Making Sure The Neo*Geo Lives Up To It’s Namesake: The Analogue CMVS

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If you have read my recent overview of Analogue NT from Analogue Interactive, you may have had your interest jogged by the in-depth look at the rising trend of “designer” game consoles. Though it seems redundant to shell out several hundred bucks for a fancified shell containing hardware that is over 20 years old, realize that these game consoles are developed and marketed for two groups of people: hardcore classic gaming hobbyists, and those who just need an element of visual bling to their gaming.

Of course, Analogue Interactive delivers. Enter the Analogue CMVS (Consolized Multi Video System), a veritable work of art that houses the hardware of a Neo*Geo arcade machine for proper home usage.

© Analogue Interactive

Before I laud the system (and justify the high price of admission), allow me to explain the practicality of this re-engineered console. During much of the 90’s, SNK’s Neo*Geo MVS arcade hardware was maintaining a steady presence in video arcades across Japan, Mexico, South America and the United States. The familiar, attention-grabbing arcade cabinets (typically furnished with a coat of fire-engine red) were unique as they usually contained 2-4 games each, as opposed to arcade cabinets dedicated to just one title. While Arcade junkies were enamored with titles such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, SNK released truly unique games as an alternative. While not achieving the level of popularity of it’s competitors, you could not argue that SNK put a ton of effort into the presentation of their games. Whether it was character designs, musical scores or overall presentation, games released on the Neo*Geo were often a cut above their competitors. Just ask anyone (especially in Mexico or Brazil) who preferred King Of Fighters or The Last Blade over Street Fighter II, and you’ll understand.

The problem? The price. Though SNK released home versions of their arcade hardware and games, the prices were absolutely outrageous and remain so to this day. A prime example of this is the ever-praised fighting game Garou: Mark Of The Wolves. Though you can now buy it on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live for less than $20, the actual cartridge for home use costs nearly $1000. Many Neo*Geo games are plagued by restrictive pricing due to low print runs and extremely high demand by collectors. By comparison, the MVS games released for the arcade cabinets are much less expensive. For example, the title Metal Slug 4 costs over $800 on average for the home version, yet the arcade version costs as little as $50 new. Hence, you can see the preference for buying the arcade versions over the home ones.

© Analogue Interactive

The Analogue CMVS allows you to flawlessly enjoy the arcade-based releases at home, but without the exorbitant pricing that keeps possible players away. Like the Analogue Nt, the system comes ready to output RGB, component, S-video and composite video out of the box, all built upon original hardware ripped right out of the arcade cabinet. No emulation, and it plays all games region free. Bear in mind, Analogue does not offer the complete solution in one shot. The CMVS system is sold barebones by default. You get only the game console itself for a cool $649, which includes just the power supply and A/V cables. Surprisingly yet unsurprisingly, the controller is not bundled with the system and will set you back another $200. Considering that Analogue is converting hardware not built for home use and each item is custom built with real hardwood, it is a sensible pricing and itemization plan, allowing buyers to invest only as much as they wish to.

© Analogue Interactive

Despite the price and lack of a complete solution, I cannot recommend this console enough. Not only is possibly the finest console ever constructed as far as quality, it is one of those rare game consoles that is designed with outward presentation in mind. When I have guests over, I would gladly show this guy off and put the PS4 and Xbox One in the cabinet for the night.

About the Author

Ron Morris
Ron Morris
Columnist @PajamaGamerCT