Gaming on the STARFORCE NEO

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Neo Geo MVS (1990) was the one system to beat them all! I grew up with SEGA’s Master System and Mega Drive, but my cousin had a Neo Geo AES with Magician Lord. I played that game only six minutes when I was 10 years old, and that memory has stuck with me forever. Now, to relive that time with the STARFORCE NEO (2016)!



Allright, so the STARFORCE NEO works – let’s play some games!

Metal Slug (1996) No one quite does Run & Gun games like Nazca does, specifically through their excellent Metal Slug series. The first episode of the franchise still stands as the most shining example of the 16-bit platformer era, and will remain my favorite game of the system.

Top Hunter (1994) I bought an MVS in my 20s and this game was one of four games I had for it, and easily my favorite, second only to Metal Slug. The graphics are beautiful and the two-player mode is so much fun, it’s a bit of a goofy concept to get into, but really worth it.

Samurai Showdown II (1994) Extremely popular fighting series often remarked as one of the best games of all times just left me frustrated as I got my ass handed to me over and over again. Still, can’t deny it awesomeness.

Eightman (1991) Based on a 1963 manga, you are a quick-running cyborg superhero that has to blast his way through beat’m up mayhem! It’s a bit stale, but I enjoyed it.

Shock Trooper 2nd Squad (1998) Not really like the first version of the game, still a great mix of destruction and cartoon run & gun violence. Just a solid bit of fun!

Mutation Nation (1991) Neo Geo is classically known for its fighting games, but I’ve always been more interested in the platformer games. Mutation Nation is another beat’em up game that is great fun with some sweet action!SFNeo_ViewPoint

Viewpoint (1992) An isometric shooter game that I actually only got into with the STARFORCE NEO. It’s really challenging, but really quite spectacular, and the music is amazing!

Blazing Star (1998) The killer sequel to Pulstar borrows from the iconic R-Type with updated sprites, brief anime, CGI cutscenes and awesome Engrish voice samples. My favorite scrolling shooter video on the system!


And those were some of my favorite games on the Neo Geo. The excellent multicart of course holds another 90 cool games to play, but is missing some choice games like Magician Lord. Still, it’s a pretty complete experience on a nice little tabletop.

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The STARFORCE NEO System

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In parallel to working on a limited release run of the STARFORCE PI, I decided to explore the possibility of building a Neo Geo MVS into the smallest and lightest form factor possible. This was to compare actual Neo Geo games on original hardware with the more budget friendly emulated experience of the SFP. After roughly 4 months of working, tinkering, cutting, thinking and cursing I finished a fully functional mini Neo Geo MVS system: The STARFORCE NEO All-in-One System.

Built inside a converted 1982 Minitel 1 case, the system features an original SNK MV-1B motherboard which means the games aren’t emulated, authentic Seimitsu buttons and joystick for single player action, two additional Neo Geo compatible controller input ports at the back and all of the same features as SNK’s classic Neo Geo arcade cabinets.

The internal monitor is a crisp 8″ LCD screen with 4:3 aspect ratio behind a glossy protective window. The system pumps its SCART signal via a scanline generator and shoots 480p resolution sprites onto the internal display. Additionally, an HDMI-out port is hidden on the bottom for external head-to-head arcade combat on the big screen!

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Inside the matte two-tone Stormtrooper exterior lies a 1.2Watt dual stereo speaker system by Logitech, delivering an impressive deep sound, with the option to connect external audio capture devices or headphones through the 3.5mm audio jack.

Neo Geo MVS cartridges simply slot in the back, and by placing the power input port & player 2 controller input port to the sides, games can be changed without having to unplug the system.

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The STARFORCE NEO All-in-One system comes with an original Neo Geo Gamepad for two-player action and the SFNeo MVS MultiCart in AES shell, which features 97 classic original Neo Geo titles. The entire build cost around €600, using original and premium components, with a further €150 euro for the extra controller and multicart.

It turned out quite spectacular, but it was a hell of a job to get right, and pretty expensive. I had to sell about half of my completed Neo Geo Pocket Color collection to finance it, but ultimately, it was totally worth it.

Marcel J. de Haan
SFP Development Team

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SPECS:

  • Authentic SNK Neo Geo MV-1B hardware
  • Neo Geo MVS Cartridge Compatible
  • 2x Neo Geo Controller Inputs (Player 1 & 2)
  • Integrated SEIMITSU Joystick & 6 buttons (Player 1)
  • Integrated 8” 480p LCD Screen (4:3) + HDMI Output
  • SmallCab SuperGun SCART-to-HDMI
  • SGL3000 Scanline Generator
  • Logitech Z120 Internal 1.2Watt Stereo Speakers
  • 3.5mm Headphone Stereo Jack
  • BeQuiet! Silent PSU SFW Power 2 400W
  • Vintage 1982 Minitel 1 Converted Case
  • Dimensions: 23 x 25 x 26 cm, Weight: 10kg (22lbs, without cart)