Which Early Video Game Console Offered Perfect Arcade-To-Home Game Ports?
Answer: Neo Geo
The Neo Geo was a fourth generation home video game console that was touted as the best video game console of its age. Objectively, it was quite a wonder of video game computing power for its era and sported a fast processor, a sophisticated sprite system to render background layers (instead of just tiling images), a 15-channel sound processing system, and a memory card system for storing game data.
Those features alone made the Neo Geo a top-of-its-class game console on its release date in 1990, but what really set the console apart from every other console on the market was the seamless shift between arcade play and home play. SNK, the company behind the Neo Geo, built their arcade platform and their home console platform using identical hardware and, as such, the game you played at the arcade could be ported for release on your home console with zero translation. This meant no loss of features, no game play bugs, and the purest arcade-to-home-play experience available. On select arcade machines you could even bring your memory card from home and load your progress and characters into the arcade game.
That kind of processing power, purity of play, and advanced feature set came at a price, however. The Neo Geo retailed for $649 ($1,125 adjusted for inflation) which put it well outside the budgets of the majority of gamers.
Image courtesy of SNK.