Unless you were a subscriber to Nintendo Power in the early 1990s (you can count me out) you’ve probably never heard of the comic strip “Howard & Nester.” It featured Howard Phillips, “President” of the “Nintendo Fun Club” (not to be confused with Howard Lincoln, former chairman of NoA) and Nester, the then teenage mascot of Nintendo Power, created by Howard himself.
Recently, Howard has been sharing early Nintendo memorabilia and the like via his Facebook page, Gamemaster Howard, including such things as early R.O.B. ads, brochures about the Nintendo AVS system, embarrassing photo shoots, and even some strips of Howard & Nester (including both the first strip and the last, unpublished strip). Best of all though, he provides background and commentary on nearly everything he posts in a way that only someone who was on the inside of Nintendo could, so if you want to learn a bit more about Nintendo’s early days, I’d suggest going over to his Facebook page to check it out! Especially if you’re interested in a bit of a Nintendo Power nostalgia trip, now that it’s confirmed to be ceasing production at the end of this year.
It’s been over thirteen years since SNK released it’s last piece of Neo Geo hardware, the Neo Geo Pocket Color, but on December 6, that clock will be reset with the release of the Neo Geo X. The handheld will come pre-loaded with 20 “classic” Neo Geo games including Metal Slug, Fatal Fury, and Last Resort. It also features an “expandable game card slot” (which is reportedly a standard SD slot) so other Neo Geo games will be released in future.
The Neo Geo X will be sold in two different bundles. The handheld itself will set you back $129.99, but if you want the whole experience, the Neo Geo X Gold will set you back a total $199.99. The handheld is the same in both bundles, but the Gold comes with a replica AES system which can serve as both a charging dock and as a way to play your Neo Geo X on the big screen (along with the included joystick controller – again a replica of the AES joystick). Apparently, a second joystick can be bought separately to allow multiplayer gameplay like in the original versions of the games. More information can be found at it’s official website.
All that said, the Neo Geo X doesn’t seem to be so much a new system as a repackaging of the Neo Geo AES. Similarly, the relatively high price point makes one think that it’s targeted only at those familiar with the Neo Geo brand and who would be willing to buy one purely out of nostalgia or for collectibility. Similarly, it’s distribution in Europe is connected with Blaze Europe, who are best known to those across the pond as the makers of a series of portable Mega Drive systems of questionable quality. That’s no reason to dismiss the Neo Geo X out of hand, though, and even if the system never sees any further release of games, it looks like it could be a great collector’s piece and a great way to play several Neo Geo games on-the-go.
Update: I came across this video today and thought I’d share: Neo Geo X GOLD Hands-On!