The Nintendo Wii U isn't the only new console in town: The Neo Geo X Gold Limited Edition from SNK has also hit stores. It brings a gaming blast from the past, and it's a great idea for players who long for the simpler games of yore.
SNK first came out in 1990 with the Neo Geo AES in two versions: one for arcades and one for home players. At the time, the latter was a competitor to standalone consoles such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The new Neo Geo X Gold aims to bring that time in gaming history back to life: It's made to play the same games that were available for the original device.
Design. The Neo Geo X is almost a complete replica of the original Neo Geo AES—cosmetically, at least. But it works quite differently, since the console is essentially a shell for a removable hand-held device, which is the real core of the system; the console opens up to allow the portable device to dock inside (see the photo below). The console then displays on your TV screen what you would normally see on the portable screen. You can also use a traditional-style Neo Geo controller with the console.
All of the 20 included games are stored in and also playable on the hand-held device. You can also purchase game cards to play additional games.
Highs. Classic video games—such as King of the Monsters and Fatal Fury—played just like the original versions. Seeing those original visuals brought on a ton of nostalgia for me, since I played the games as a child. And the portable device was a brilliant idea: Being able to play on the go is a huge plus.
Lows. While the visuals are true to those of the original console, they are understandably lackluster compared with today's standards. The games look better on the smaller portable screen, but on larger TV screens the visual limitations of the games are apparent. Also, the company recommends that you charge the portable only through the console docking station, which limits the portability of the hand-held.
Bottom Line. Retro-game enthusiasts will love the Neo Geo X Gold Edition. If you appreciate the video games of the 90's, you'll definitely enjoy it. But those who are more interested in games with impressive visuals and deep, rich story lines should probably take a pass on this console.
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