When you speak of companies such as Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, SquareSoft, Capcom, and Konami, chances are good that the average game player can tell you what games the company makes and what that company's significant contributions are to the world of video games in general. Seriously, who doesn't know the names of the companies responsible for Mario, Sonic, PlayStation, and the biggest monopoly this side of board games?
Now consider SNK. In the span of 25 years, the company has produced games such as Ikari Warriors, Fatal Fury, and King of Fighters, as well as a modular arcade hardware setup called the NeoGeo MVS. These games and their sequels, along with the NeoGeo, have made SNK an innovator in the world of video games and have pushed those other companies--primarily Capcom and Nintendo--to improve and develop their products at a much faster pace and at a much higher level of quality than they would without SNK in the picture.
Despite SNK's contributions to our beloved hobby, the company doesn't have the same brand or franchise recognition that these other companies do. The average game player might recognize King of Fighters or Metal Slug or have a vague recollection of the big-budget NeoGeo console, but he or she probably doesn't associate them with SNK. Some people aren't aware that SNK actually went out of business in 2001 or that the company is back today as SNK Playmore.
This History of SNK is an attempt to change all of that. The following sections document the entire 25-year history of the company--from it's founding in 1978, to the golden era of the early 1990s, through the unfortunate bankruptcy in 2001, and up to the present day.
The author would like to give credit to Andrew Alfonso, Chad Okada, Ben Herman, Shawn McCleskey, Kenny Perry Jr., Stuart Reynolds, Michael Shaver, and SnairDogg for their help with and input in this article, as well as to the fans of SNK and the NeoGeo all over the world who continue to show their undying love for the company's systems and games. Without these fine people, the story of SNK could not have been told.