E3 2018: SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Switches Up the ’80s This November

As hard as it is to believe, legendary game studio SNK turns forty in 2018. During this time SNK accomplished a lot though might be best remembered for the home arcade system Neo Geo, which saw several franchises come into existence that remain active today such as King of Fighters. To celebrate this milestone anniversary a collection of the earlier SNK titles will be released, going way back to the arcade before the days of Magician Lord or Ninja Combat. SNK 40th Anniversary Collection will feature  several classic titles from the ’80s, the golden age of coin operated machines with some modern conveniences added to sweeten the experience.

A retro compilation is only as good as the games it contains. At the time of this article not all games have been announced for SNK 40th Anniversary Collection but we have thirteen titles confirmed. Something of note with this collection is that in some cases it contains both the arcade and console port, so the player can pick their poison regarding which flavor or nostalgia they wish to consume. The current list and version(s) of each game is as follows:  Alpha Mission (NES/Arcade), Athena (NES/Arcade), Crystalis (NES), Ikari Warriors (NES/Arcade), Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road (NES/Arcade), Ikari Warriors III: The Rescue (NES/Arcade), Guerrilla War (NES/Arcade), P.O.W. (NES/Arcade), Prehistoric Isle (Arcade),  Psycho Soldier (Arcade), Street Smart (Arcade), TNK III (Console/Arcade) and Vanguard (Arcade).

What’s great about including different version of the same game is it caters to what the individual wants to revisit. In most cases when we’re looking at the original arcade version of a game compared to the NES port it is obvious that many concessions had be made to bring the arcade title home due to the limited power of the grey box’s hardware. That being said, the NES versions of some games featured additional or extended levels or introduced new mechanics to compensate for reduced graphics quality or number of enemies on screen. More importantly though, for example, Ikari Warriors looks much better on the arcade than NES but you might have fond memories of playing the NES version with friends (and the ABBA revive code) so the NES port may be the one you really care about.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is offering up an ’80s flavored slice of nostalgia but a problem with nostalgia is it doesn’t always age as well as we remember it. Some modern niceties have been added to make it feel more contemporary while maintaining that vintage appeal to help the experience feel as good as we remember it. A rewinding feature has been added along with a save anywhere feature, which should be mandatory for any game that is designed to be played on the go. The graphics have been updated to 1080p resolution so they look a bit less jarring on the HD TV. Lastly, to really get lost down the nostalgia rabbit hole there is the SNK Museum, which contains high definition artwork and original promotional assets.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection 
looks like it will be a worthy collection of games to stand alongside the various retro compilations that are already available. The inclusion of both arcade and console ports is a novel idea and playing the NES versions on the Switch seems like the closest we’re getting to a virtual console anytime soon. SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is scheduled to hit the Switch on November 27.