Retro Revolution: Hail to the NGP
Posted on Tuesday, November 8 @ 13:28:38 PST by KevinS
Don't know the real NGP? It's the SNK Neo-Geo Pocket, of course. In the States we only saw the color version of the console (the NGPC, appropriately), but like most portables in its time, the system was universal. It could play any game designed for it from any region that produced games, which is truly great for the NGP since only about 35 games were released for it before it was panned and became a collector's item.
Released in 1998 in Japan, the NGPC went worldwide in 1999 (on August 6th, my birthday!). Meant to be a prime competitor to the Game Boy (and was in Japan), the NGP and NGPC are the greatest casualty of portable gaming and close to the Dreamcast in the race for the "Saddest Demise" prize. It had so much going for it… the battery life was good, the screen was clear, the clicky-stick was perfect, but top of the heap was the access to SNK's arcade library. I contend to this very day that because of that stick, the greatest portable fighting games of all time were all on the NGPC. Though the PSP and 3DS have had strong contenders, they just don't match up. The stick was absolutely perfect for precise movement; every one of the eight directions had their own tactile feedback, so pulling off complicated combos and special attacks was a cinch.
While the fighting games were the strongest genre on the platform, there were others too. Sonic Pocket Adventure was a re-release of Sonic 2 that handled just as well. Metal Slug had two entries, both of which were more in-depth than their arcade counterparts while the same feel of the series was left intact. Biomotor Unitron and SNK vs. Capcom: Cardfighters Clash were both excellent—albeit simplified—RPGs to suck hours and hours into without any major effort. I have probably put almost as much time into CCC as I did into Pokémon back in the day, and more than the Pokémon TCG release on GB (which is why I was so disappointed with the DS release with the same name… utter tragedy, that was).
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