This is one of the most controversial releases in Neo Geo collecting. Hell, it is quite possibly the most controversial game in retro collecting period.
From what I can find there is no definite article on the subject, nor even a forum thread. Not to say there isn’t a lot of info, it’s just that piercing together a ten year old controversy is hard when there is so much hearsay and outright anger on the subject.
I’ll be honest that I am not a Neo Geo collector (although I have been working to expand my knowledge in that area lately), but here is what I understand. Keep in mind this is a heavily abridged version as I don’t want to spend the better part of a week attempting to sort truth from accusation on the matter.
The issues is that a significant number of fans disregard the game, relegating it to the same sort of status as a conversion. Whether or not it can be considered an official release is highly debatable.
When SNK shut down the US office in the late 1990’s, the company NeoGeo Freak became involved heavily with their US distribution. According to one of NGF owners, as part of the deal they the paid $10,000 for SNK to translate, produce, and package the 100 USÂ KOFÂ 2000’s in Japan.
Initially, some people were upset as they had pre-ordered the original KOF Japanese release with the understanding it might be a harder title to get due to it being a exclusive region release. This was because SNK never announced a US release. Some collectors even assumed this was the final SNK home release, which further spurred the desire to get a Japanese copy.
Apparently, SNK inked the deal under the condition that they design the layout for the insert, manual and sticker in house. Weather or not they approved the NGF branding on the release is highly debated and the main subject of the releases controversy. If they did, then technically its an official release, if not than its arguably a conversion.
The company has a lot of other controversy for issues like shredding original inserts while distributing games and replacing them with their own, overproduction on the release, general dickishness and more. There is a general dislike for the company by many fans, which obviously hurts the opinion on the release.
NeoGeo Freak was even eventually sued by Playmore / SNK for copyright infringment, although NGF actually won the case.
Truth be told, none of it really matters. Bottom line is that the game is rare and some people want it. It’s expensive too, as a price refrence, one sold last month for $3,550.
Auction Here – Currently $2,650.00 with five days to go.
The auction also quotes:
“Playmore Corporation and SNK NEOGEO USA along with the Federal Court in Santa Anna, California agree and confirm that the English version of the King of fighters 2000 was under full approval and acknowledged in court, under oath, that the rights and all artwork for the packaging are authentic. SNK representative Hirsohi Miyajima, formerly in charge of SNK’s International Department, signed a declaration under oath confirming the authenticity of the game and English packaging exclusively sold by NeoGeoFreak. Playmore Board of Director Misumi Nigano, SNK NeoGeo USA President E.Davalos, along with their attorney’s submitted the declaration of the games authenticity on January 15, 2003”
“Congratulations on owning the English KoF2000.Â It’s without a doubt the biggest piece of neogeo debate and history.Â I haven’t seen the English KoF2000 for public sale in years!! The fact that the NGF Distributor/Warranty sticker is still affixed and in perfect condition should provide further assurance to all bidders that your item is 100% fully original and an authorized version from SNK-Japan and NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA. The English KoF2000 from NGF/SNK is without a doubt THE RAREST NeoGeo AES cartridge made.Â No other AES title had a production run of only 100 units.Â I just wanted to confirm authenticity on your English NGF KoF2000 auction for all the interested bidders.Â I will also send a letter of authenticity to the winning bidder.Â Good luck with your auction.”
Dion Dakis NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA”
If you want to know more I suggest this thread on Neo-Geo.com (plus the search function) or this thread on Assembler.