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If SNK rereleased Neo Geo carts, would the AES market plummet?

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Neo Geo AES EVO Dogtag Edition of Samurai Shodown for PlayStation 4 - Photo Credit: EVO / SNK
Photo Credit: EVO / SNK

If SNK went into full gear and officially rereleased Neo Geo AES carts, would the collector’s bubble finally burst or see unheard of inflation?

Is there more to the seemingly endless line of Samurai Showdown PS4 classic AES-style variant boxes than meets the eye? Could it be a market test to see the threshold Neo Geo fans are willing to shell out for an actual AES title rerelease? It’s pretty much a guarantee the Las Vegas EVO Dog Tag iteration of Samurai Showdown will fetch thousands in no time on eBay. Give it a few years at best. The countless AES reproduction carts/conversions on the market today selling for hundreds of dollars/pounds aren’t exactly a big secret. They’re trading hands 99% of the time without SNK getting any cut of the action.

A simple search on eBay for Neo Geo Reproduction Manuals will yield results for repro manuals selling for $35 dollars a pop. Just for an AES lookalike manual! No game, not even a Shockbox. Why would SNK not want to cash in on the action themselves? Limited Run Games’ officially licensed Metal Slug 3 classic collectors’ edition (featuring an AES style case) sold out within two minutes for both morning and mid-day sales. You really think SNK doesn’t notice these figures in front of them? Ka-ching!

Metal Slug 3 AES Classic Collector's Edition for PlayStation 4 - Photo Credit: Limited Run Games / SNK

Metal Slug 3 AES Classic Collector’s Edition for PlayStation 4 – Photo Credit: Limited Run Games / SNK

Neo Geo AES reproduction carts/conversions are quickly becoming indistinguishable from the real thing. Sure, a laser jet printed cart sticker, different art, or lack of light reflecting gloss might be easy dead giveaways on earlier conversions. But the game has changed, conversions can pass the eye test these days. How many casual and even hardcore collectors are going to open up their potentially $1,000-$5,000 purchased carts to check the boards for authenticity? Not many, a minuscule percentage at most, and with good reason. 

You can’t replace it easily and every minor finger print (forget opening the cart) makes it lose further value. Not to mention the expert level knowledge required in the first place to tell one board from another. A good portion of collectors purchase rare AES carts to display on shelves, not play. There’s MVS, current console ACA adaptions, and the Neo Geo Mini for the rest. Why take a chance with an AES cart you might potentially never replace, should something go wrong?

The Impact of official Neo Geo Rereleased AES Carts on the Market

SNK officially rereleasing AES carts would allow collectors to know they’re getting the real thing. Rather, than a homemade product. Of course, there’s nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with a reproduction/conversation cart if the maker/seller is upfront about it. It’s when a customer buys a conversion cart masquerading as an original for ‘original’ prices where the trouble starts. For many, a conversion is the only chance at owning an almost replica of the original. After all, how many have a real Metal Slug 1 AES? It’s a glaringly obvious yet untapped market of consumers for SNK.

The likely limited run nature of official SNK rereleases would have collectors competing against casuals against resellers looking to exploit the aftermath. The mental aspect cannot be ignored, those who missed out on the AES once will not want to miss out again to fall prey to resellers’ whims. Those who couldn’t afford the Neo Geo in their youth now have the dough, their wallets ready to empty. 

Should the rereleases match the originals and be identical, the AES market would soon plummet back to Earth. Already mired in years of reproductions/conversions diluting what is original and what is not. Reproduction carts would have to significantly reduce in price to attract customers as a result. They might even not be worth the resources to produce in the first place. Casuals would naturally buy the new rereleases they truly want, rather than sport the same entry level Neo Geo AES games they could afford a taste of.

However, if the rereleases had any indication of being manufactured in their current year or other signifier… The AES market for the originals might rise to unheard of inflation! Original AES carts would comparatively become the highly desired EVO Samurai Shodown box x 1000, while the rereleases become mere modern variants. A current year signifier on a rerelease cart would practically guarantee the original releases rising in price… Until they are out of reach for all but the most vigilant of ‘Big Tymers.’

Be sure to check out Live Game Deals’ review of SNK’s 40th Anniversary Collection and Jeanne (Janne) D’Arc’s SNK HEROINES comeback on the PlayStation 4!

Nir Regev is the Founder/Editor of Live Game Deals, a website dedicated to bringing you the best video game deals live, industry interviews, in-depth analysis, news, previews, price guides/rarity guides, and more! He is also the Founder/Editor of entertainment website, The Natural Aristocrat. Contact Nir at nir.regev@livegamedeals.com.

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How to replace a Neo Geo Pocket Color Sub Battery
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The back of a Neo Geo Pocket Color, a handheld gaming console released by SNK in 1999. This picture shows the both battery compartment covers removed and with batteries inserted. The Pocket Color uses two AA batteries for gameplay and one 2032 button cell battery for an internal clock. - Photo Credit: Evan Amos via Wikimedia.org
Photo Credit: Evan Amos via Wikimedia.org

Here’s how to replace your Neo Geo Pocket Color’s Sub Battery, a circular CR2032 battery that governs the handheld system’s internal clock, language settings, horoscope, calendar, and timer alarm.

SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color utilizes a circular CR2032 Sub Battery to save settings like a game displaying English or Japanese text and internal clock. It’s important to mention that Game Save Data is not saved on the CR2032 Sub Battery but rather on the NGPC carts themselves. If you’re getting the message “Sub Battery Dead. Memory Failure Imminent. Change Battery.” on a yellow background with a reddish dialogue box, you might be wondering where the Sub Battery is housed.

How to replace a Neo Geo Pocket Color Sub Battery:

The Neo Geo Pocket Color, a handheld gaming console released by SNK in 1999. – Photo Credit: Evan Amos via Wikimedia.org

1) Turn the system’s power off first. Look for a circular compartment on the NGPC’s back side on the bottom right corner.

2) The NGPC’s circular compartment can be opened with a simple coin via twisting motion. You’ll want to wrap the coin in some type of paper to avoid damaging the compartment’s aesthetic exterior (as has occurred in the above photo). Or twist the coin gently, taking great care to avoid accidental chipping of the exterior.

The back of a Neo Geo Pocket Color, a handheld gaming console released by SNK in 1999. This picture shows the both battery compartment covers removed and with batteries inserted. The Pocket Color uses two AA batteries for gameplay and one 2032 button cell battery for an internal clock. – Photo Credit: Evan Amos via Wikimedia.org

3) Remove the current CR2032 Sub Battery housed in your Neo Geo Pocket Color. If you don’t own a spare CR2032 Battery, you can order one from Amazon. Replace the NGPC’s depleted Sub Battery with your fresh battery.

4) Close the circular compartment with the cover you previously removed with a coin. You’re now good to go! The system will be good as new once turned on.

Note: You can play the Neo Geo Pocket Color in the short term without replacing the Sub Battery if you wait for the ‘Sub Battery Dead’ message to disappear (when starting a game). But most NGPC games will not allow you to save your game date without it. As the handheld console’s internal clock settings will be absent.

Retro Gaming Fact: The Sega Dreamcast’s VMU units also utilize CR2032 Sub Batteries and if not replaced will emit a well known beeping noise upon starting up the console.

Be sure to read:
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection review: Psycho Soldier steals the show
SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy: Jeanne D’Arc and Skullomania review
If SNK rereleased Neo Geo carts, would the AES market plummet?

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