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Creator / SNK

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"The Future Is Now."
Company Motto, 1986-2001, 2016-present

SNK, an acronym for Shin Nihon Kikaku 『新日本企画』 (Japanese for "New Japan Project"), is one of the better known video game companies headquartered in Suita, Osaka, Japan. Besides developing arcade games dating back to 1978 (its very first game, Ozma Wars, was programmed on a reverse-engineered Space Invaders board), SNK is also responsible for the Neo Geo home console, as well as the short-lived Hyper Neo Geo 64 and portable Neo Geo Pocket. The company's legal and trading name became SNK in 1986. It also possesses a unique story of collapse and rebirth: After things started to look bad in the beginning of 2000, SNK was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2001 and sold many of its rights to various companies. Eventually, with hard work and effort, its CEO, Eikichi Kawasaki, eventually gathered up many of its former rights and employees and rebuilt SNK, now named SNK Playmore. Kawasaki was the company's largest shareholder until August 2015, when his shares (along with his wife's) were bought by a Chinese joint venture. In April 2016, SNK Playmore announced that they were changing their name back to SNK, and brought back their old motto as shown above. On December 1, 2016, they changed their legal name from "SNK Playmore Corporation" to "SNK Corporation" to complete the change and rang it in with a fresh new Vanity Plate with a familiar jingle.


SNK is mostly known for its fighting games and was once the biggest rival of Capcom in that field; this rivalry was embodied in the SNK vs. Capcom crossover series. Their fighting game bosses have a reputation for being extremely harder than their rival companies' counterparts, thus making them the Trope Namer for SNK Boss. To casual observers, SNK's 2D fighters were mere imitators of the Street Fighter series, but this is not the case. The combat systems are totally different, with SNK's Art of Fighting series introducing the whole concept of the super special move that would go onto to become a fighting game staple. Also, although both employed luxuriously rich, detailed 2D visuals, SNK's backgrounds were more expressive, and often filled with comic touches. It's also worth pointing out that staff have switched between the Capcom and SNK camps over the years, with original Street Fighter creators Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto going onto to work at SNK, notably creating the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series, while famed illustrator Shinkiro as well as lesser known Senri Kita note  started at SNK but now work for Capcom.


Relatedly, and contrary to the oft-circulated rumor (due to a "Daisuke" being credited among the developers), Daisuke Ishiwatari of Arc System Works did not work as a designer and programmer on The Last Blade; he was already working for ArcSys as early as 1995 (credited as a designer for a top-down PS1 shooter titled Exector), two years before the first Last Blade installment saw release. That Hakumen's playstyle in BlazBlue bears many similarities to that of a Power-type character, along with several Fatal Fury characters having cameos in Axl Low's GG1 stage, only adds to the misconception.

Has nothing to do with Attack on Titan (which has the Japanese name of Shingeki no Kyojin), despite sharing the same initials. Fans of the video game company have taken to using the company's new names (SNK Playmore, then SNK Corporation/SNK Entertainment) because of the potential confusion.

Consoles made:

  • Neo Geo (1990–2004)
  • Neo Geo CD (1994–1997)
  • Neo Geo Pocket (1998–1999)
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999–2001)

Games developed:

Fighting games


Tropes present in many SNK games:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Compare the American box art and flyers of some earlier releases to their Japanese counterparts. Check out the artworks for Athena and Psycho Soldier, for example.
  • Audio Adaptation: SNK, mostly prior to their bankruptcy, seemed rather fond of these, to the point that they likely outnumber any other fighter-producing company in volume. Several of their more recognizable fighting series have a few drama CDs to their name, KOF in particular. Most serve to further characterize SNK's rather extensive rosters and add depth to their particular 'verses, but some, such as Neo Geo DJ Station, opt for meta humor by employing fourth wall breaking, Medium Awareness, and large doses of Lampshade Hanging.
  • Author Appeal: SNK Bosses and Dream Match Games. This company seems to love making them, especially the former.
  • Bittersweet Ending/Downer Ending: A number of SNK's arcade games, particularly from the late 80s, ended on a rather dour note:
    • In the arcade version of Guerrilla War, despite being defeated, the Big Bad pulls off a Villain: Exit, Stage Left and manages to escape. This is subverted in the NES version where he is killed instead.
    • Prehistoric Isle in 1930: The protagonists manage to escape from the titular island and land on a cargo plane, which is destroyed by pterodactyls shortly after.
    • SAR: Search And Rescue: The protagonists find no survivors on the ship and are ordered by their superior to destroy all evidences of the events, estimating that the colonist cannot handle the truth.
    • Beast Busters: After destroying what seems to be the source of the zombie outbreak, the protagonists see a gigantic alien ship in the skies...
    • NAM-1975: The Big Bad's plan is foiled, but the hero bitterly notes that while he managed to get out of Vietnam, "the hell continues."
    • The Super Spy: After being defeated, the final boss ominously warns that even if he dies, many others will take his place. The player character then launches a monologue about the increase in power of terrorism, while the World Trade Center is visible in the background.
    • Cyber-Lip: The heroes are revealed to have been the pawns of an hostile alien race, who engineered the events of the game to get rid of Earth's last line of defense.
    • The King of Fighters 2000: Southtown is destroyed by NESTS's Kill Sat. Every team's ending deals with the aftermath of Southtown's destruction.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Very frequently in earlier releases, which often had a tendency of ruining scenes.
  • Boss Rush:
    • A lot of SNK's early Neo Geo non-fighting games, particularly the beat 'em ups, liked to make the player fight most (sometimes all) of the previous bosses and midbosses throughout the final level. Games that did this include Burning Fight, Cyber-Lip, Robo Army, Mutation Nation, King of the Monsters II, etc. Some were more creative about it than others.
    • Alpha Mission II had the player fight all of the mid-bosses instead, with the penultimate boss being an amalgam of the previous bosses.
    • In Top Hunter, the bosses of the final section, sans the first one, are brand new.
  • Dating Sim: The Days of Memories series, made in an Alternate Universe where you can date all the girls from SNK (or boys in the Girl's Side). Also, the games starred by Iroha (Maid by Iroha and Koi no Iroha).
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Those who know SNK only for their fighting games in the '90s and '00s would be surprised to know that SNK originally dabbled in a wide variety of genres. This is most evident while playing SNK 40th Anniversary Collection.
  • Fanservice:
    • From full to none and everything in between. Also a pioneer of fighting game manservice.
    • They've got the non-sexual fanservice covered just as well, if not even better.
  • Foil: Usually to Capcom, but around 2015-2016, they became this to Konami. SNK was known for its shaky history, including its bankruptcy and rebirth as SNK Playmore, while Konami was a steadier company with a lot of A-games. However, around that year, Konami came under fire by fans and other developers alike due to controversial decisions and the move to the pachinko business, abandoning their A-grade video game industry. On the contrary, SNK Playmore instead abandoned their pachinko venture and made a full return to video game development to the point of returning to their old name (just SNK) and logo, and continued to improve The King of Fighters XIV, which suffered lackluster reception on its earlier graphics showcase. Since then, it's considered to be a major improvement compared to the initial build and could even prove a match for Capcom's fighting game juggernaut Street Fighter V. SNK has been considered by some as "Anti-Konami" this way.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Fantasy, one of their earlier games, offers something different for each level.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Especially in the Samurai Shodown games.
    • Special mention goes to Terry Bogard, whose extensive use of questionably accented English and American colloquialisms are considered a charm point — to memetic levels.
  • Guest Fighter: As of The New '10s and The New '20s, SNK is well known for making it very easy for other companies to use SNK characters in their games, resulting in constant crossovers from all of their series. So far, they are:
  • Mascot:
  • Nintendo Hard: These guys are probably outdone only by Nintendo themselves and Atlus (and if you're willing to stretch the lines, maybe Capcom). Oftentimes they have to up the ante with their signature nasty bosses.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The game Mutation Nation has the Big Bad saying "How dare you beat me! Hear [sic] is your graveyard."
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • SNK's first notable fighting game, Fatal Fury, introduces the city of Southtown. The bulk of the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series take place in Southtown, detailing and developing it, pretty damn believably at that. The final game of the original SNK, The King of Fighters 2000, ends with Southtown being blown up.
    • And in 2003, Southtown was shown to have recovered from the Zero Cannon's attack, symbolic of SNK's resurrection as SNK Playmore. The Maximum Impact Spin-Off series also takes place in the resurrected Southtown.
    • With the exception of KOF '99, Kyo (with or without the rest of the Japan Team) always had a theme with the word "Esaka" in it during KOF's pre-bankruptcy run. Esaka is a train station in Osaka near the site where SNK's headquarters resided (technical first stop of the Midosuji line that hits all the major stops in the city), and when SNK went bankrupt, they moved out of the building. Thus, Esaka was interchangeable with SNK to their fans. In 2000, the swan song of the old SNK, Kyo receives a heartful, emotional ballad known as "Goodbye Esaka." They might as well just called it "Goodbye SNK" for all it's worth. (For an added measure of tragic irony, that theme had been preceded only three games earlier with "Esaka Forever" in KOF '97)
  • Scenery Porn: A frequent element in their 2D titles. While biased, it should be said that Kotaku's listing of "The Best Animated Backgrounds of 2D Fighting Games" exclusively featured SNK's offerings.
  • Shared Universe:
  • Sir Cameos-a-Lot:
  • SNK Boss: It's not coincidental that this company named the trope, to the point that there is an entire page on this wiki dedicated to the monstrosities brought to life by SNK. It extends beyond fighting games too, as Dr. Muckly and Lieu can attest.
  • The Tetris Effect: SNK has their own version of Tetris in the form of Puzzled (called as Joy Joy Kid in Japan). This game was later referenced in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash and as part of Ai's moveset in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum.

Alternative Title(s): SNK Playmore