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The Hyper Neo Geo 64 ; SNK's failed arcade platform / home console

VGEsoterica

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Anyone remember the Hyper Neo Geo 64? Obv pretty much everyone has played or at least knows about the Neo Geo MVS / AES, but the Hyper rarely gets talked about. Considering it was SNK's first and only 3D system, and it shared a CPU with the Nintendo 64 (NEC VR4300), its a super interesting platform even if it died hard in arcades.

Four fighters - Fatal Fury : Wild Ambition, Samurai Shodown 64, Samurai Shodown 64 2, and Buriki One. Two driving games - Offbeat Racer and Round Trip RV. And one of my favorite arcade games of all time...Beast Busters : Second Nightmare.

Anyone else ever play these? or collect for the platform? Seems like SNK is having another resurgence with their home arcade sticks, so I hope they remember the Hyper exists and do something with it. Especially since MAME emulation is functional but very far off from playable (massive audio issues make it near impossible to enjoy

merit : hijacking my own the thread for the finale as to not make a new one for it lol
 
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VGEsoterica

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If anyone is curious, I did an overview on the hardware. Weirdly nobody truly knows what the GPU is. It was an in-house ASIC designed by SNK, so not much is known about it...which is weird to me? lol

(mods you can delete the link if it's too self-promitioney. I just wanted to see who knew and enjoyed the hyper :)
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Seems cool to me but too few games to really garner any interest for most people.

Any favorites on the system?

I do think it's bizarre that not much is known about the GPU. Perhaps a subject for a future video of yours.
 

Trimesh

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I've already said my opinion on it - I really wonder what SNK were smoking. Who could possibly have thought that it was an even vaguely sensible idea to produce 3 different and incompatible main boards (or 4 if you count the one that only runs the Samurai Shodown games) for a system that only had 7 games. Especially when only of the board variants only supported one single game.

I think it would have had a much better chance of success if they had packaged it as main board (which works with everything) - ROM board (one per game) and I/O board (Fighting, shooting, racing, etc.).
 

VGEsoterica

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Seems cool to me but too few games to really garner any interest for most people.

Any favorites on the system?

I do think it's bizarre that not much is known about the GPU. Perhaps a subject for a future video of yours.

Beast Busters Second Nightmare is hands down my fav, but its one of my favorite arcade games of all time.

I am trying to get more info on the GPU. Hopefully it works out
 

JAMMA

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I played it in arcades when new, was swept under the rug fast.

Was interesting, but the 2D MVS games still were better games.
 

Trimesh

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I think one of the other problems was simply that the MVS was so successful and had such a wide range of games available for it. Replacing it with a system with a much narrower range of games that was also a lot more expensive was going to be a hard sell anyway. Similar to the way the CPS3 entirely failed to follow up on the massive success of the CPS2 (although that was also hampered by quickly becoming famous for erasing it's security data and leaving you with a dead machine showing a screen full of birdshit).
 
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Danny Dudekisser

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I thought it was super cool at the time, but I can't imagine going back to these games now. If nothing else, I respect the absolutely massive cartridges.
 

VGEsoterica

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I think one of the other problems was simply that the MVS was so successful and had such a wide range of games available for it. Replacing it with a system with a much narrower range of games that was also a lot more expensive was going to be a hard sell anyway. Similar to the way the CPS3 entirely failed to follow up on the massive success of the CPS2 (although that was also hampered by quickly becoming famous for erasing it's security data and leaving you with a dead machine showing a screen full of birdshit).

I still don’t know why SNK didn’t push 2D games to the Hyper. It has a massive amount of storage for sprites and 2D art. It could have ALSO been an enhanced 2D machine. The background art on Fatal Fury shows just how capable it was for 2D as well.

but yes game diversity was an issue for sure. Plus you needed new I/O boards for different genres. It wasn’t plug and play like the MVS
 

SpiceRacz

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I played SamSho 64 at a pizza parlor a few years ago in this podunk town about an hour away from where I live. I remember it being decent.
 

VGEsoterica

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I played SamSho 64 at a pizza parlor a few years ago in this podunk town about an hour away from where I live. I remember it being decent.

It has some good depth to it if you spend some time with it. The sequel is probably the “better” game but I usually have more fun with 64 vs 64 2 (or Warriors Rage in the US)
 
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Trimesh

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I still don’t know why SNK didn’t push 2D games to the Hyper. It has a massive amount of storage for sprites and 2D art. It could have ALSO been an enhanced 2D machine. The background art on Fatal Fury shows just how capable it was for 2D as well.

but yes game diversity was an issue for sure. Plus you needed new I/O boards for different genres. It wasn’t plug and play like the MVS

It could have been simply that they wanted to position the machine as a 3D system and thought that supplying 2D based games for it would go against that. On top of that, the original NeoGeo was an extremely powerful platform as far as sprites were concerned (not really that surprising, since it generated everything except the FIX layer using sprites) and maybe they were worried that 2D games wouldn't have enough wow factor when compared to the best titles of the previous generation.

I do remember that the Hyper NeoGeo 64 sold like crap back in the day - after it was discontinued they pretty much couldn't be given away - I think I paid about $40 for a NIB fighting motherboard and all 4 (also NIB) fighting games.
 
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kunonabi

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Played Buriki One and SS64 in the arcades and loved them. We actually had a SS64 cab at my community college and it had the 2nd biggest scene behind Tekken.

Played Wild Ambition on the PS1 and enjoyed it too especially the music.
 

VGEsoterica

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It could have been simply that they wanted to position the machine as a 3D system and thought that supplying 2D based games for it would go against that. On top of that, the original NeoGeo was an extremely powerful platform as far as sprites were concerned (not really that surprising, since it generated everything except the FIX layer using sprites) and maybe they were worried that 2D games wouldn't have enough wow factor when compared to the best titles of the previous generation.

I do remember that the Hyper NeoGeo 64 sold like crap back in the day - after it was discontinued they pretty much couldn't be given away - I think I paid about $40 for a NIB fighting motherboard and all 4 (also NIB) fighting games.

Considering the investment in the Hyper though I am still surprised SNK didn't pivot away from 3D and use it as a more powerful 2D machine. It could not have been cheap to develop, and after seven games it was just abandoned. But then again I am sure some accountant at SNK ran the numbers and said "MVS is more profitable" and that's that
 

Futaleufu

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Samurai Shodown 64 was the most ambitious fighting game ever made at the time, too bad it ran poorly on the hardware. That Hanzo attack where he throws a dozen of shurikens puts the framerate at single digits.

Fatal Fury Wild Amibition was gorgeous, smooth, antialiased and the sound was incredible. Too many people has only played the PS1 port with muffled sound, poor framerate and jaggie graphics.

The racing games were not bad but nothing that would blow your mind.

Buriki One was the last time someone tried to innovate in the fighting game genre. It still gets competitive play in places like Mikado and Gameacho
 
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VGEsoterica

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Samurai Shodown 64 was the most ambitious fighting game ever made at the time, too bad it ran poorly on the hardware. That Hanzo attack where he throws a dozen of shurikens puts the framerate at single digits.

Fatal Fury Wild Amibition was gorgeous, smooth, antialiased and the sound was incredible. Too many people has only played the PS1 port with muffled sound, poor framerate and jaggie graphics.

The racing games were not bad but nothing that would blow your mind.

Buriki One was the last time someone tried to innovate in the fighting game genre. It still gets competitive play in places like Mikado and Gameacho

Awesome to hear Buriki is still getting played. It's such a unique experience down to the control setup. Every attack really feels like it "hits" when you get the satisfying feeling of the joystick movement for the attack itself. It's probably the most unique game by far on the Hyper, and one of the most unique systems for a fighting game in general.

Wish it got a sequel
 
Aug 24, 2016
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Wasn't really ever a "console" like the other version of the original Neogeo was (or the slow CD version).

Issue with "Hyper Neo Geo 64" is that it was outdated when it launched. Some games weren't that technical and used visual tricks that could have worked on the Jaguar. others were decent if you ignore the year they came out since even early PSX ran circles over those.

It also wasn't very easy to program for, SNK was in terrible financial position and would go bankrupt not too long from launch, they had no clear goal with it, and had no interest in trying to bring the games home until things were looking grim and then decided to bring a "few" games to consoles.
 

VGEsoterica

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Wasn't really ever a "console" like the other version of the original Neogeo was (or the slow CD version).

Issue with "Hyper Neo Geo 64" is that it was outdated when it launched. Some games weren't that technical and used visual tricks that could have worked on the Jaguar. others were decent if you ignore the year they came out since even early PSX ran circles over those.

It also wasn't very easy to program for, SNK was in terrible financial position and would go bankrupt not too long from launch, they had no clear goal with it, and had no interest in trying to bring the games home until things were looking grim and then decided to bring a "few" games to consoles.

The plan, if you can call it that, was to release the Hyper in the home as a cd-rom based console. No way were they going to use the carts from the arcade. Things are massive. But on a 4X cd-rom drive they'd have a chance. It just wasn't powerful enough to compete against the upcoming Dreamcast launch
 
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I feel like SNK had even less business sense than Sega did. I guess that's why they're so well loved. Certainly my two favorite companies :messenger_beaming:
 

VGEsoterica

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I feel like SNK had even less business sense than Sega did. I guess that's why they're so well loved. Certainly my two favorite companies :messenger_beaming:

Haha. I don't know why SNK didnt up the power of the hardware graphically. Not sure if there wasn't a better GPU available to license, or if they didnt have the cash on hand do buy into it, but it's lack of power was definitely an issue
 
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The plan, if you can call it that, was to release the Hyper in the home as a cd-rom based console. No way were they going to use the carts from the arcade. Things are massive. But on a 4X cd-rom drive they'd have a chance. It just wasn't powerful enough to compete against the upcoming Dreamcast launch

What?

It was outdated at launch, could barely compete with the PSX, not sure where the Dreamcast came from. They clearly weren't expecting to be a far behind as they were when they released the machine, especially mid-PSX games which made it more obvious that HNG64 was outdated. Dreamcast wouldn't have mattered regardless, issue was it was a safe budget 3D arcade machine that they didn't realize they paid premium price for and wasn't future proof.

One user here said it looked like the PSX/N64 combined, lol, N64 runs circles over the N64 outside frame rate.

Of course, this is really SNK's fault and the shitty tools they used, as the HNG64 hardware was much more capable than it was (well maybe not much but moreso) but SNk stuck with the NG for such a long time for a reason, they didn't have the programmers with the knowledge or skills to really do much of anything right with the HNG64.

Look at SS64 terrible looking.
 

VGEsoterica

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What?

It was outdated at launch, could barely compete with the PSX, not sure where the Dreamcast came from. They clearly weren't expecting to be a far behind as they were when they released the machine, especially mid-PSX games which made it more obvious that HNG64 was outdated. Dreamcast wouldn't have mattered regardless, issue was it was a safe budget 3D arcade machine that they didn't realize they paid premium price for and wasn't future proof.

One user here said it looked like the PSX/N64 combined, lol, N64 runs circles over the N64 outside frame rate.

Of course, this is really SNK's fault and the shitty tools they used, as the HNG64 hardware was much more capable than it was (well maybe not much but moreso) but SNk stuck with the NG for such a long time for a reason, they didn't have the programmers with the knowledge or skills to really do much of anything right with the HNG64.

Look at SS64 terrible looking.

That was the plan though ; release the Hyper in 98. It hit mid 97 in Japan, and a home version was in the planning stages. So timeline wise it would have been releasing just before DC. Obv it couldn't complete so it's not a surprise why the plan was cancelled, but thats why I mention DC
 

Waltz8bit

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i played Fatal Fury Will ambition at the arcades. It was pretty cool and i remember graphs were top of the line back in the day. There was a port for PS1 as i recall. Good times! Too bad arcades are not what they used to be.
 

VGEsoterica

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Buriki's gameplay is some of the most unique around. It was a lot of fun capturing and talking about it for an upcoming video in my hyper series. Still a great game to play
 

VGEsoterica

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Beast Busters is still my hands down favorite game on the platform though. Not sure how many people have played it though?
 

VGEsoterica

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I played Wild Ambition in 2001 or something and damn, that was the shit

I wish SNK would revisit Wild Ambition. Do a semi-remake / sem—new game. Clearly they’ve gotten MUCH better at 3D compared to the Hyper era
 
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The games are way better looking than anything in the N64.

Lol what?

 

McCheese

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I toyed around with coding an emulator for this a long time ago, but lack of documentation at the time and even videos of the games for reference (timings etc) made it pretty much untenable. I hear MAME at least got stuff booting somehow, but I really wish there was enough interest in this to fund someone like furrtek to decap it's GPU, I worry some of these games will be lost for good in the next few decades.
 

Ovek

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Don’t think they ever made it to UK arcades. Didn’t know that A Neogeo 64 was even a thing for ages.
 
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ClanOfNone

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I remember seeing screenshots for a few games in one of the old EGMs, but I never saw one in the wild.
 

VGEsoterica

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I toyed around with coding an emulator for this a long time ago, but lack of documentation at the time and even videos of the games for reference (timings etc) made it pretty much untenable. I hear MAME at least got stuff booting somehow, but I really wish there was enough interest in this to fund someone like furrtek to decap it's GPU, I worry some of these games will be lost for good in the next few decades.

Maybe I'll drop him a line. I have a spare board sitting around that could be decapped and scanned. Because emulation now is not great at all. Functioning but far from perfect
 

VGEsoterica

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I’m going to take some high res images of the pcb for some people. Hopefully one day it’ll advance things along
 
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Neo Geo games look terrible when they try to do polygons.

But give the dev team time to do sprite based animations like in their fighting games and Metal Slug and the results are fantastic.
 
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VGEsoterica

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The NeoGeo 64 has 16MB of dedicated texture memory - I.E. it's got 4 times as much memory just for that function as the N64 has in total. Anyone that thinks it looks like a N64 has either never seen one in real life or is smoking crack.

the textures are much better than the 64 but interestingly enough they are pixelated. Higher quality but the GPU either a) doesn’t feature texture filtering or b) SNK and ADK didn’t implement it in their games
 
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Trimesh

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the textures are much better than the 64 but interestingly enough they are pixelated. Higher quality but the GPU either a) doesn’t feature texture filtering or b) SNK and ADK didn’t implement it in their games

It looks like it's using point sampling and nearest neighbor scaling along with high resolution textures. This is pretty much the antithesis of the N64 approach, which used tiny textures but employed both bilinear interpolation and interpolation between mipmap levels. Hence my comment about how you would have to be smoking crack to think the machines look in any way similar.