Pocket Adventures


We’re spoiled now, with our iPads and emulators running on inexpensive mobile phones. With the addition of a £10 bluetooth controller, we can play decent emulations of almost any gaming system that takes our fancy. But it wasn’t always thus…

Looking back on it now, mid to late 90’s era handheld gaming was, well, a bit crap really?

But that didn’t stop me falling absolutely head over heels in love with SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color when it managed to make it to the UK in 1999. I saw Sonic, Metal Slug, Pac Man and Crush Roller and I was all-in. The combination of “good enough” colour, decent sound and (still!) the best joystick on a handheld device was enough for me. I quickly burned a hole in my wallet and my heart getting hold of the best games for the system – a line up which still stands up today. I would still rank Card Fighter’s Clash in my top-3 games of all time…

And then… Within a year, SNK crashed and burned and the new owners Aruze pulled the plug on the NGPC and boom, my new favourite toy was suddenly defunct in the West, just when it felt like it was hitting it’s stride.

Well, what do you do in this situation? Of course, you go into mad completist mode and try and buy up everything you can as quickly as you can… I swiftly cleaned out my local shops of the few games that I didn’t already own, and then hit Ebay looking for other hits. Play-Asia became my new favourite website as I found myself looking for more and more obscure titles such as Gunbare Neo Poke-Kun, a game which I still don’t understand, but into which I sank 100’s of hours of my life.

Eventually, all too soon, of course, even the Japanese titles started to dry up – or simply became far too expensive to buy – something not helped when Edge ran an article on the NGPC and every collector in the UK suddenly seemed to wake up, causing the prices to rocket in the process. I started to look elsewhere for my gaming needs…

There was, however, one last chance for the NGPC to shine. The late purchase of a flash Linker, bought to play games I could no longer afford, and the timely expertise of a small handful of hardcore hackers, led me into the murky worlds of console development…

…to be continued…



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