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The Neo-Geo Pocket Color (or NGPC) was released on March 16, 1999 in Japan. It was a 16-bit color hand held game console designed by SNK, the makers of the Neo Geo home console and arcade machine. It came after SNK's original Neo Geo Pocket monochrome handheld, which debuted in 1998 in Japan (and was released in the United States on August 6, 1999). In 2000, following SNK's purchase by Japanese Pachinko manufacturer Aruze, the Neo Geo Pocket Color was dropped from both the United States and European markets, purportedly due to commercial failure.

The U.S. version of the Neo Geo Pocket Color had an exclusive launch on the website eToys in 1999. eToys also sold the initial launch titles in the preferred plastic snap lock cases. The system debuted in the United States with six launch titles (20 promised by end of year) and retail price of $69.95. Six different unit colors were available: Camouflage Blue, Carbon Black, Crystal White, Platinum Blue, Platinum Silver, and Stone Blue.

Before SNK was bought out, the Neo Geo Pocket Color was being advertised on US television and units were being sold nationally in Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, and other large retail chains.

Remaining stock was bought back by SNK for repackaging in Asia. In June 2000 SNK of America (and Europe) tried recalling most of the back-stock of systems and games to be flashed and re-sold in Asia where the system would continue to be sold and supported. Some of the back-stock of US NGPC hardware and software started showing up back on the marketplace in the US and Asia in 2003. These units frequently appeared bundled with six games stripped of their cases and manuals. Two games often included, Faselei! and Last Blade were never previously released in United States, meaning that they have no US-localized box or manual; however, these titles did receive a European release, incorporating an English translation.

The system enjoyed a greater success than any Game Boy competitor since Sega's Game Gear. However, it was hurt by several factors, such as the Neo Geo heads' (the Barone family) notorious lack of communication with third-party developers, and anticipation of the Game Boy Advance. The decision to ship American games in cardboard boxes in a cost cutting move; rather than the hard plastic cases that Japanese and European releases were shipped in, may have also hurt the American sales.

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