Neo Geo MVS (1990) - arcade system review

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Retro STrife
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Neo Geo MVS (1990) - arcade system review

Postby Retro STrife » September 9th, 2017, 7:29 pm

In the past couple years, I've found myself getting a lot more interested in the arcade and pinball hobby, after a long time focusing on just home systems. I've had a few personal must-haves on my list.. X-files pinball (which I bought last year), Pac-Man (still looking for a good one), and Neo Geo MVS machine. I had a good opportunity to snag a 4-slot Neo Geo a couple weeks ago, and figured I'd give my thoughts after playing it a bunch since then:

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-Is Neo Geo the most versatile arcade machine ever? I seems that way to me, especially if you were a '90s gamer. That was a large part of the draw to it for me. With dozens of great games, it's got something good for everyone...fighters, shooters, beat em ups, action, sports, puzzle, and on and on. It's considered a 16-bit system, so its gameplay and graphics most closely mirror the SNES. If you've never perused the VGC's Neo Geo reviews, check the games out.

-The Neo Geo MVS is basically like a glorified video game console, due to its interchangeable cartridges, which makes it a good first machine for someone transitioning from console gaming. That also makes it fairly easy to use and understand, as long as nothing too serious goes wrong. There's also a bunch of models to choose from, with different features and sizes.

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-Surprisingly, the MVS arcade machine might be the cheapest way to experience Neo Geo. Common models sell for between $500-$750 in my area. That's more than the consoles (Neo Geo AES or CD), but you save a lot more money on the games. In particular, the MVS has a 161-in-1 multicart available for about $90, which will allow you to experience most of the good games all in one place. Single MVS games are also generally much cheaper than their AES counterparts. Neo Geos are expensive no matter which method you choose, but at least it feels more bearable when spent on an arcade system.

-Like most arcade machines, these things are durable and designed to take a beating. For a machine made in the early 90s, the buttons and joysticks on mine still work great. The monitor too. In fact, my machine has a coin counter in it, which shows that over 45,000 coins went through it in its lifetime. I looked at one other Neo Geo recently and it had nearly 220,000 coins through it! That's over $50,000 that machine made for its owners in its lifetime! Crazy to think that it's even still working, but they're in great shape.

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-Overall, I think this is the best Neo Geo experience, over the CD and AES. I love the arcade joystick and buttons, even over the home arcade stick. The music on these games is great, and the arcade speakers blast right in your face while playing. The arcade machine makes an impression even to casual gamers; whereas I think only hardcore gamers can appreciate the mystique of the console version. You can also heavily customize each MVS game in the menu, changing the difficulty level (from 1 to 9), number of lives, blood on/off, etc. Most games have unlimited continues, which I know some people don't like, but I do. On the downside, you can't pause an arcade machine! And some games are pretty long.. You never realize how nice a pause button is until you're over an hour into Metal Slug 3 and need to use the bathroom or go eat dinner.


All in all, I think I made the right choice starting with a Neo Geo MVS as my first arcade machine. Really enjoying it and hoping to have it around for many years.

Anyone else have any thoughts on these machines or the console versions or games?
Last edited by Retro STrife on September 15th, 2017, 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Neo Geo MVS arcade machine

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 10th, 2017, 12:12 pm

Thanks for sharing this. The machine looks great and there's no question that the Neo Geo game selection is tops.
When I started collecting Neo Geo games, most AES home carts were relatively cheap.
But now, something like this makes a lot more sense.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Neo Geo MVS arcade machine

Postby Retro STrife » September 10th, 2017, 12:34 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:Thanks for sharing this. The machine looks great and there's no question that the Neo Geo game selection is tops.
When I started collecting Neo Geo games, most AES home carts were relatively cheap.
But now, something like this makes a lot more sense.


Yeah, if you still have all the AES games that you reviewed, you might be able to retire right now... And it used to be that MVS games were considered relatively cheap, but now they're climbing in price too! Almost anything decent is like $50+ and many games are over $100. (Nowhere near AES prices, but still very high.) And there's a lot of bootlegs too, so you have to watch for that. I couldn't stomach it without the multicart. Plus honestly, I think the multicart is the only thing keeping prices down on all the standalone games.

Still, I bought a few games just to have a small collection of legit MVS carts, and there's a few that aren't on any multicarts that I want to buy (already got Magician Lord, and Windjammers is next). I've been using your reviews to decide what NG games to buy and play, and haven't been let down yet.


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