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Neo Geo The King of Fighters 2000 US Version

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 HereCurrently $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. It’s without a doubt the biggest piece of neogeo debate and history. 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. No other AES title had a production run of only 100 units. I just wanted to confirm authenticity on your English NGF KoF2000 auction for all the interested bidders. I will also send a letter of authenticity to the winning bidder. 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.

27 Comments

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  1. The game is offical in every sense of the word the only reason people dont like it is because people dont like dion and cris. but the game is rare and most likely the rarest english neo geo game except (kizua,U11) but who really knows how many there are of those games out there. In the neo geo community if they dont like something they dont buy it but this game is bought and sold with no one knowing it was ever for sale…..

  2. Yeah, i’m a big Neo-Geo collector and nearly crap myself when i saw the first one go up for grabs a couple of months ago. It’s one of the only KOF US AES games i’m missing. One day, i will get it.

  3. As a NeoGeo Freak buyer (victim) in 2000. I have to say I wouldn’t pay more than it costs to buy a Japanese version of this and have your own insert/label/manual printed at Kinko’s.

    I bought a Metal Slug 3 USA AES from Dion and the quality of the insert was garbage. So bad in fact that I didn’t even feel I could resell it on eBay without risking a negative feedback!

    I ended up designing a much better English insert and being honest about it on my listing. Luckily I was able to get most of my money back and buy a perfect quality, official, USA Neo-geo.com Metal Slug 3 and the quality is perfect.

    Dion will always try to justify his inferior insert reprints by saying they are “genre color corrected”. I’d rather have originals than “corrected” any day!

  4. Holy shit Ive been looking for this game. This game is official for sure and its one of the only games Im missing and everytime one is for sale I happen to be broke. I’ve done deals with dion and everything was excellent and he gave me a free poster.

  5. I wouldn’t pay that kind of money for something that’s been modified from it’s original form. The quality of my NGF Metal Slug 3 insert was horrible! A laser color print out from a low resolution art source. I have receipts and scans to prove it too. I feel bad for the person who spend that kind of money on this.

    • Then don’t pay. It’s individuals like you that wants to complain about something because you had an issue with an insert. Besides how do you know the game is modified? Your metal slug 3 is irrelevant in this case. Also SNK wasn’t always the brightest individuals around. There has been many errors with their inserts such as misspelling, etc. Why don’t you go spam in somewhere in another thread. Geez!!

    • Correction:

      Why haven’t you contacted NGF about your insert? Maybe you would have gotten it fixed. Just because your insert was not high quality does not mean that Kof2000 isn’t real. This is the reason why collectors do private sells because of individuals such as yourself wants to sh1t on other individuals sells.

  6. Im not afraid to say that I would love to own a kof2000 usa version but its out of my price range. sweet to see one on ebay.

  7. @Jason: Me a troll? Hardly… If you search around a little you would see that I have been heavily involved with SNK and the Neo-Geo even before Neo-geo.com existed.

    My Metal Slug 3 is not irrelevant here. It was also purchased from Neo-Geo Freak. I have no grudges or anything. I was simply speaking about my purchase from NGF.

    You have no idea what you are talking about so think about your post prior to hitting “reply”.

    Do you know what it feels like to drop $400 on a new game from Dion only to have him KEEP the original insert and print out a cheap laser color printout? DOes that not sound fishy to you? Because it certainly does to any collector I’ve ever spoken to. In fact eBay will remove your auction if you try to sell a game with a reprinted box or insert. They have a name for it… Oh yeah, BOOTLEG.

    • Obviously you do have a grudge because you were so quick to post here about your issue with your metal slug 3 insert you got from NGF and then go on to say that you feel bad for the person who spend that kind of money on Kof2000. If you were so heavily involved with the neo geo scene or had any relationship with Dion, did you not asked Dion to give you an authentic insert to replace the one you have? Why did you not send the game back and get your money back? Any real person in their right mind would have done it, especially if it’s $400, if there was something wrong with any part of the contents. But you didn’t do that. Then you go on to make your own insert and sell it on ebay. Wow!!

      So why are you still complaining about an insert since the time you purchased it and what does this have to do with the Kof2000 on ebay? Obvious there is nothing wrong with this guy’s insert because he is not complaining. Geez!! I tell some people are just…I can’t say.

  8. Hello everyone. I do not know if the King of Fighters 2000 is real or not. But if it is not real, then why would someone waste their time and money to release a game knowing potentially that they would be sued over infringement? Neo Geo Freak was eventually sued, but they won the case. Is that not enough proof that they were given the rights to release this game in the U.S. format? If SNK Playmore or whoever would have won, they would probably had recalled these games back and have them ultimately destroyed. So in my opinion whether the game is real, a conversion, modified or whatever, NGF had every right to release it any way they wanted to. Even if they put a big FU with one of the guys with their middle sticking up. Anyone else think so? Please do comment.

  9. [QUOTE]
    Obviously you do have a grudge because you were so quick to post here about your issue with your metal slug 3 insert you got from NGF and then go on to say that you feel bad for the person who spend that kind of money on Kof2000. If you were so heavily involved with the neo geo scene or had any relationship with Dion, did you not asked Dion to give you an authentic insert to replace the one you have? [/QUOTE]

    If returning my game was an option don’t you think I would have done that?!

    I’m not going to go into this much further as it’s a big waste of time.

    I didn’t honestly know NGF versions of games were being sold for so much & I wanted to my experience known as a warning of sorts.

    I have no grudges towards Dion. He’s not even selling games anymore from what he has said..So it’s not hurting him by explaining my personal experience as a buyer.

    I was running one of the biggest Neo-Geo websites at the time and I could have used that to trash Dion, but I never once said anything bad about him. Besides it would get lost with the wave of other comments out there.

    [QUOTE]”Obvious there is nothing wrong with this guy’s insert because he is not complaining. Geez!! I tell some people are just…I can’t say.”[/QUOTE]

    He’s going to make thousands of dollars on selling his NGF’d KOF2000, do you expect him to point out all of the inferior aspects of it? Didn’t think so.

    • Okay. Last response to you. You mean to tell me that Dion denied you the option to return the insert or game with all of its contents?

      How can you say that you have nothing against Dion when you post something of such, as with this metal slug 3 insert, which came from Dion? Right? You are making yourself look like and idiot. Also, I never said you said anything bad about Dion but damn you did condemn him for minute over an insert. At least let the man know you going to stab him in the back first.

      If you had nothing positive to say about the Kof2000, you shouldn’t have said anything at all. The metal slug 3 is another story, thread, place and time. If you had the game would you point out the inferior aspects? It’s not like a 1,000 of these games (Kof2000) were made. Besides be careful what you say. You never know who might be reading this.

  10. The quality may be an issue for you, but the main point is that NeoGeoFreak genre correct inserts are official, authorized, and licensed by snk-japan.

    click link to read: SNK Press release NeoGeoFreak
    http://web.archive.org/web/20050208171535/http://www.snkplaymore.jp/information/en_press15.html

    **NGF KoF2000 english edition direct from snk-japan**

    The KoF2000 english edition was direct from snk-japan. We did not print the inserts, manual, or sticker.

    **Authenticity Certificates**
    NGF is taking new measures to secure the legitimacy of our licensed release. We are now offering a Letter of Authenticity, a Certificate of Authenticity, and a Certificate of Ownership with a matching serial number to ensure that the only KoF2000 cartridges ever sold will be original and licensed from snk and NGF.

    **000/100 = all KoF2000 will be accounted for**
    There is only 100 official copies of the KoF2000 english edition. Soon all will be numbered and accounted for with matching certificates, so no one will ever need to worry if the copy being bought and sold is original or not.

    **Certificates and Legal recourse**
    Anyone thinking of offering a reproduced copy of KoF2000 will not succeed because we’re making public our certificate of authenticity campaign.

    We will also pursue legal action on any parties attempting to infringe on our licensing agreement with snk for exclusivity of the neogeo aes KoF2000 english edition.

    Hope this clears up any confusion.

    thank you,
    Dion Dakis
    NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA

    • Thanks Dion for mentioning that. This should be made public and I hope this clears up a lot of questions in regarding the Kof2000. Good work.

      • @Jason:
        You are not a mod so you can’t close a conversation. If you wish not to participate that is your purgative.

        @Link:
        No! I was never made aware that I would receive a terribly blurry and over saturated color, laser printed English Metal Slug 3 insert.

        I spent $400 for what I thought was going to be the exact same quality as what SNK was producing at the time. This was before all of the Dion/NGF drama so I had no reason to expect inferior quality.

        Dion:
        I can’t comment on the KOF2000 NGF version as I’ve never owned the English home cart.

        My question to you would be why didn’t you have the Metal Slug 3 inserts professionally printed as well?

        You knew collector’s spending hundreds of dollars on this wouldn’t be happy with an 80 cent printing job.

  11. As I said in the auction, the bottom line is the game is what it is. You either want it or you dont. Anyone who is dropping this kind of coin is probally educated on the matter.

    I’m curious though spoon, when you purchased do you feel you were made aware about the intert and your options?

  12. Matt (spoonman), I know you said you were not happy with the quality of the NGF genre corrected inserts (Metal Slug 3), but the KoF2000 english edition is from snk-japan, and the print quality is the same as all their other releases. I’ll be the first to admit it is of much better quality than our NGF inserts.

    thank you,
    Dion Dakis
    NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA

  13. @Link:
    No! I was never made aware that I would receive a terribly blurry and over saturated color, laser printed English Metal Slug 3 insert.

    I spent $400 for what I thought was going to be the exact same quality as what SNK was producing at the time. This was before all of the Dion/NGF drama so I had no reason to expect inferior quality.

    Dion:
    I can’t comment on the KOF2000 NGF version as I’ve never owned the English home cart.

    My question to you would be why didn’t you have the Metal Slug 3 inserts professionally printed as well?

    You knew collector’s spending hundreds of dollars on this wouldn’t be happy with an 80 cent printing job.

  14. NGF inserts are good and no one ever complained till it became the “in thing to do” at sites such as ng.com.

    I’ve seen hundreds of official items with much worse production, but no one complains. (sega items, nintendo, etc…) People at ng.com took their frustrations out against Chris and myself on a personal level, and decided to try to influence people against NGF items, the same way Apple people tried to influence everyone to hate IBM or Microsoft. These things happen, and it was out of our control.

    Guilemot’s neogeo manuals are black/white
    and they did print some black/white inserts. NeoGeo do Brasil did the same thing on many early released and on their neogeo cd titles/systems.

    blk/wht neogeo aes manuals from Guilemot
    http://www.neogeofreak.com/manuals/guillemot.jpg

    **NGF inserts = LICENSED**

    As for the NGF inserts not being offset printed:
    Back in the mid to late 90s, and even to this date, offset printing was/is very expensive.

    Now days, professional grade copiers/printers used at places like FedEx office, Office Max, etc… have gotten much better and offer much higher resolutions than they did 12-15 years ago. Sorry if you felt it wasn’t up your standard, but back then we offered an official and licensed product to all people who wanted the NGF inserts.

    There are a lot of people who really like the NGF inserts. You’re entitled to your own opinion and I don’t mind the criticism. It’s just when people attack on a personal level or try to accuse NGF, Chris, or myself of scams that is bothersome and not accurate.

    The bottom line is, NGF inserts are official, authorized, and LICENSED by snk. Chris, myself, and many other people do preferred the NGF inserts. But everyone is free to have their own opinion.

    thank you,
    Dion Dakis
    NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA

  15. Dion, that is a manual though! Most, if not all Neo-Geo manuals are in b&w anyway, with exception to the cover. Same with Sega Genesis, and SNES games reprinted by Majesco.

    The box insert is an entirely different matter. Comparing an instruction manual to an insert doesn’t make sense.

    Anyway, I would have settled for a high quality b&w box cover over a blurry, over saturated color photocopy though.

  16. @spoonman Apparently, even SNK thinks these guys are incompetent fucks, as you may know, they reprinted these inserts in very limited quantities. It’s probably a more worthwhile endeavor to hunt one down, as opposed to asking for a good answer from Dion Dakis.

  17. @Dion

    When you talk so freely about Guillemot why don’t you say that they also enclosed the SNK factory printed material from Japan?

    people that bought Guillemot stuff received 2 manuals one Japanese and another photocopy translated one!

    as always I don’t expect you to answer, you love avoiding this kind of questions!

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