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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, 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. Daisuke Ishiwatari, best known for his work on Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, was also employed under SNK as part of the team developing The Last Blade. If you look at his work (and sometimes squint), you can see more than a few nods to SNK's properties.


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 name (SNK Playmore) 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:
    • 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.
  • 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; now, 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.
  • Guest Fighter: SNK in recent years 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.
  • Mascot: Three, in fact. It's not Kyo Kusanagi despite being the main face of their flagship series, but it's between Terry Bogard, Athena Asamiya and Nakoruru. All three are in The King of Fighters XIV curiously.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sir Cameos-a-Lot:
    • Ryo Sakazaki from Art of Fighting series is known as this for SNK, having more appearances in other titles than his own series (not counting The King of Fighters of course): as a Secret Character in some Fatal Fury games: in FF2/Special and in Wild Ambition (here as Mr. Karate II), as the only known character in the Original Generation roster in Buriki One also as Mr. Karate II (and retuned in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum), and even just mentioned as part of Marco's background story from Garou: Mark of the Wolves (Marco is one of Ryo's students, also appearing in some artworks).
    • G-Mantle was a former mascot of SNK before Terry Bogard that only appeared in SNK's old ads and in-game in Blue's Journey. Cameos are seen in multiple games like Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, The King of Fighters (as an Assist Character in KOF 2000) and even having his own card in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series.
  • SNK Boss: Known amongst fighting games fans as "SNK Boss Syndrome." And for a good reason. Non-fighting-game examples include Dr. Muckly and Lieu.
  • 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


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