|Please feel free to contribute any images or information that you can! Many thanks in advance.|
|From no later than early 1994 came The NEO·GEO Deck. Now, now, lower your eyebrows. Not the hotel unit, the microwave, the dog-eating alien invader or any other misnomer. Forget about the Multi Video System, this is The Compact Amusement System: NEO·GEO Deck.
Proper diction now ensconced, the Deck is more or less an infinitely more portable and deployable 1-slot MVS cabinet, minus the monitor. The package included a Deck with internal 1-slot board, 2 two-tone NEO·GEO Controller Pro's -each with a red P1 or blue P2 sticker- and instruction sheets in a booklet (plus 3 sets of keys for the operator) and an actual operator's manual. The idea is that it can be placed just about anywhere a TV is, is sturdy enough to support a fairly large early-90's television so it adds nothing to the CRT's footprint and can suddenly turn the boob tube into a quarter cruncher (or 100 yen hoover). SNK's marketing dictum was to use these in hotel rooms, building lobbies, student halls, bars or anywhere a stray television offering some free entertainment or a gratis abode for mites, could be transformed into an arcade cabinet to ensure your bus fare home went to a better cause.
There are two versions of the Deck. Chiefly depicted below is the original wooden one which was sufficiently popular that out of the future then deployed its not-exactly-liquid metal successor, which strained the scales (or the back of the delivery boy) even further (allegedly around 32Kg). Literature of yore clearly shows that a new joystick was schematized for its release with the result being the doppelganger now known as the NEO·GEO CD Controller Pro, originally having been re-branded simply the Controller Pro, so fans of that peripheral can thank the Deck's existence, fairly or not.
While the unit came pictured with an SNK television set, that was actually a Sony, the exact model number of which escapes me at present. Furthermore, while an English language flyer was produced this was also made by SNK HQ in Osaka and not by one of their English branch plants so it remains unknown quite what constituted the Deck's intended distribution, even though its actual reach can't have been to usual tentacle standards, as this indigenous species has only been seen -to the best of my knowledge- with a coin slot large enough for 100 yen mintage (our Canadian quarters don't quite fit, and neither then will a US one, or a 50p or £1 coin, for any who have never compared).
The wooden unit measures 610mm wide x 445mm deep x 312mm high (24" x 17.5" x 12.3" for the Imperial Army) and if memory serves well, though at times it struggles as an anaemic slave, it weighs around 16 or 17Kg. Feel free to correct me since I have no plans whatsoever to verify this. Now then, let's enjoy a bit of bloodless dissection.
|This photo -not taken by me although I soon owned its contents- seems popular in Google, so let's unwrap the package together.|
|Straight to the full-frontal. The glass door is rather reflective as you will have noticed. The NEO·GEO logo is actually embossed. A relatively flat rear but then... no, let's just avoid all that. All hook-ups are on the back.|
|Absolutely necessary to further progress! Forget about asking nicely when you already have the magic in your hand. One each for the coin box, cartridge slot and the guts. A friend and I tried these on his metal Deck and they did not fit any of the locks.|
|As rudimentary as needs were: coin slot, coin return slot, change button and LED credit display. But wait! Turn the right key and presto! The whole drawer can be removed. The 10 yen coin doesn't belong of course; it was just somewhere not to lose it. The drawer can hold hundreds of hundred yen silvers. The chamber it occupies is otherwise empty, with a counter below it.|
|The glass door stays shut with the teamwork of two magnets: one behind the door and one fixed to the frame. The door itself is bound to the hinge with 3 screws, so if ever you ship or receive one of these, the door can be safely mummified in bubblewrap and foam peanuts separately, which is precisely how mine survived the rough seas. Behind door #1 is nothing but empty space! Those openings at the back are those through which the joystick wires pass (more to follow), with the controllers themselves resting (quite comfortably) on the shelf.|
|Another mystical key opens another mysterious door! Of critical importance are both the cart slot and the second power button, without which the motherboard will not function. Perhaps if anyone produces the full instruction booklet we can state irrefutably the use of the probably network port.|
|Now for that final door which surely leads to the room of untold treasures. Insert key, turn and, what's this! Patience, squire. Sheathe thine sword for the handy Phillips head is here to save the day. Screw removed, the key turns and...|
|Well, Wizard of Oz moment or not, there's plenty with which to busy one's eyes, sans commentary. It has its its own special GIT motherboard and (it is believed) the slot PCB of the MV-1FZ. That is a maintenance schedule sticker in the 4th photo.|
|As earlier promised is the joystick explanation. The Deck offers two controller ports. Once connected, the wires must be run through the portholes with a bit of dis- and re-assembly, then the joysticks sit on the other side, placing gamers at astigmatic distances from the television. Of course this was a security measure to stop you miscreants and generally maleficent individuals from abducting defenceless input devices, although in practical terms a private owner benefits from leaving the back panel off during play and connecting the controllers only when necessary.|
|The Deck offered a variety of input and output options, with antenna in/out, 8-pin A/V out, S-video out and composite video with RCA stereo in/out. The power button on the back is only for the unit in general (not the motherboard) and powers the LED. There is a mechanism for blocking the coin slot and enabling free play, which the keen observer will have noticed in the main cavity. With all systems go, the Deck does its part and opens up the world of NEO·GEO MVS cartridges for your private or public entertainment. Fear not, oh eagle-eyed ones: The overscan is merely a deficiency of that specific television. The Deck exports video properly.|
|The manual I received was actually a vinyl-covered card-holder-type booklet, with the instruction sheet pictured included in a few colours, each of which neatly fit into a clear sleeve in the book, as with trading card collecting. A full operator's manual exists and I would love to see its contents, should any of you fantastic Neo Freaks possess the ability and interest to share.|
|This is the metal Deck. Beyond its aforementioned "muscle density", let's say, other additions are "Game" and "Television" front LED's and a button to switch between the TV signal and the Deck, as best as I can read the fuzzy picture. Both versions of the Deck have been seen with and without the same colourful, official stickers on the front, pictured above. The only major aspect unknown to me is if all the games featured on the sticker were universal or not. The metal version seems to offer the same A/V in/out as the wooden model.|
|The original flyer explains the concept of the Deck and what are likely the only joysticks in Japanese history devoid of balls. The full-colour booklet further promotes this brilliant concept while the English flyer (which comes in that stunning envelope) makes us feel special. Lastly there is a magazine ad which shows the Deck's retail price of ¥198,000 bundled with a game.|