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What let the Neo Geo down in a big way was it's price. And I'd bet that SNK is kicking itself right now, if it had knew how much the video gaming industry had grown. Nevertheless, the Neo Geo found itself a niche market, with those who had the money, a more 'adult' gamer, and those who simply wanted to keep up with technology. The SNK system was far, far ahead of it's competitors at the time, which were the Super Nes and Sega's Megadrive. However the SNK's price stategy let it down big time. Retailing at $500, to console wasn't cheap, but the games - at another $200 EACH; were as expensive as a brand new 16-bit system. But some of the games were really worth it - I mean, for $200, you could get arcade perfect games, such as the classic Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and the timeless Puzzle Bobble. At the heart of the Neo Geo lay a 16-bit microprocessor, and an 8-bit co-processor, leading some to incorrectly claim that the SNK system was 24-bit. One thing that this arguably led to was the almost complete withdrawal of SNK's promotion for the Neo Geo, rather preferring the games in the arcade to speak for themselves. Besides, the console did very well upon it's release, prompting the SNK punchline 'Bigger, Badder, Better.' Over the next five years, SNK completely designed the Neo Geo, adding a CD-drive not only to 1) allow more data to be stored for games, but to 2) reduce the price of games overall in the face of rising ROM prices. The CD Drive would also allow Music CD's to played: a truly amazing concept at the time. However; like it's cousin, the Mega-CD, SNK's effort was a big failure. Partly because games could take up to a minute to load (on the single speed drive)!, and poor distribution meant that there were not many kicking around. Poor demand equalled poor supply.
The Neo Geo kept going till around 1998, and was still highly supported by publishers till the end. It survived a long time, and out-lived every other 16-bit console. Perhaps it's initial high pricing had something to do with this.
I would imagine you could pick up a second-hand model for around $100 now. If you can snap it up, for this system is a classic.
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