toshiba TLCS-900/H core (16/32-bit CISC based on Z80), up to 6.144 MHz, Z80 at 3.072 MHz dedicated to sound
  • RAM: 12 k for 900/H, 4 k for Z80 (shared with the 900/H), 4 k of tilemap RAM, 8 k of character RAM
  • ROM: 64 k BIOS
  • Interfaces: SIO 1 channel 19200 bit/s, 5-pin serial port
  • Resolution: 160x152 (256x256 virtual screen)
  • DMA: 4 channels, integrated in TLCS-900/H core
  • Colors: 146 (or 20 in monochrome mode) on-screen out of 4096
  • Palettes: 16 for sprites, 16 per scrolling plane, additional 8 sets of 8 colors each assigned to the 6 monochrome-mode palettes (2 for sprites, 2 per scrolling plane), backdrop, and window
  • Characters: 512 8x8 characters, transparency + 3 colors per character
  • Sprites: 64 8x8 sprites, each can be placed behind, in-between, or above the scrolling planes, no arbitrary scanline limitation
  • Scrolling: 2 scrolling planes, 32x32 tilemaps with 8x8 character tiles
  • Special effects: Character flipping, sprite chaining, sprite coordinate offsetting, windowing, color inversion
  • Sound: T6W28 (enhanced SN76489 with 3 square-wave tone generators + 1 noise generator, stereo capability), dual 8-bit digital-to-analog converters
  • Cartridges: Maximum 4 MB (32 Mbit) with 4 to 16 Mbit flash memory

Oh, and it lasts for 40 hours on two AA batteries. People mod them with backlit displays and heftier speakers nowadays, and the battery life takes a major hit as a result. There’s no need to mod the NGPC — it has an exceptionally clear screen that is highly visible in daylight and looks good under a lamp as well. The stock speaker is also excellent! One thing to bear in mind is that you need a lithium battery (CR2032) for system functions like the clock.

Another game that SNK masterfully shrunk down into portable form is Neo Turf Masters. I think it’s missing a course from its MVS/AES counterpart but the game plays the same way! Here it is running on an NGPC:

Right, so this thing bombed too because the Game Boy Advance launched and SNK just wasn’t great at selling stuff. They supported the handheld for over two years and its small library of around 80 games is high in quality. There is a nice list of every game available for the platform over at neo geo dot com: Neo Geo Pocket Masterlist

I don’t have many games for mine but I can vouch for four of the fighters. Fatal Fury, King of Fighters R-2, Match of the Millennium and The Last Blade all play brilliantly with that little digital stick, made for this genre. The stick moves in eight directions and makes a satisfying click sound. The feedback you get from it makes fighters a joy to play. SNK never had a problem with a limited number of face buttons and these games play smoothly with only two of them! The buttons are pressure sensitive so multiple moves can be executed on each one. Another thing these fighters have in common is the chibi art style, which totally suits the device. The Last Blade is my favourite — it is as fun to play as its bigger siblings.

This post only scratches the surface of what the Neo Geo Pocket is all about. I’ll update it in time. Let’s hear what everyone thinks of it… Thanks for reading!

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Apologies for the wall of text, but here’s my memories:

I absolutely love the NGPC. I was in my 20 somethings at release, working at a luggage store in the mall. Our store was always dead, and we were two spots down from Babbages. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time down there, got to know everyone working there, and would always pick up the latest DC and NGPC games on release.

Later on, the luggage store opened a backpack kiosk on the other side of the mall. No one else wanted to sit down there because why would someone buy an overpriced backpack from us when they could just go to JC Penney and get a cheaper one? I volunteered to work the kiosk because I knew that I’d be just fine sitting down there drinking 32oz Mt Dews and playing SNK vs Capcom Match of the Millennium. Used to play the hell out of the GnG mini game on there. I also played a ton of Metal Slug 1st and 2nd mission, along with Sonic Pocket Adventure.

Cardfighters Clash released at the time I was big into Magic the Gathering. I picked up both SNK and Capcom versions and played the hell out of them. Still have my original saves on the carts 20+ years later.

I imported Cardfighters 2 Expand when that released, despite not knowing Japanese. Played through it with a printed out translation guide. It was rough but I loved playing it, even though I still prefer the first versions.

I also imported Rockman Battle and Fighters from NCSX. I was so excited for that one, I remember the anticipation of checking the mailbox each day to see if it had arrived yet. It was worth the wait, the game was awesome.

There was also a brief time I remember seeing the NGPC for sale at Wal Mart. They didn’t carry any games, but for a while you could find the ice blue system bundled with Sonic in the display case next to the Game Boy games.

Later on, I started working at EB games. This was after the NGPC stock disappeared from stores, as they were all sent back to SNK. However, we did start receiving systems and cart only games bundled in blister packs. I remember reading that the unreleased English version of Faselei was bundled in one of the cartridge packs, but I never saw it.

As a 20-something with bad financial habits and a love of games, I used to trade in my systems for cash, only to buy them again down the road. I know I’ve owed the stone blue, anthracite, and ice blue NGPC systems at times. But I never traded my games, probably because I knew it was easier to just buy another system. Plus they didn’t trade in for much at the time, so there’s that. Still have most of my games today, although most of the boxes are gone. I do have MotM and Neo Turf Masters CIB though.

Fast forward to present day, and I picked up an NGPC flash cart from Stone Age Gamer. What an amazing cart, if you had told me in 2001 that something like this would exist i wouldn’t have believed you. Now I’m able to catch up on stuff I missed like Cotton, Faselei, and Gals Fighters. Great stuff.

For me, the NGPC represents the zeitgeist of millennium era 2d gaming. Its the swan song of old school arcade action in a portable format, especially if you like fighting games. Nothing else has ever scratched the itch the same way as this system did.

If you haven’t played one, you’re missing out. Do yourself a favor and get a system and Cardfighters Clash. Guaranteed hundreds of hours of joy.

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My evening plans hopefully.

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I love those photos OP :star_struck:

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I had an NGPC and left it in a drawer at work after moving desks. When I realised and went back for it, somebody had snatched it.

I still have a few games for it.

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I bought a brand new NGPC about 7 or so years ago when it was still new old stock for about 100 bucks. I fell in love with with it instantly. I only have the following games but each is a really great experience and the packaging of the games are some of my favorites.

Neo Turf Masters
Metal Slug 1st mission
Metal Slug 2nd mission
SNK Vs Capcom Cardfighters Clash: SNK edition
Puzzle Link (this game rules)
Fatal Fury First Contact

Other than the last two games I managed to find all of these in complete and in mint condition. Now the boxed games go for way too.

But I still intend to checking out more games by grabbing them loose.

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I’m not a Neo Geo Pocket Color guy.

But I am so happy to see an OT for it. Thanks for making it. :heart_eyes:

Hmm, assumed we’d have a thread for it…

I’ve been putting off backlighting one. I have a really nice carbon slim model and don’t really want to tear up, so I’d have to buy another slim and the backlight kit etc.

For all the novelty of the backlight I haven’t played by nice backlit Game Boy Color much either.

I sold a lot of my games a few years ago when I needed funds, but they were partly just shelf trinkets anyway, since the fighting games engine got better as it went along the older ones are a bit jank to go back to. Match of the Millennium and Gals Fighters are all I need fighters wise.

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Eh… these games always look best with an unlit screen under direct sunlight anyway. That’s the gold standard for them.

My NGPC is kinda beat up from the person who had it before me. I’ve considered replacing it with another one. Might make the other one a candidate for a backlit screen so it can be “torn up”.

Really do love the games and especially the system and its controls. That clicky stick is all the rage. It’s just so SNK Neo Geo of them.

SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium
Neo Geo Pocket Color $55.36

Baseball Stars Color
Neo Geo Pocket Color $42.14

King of Fighters R-2
Neo Geo Pocket Color $21.69

Sonic The Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure
Neo Geo Pocket Color $41.45

NeoGeo Pocket Color System
Neo Geo Pocket Color $121.86

Neo Turf Masters
Neo Geo Pocket Color $37.92

Cut and pasted from my collection at Price Charting. I did some hand editing. Nifty way to store your stuff with up to date pricing. I am all cart only.

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Maybe? I probably don’t 100% agree with hardware essentialism, because it always stops somewhere for everyone.

For example, that would also be true of the GBA which was designed without backlight originally. It’s about ease of use. I remember when the SP came out, not having to find the perfect angle to play it felt… liberating. All my GBC playing since the SP came out was on it for that reason, and later the SP101. So a backlit GBC is really just getting the correct hardware feel back for what I’m already doing.

NGPC I assume would be similar, I can’t see myself ever using the non-backlit again. But, it’s rarer hardware, especially the beautiful slim model, so I’d prefer to preserve my main one as-is.

I used to have several, including a non-color to play the original games as designed too, but sold them all and just have my nice carbon one now

Here’s a tip, original (non-‘new’ and non-LL/XL) 3DS cases are a good fit for the NGPC slim, and probably the non-slim.

I actually keep mine in a sock designed for the DS Lite, inside the 3DS case.

And because of perfectionism, I carefully scrubbed off the 3DS logo.

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Anyone want to sell me a spare NGPC? :slight_smile:

We all have our preferences. I agree mine can border on the extreme compared to most people when it comes to preserving the original experience at the cost of convenience.

I’m thinking of ordering one from Japan. Anything I should watch out for?

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Nice pics, OP.

Anyone visit NeoGeo Pocket Sector back in the day? I loved that site for all the latest NGPC news and reviews.

I bought my NGPC on launch day in the United States, along with Samurai Shodown 2. I couldn’t remember if it was from Incredible Universe or if they had already been sold and became Fry’s Electronics, but still have my receipt in the box and confirmed it was Fry’s . I bought all my boxed games at retail from either Fry’s or Electronics Boutique. I was bummed when SNK recalled all their stock, destroyed all their boxes and liquidated their remaining stock in those stupid blister packs. I also have loose copies of Baseball Stars, Neo Turf Masters and Metal Slug 2nd Mission. I need to get some box protectors.

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This little device has mostly been a theoretical favourite handheld of mine. Since I’ve hardly played on it. :slight_smile: I must’ve owned one for more than 15 years by now. Bought some old new stock on Ebay for cheap. But then it took me years to finally buy some games for it. That was right before the actual games started to increase in price. Still, I do remember actually selling the last SNK stock when I worked in retail. The blister-packs with games, we had them. I’m still kicking myself for not buying these. I was not really into games for a period there and coincidentally it was right at the time when I could’ve bought games with a nice discount (I did buy a ton of music back then). Anyway, I do love the device and from what I played of Last Blade and King of Fighters it’s impressive how they captured the spirit of these arcade games on this little handheld.

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Finally made time to play through Faselei on my blue NGPC last month and what an interesting game it is. The combat system has you program your mecha to move in a specific order, in real time alongside everything else on the field. You slowly unlock new abilities (e.g. strafe left, strafe right, dash forward two spaces) and new weapons too.

There’s some gorgeous artwork in here though I have to say the game did outstay its welcome a little, since I was practically relying on the same strategies to get through the end-game. But I’m really glad I played it. Definitely want to check out the developer’s other work.




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