People of the Earth: Buy These Games
Look, they’re worth it just for Card Fighters’ Clash. Seriously.
By Jared Petty
In the beginning, SNK created the NEO GEO, and SNK saw that it was good.
And on the sixth day, SNK created the NEO GEO Pocket Color, and SNK saw that it was very good. And on the seventh day, SNK rested because they’d created the most perfect handheld experience of the 20th century and they were a little tired from expending all that genius. Also, their PTO didn’t carry over year-to-year, so it was use it or lose it.
The venerable NGPC was with us for far too short a time… only about a year here in America. Yet in that brief span, it hosted some of the most memorable portable game experiences ever. And right now, you can relive the best of these with NEO GEO Pocket Color Selection Vols. 1 & 2, ready to reserve at Limited Run Games.
Since they’re Switch carts, both collections are ready to take on the go again at last or you can choose to experience the iconic, colorful cartoonishness of the NGPC on a big-ol’ TV.
If you were there back in the day, you know… there’s no reason for me to elaborate on why these Collections are must-own on Switch. You’re already halfway through ordering them. But if you missed the NGPC when it was a new thing, you might be wondering “what’s the big deal?”
Put simply, the NEO GEO Pocket Color has the best ratio of excellence-to-release of any platform I can think of. It’s as if a choir of magic gameplay angels was singing into the ears of every designer, artist, programmer, and musician who produced software for this humble little handheld. The library reflects a mastery of the hardware’s strengths and limitations rarely encountered in game history. To massively abuse the power of metaphor: the creators of these games understood tuning and polish. They turned off their targeting computers and used the power of the Force (which was STRONG with them) to thread every twist and turn of their development trench runs and dropped dozens of torpedoes of excellence down the thermal exhaust port of imagination, resulting in planet-sized explosions of fun.
They were much better at making video games than I am at making metaphors.
The house art style was something else… they REALLY knew how to make those sprites look just right on that limited-resolution screen and with a small palette. But the mastery of the NGPC was in the technical design, the feel of the games, which pulsed with responsiveness, attention to detail, and energetic vibrancy that was unparallelled in an age when most handheld games were treated as disposable kid’s stuff.
Look, we’re talking about Metal Slug on the go. We’re talking about fighting games on a handheld so good, so feature-rich, and sooooo satisfying (like SNK VS. Capcom: The Match of the Millenium) that they stand up to scrutiny twenty years later! We’re talking about the granddaddy of video game CCGs: the legendary Card Fighters’ Clash, a game so perfect that merely mentioning its name in the chat wins any Hearthstone, Marvel Clash, or Magic The Gathering match. Am I exaggerating? Not much. That’s not an official rule of those games. But it should be. Also Monopoly.
Since it’s coming from LRG, there are also Collector’s Editions available for both anthologies, including really groovy accompanying books (among other trinkets and treasures).
Limited Run Games:
is a subsidiary of “Freemode”, an operative group comprised of gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer. Limited Run Games is the industry leader in the production and distribution of premium physical video games. Limited Run seeks to celebrate the legacy of gaming through its award-winning collector’s editions. Founded in 2015, they have published over 1,000 physical games, exclusive merch, and collectables. Limited Run is the gold standard in bringing digital games to physical form and now re-releasing retro titles on modern platforms via their proprietary Carbon Engine. Visit limitedrungames.com for the latest offerings and to learn more about Carbon Engine development. Follow the brand on your social media platform of choice for all LRG-related updates:@limitedrungames.