There is something great that cannot be explained about playing games on real Neo Geo hardware. However as anybody who has attempted to collect Neo Geo AES games can tell you, it can get insanely expensive very quickly. Luckily most MVS games can be found at a fraction of the cost of their AES counterparts, despite practically being exactly the same. For anybody who doesn’t know Neo Geo AES consoles and games were the home versions, with the Neo Geo MVS motherboards and cartridges being the arcade coin operated versions.
Luckily it is not necessary to have an actual arcade machine to play MVS games (even though I do). There are a variety of MVS arcade motherboard styles available, many of which are easy to consolise in order to use plugged in to a television and using any Neo Geo joystick.
I will give an overview of my 2 slot consolised MVS and some links to great resources.
So first of all you need to select an MVS motherboard to consolise. I selected a 2 slot Neo Geo MVS motherboard for the following reasons:
- Memory Card Reader, Joystick ports and headphone jack are all on board.
- More reliable than 4 & 6 slot MVS boards, and cheaper.
- Comes with a metal shell that provides a very console like look.
- Socketed Bios is easy to replace.
All motherboards can be modified with varying difficulty, but I would recommend trying to find a 2 slot over a single slot. These are not too difficult to find either using eBay or local Arcade forums. Picture below is the one I received.
The website http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/tutorials.html has a lot of very useful information needed to consolise a variery of MVS motherboards. The modifications I performed were as follows:
- Powdercoated the metal lid and added a couple of SNK/ Neo Geo stickers. The stickers are easily available from eBay.
- Converted motherboard to run from 5V power supply http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/tutorials.html#MV25v
- Replace barrel battery with lithium coin cell http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/tutorials.html#mvsbat2f
- Tapped R,G,B,S signals from the board to RCA sockets http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/tutorials.html#mv2rgb
- Added a power switch.
- Added a perspex base, along with spacers and rubber feet. Make sure you add plenty of support with the spacers where the cart slots are so you can put pressure on the cartridge when inserting without flexing the board.
- Finally a very important component to consider is purchasing a Neo Geo UniBios http://unibios.free.fr/. One thing the UniBios does is allow you to coin up using buttons on the joystick. If you don’t have the UniBios you will need to wire in a separate coin up switch. The UniBios has a heap of features http://unibios.free.fr/whatisit.html notably a built in Cheats database, ability to switch between Home/ Arcade (AES/MVS) modes and region changing. I recommend purchasing the UniBios rather than burning your own. It is a great piece of kit and should be supported. It is very easy to install as the 2 slot Bios is socketed.
Now because I have plenty of RGB monitors and TVs, I chose not to invest in or build some sort of video converter. However, if you are planning on connecting to a modern plasma/ lcd display, or use a CRT TV that does not accept RGB you will need to use a converter.
For sound I simply use a stereo cable directly from the motherboard headphone jack to the speaker inputs.
On my NEC XM29 monitor below the picture looks perfect, and is not too bright as is sometimes reported when tapping RGB directly from the motherboard.
Metal Slug 2 & 3!! To get both the MVS carts you could probably get change from $100 bucks. For the AES versions, you would probably not even get change from $1000 to get both Metal Slug 2 & 3.