As part of SNK's 20th anniversary of the Neo*Geo arcade system,
...SNK is now opening a storefront on the PlayStation Network. While it's great to see some old classics make a reappearance, I don't know if the game selection, which includes older, wartier games like Fatal Fury 1 and Art of Fighting 1, are the best choices, and the price points of $6.99 US for PSP / $8.99 US for PS3 are definitely NOT right. First, because some of these games are old and warty, and second, because a lot of these older games have already been re-released in various compilations for PS2, PSP, and other modern platforms, so the people who are already interested in classic Neo*Geo games...probably already own them. The initial game list planned for the launch is:
Fatal Fury 1
Alpha Mission II
The King of Fighters '94
Samurai Shodown 1
Baseball Stars Professional
Metal Slug 1
Super Sidekicks 1
Art of Fighting 1
While KOF '94, Metal Slug, and Samurai Shodown are generally considered to be classics by Neo*Geo fans, the other games really don't hold up well (and those 3 games also have their own issues as well).
The official press release suggests that the games will come with some sort of bonuses. At these prices, and in keeping with the theme of the 20th anniversary of the Neo, I think it'd be good to see SNK Playmore to at least include some other bonuses with purchase, like easy-to-access DIP switch settings for people to mess with, old artbook scans, old versions of classic SNK TV commercials, and...pretty much as much stuff as they can cram in.
I'm as much of a fan of classic SNK Neo*Geo hardware and games--probably more so than anyone reading this--but even I have real problems with the prospect of paying $9 a pop for early, early SNK games that I've already re-purchased numerous times in other compilations. SNK Playmore seems to be positioning Neo*Geo games as these old-timey, ancient classics that are as much museum exhibits as they are games to play, and that got old years ago. There's a great library of latter-day Neo*Geo games, such as Blazing Star, Magical Drop 3, Money Puzzle Exchanger, The Last Blade, and others that haven't really seen the light of dayon modern consoles.
I applaud SNK Playmore's experimentation with modern console download services, putting the company's two best fighting games,Garou: Mark of the WolvesandThe King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match, on Xbox Live. What I really want to see is the company getting more proactive about re-releasing other great games, either in compilations or in multiplayer on Live or PSN. For instance, with the broad arcade history that the Neo*Geo and its games have, you could see some kind of full arcade channel with a ton of classic Neo*Geo games that play to the games' strengths, such as spectator modes (as tons of other fighting games have already done, to simulate the classic situation of watching the current match and being on deck to play against the winner), speedrun video recording and leaderboards for speedruns, and hopefully, rock-solid online co-op.
There's more that SNK Playmore could be doing to preserve/build awareness of these great games and using them as a bridge to the future for newer games like KOF XIII.