Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro reaction analysis
Last year, SNK released the Neo Geo Mini and received nothing but mixed feelings towards many fans and reviewers. Many praised the console’s built-in 3.5′ 4:3 LCD screen for being crisp and sharp whilst keeping the consoles original native resolution of 320 x 224. However, many people complained about the console’s lack of “clicky” joysticks and the poor image quality when connected to a TV via HDMI. Despite this, the console became successful enough to spawn a Xmas version, a Chinese exclusive black and gold console and a variety of Samurai Spirits-themed consoles based on the popular 2D weapon-based fighting game of the same name. This year, SNK announced a “premium” version of their Neo Geo Mini console called the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro. I have not seen in person yet neither have I tried it at all so this reaction is based off what I’ve seen on the internet.
According to SNK, the design of the console/controller hybrid is based off the Neo Geo CD controller from 1993. From what I heard, the size of the system is massive compared to every other arcade styled controller out there. In fact around the same time, Capcom announced the Capcom Home Arcade and that was also considered to be massive too! The irony is that Capcom’s arcade controller shaped console was hated by so many people because it was illegally using a emulator that is non-commercial. After it got so much flack online, Capcom decicded to only release it in Europe, the UK and Australia/New Zealand. But I’m going off topic so I’ll get back to the analysis.
One thing I’m happy to report is that SNK has finally gone back to making micro-switched joysticks again. SNK to me has always been kings of the arcades and I admit I was very disappointed with the Neo Geo Mini external controllers as lacked that satisfying clicking sound. Instead the sticks were analogue and it didn’t feel good at all. Sure you can get used to it, but the reason SNK didn’t make micro-switched controllers is because apparently “clicky sticks are very hard to make”. After people told them they need micro-switches on their controllers, this is where the joystick comes in. They may not be very high quality parts that you get on most arcade machines and many fight sticks but my understanding is that they’re okay. They’re just good but I won’t know unless I feel them in person. I don’t what to think of the design aside from it looks like something Fisher-Price would make if they did a “My First Arcade Joystick”. It just looks a bit too babyish for me as I prefer arcade controllers to look a bit more mature but hey! At least they tried.
I have also heard they improved the image quality of the system! Thank the heavens for that! Although sadly, it’s set to a blurry image by default but luckily we can fix it officially by just going into the screen options. As far as the emulation goes, it’s typical emulation. Nothing bad but nothing spectacular. The games built-in the console are all fighting games but if that’s your thing, you will love the games they have. You can also use it on your PC if you need that nostalgic arcade fighting game feel. For somebody like me who doesn’t like arcade sticks, you can use the Neo Geo Mini gamepads for either one or two player action. That way you will have a more comfortable experience.
But the real meat and potatoes is the ability to add your own games and update the firmware by using a USB flash drive. When it comes out, I’ll be able to inform more details and let you know what my first true experience is. Overall, this to me sounds like a cool collectable to have in your home. My only concern is that people are gonna be thrown off that this doesn’t come with a HDMI cable and a AC Adapter but if you have money to burn and are willing to buy cheap AC Adapters and HDMI cables without breaking the system. This could possibly be a great device. Thank you and good night. See you later buddies!
Written by Daniel Liam “Dan” Snowdon – 2019