With the advent of the 16-bit revolution, the gaming industry soon found itself dominated by two home console juggernauts – Nintendo and SEGA.

However, more than a few manufacturers threw themselves into the race, hoping to turn the tide of the aptly named Console Wars in their favor. One such contender was SNK, a Japanese developer who entered the fray with the Neo Geo released in 1990.

Perhaps the only console at the time that made good on its promise to offer consumers a truly authentic arcading experience from the comfort of their own home, the Neo Geo soon piqued the interest of gamers across the globe.

However, thanks to a hefty $650 price tag, it was much more expensive than the competition and far out of reach for most in a lower tax bracket.

Nowadays, getting your hands on a Neo Geo has become far easier on the bank account, with the luxury gaming device currently fetching about the same as a Nintendo Switch on the secondary market.

If you’re a retro gamer, such as myself, you’ve no doubt at least considered checking out what all the fuss was about by delving into some of the best games SNK could offer at the time. If so, you’ll want to check out my list of the best games released for the Neo Geo – games I’ve not only experienced firsthand, but ones I feel best represent the aristocracy of one of history’s most daring devices. This is The

10 Best Games For The Neo Geo

Pulstar (1995)

A horizontally scrolling shooter from Aicom that sees players defending the solar system from a race of hostile aliens, Pulstar seamlessly blends intense action and stunning visuals for a truly captivating gaming experience.

Pulstar is one of Neo Geo best games

Oftentimes compared to the Type-R series for its similar premise and mechanics, the game’s meticulously crafted graphics not only fearlessly showcase the console’s capabilities, but immerse players in one of the most visually striking worlds to be rendered in 24-bit.

Aided by an impressive level of detail, responsive controls, and a catchy soundtrack that further enhances gameplay, Pulstar is both a standout title and a complement to the genre.

Neo Bomberman (1997)

Developed by Produce! and published by Hudson Soft, Neo Bomberman is an action / puzzle game that serves as a delightful revival of a classic franchise.

Neo Bomberman

Featuring fast-paced gameplay that remains true to its predecessors, it injects new life into the multiplayer experience thanks to some charming character sprites and well-designed levels oozing with loads of retro charm.

At the same time, the inclusion of power-ups coupled with several diverse arenas adds depth to the strategic side of things, while also making each match feel fresh and new.

A testament to the endless appeal of the series, Neo Bomberman offers endless hours of fun with an engaging multiplayer mode that still holds up even all these years later.

Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory (1995)

Hailing from SNK, Super Sidekicks 3 is a masterpiece that elevates the virtual sports experience, and soccer games as a whole, to new heights. At least by mid-90s standards.

Super Sidekicks 3

While crisp graphics and fluid animations help bring each match to life, the addition of included commentary adds a whole new level of immersion that was, at one time, exclusively confined to the arcade.

The responsive controls allow for precise ball handling, while the diverse roster of players, each with their own unique skill set, adds some much-needed variety to the genre.

Whether on your own or playing with friends, Super Sidekicks 3 delivers a level of thrilling soccer action that is second only to the real thing!

Spinmaster (1994)

A hidden gem within the Neo Geo collection, Spinmaster from Data East combines classic arcade action with a quirky and entertaining adventure to form one of the very best side-scrolling platformers on the console.

Spinmaster game for NeoGeo

Spotlighting vibrant, cartoony graphics and a variety of power-ups and special abilities that add an extra layer of excitement to the game, Spinmaster features some heavy inspiration from other Data East titles like Dashin’ Desperadoes and Joe & Mac.

However, this multiplayer escapade is a must-play for any retro gaming enthusiasts looking for something a little more lighthearted. Plus, using a yo-yo as your primary weapon? How ’90s is that!?

Blazing Star (1998)

As the follow-up to Pulstar, this shooter sequel encapsulates everything that was great about the original arcade experience and brings it home full force on the Neo Geo.

Blazing Star for the Neo Geo system

With its breathtaking graphics, excellent sprite design, pulse-pumping soundtrack, and creative levels, Blazing Star is a first-rate masterpiece that features a near-perfect blend of challenge and excitement.

It may not be the longest game around, but it does feature some rather strong replay value thanks to exceptional visuals and addicting gameplay.

Certain to have you coming back for more before too long, this is one solid shooter that is second to none!

Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy (1994)

Another hidden gem, this action platformer from SNK puts the emphasis on cooperative play, while further enhancing the experience with the addition of vibrant visuals and a game play style similar to what we saw in titles like Double Dragon and Spinmaster.

Add to this a thoughtful level design that encourages exploration and strategic thinking, coupled with a refreshing approach to the classic multiplayer system, and it’s easy to see why “The 100 Mega Shock” adventure is one of the most engaging and enjoyable titles to find a home on the Neo Geo.

Windjammers (1994)

Offering unparalleled fun and competition, Windjammers hails from the folks at Data East and features mechanics that are essentially the same as Pong, with players continually volleying a disc at the goal zone of their opponent in an attempt to score.

Windjammers is a great Neo Geo game

Selling over 4,300 copies in its first week on the market, Windjammers is a unique one-on-one frisbee battle of wits bolstering both timeless appeal and loads of infectious energy.

A definitive title within the ranks of the Neo Geo library, Windjammers puts a fresh spin on a tried and true formula that’s as much a joy to play now as it was all the way back in 1972.

Baseball Stars 2 (1992)

Baseball games were all the rage in the 90s arcades, and Baseball Stars 2 remains one of the most unique entries in the field to date. While it may not have had an official MLB license like some of its contemporaries, it did offer a total of 18 different teams across two leagues and put a stronger emphasis on its appearance and gameplay.

Baseball Stars 2 Game for Neo Geo

Praised by critics as one of the best baseball games of the time, it’s still a favorite of retro sports junkies more than 30 years later and heralded as one of the best sports games overall thanks to some of the best graphics and sound to be seen this side of TSN.

As a side note, a far less detailed version was ported over to the NES by Romstar that same year but was far less popular than the arcade perfect version of the game on the Neo Geo.

Metal Slug X (1999)

Easily the pinnacle of run-and-gun excellence on the console, Metal Slug X takes everything great about this run and gun franchise and dials it up to… well, X!

Metal Slug X one of the best games for Neo Geo

In addition to strong graphics and intensified gameplay, perhaps where this one shines most is in its quirkiness.

Unafraid to embrace the goofy side of things, the great game is crammed full of whimsical humor that serves as both an unexpected and delightful contrast to its far more action-oriented core.

Throw in some tight controls, challenging levels, and an array of explosive weaponry that includes heavily armed camels and it won’t take long to see why this SNK classic continues to stand as a testament to the prowess of the AES and a cherished arcade classic besides, more than 20 years later.

King Of The Monsters II (1992)

I am a huge kaiju fan. Thus, it is SNK’s King Of The Monsters 2 that earns the title of best Neo Geo game for me!

Set three years after the events of the first game in the series, players select one of three playable monsters and crusade across the globe doing battle with giant alien monsters that threaten the planet.

King of the Monsters 2

In addition, you’ll also throw down with a selection of different boss monsters at the end of each stage, each with their unique powers and abilities.

The graphics are great and the controls are tight and responsive. Plus, to me, this is a concept that just never gets old! Giant monsters duking it out for world supremacy has proven itself to be a solid premise for a game time and again and King Of The Monsters 2 is no exception to the rule!

Sure, it’s no GigaBash, but if you’re looking for a fun fighting game to kill a couple of hours, or need an outlet to help you vent through the stresses of everyday life, nothing is sure to cure what ails you like a gaggle of beastly critters using the world as their own personal wrestling ring!