SNK Corporation closes its doors

The game company responsible for the long-lived NeoGeo arcade hardware and games bids its fans farewell.

SNK of Japan made the latest and final update to Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves. SNK also collaborated with its longtime competitor Capcom to produce two Capcom vs. SNK fighting games in the arcades, both last year and this year, as well as three Dreamcast ports and a PlayStation 2 port of that series.

But SNK is best known for its NeoGeo arcade game platform, which has been around for over a decade. The innovative NeoGeo MVS (Multi-Video System) arcade system used game cartridges, rather than separate boards, so arcade operators could add new games to their arcades simply by putting a new cartridge into the same cabinet. Shortly after the MVS, SNK released a home cartridge system (which used mostly the same game ROMs as the arcade versions of games), and a few years later, it released two different CD-based home systems: the NeoCD and the double-speed CDZ. Unfortunately, the cartridges for the home system were prohibitively expensive (in recent years, new home cartridges have retailed for as much as $270), and the CD system wasn't widely supported. The NeoGeo's presence has always been strongest in arcades, and the hardware has hosted countless games, including popular third-party games like Data East's Puzzle Bobble and Magical Drop puzzle series, Sunsoft's Galaxy Fight and Waku Waku 7 fighting games, and Alpha Denshi's infamously zany World Heroes fighting game series. But the NeoGeo is best known for SNK's first-party games, including the classic Fatal Fury, The King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, The Last Blade, and Art of Fighting 2D fighting game series and the Metal Slug side-scrolling platform action games. SNK's most recent arcade releases for the NeoGeo include The King of Fighters 2001, is being codeveloped by Korean developer Eolith, and according to video game news site ZDNet Japan, the game will be distributed by a Japanese company called Sun Amusement. In addition, there are also plans at Korean developer MegaKing to develop a new Metal Slug game for the NeoGeo MVS system.

SNK's closing marks the end of an era, both for the company's many fans worldwide and for arcade games and arcades in general.

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