Neo Geo AES Modding
By Damien McFerran - 16 Feb, 2011
Back in the days when getting the latest issue of Mean Machines was a monthly event worthy of religious fervour, the mere motion of owning SNK’s Neo Geo console was enough to elicit feverish stammering from your humble narrator.
A console destined to be glanced at longingly in adverts yet never owned, it became an object of almost mythical proportions. Mean Machines never actually covered the format in depth, but a sprinkle of screen shots in the Q&A letters pages was enough to cause ripples of technological desire from yours truly.
As the years have rolled by and disposable income has steadily increased, I have found myself in the envious position of actually being able to afford one of these monsters. Thanks to my friends at Genki Video Games, I have finally fulfilled one of my life-long ambitions, and a Neo Geo AES is now in my possession.
It’s hard to describe the emotions that hardware like this creates; the AES still looks like a thoroughbred piece of consumer electronics, despite the fact that it was released in the same year as Kid ‘n Play’s Funhouse and the film that effectively ruined Macaulay Culkin’s chances of leading a normal childhood, Home Alone. And then there’s those huge, hulking cartridges, each one the size of a hardback book. This machine still means serious business after two decades.
After owning the AES for a week or so I did a bit of digging around and discovered that a healthy modding community had arisen over the past few years, resulting in a cool item called the Unibios chip. This little marvel allows you to switch regions, enable blood and gore in certain games, toggle between AES (home) and MVS (arcade) modes and even access a collection of cheats. After some snooping around I discovered that Console Passion - the same guys who region-modded my Sega Nomad - install these chips, as well as specialising in RGB output upgrades and a fancy LED light under the reset switch (the AES has no power light, which can prove to be rather annoying when it accidentally leave it on overnight).
As a result, my AES is now a veritable powerhouse of modded goodness. Not only is the RGB picture bright and sharp, but the unibios chip allows me even greater control over the way each game plays. If you’re thinking of selling a kidney to fund your AES addiction, then I’d fully recommend getting this mod done. Just don’t tell the wife how much this two decade-old fantasy is costing you.
Chris - 05 Oct 2011, 07:26 GMT
Hello. I saw this post and had a few questions for you. I tried to find Console Passion but couldn't. Do you know where I could get the mod done? I saw this post was kind of old, but if you get this message, please email me back ASAP.
James - 22 Dec 2011, 13:40 GMT
So please i stumbled on this site - and this article. I was an avid Mean Machines reader - and was gutted when the magazine finished... I remebr having a megadrive and looking forward to the review of upcoming games. Then glanced at an importer advertisement showing the Neo Goe AES toward the back of the magazine...When i saw the £600 price and £200 average price of a game I went it to a Console Gamers Dream/Meltdown of knowing i would never be able to afford that system... Now im 33 however im so going to get one off eBay.... love the site.... so many memories of like minded people who were gamers during the golden period!!