Things You Never Knew About the Neo Geo

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100,000 + 1 Things you never knew about the Neo Geo

This page is based on the forum thread of the same name. It can be found here:

NOTE: The following list is in chronological order, each fact appears in the same order it does in this thread.

  • 01) You used to be able to purchase new Neo Geo carts at Babbages aka Gamestop, Comp USA, Macy's, The Wiz, Lionel Kiddie City, Toys R Us and Electronics Boutique.
  • 02) there's a little orange pot near the Sony CXA1145 video encoder chip that will allow you to fiddle with the bleed.
  • 03) Any JEDIA 68 pin PCMCIA (ver 3+) flash memory card will work on the Neo. Even the 512MB ones.
  • 04) in the back of the manual for some dog tag carts, it says, "This product can only be used on the NEO GEO Rental System."
  • 05) the Neo CD originally was meant as a CD-add on for the homecart system
  • 06) if you set all dip switches on on the MVS you get "work ram test", and all backup ram data is erased
  • 07) Using window cleaner to clean your home carts causes black paint to come off and onto the tissus you used to clean it with!
  • 08) hard dip switch 8 on the mvs system pauses the game.
  • 09) SNK reached it's peak of mainstream popularity in 1995. (subjective?)
  • 10) The rumored/unreleased Atari MIRAI, developed by Atari and SNK, featured XEGS-like styling and a massive cartridge port
  • 11) The korean version of last blade is called last soldier on the box and in-game
  • 12) In the dc version of last blade 2, it has an art gallery, and in it there are pics with The Last Soldier logo on em.
  • 13) The Atari Jaguar, Famicom and Genesis 1/Sega CD AC adapters are compatible with 9V Neo Geo home systems. (verified?)
  • 14) Sega Master System and Genesis AV cables are compatible with every Neo Geo home system. However, the physical pin placement is slightly different.
  • 15) Samurai Shodown 3 title appears as Fighters Swords (or similar) on Korean language setting. Graphic looks completely different.
  • 16) Viewpoint can be played with 2 simultaneous players with the help of Debug/Universe BIOS, or a soft dip setting in MVS mode.
  • 17) In Breakers Revenge, at the character select screen, move both 1P and 2P joystick (for 1P it's anticlockwise, 2P it's clockwise) to unlock Bai-Hu.
  • 18) The apostrophe in Ninja Master's refers to the kanji in the title which (roughly) translates translates to: "The Book of Ninja Skills Belonging to the Emporer"
  • 19) In Blazing Star, you get different amounts of points for killing certain chains of enemies with different ships and their break shots.
  • 20) Neo Geo is the only cart-based system that doesn't crash with glitchy/dirty games if the cartridge is moved. (verified? subjective?)
  • 21) The melody of the Neo Geo startup screen jingle fits with these lyrics: "Nee - oh, Gee - oh, by/from Ess - Enn - Kay." (not official, but whatever)
  • 22) The NeoGeo hardware was developed by ADK. (verified by Nightmare Tony)
  • 23) The Fatal Fury series originally had the working title "Real Bout". It was not until the release of the first Real Bout Fatal Fury in 1996 when the series got its original name back.
  • 24) King of Fighters '94 was called Survivor during the development (verified?)
  • 25) Most Neo Geo CD games can be played in regular CD players as redbook audio CDs.
  • 26) You can activate the sound test menu in Fatal Fury Special by pausing the game at any spot and quickly pressing A,B,C,D,A. (AES mode only?)
  • 27) Eiji Shiroi provided all the artwork for every Samurai Spirits, including the Pocket titles (excluding SS64 and Warrior's Rage 1 and 2)
  • 28) The animated openings for the PSX versions of Last Blade and Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind, and the DC port of King Of Fighters '98 were all done by Sunrise (credited with the Gundam series, Escaflowne, and Inu Yasha, etc).
  • 29) At the beginning of Miyuki's stage in Super Dodge Ball, one of the mice running across the screen is Maou in disguise!
  • 30) A 4 player World Heroes and Kizuna Encouter were being worked on, supposedly using the link feature.
  • 31) The front loading Neo CD system is as big as an (original) Xbox.
  • 32) The explosions from the bombs the enemy planes drop in Nam '75 are the same explosions found in P.O.W.
  • 33) The music in Level 4-2 in Eightman is ripped from Metallica's "Enter Sandman"
  • 34) In level 3 of Last Resort, if you shoot the hovering cream pie after the submarine, the sound it makes when it opens and closes sounds like a woman sexually moaning.
  • 35) (In Last Resort)The Russian writing on the wall at the end of level 5 translates to "Welcome Friends"
  • 36) The Neo Geo CD was meant to completely replace the home cart system, as such SNK also announced there would be no more ports to other non-SNK systems. When the Neo CD failed, ports resumed.
  • 37) If you remove a game and insert another, without turning the Neo off, it automatically plays the new cartridge. (verified?)
  • 38) There are two D buttons on each controller port, located at Pin 4 and Pin 9. The latter is only used for the Mahjong controller.
  • 39) The chorus in the music of Rock Howard's stage in Mark of the Wolves is ripped from Robert Miles' "Children".
  • 40) The apperance of Ryo Sakazaki in Fatal Fury Special marked the first ever Videogame Crossover between 2 series. (verified?)
  • 41) 1-Slot MVS boards are 100% JAMMA compliant, all the multi-slots are MVS standard which is different.
  • 42) In Shock Troopers: 2nd Squad, the button kayout is different between Japanese and English BIOSes.
  • 43) You can rip a NEO CD game, delete the redbook audio tracks from the ISO, and replace them with your own tracks. Burn it, and you can have custom soundtracks on your NEO CDs.
  • 44) Samurai Shodown 2 and 3 only displays the moves you are doing (underneath your name) in Japanese mode. (verified?)
  • 45) In Last Blade, it's possible to disarm the opponent. (verified?)
  • 46) Home carts originally sold out of the SNK USA offices had a bar code sticker on the back of the cart, these stickers had the game's name in English. (user SamuraiX has a Sonic Wings 3 with such sticker)
  • 47) if you add up all of the current high prices from the price guides for just the US released games you get: $17,055, excluding Puzzled (not subjective since the price guide never changes)
  • 48) US Home cart systems have more RF shielding than JP ones, making them much heavier.
  • 49) Neo pockets have a contrast adjuster under the batt's, you have to use a little screwdriver.
  • 50) Haohmaru has his Tempa Fujin Zan in SS2 and if you hit the opponent withit at the right time you can kill him/her.
  • 51) In Neo Turf Masters, if you are near the green, you can use the putter to get the ball to the green.
  • 52) The reset button on your NGH system is the same as a button on your joystick.
  • 53) Some NGPC titles are uncensored if you set the machine to Japanese.
  • 54) The Pulstar NGCD has a variety of files on the CD, from word documents to random AVI movies and more.
  • 55) The Ikari team music in KoF'94 is a straight rip of Surprise! You're dead, by Faith no More.
  • 56) Each Character in SS2 has a move where you can turn them into a little SD doll. You can't move, but you can pull of a move and come out of the doll straight into that move.
  • 57) Hanzo's invisiblity move in SS2 is done B, F, B, F, B, F, QCF+BCD
  • 58) Choi Bounge is tied up in Tung Fu Rue's background in RBFF2.
  • 59) In Fatal Fury Special, during Big Bear's Stage, if the round ends with both digits in the timer being the same number (55, 44 etc), Kim Kaphwan will zip by in the background superman-style. This also works in Terry's stage right before time runs out in Round 4.
  • 60) Neo Geo is Greek for "New World".
  • 61) Metal Slug will allow you to enter your initials as "SEX", metal slug X and Metal Slug 3 will not allow this, changing it to "SNK".
  • 62) If you put more than one of the same cart in a multislot it will only boot the first one.
  • 63) In Real Bout, if you take off the last bit of life from someone using Yamazaki with the knife slash (f, db, f+A/C) you will knock your opponent off the side of the stage, towards the screen, they will dissappear.
  • 64) Last Blade 2 has the character icons of the 4 hidden characters for the character select screen. These graphics are actually present in the C ROMs.
  • 65) On Genjuro's Stage in Samurai Shodown II, there is a large Neo Geo sign on the moon.
  • 66) Screaming sounds from Metal Slug are used in South Park in the scene where Chef dies.
  • 67) In Samurai Shodown II, to play as Kuroko in VS mode, on controller 2 press up, down, left, up, down, right, A at the character select screen.
  • 68) Piston Takashi and Finish Hiroshi left SNK in 2000 to form DIMPS, who went on to co-produce Street Fighter IV.
  • 69) Standard SNK controllers lack a signal encoder, so virtually any controller can be modded to work on the Neo.
  • 70) Ninja Master's is not censored in US home cart mode.
  • 71) Last Resort and Samurai Shodown were developed by ex-Capcom/SFII employees.
  • 72) When the electronics superstore "Incredible Universe" was going out of business they sold Neo Geo AES systems for 50$ brand new.
  • 73) Compared to the old style controller, the hotel units arcade sticks have start and select the other way around.
  • 74) You used to be able to rent Neo Geo home systems and games from Blockbuster Video.
  • 75) The Street Fighter 1 team migrated over to SNK after '87 and helped develop Fatal Fury 1 and Art of Fighting.
  • 76) Employees often switched between Capcom and SNK during the '90s.
  • 77) Last Blade was in development earlier than Samurai Shodown, but the latter was given higher priority because SNK felt it had more potential.
  • 78) After Video Systems closed it's doors, many employees moved over to Psikyo (now X-Nauts).
  • 79) Every AES and the single Slot MVS boards have red power led's under the black plastic housing.
  • 80) Atari 5200 joystick extension cables are compatible with the Neo Geo, but the plastic housing has to be shaved down on the female end of the cable.
  • 81) In AES mode, if you hold down A, B, C and D on the second joystick then hit the reset button, you'll bring up the joystick test screen.
  • 82) Fatal Fury's special moves are performed differently between US and JP regions.
  • 83) According to it's memory card save file, Ghost Pilots was originally titled "Ghost Fighters".
  • 84) During the Neo's launch, the memory card instructions had a footnote saying "The Neo Geo system will be released later this year".
  • 85) The Japanese version of 2020 Super Baseball features a rare artbook. (verified?)
  • 86) World Heroes 2 includes a collector's card with Ryoko. (verified?)
  • 87) On US/EU MVS 1 Slot boards, Metal Slug 3 skips the Neo Geo startup screen after POST. It still appears during loops of the attract mode.
  • 88) Zero from King of Fighters 2000 is a reference to Rasho Han from Fist of the North Star.
  • 89) The Neo Geo Rental System was available in Japan during 1990 (26 April, same date of the MVS release). The system made it's retail debut in 1st July 1991.
  • 90) The music that plays during Player Vs Player matches in Fatal Fury 1 is the same music used in Stage 1 of Street Smart.
  • 91) Some early US AES titles (like NAM-1975 and Magician Lord) were converted from Japanese, just by placing the US cartridge label over the JP one.
  • 92) During the Mission 1 Boss fight in Metal Slug 2, a background banner in Arabic says "explosive diarrhea".

And here's some things that couldn't easily be condensed into the list, or were too lacking in complete information:

  • In the NeoGeoCD version of SamShoII you can play as Kuroko (the referee-guy) by standing on some character, pressing up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, blablabla or something. His weapon are the flags he always uses and he has a big fireball as in Art of Fighting style.
  • AOF 3 (i believe) has time release secrets/events. Something happens, I believe on Ryo's, Roberts, etc. birthdays. I'd find the thread, but the search is broken right now.
  • The only reason I was able to beat Sengoku 1 on AES was because of a ridiculous exploit trick I accidentally found: jumping constantly. If you get a up a power up ball, the new sword won't form in your hands till you stop jumping! So you get the most time out of every power up in the game because you chose when to activate the next one.
  • A BackGround Charecter in Metal Slug III is based on Ben Herman.
  • In Metal Slug X, if you use a debug BIOS, you can access "secret" incomplete-looking levels that appear to be level areas used in Metal Slug 3! You can wander around these levels and use vehicles such as a submarine and gyrocopter just like in MS3. If you were wondering why the meg count increased by over 100 between Metal Slug 2 and X, then this is your answer. There are also other debugging features that you can toggle on and off while exploring the areas.
  • in the King Of Fighters for the US Neo-Geo CD/home cart, Mai's boobies do not bouncy-bouncy. However, this "feature" was accessible with a code which was at the high score screen, press A and D on controller 1 simultaneously as you press B and C on controller 2, this code also made the blood appear.
  • In Neo Turf Masters, if you select the long hitter Mandel, there are several short cuts to albatrosses and even hole in ones. One such adventure is the Island shot on the Austrailian course. By hitting a full hard shot at the (lowest point) highest trajectory, the ball will bounce off the island and roll across the green nearest the pin. Your next shot will be for Albatross.. Oh yeah, practice makes perfect. If done just right the graphics get really strange. This is kinda like an Easter Egg Neo style.
  • In Pulstar, anyone ever notice how the default high scores are the chassis codes of Japanese cars?

-R32 (Nissan Skyline R32) -Z32 (Nissan 300ZX Z32) -FD3 (Mazda RX7 FD3S) -JZA (Supra MkIII/IV JZA70/JZA80) -NSX (Honda/Acura NSX)

  • Did you know in Magical Drop 3 there are 6 secret characters that can be selected if you know the tarot card number of any of the characters? Just hit "C" 3 times while over the character whose number you know, when the timer reaches their number.

20 - Judgment 19 - Sun 17 - Star 15 - Devil 13 - Death 11 - Justice 8 - Strength 7 - Chariot 6 - Lovers 5 - Hierophant 4 - Emperor 3 - Empress 2 - High Priestess 1 - Magician 0 - Fool

Also Father Strength can be selected by selecting Strength by holding "C" and pressing "A & B" at the same time.

  • older NGH units have wrong values for the video circuitry in disregard of the values recommended by sony at the video encoder datasheet, this results in a darker picture, snk fixed the mistake at the later units and so they have a much brighter picture.

The myth that the earlier units have better picture was caused by the latest and more common NGH revision the 3-6 which consists of half of the NGH systems ever made, it has a design problem at the video circuit that causes vertical lines when displaying RGB. It's easily fixed making it perform on par with board revision 3-5 which is the best stock unit as for RGB quality.

The original and inconclusive research done by nfg, he had no access to most of the systems revisions, made wrong assumptions and didn't knew how to fix the RGB video problem at the 3-6 unit which caused striping.

MKL research on the matter, with access to all board revisions a conclusive explanation is offered, since the picture links are broken I'll post another link to the fix below.

The 3-6 RGB fix link, half of the NGH owners have this board revision:

edit: how to know your NGH revision number without opening the system:

Bits on Pre-Neo Geo

The Alpha68k (name from MAME) is more than likely an early version of the Neo Geo hardware. This can be verified by looking at the games in MAME. Alpha68k games are 256x224 using 2048 colors. The Neo Geo is 320x224 using 4096 colors.

The flip bit for the sprites is bit 0 and 1 for Neo Geo, and bits 15 and 16 for the Alpha68k system. (Taken right from the MAME source).

I've always wondered why they didn't have a tilemap like 99.99% of the other hardware of the time. I'm not sure about making programming easier (more flexible maybe), but the circuit design make sense.

the Alpha68k, was used by Alpha Denshi as early at 1987, and SNK in 1988. SNK also started using the SNK68k system is 1988. The systems components and memory map are very close in design. Then there's the Beast Busters hardware, which isn't close to either, but does have the scaled sprites. Interesting is that the hardware components of the Neo Geo (12 Mhz 68000 4 Mhz Z80 YM2610 sound chip) more closely match the Beast Busters hardware than any other. There is almost no connection between this board and any of the others, though.

SNK never designed the Neo Geo hardware system. Eiji Fukatsu himself designed it as an improved version of his 68K system. It features the essential sprite tiling system compressed into 3 chips, a scalar table in ROM function and a redone sound system as well as cartridge interface.

Bits on the Corporate Neo Geo

By Nightmare Tony:

Kernow, Forever did remmeber right. If you have a schematic to any Neo geo system, it will have Alpha Denshi on it, along with their head wildman, Eiji Fukatsu. The system he actually did as a full board previously, first starting with a game called Battlefield (renamed to Time Soldiers). Romstar had the board redone also as Sky Soldiers and Gold Medalist. Sky Adventure also used the same system.

As a general rule, graphic systems of the time used a background graphics, text and sprite graphics. Eiji instead used the sprites as tiles for the background, making programming and circuit design a tad simpler.

The US president Marty was also an accomplished musician, magician and movie actor. Kept that to himself, though. Amazing talents.

John Barone ended up marrying Susan Jarocki, who's dad Stan Jarocki ran this company called Bally-Midway. Games ran in that family, I guess.

The tech department was an absolute blast. Between big band music, Rush Limbaugh, death metal and some absolutely wierd music, it was noisy and fun. For the entire US branch, though as Chad mentions, us being a broken arm, we did the best we could and had a lot of fun doing it.

One competition which was a full tradition was a daily tech depamrtment competition of Thrash rally set up in 4 cabinets. I had my own cabinet modified with a steering wheel (showed at a trade show but no interest) which helped out immensely. The competition was quite insane and we all had a real good time.

Romstar had been tied in with SNK back and forth, from being originally SNK USA to employees trading back and forth. At least 5 employees of Romstar (including yours truly) ended up at SNK at various times.

Late night shipping runs included major pizza party action. We all worked like bulldogs and got the product out the door. When shipping time came round, RUSH was the order of the day.

The Samurai Shodown trade advertisement with several people worshipping a cabinet with the "we're not worthy" included Game Lord, his sidekick George, some of the warehouse crew and the two sons of our graphics artist.

The funniest program bomb I ever ran across personally was from a curious invention I was doing, to make a Neo Geo into a redemption game, giving out tickets. It had some good interest at the show and it earned like mad at the local test arcade. Then one morning, a bit of forgotten programming showed itself when the ticket photocell got dirty and gave out over 7,000 tickets. Whoops! (the program rewrite didnt finish as that is when the closure announcement came in).

I had worked at Romstar previously, we had connectes with SNK. Back when the SNK home division was first started, Mr. Yasuki had sent me over to help solve some video output issues with the TV interface which was causing FCC failure problems. The solve was slightly detuning the crystal and the extra grounding wires to the crystal and area.

Romstar had moved up North as Capcom was part owner and had it decided, and it was so. I was born and grew up in the LA area and did not want to move. It was a sad time, there were many tears. I wrote a sad poem about it all in rememberance. I will post it.

Mr. Yasuki pulled strings and got me into SNK which was in a bigger building doing arcade. At Romstar, we had licensed the 1 slot system for sale as a conversion kit. I still remember the first 10,000 boards came in, a HUGE stack of boxes, maybe 40 feet deep, 10 feet tall, 10-20 feet wide. Took up a LOT of the warehouse.

Romstar was quite mellow and an adventure. Had it stayed, I would have had my first inhouse 100% programmed game within a year, I was helping develop the Terra 2 arcade system there. It was 286 based with CPLD graphic chip systems to allow the graphicvs path to be revised. I do have the board layout somewhere, I will have to post it someday. The main board was designed by Doug Hughes, who designed the hardware system used by Taito for the game Qix (an entirely American game with no Japanes programming or design whatsoever).

SNK seemed tougher at first but I got the rhythmn. We all had a lot of fun and creativity ran well. For breaks, we all competed in darts and Thrash Rally 2 times a day. I had designed a steering wheel control panel and pedal and it kept me int he race since I usually suck at games, and I Was able to keep up. The Thrash contests were on 4 cabinets, and we were SAVAGE players. Plenty of smack talk aqnd competition.

I did the arcade repairs, answered phones and tech department things. I also did design work and odd things.

SNK went up north due to the Neo Print, I got a job as a distributor. Ended up hating that job since it became a Dilbert cartoon come to life. Ironically, the home division guy at SNK is working there at that same distributor right now.

My present job is engineering, doing circuit board design of phone and security system entry ways. VERY fun job.

Anyhoo, that is why I still remember my neo tech stuph. But yup, it was a job that stood out. Lots of fun. The only reason I give it a 2-3% less than Romstar and present job, it seemed a tiny bit stiff at first, but once I got the hang and rhythmn, it all worked out. Personal wise, we were great, did Christmas walks together, partied together. Was very much a family.