|Release date||January 31, 1990 (JP)|
|Media type||ROM cartridge|
|Successor||Neo Geo CD|
The Neo Geo (ネオジオ Neo Jio) is a cartridge-based arcade system board and home video game console released on January 31, 1990 by Japanese game company SNK Playmore. Being in the fourth generation of video game consoles, it was the first system in the Neo Geo family, which ran throughout the 1990s before being revived in December 2012 with the Neo Geo X handheld/home system.
The Neo Geo family of hardware began with the Neo Geo MVS (or Multi Video System) released by SNK in 1990. Boasting incredibly powerful specs and high quality titles, the Neo Geo quickly built a strong following in the early 90’s. A highpoint aspect of Neo Geo arcade cabinets is that they were capable of holding and operating up to 6 (1, 2, 4, or 6) different arcade games, a unique advantage that could save operators money and floor space.
Due to popular demand, SNK decided to create a home console branch from the main Neo Geo series the same year its cabinets hit arcades. The Advanced Entertainment System (AES), originally known just as the Neo Geo, was the first video game console in the family. Throughout all of its variants the Neo Geo systems always managed to remain a cut above its competition in terms of superior graphics and sound. Although its high price tag ($650) kept it out of the mainstream gaming market, a strong game lineup contributed to the cult status of the Neo Geo, enabling it to outlast the more popular Super Nintendo and the Mega Drive.
The hardware featured comparatively colourful 2D graphics. The system was marketed as 24-bit, though it was technically a 16 bit system accompanied by an 8-bit Zilog Z80 as coprocessor. The coprocessor was generally used for sound processing.
- Main processor: Motorola 68000, clocked at 12 MHz
- Co-processor: Zilog Z80 running at 4 MHz. This is also used as an audio controller.
- Main memory (used directly by 68000): 64 KB
- Main video memory : 84 KB
- Video memory: 64 KB (32 KB x2)
- Palette memory : 16 KB (8 KB x 2)
- Fast video RAM : 4 KB (2 KB x 2)
- Sound memory (used directly by Z80): 2 KB
- Display resolution: 320×224 (many games only used the centermost 304 pixels)
- Color palette: 65,536 (16-bit) (Not RGB565, but RGB666, where the lowest bit of each channel is shared with one bit)
- Maximum colors on screen: 4,096 (12-bit)
- Maximum sprites on screen: 380
- Minimum sprite size: 1×2
- Maximum sprite size: 16×512
- Maximum sprites per scanline: 96
- Simultaneous scroll planes: 3
- Aspect ratio: 4:3
- A/V output: RF, composite video/RCA audio, RGB (with separate 21 pin RGB cable FCG-9).
- Sound chip: Yamaha YM2610
- 4 FM channels, 4 operators per channel
- 3 SSG channels
- 1 Noise channel
- 7 ADPCM channels
- Work RAM (sound): 2KB
- Sound ROM 128KB on-board (only less than 32KB used) & up to 512KB sound ROM on cartridges
- Uses a custom 2K memory card. The use of external memory cards was first seen on the AES, a feature that is now utilized by all modern consoles.