Shrinking a Neo Geo MVS into the Omega Entertainment Machine

Every kid dreams…

Some kids dream about arcades…

Some kids named Quan dream about shrinking arcades and putting them in their backpacks!

Neo Geo Omega Entertainment Machine (27)While I may have been awestruck by the Neo Geo MVS as a kid, Quan at ArcadeWorks.net took his dream to an entirely different level. He’s one of those nutty, mad-scientist guys who loves to do things to old arcade machines that even their own creators couldn’t have imagined. Plenty of guys consolize arcade machines.  The Neo Geo MVS is a pretty popular consolization project.  However, Quan did something that no one else has been nuts enough to do.  While the one ring was being forged in the depths of Mount Doom by his elven buddies, Quan was using a bit of lava, magic, and that childhood dream to forge his own “precious.”

Creating a 100% custom casing, Quan painstakingly designed his dream casing.  Additionally, he invested a boatload of cash (we’re talking many thousands of dollars) into setting up a custom mold and into the first production run.  The creation was his Omega Entertainment Machine, and boy is she pretty!

Why consolize an arcade machine?

Neo Geo Omega Entertainment Machine (19)Back in the day, if you were interested in the Neo Geo, you basically had two options.  If you were the average kid, you’d look for that cherry red Neo Geo MVS cabinet at your local arcade, and you’d pump quarters into it until your pockets were dry.  And, afterwards, we’d head home to our NES or Sega Genesis and dream of being rich.  Because, we knew if we were rich enough, we’d have enough money to buy the incredibly expensive Neo Geo AES home system.  It did something unheard of.  The Neo Geo AES played the exact same games as the MVS although it had a slightly different cartridge shape.  Even now, the Neo Geo AES is one of the most expensive gaming systems to collect.  AES cartridges are just terribly pricey.  Yet, with arcades closing down all over, the MVS cartridge counterpart always seems to be cheaper by a landslide.  Bummer is, most people can’t fit an entire Neo Geo MVS arcade machine in their apartment, condo, etc.  That’s why a consolized MVS is so brilliant.  It’s the size of the AES but plays the cheaper MVS games.  It’s the best of both worlds.

Geek or Artist?

People get pretty creative consolizing an MVS.  It’s where geeks get to shine.  It always starts the same.  There are some pretty minimalistic designs in which you basically have a franken-system that works but looks about as good as, well, Frankenstein.  Then, there are people who create gorgeous woodworking to fit around that ugliness to create a better presentation. Finally, there are people who modify existing plastic casings or make their own.  Quan seems to blow this third category out of the water with the Omega. If you haven’t already, check out my hands-on video taking a look at this Neo Geo marvel…

Neo Geo Omega Entertainment Machine (1)
AES and Omega Side By Side

Appearance:  Its shape, size, color, and even the texture of the plastic closely match that of the Neo Geo AES.  If you saw this hooked up to your buddy’s TV, you might do a double take before you realize it’s a consolized MVS.

Graphics:  As if the magic of putting a Neo Geo on your home’s TV isn’t enough, the Omega’s graphical output looks beautiful!  (See the video above for footage.)  The colors are rich, and the picture is clear and super clean.  I just hooked it up with the s-video cable, and I was amazed at how great everything looked.

Neo Geo Omega Entertainment Machine (9)
Simple Setup and Switch

Setup:  Setting up this system was as easy as plugging in any other home console I have.  It came with an AV cable and a standard power cable (the same type that you have on the back of your desktop computer).  The power switch is located on the back.  That’s about it: simple.

Sound:   I piped the sound through my TV and out my receiver, and was absolutely pleased.  Quan explained to me that he uses the MV-1C PCB, which doesn’t natively have stereo sound.  He mods it to make sure that the final product does.

Neo Geo Omega Entertainment Machine (23)
Compatible with AES Joysticks

Compatibility:  I tested it out with several of my MVS games, specifically Blazing Star, Metal Slug, and Metal Slug 2.  Each looked and worked great.  I used both my full sized AES joystick and my Neo Geo CD controller, and both worked perfectly.  Remember that this system doesn’t come with a controller, so make sure you have one of those two options.

Software:  The Omega came with the Unibios software installed.  If you haven’t already heard about this, check it out!  It has a ton of options including the ability to soft reset from your controller, switch regions, use built in cheat codes, and a ton of other stuff.  This is how the Omega is able to boot into freeplay mode to look like a home system rather than an arcade machine.

Price: It costs $499.00 USD.  Ok, at first glance, this is a big number.  Right now I’d price the AES or an MVS into the $350-500 range depending on what each comes with.  So really, they’re all in the same ballpark.  If you’re trying to decide between an AES and an Omega, I’d say that the cost savings of MVS carts solves that one.  And if you’ve though about throwing cash at the Neo Geo X that recently came on the market, here’s a way better use of that cash.

Weaknesses:  I’ve fallen so in love with the Omega that it almost feels wrong to raise any criticism, and in all honesty my suggestions for its improvement are little details.  Unfortunately, the MV-1C PCB doesn’t come with the option for a memory card, which is why there isn’t a slot for one on the system.  I’m guessing some fancy modding would make this possible, but it would also obviously drive up the price quite a bit.  Last, when I tried out the component cables, I couldn’t get it to work with my HD LCD TV. Quan explained that some modern TVs have trouble displaying 240p over component, the native resolution of cart systems in that era including SNES and Genesis. However, it looks amazing when hooked up to a CRT TV, which he was able to demonstrate for me.

Final Impression

There’s a Neo Geo MVS in my living room.  It’s called the Omega Entertainment Machine, and it’s beautiful.  Plus I didn’t even have to wrestle Gollum for it!  If you love the Neo Geo and have ever thought about buying a consolized system, this one knocks it out of the park.  I’m impressed by Quan’s dedication to the Neo Geo can’t wait to see what project he comes up with next!

(As a note, Quan’s presently having ArcadeWorks.net redesigned.  If the site looks like it’s presently under construction, that’s because it is.)

 

 

MeatBun’s Love for the Neo Geo AES

Compared to the Neo Geo MVS arcade machine, my beloved childhood Nintendo seemed like an ant among giants. In the small Michigan town where I grew up, the only arcade in town was at the local roller rink. I was simply in awe of the MVS, and perhaps even more perplexed by the idea that some kid, in a galaxy quantum leaps away, could have a home version of the Neo Geo.

At the recent 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, I was delighted to meet Jason Rau! Not only does meatbun.us create fantastic retro gaming themed clothing, but Jason Rau is also one of the few people I’ve met who had a Neo Geo AES as a kid / young adult!

Check out this video if you also dreamed of owning Neo Geo’s home version and if you’d like to learn about the radness that is MeatBun.us. These guys make some pretty stink’n creative retro-gaming-inspired art…that conveniently takes the form of lovely t-shirts.

The Glory of the Neo Geo MVS Arcade!

Growing up in small-town America, the local roller rink was a kid’s dream. Not only could we roller skate to Ghost Busters and fall dead to a weird “Dead Bug” song, but it was the only place in town with an arcade.

The Neo Geo Romance Begins

In an era dominated by the beloved NES, arcade machines stood tall and maintained command of our curiosity and our quarters. Within the dazzling array of arcade machines, the Neo Geo created a lasting impression on me as a 10 year-old. Not only could this machine produce deeply rich visuals, but it provided fantastic, engaging game play!  Just as incredible as the Neo Geo was, we kids were equally intrigued by the idea that some rich kid could own a home version. Yet with a price tag of around $650.00, we kids simply placed the Neo Geo into the ethereal category of unattainable gaming systems.  Naturally, that made us all the more attracted to it. It was the holy grail, and the closest we’d ever come to owning a Neo Geo would be to plunk in our quarters and to buy a few minutes of time in front of our local Neo Geo MVS arcade machine.

Some twenty years later, with that same childhood dream still smoldering in the subconscious, I decided to start looking for a Neo Geo. After doing a bit of research, I realized that the Neo Geo MVS was a bit more reasonable to purchase than the home AES version.  Sure it’s a full sized arcade machine, but price and game selection won out! Armed with my trusty Craigslist app, I checked for Neo Geo items every day for about a six months before pulling the trigger…and I couldn’t be happier!

Apparently this particular MVS had a tough life in east county San Diego.  However, the previous owner Lou took incredible pride in restoring this machine:  painted, new decals, new joystick, buttons, plexiglass, locks, etc.  Heck, he’d even added high-end cup holders to the sides (‘atta boy!). The price was right, and Lou was even cool enough to help set it up once a buddy and I trucked it over.

Moving the Service Panel

One mod that Lou hadn’t finished was the service panel mod.  He had cut a 6″x6″ hole, moved the service panel to the side, and horizontally mounted it. The hole was cut quite well actually, so the door he recommended I order worked quite nicely.

Due to the depth of the door, I had to flip the panel’s mounting bracket inside out and mount it vertically so that it wouldn’t hit the door.  Aside from my questionable paint job, it came out quite nicely…so pretty.

Lessons Learned

1) I seriously need to work on my painting skills.

2) Having purchased and collected countless retro gaming items and having experienced the onset of buyer’s remorse more than a few times, I have to say that my MVS has become a favorite purchase and a solid continued sense of entertainment!

3)  If you buy an MVS, introduce your wife or significant other to Puzzle Bobble.  It turns out my wife both loves this game and is able to consistently destroy me in it.  As they say, happy wife…happy life…and happy collecting! 🙂

Rare Games Spotted: Signed Halo Controller, Nintendo Sign, Zelda 35mm Trailer

As always, there are presently a number of fantastic video game items on eBay.  Here are a number of them from my watch list.

Collectibles and Other Unique Items

World Of Nintendo Poster – 1992 Kellogg’s Super Mario

XBOX 360 Halo ODST Controller SIGNED by Bungie Studios

Check out the rest of the fantastic collectible items being sold by goodgamemedia as a fundraiser.

XBOX 360 Halo 3 McFarlane Controller SIGNED by Bungie

Gears of War Lancer SIGNED by EPIC Games

etc.

Nintendo Worlds of Power Metal Gear, Ninja Gaiden , etc

Nintendo Mario LCD Watch MINT Rare Vintage Original

Nintendo Mario Yoshi LCD Watch MINT Rare Vintage

Nintendo Killer Instinct Leather Jacket w/belt complete The belt attached to this jacket is a sure sign that the wearer means business.

World Of Nintendo Florescent Sign

Rare Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 35mm film trailer Check out the trailer below.

Halo ODST 1 of a Kind Helmet by Sean Bradley @ 405th

Vintage 1989 Nintendo Super Mario Bros. Plastic Mug

PAC-MAN VINTAGE CUP MUG HOLOGRAM TYPE 1980 COOL VG COND

Original Xbox Store Kiosk! Playable display w/ extras!

nintendo nes test station

Rare & Interesting Games

NES Nintendo FACTORY SEALED RPG Lot AD&D All 4 Games

SEGA GAME GEAR – 30 IN 1 – GAME ULTRA RARE!!!! Oh the beloved multi-carts!

Nintendo Slalom FACTORY SEALED BRAND NEW NES Black Box Forget about Stadium Events!  Sealed game collectors are simply nuts.  This sealed copy of Slalom is at $404.00 USD with over 4 days to go!

Neo-Geo AES Blazing Star ** NON CONVERSION ** complete Presently at $740.00 USD with over 4 days left!