The Neo Geo Pocket was SNK’s first handheld system, it was released in Japan in 1998 and quickly succeeded by the Neo Geo Pocket Color in 1999. I’ve owned both versions since it was possible to import them, they are masterpieces of engineering, the controls are possibly the best you can get on any handheld and it will give you up to 40 hours of game time on just two AAA batteries. On top of that it was blessed with some truly amazing games such as Samurai Shodown!, The King of Fighters R-1 and many more. Even with all that said, the Neo Geo Pocket is under appreciated throughout the retro community, clearly SainT of RetroHQ agrees this plucky little powerhouse needed some love, step forward The NeoGeo Pocket GD (GD = Game Drive).
The NeoGeo Pocket GD is a flash cart much like the everdrive cartridges that I’m sure you’ ve heard about. The great thing about these devices is the ability to test homebrew games, rare games, expensive games or even demos, in this instance I wanted to have the ability to have all my games on one card for playing on the move.
The cartridge comes packaged in an electrostatic bag with a fold out color instruction sheet. The first thing that struck me was the cart feels really well made. The shell of the cart is created using a 3D printer and I’m no expert in this field but it feels strong and sturdy. Once you insert the card into the handheld it fits like a glove, flush with the top of the handheld for those that care about those kind of things.
The NGPGD comes with 15MB of onboard memory and with the addition of a slot for a MicroSD card you can add up to 32GB. Once games are installed they can be played, saved back to the card, or deleted as you wish. Once you boot up the system you are presented with a menu. The menu is split into two and controlled by tabs at the top of the screen, the two tabs are marked Flash and SDCard, you toggle between them by pushing the handhelds Option button. The Flash labelled menu lists the games you have installed in the internal storage, and your remaining free space. The SDCard labelled menu has the contents of your SDCard allowing you to copy more over to the internal memory and so on. The card must be in FAT format and the games must have the .NGP or .NGC extension to work.
Transferring games from the SDcard to the internal memory does take a couple of mins on average but this does depend on the size of the game and hardly a deal breaker. The actual loading of a game is much quicker and usually takes a few seconds to boot into the game.
Overall this is another impressive kit from RetroHQ, the cost of these products might put a few people off, in fact the prices are in line with similar flash devices on the market. Since getting this device I have discovered a few homebrew titles for the Neo Geo Pocket and for that reason alone I highly recommend this to anyone.
For more info visit http://www.retrohq.co.uk
Got a Neo Geo handheld or thinking about getting one? You could do much worst that invest in one of these, awesome product.