[UPDATE: Various retailers earmarked to carry the NEOGEO X are reporting that delays have pushed back the release of the system until Dec. 18. We will post a short blog entry on that date to remind readers; for now, here is Andrew's announcement post]
Neo Geo fans rejoice. Today (if you're in Australia get your wallet ready because it's the 6th already!) the NEOGEO X is released. If you preorder the handheld, SNK Playmore and Tommo Inc. will throw in a copy of Ninja Masters for free. The NEOGEO X is a handheld that is rated for four to five hours of playtime per charge. The X also supports HDMI via the AES style docking station and if you want to play with a friend you can play two player games with an additional arcade controller.
The most interesting thing about the $199 dollar piece of nostalgic wonder is the fact that it is expandable with additional game cards to augment the list of 20 built in games. That is pretty good value for arcade lovers.
For those catching up the Neo Geo was released in 1992 as the AES (Arcade Entertainment System) based on the arcade MVS (Multi Video System) which allowed arcade owners to easily swap out cartridges instead of boards in cabinets. The AES was incredibly pricey when it was released at a recommended retail price of $649.99; this was in 1991 so you can imagine not too many people were able to pay that price for a home console. To put this in perspective the Sega Genesis cost $189.99 when it was originally released in 1989.
Despite the high price of entry the AES would prove to be pretty popular for SNK and throughout the 90's many high profile properties like Metal Slug, Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters would thrive on the MVS and AES hardware. No other console could touch the supremely colourful sprites and backgrounds the Neo Geo hardware could render and it maintains the legacy of introducing removable memory storage to console gaming.
If you're interested in getting a NEOGEO X to satisfy your nostalgic cravings or you just want to dabble in the world of Neo Geo then North Americans can head to Gamestop, Target or order online. In Europe you can order online only and in Japan the console is only available through Amazon at the moment. Here are some links to make life easier for you.
Official NEOGEO X page
Have fun Neo Geo fans!