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Chronicling the Schizophrenic ramblings of an individual too freaking stubborn to use emulators and has a passionate desire to collect and play all sorts of retro games and consoles.
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Retro Console Collecting - Part VIII (The Neo-Geo)

Posted 18th February 2011 at 02:11 AM by Schizo
Updated 18th February 2011 at 04:30 AM by Bayland

"Welcome to Crrrrrrrrrrrrrazy Schizo's Recto Console Collecting Emporium! I've got Segas, I've got Nintendos, I've got Playstations! Why, I've got enough cartridges to choke a horse! Stop on down today and bring the family because we've got pony rides and clowns making balloon animals! Remember kids, tell your folks the voices in your head told you to go to Crrrrrrrrrrrazy Schizo's!"

Wow. I should have been a used car salesman. Or a Three-Ring Circus Master. What's that you say? You think I escaped from the circus? Well, it would explain my deep-seated fear of clowns...

...but enough of that. Today I'd like to discuss a console that has for a long time been my Unicorn (or Eleanor if you were a fan of the movie Gone in 60 Seconds)

Completely unrelated to this blog, but I just had to throw this out there because it is so darn pretty

This console never really took off all that well, and the biggest reason was the price. This console went on sale for $650 USD...in 1990! That is almost $1150 in today's money! Would you be willing to shell out $1150 for a console today? Heck, people were balking at the $600 PS3 just a few years ago!

But that wasn't all.

The games for this console were absolutely MASSIVE at the time. Originally specified for a maximum size of 330 megabit, this was later raised in the consoles life cycle to a whopping 716 megabits! That comes out to almost 90 megabytes, which doesn't sound so impressive today considering you can have a Micro SD card that can hold over 32 gigabytes of data, but back in the mid-90's this is an insanely high number. Consequently, this resulted in the other big drawback for this system.

The game were insanely expensive. Typically cartridges started at $200 (almost $300 adjusted for inflation) and went up from there. Can you picture dumping $300 on just one game? Heck, you can buy a new Xbox 360 and have change left over for some games for that amount.

So it is no wonder that this console didn't fare so well. If you haven't figured it out already (or read the title of this blog), the console I speak of is this the Neo-Geo AES (Advanced Entertainment System):

Yes, the controllers are almost as big as the console itself.

So, given the extremely high price point of the console, and the high price point of the games, it isn't too hard to figure out that this thing didn't exactly fly off the shelves. So, in an attempt to lower costs and the entry point for gamers, SNK (the company behind the Neo-Geo) decided in 1994 to release a CD-based system. CDs obviously offered vastly more storage than the cartridge counterparts for a fraction of the price. While this did have the intended effect of lowering the cost of games, it was a disaster. The CD unit only had a 1x drive and was crippled with insufficient memory. What did this mean for gamers who purchased the Neo-Geo CD? Insufferable load times.

(and if the youtube link doesn't work up there, try clicking here)

So what does this mean for me? Well, I'm going to pay almost as much for a Neo-Geo AES via ebay as they went for when they were brand new. Some of the more rare cartridges sell for astronomical prices. This isn't something that is as easy to pick up as your typical NES cartridge.

...which is all the more reason why I want it. Granted, I can't afford it, but it is still my unicorn.

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