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Plugged In

The Neo Geo returns this holiday

Plugged In

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One of the priciest consoles in video game history is getting a reboot...and it's still kinda pricy.

Releasing December 6, the Neo Geo X Gold Entertainment System is a handheld that plays classic Neo Geo arcade games. In addition to the handheld itself (which boasts a 4.3-inch LCD screen),  it comes packaged with a standard-sized joystick controller, a dock that connects the handheld to your TV, and 20 pre-loaded Neo Geo games.

And it can be yours for only $200. Wait, really? Doesn't that seem a little steep for a system that only plays games that are roughly two decades old? Maybe when you compare it to a new Nintendo 3DS (retail price: $170), but not when you compare it to the original Neo Geo home console.

Modeled after the successful Neo Geo coin-op cabinets, the home version essentially reproduced the arcade game experience in your living room. That was quite a cool trick at the time, made even cooler by the Neo Geo's wealth of top-flight 2D fighting game franchises like Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, and The King of Fighters.

But while the Neo Geo home console boasted burlier graphics than what you might find on competing systems like the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, it boasted a burlier price tag, too: a stomach-churning $650 at launch. In 1991. I'm no good at math, but I believe that's the equivalent of, like, $25,000 today.

The result? No one could afford it. Gamers flocked to the SNES and Genesis, and by the time Neo Geo prices started dropping, it was too late. By 1995, Sony and Sega were releasing new consoles capable of churning out cutting-edge 3D graphics, dooming the Neo Geo to niche gaming history.

At any rate, the Neo Geo Gold X is a legit release (it's being made by Tommo in conjunction with SNK Playmore, the original Neo Geo creators) and packs a pretty nice assortment of games:

3 Count Bout
Art of Fighting II
Alpha Mission II
Baseball Stars II
Cyber Lips
Fatal Fury
Fatal Fury Special
The King of Fighters '95
King of the Monsters
Last Resort
League Bowling
Magician Lord
Metal Slug
Mutation Nation
Nam 1975
Puzzled
Real Bout - Fatal Fury Special
Samurai Shodown II
Super Sidekicks
World Heroes Perfect

Some great stuff in there, though it's likely only going to appeal to those of us who couldn't afford the original system 21 years ago. Which, I guess, is just about everyone. Welcome back, Neo Geo!

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