| paleface [sys=NGPC; cat=Hardware; loc=NA] |
|The black and white-screened NeoGeo Pocket (see entry 557) hadn't been out for long before SNK replaced it with the NeoGeo Pocket Color, a slightly larger handheld system with color graphics. The NGPC became a huge focus of their development efforts, with an astounding number of high-quality games being cranked out for it in just a few years. In the end, though, nothing could save it from Nintendo's crushing Game Boy monopoly, and it was relegated to bargain shelves across the country.|
While it certainly could not compete, hardware-wise, with the GBA, at the time it came out, it blew Nintendo's Game Boy Color out of the water, as it supported larger, much more animated sprites, at a much higher framerate than could be gotten from the GBC. With that and the clicky-stick it was perfect for SNK's specialty: fighting games, and it remains the only handheld on which I want to play fighting games. In other genres, it struggled to get developer support--it got a few good puzzle games, and SNK made some fun sports games, but it really lacked in certain areas, most noteably platformers and RPGs.
You could knock it in a few respects. It couldn't handle very many separate sprites at once, which was a problem for, say, shooting games (although Cotton ran better than I'd have thought--see entry 55). And it couldn't get more than I think for colors into any single sprite, so characters tended to come out rather flat-looking. This lent itself to a certain distinct graphical style, however, and the best games on the system turned it almost to their advantage.
As for battery life, while it does use traditional AA batteries, rather than a charge pack, it gets about 40 hours out of two of them, which means that two good AAs will last you pretty much forever, really.
And there are extras! Yes, if you turn on the system with no cart inside, you get access to a system clock/alarm, a horoscope, calendar, and a few other system options. I still use my oldest NGPC as an alarm clock. :)
Furthermore, there is no region lock on the thing, and not only that, but you can switch the native language in the system menu, and many game carts are multi-language, so the Japanese version will come out in English on an English-set system.
The screen is sharp and clear, with no blurring or anything like that. It is easy to see under all but the darkest lighting conditions, an astounding feat when you consider that the screen on the original GBA was incredibly hard to see unless you held the thing under a floodlight. There are a few third-party lighting solutions for the system (Nyco made a "worm light" thing, and I have another wormish light from MadCow called the "Sun Light," a cheap Hong Kong affair, and then you can also, with a bit of extra tinkering, install the same Afterburner lighting kits that came along for the GBA), but they really aren't necessary unless you're dead set on playing the thing in pitch-darkness.
|Just to be clear: the NGPC can play all NGP games.|| ||