About four years ago I made a list of must-play Neo Geo games on the Wii Virtual Console. Since then, it’s become the most consistently accessed post on the blog. With Wii VC shutting down and Hamster continuing to release a Neo Geo game every week on Switch, it seemed like a good time to revisit the concept with Nintendo’s hybrid console in mind.
A few things to know about this list:
This list is a living document. I will continue to add cool Neo Geo games to the post as they release on the Switch eshop.
The port quality in the series is consistently good. No game is being left off of the list because it’s glitchy or anything. The ACA Neo Geo series has a (pretty much) universal feature set including settings for audio, video (filters, screen size, etc.), difficulty (level, continues, etc.), and region (Japanese or English version). Every game also includes online leaderboards in the form of Hi Score and Caravan modes. The games can be played in handheld, docked, or tabletop mode with the Joy Con removed. They all support screenshots, and some like Metal Slug 3 have been patched to allow for 30 second video capture. None of the games in the series offer proper online play.
I love SNK and Neo Geo games. A ton. However, many of these games demand quite a bit of skill for high-level play, and that’s not me. I can tell you why Last Blade gives me chills everytime I play it, but I can’t break down the fighting mechanics and systems at play. So in the interest of giving a more complete picture in addition to my thoughts, I included links for “further reading” about the games chosen in the list.
I tried to limit the number of entries from a single series. For example, while I think there is an argument to be made for every Metal Slug game to be on this list, I only included one, because that’s my favorite one. This was especially challenging with the King of Fighters series, but such is life.
Attn World Heroes and Art of Fighting mega-fans: don’t read this list, you’ll only be disappointed.
Finally, and this probably doesn’t matter to anyone except me, but I took all the screenshots for this article myself. This ensures that the images you’re seeing from these games is authentic Switch quality. I use the A1 (light scanline) filter (found in the options of each game).
On the most recent episode of the podcast, I extolled the virtues of Neo Geo games on the Wii Virtual Console, while coming off as a bit dismissive of the SNK compilations released on the Wii, which I had never played. See, as a long-time Sega fan, I’ve been burned by poor emulation, lengthy load times, and ugly visual filters in these “too good to be true” value-packed comps. After spending a dozen or so hours with the 16 games on SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1, I’m happy to report that my worries were unfounded- this is a fantastic package. Continue reading →
This content originally appeared in issue #2 of the Nintendo Fun Factor zine. The issue is available as a free .PDF download here; check it out!
Now you’re playing with…
As the Wii Virtual Console entered its twilight, there was one company still releasing games for it: SNK. Over the past few years, the Wii has (somewhat strangely) become the best place to play Neo Geo games. The consensus from the notoriously-hard-to-please Neo Geo fandom over on sites like Neo-Geo.com is that the emulation in these releases is close to, if not 100%, perfect. The games may be a bit on the pricey side (though nothing compared to the original cart prices), but they don’t have the awful load times that plague some of the disc-based collections.
SNK and publisher D4 Enterprise have built up a respectable library of Neo Geo titles on the Virtual Console. Here are some of the must-plays: Continue reading →