Every Arcade Re-Release Should Have the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection's "Watch" Feature

Every Arcade Re-Release Should Have the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection's "Watch" Feature

If you could hop into a speedrun at a precise moment in time, would you?

Save states are fairly standard in emulated games. They suspend your time, where you can pop-in at a precise moment at your leisure. In retro arcade game ports, save states are usually all that's there in place of proper save slots, because when the games were made way back in the day, they had no such functionality. In NIS America and Digital Eclipse's upcoming SNK 40th Anniversary Collection though, the save state is being reimagined entirely.

When you enter any of SNK 40th Anniversary Collection's base 13 games, instead of hopping right into it you can select "Watch" from the menu screen. Watch, initially, does exactly what you may assume it to do. It's like sitting back and enjoying a pitch perfect speedrun, only with this you have the ability to inch forward in real-time, hop ahead a few seconds, or move carefully frame by frame to net that ideal screenshot of Princess Athena raising her sword. And most importantly, you can hop in to play whenever you want.

It's essentially a super advanced save state. As if someone took the time to save state every single moment of a video game, and let whoever they wanted to have at it. It's not only incredibly useful for new players who may not be quite as skilled in old school arcade games, it feels novel—like you're watching a speedrun at a Games Done Quick event, and then the player just pauses and hands the controller to you through the screen. As if to say, "Have fun, I did all this specifically for you. You don't have to do shit except reap the rewards I spent hours and even days of my life practicing to achieve."

Today at PAX West 2018 during a panel hosted by video game archivist Frank Cifaldi, five more games were announced for the retro collection too, and will be coming to it as free DLC after its release on November 13, 2018. The games announced are Chopper 1, Sasuke vs. Commander (which I'm told by a NISA representative is one the first games with boss fights), Fantasy, Munch Mobile (an example of "weird SNK"), and Time Soldiers, with five additional titles planned in the future.

During a brief demo today, the SNK 40th Anniversary's Collection's new Museum section was also shown off in detail. A NISA representative categorized the collection as a "one stop shop" to me, gesturing towards lost games that are unarchived that have screenshots and other details in the museum section, as well as the concept art for certain games that was obtained from the artists' personal collections—the first time the art's been seen by the world at large.

Some of its games are even compatible with a vertical-inclined Switch screen, making it perfect for the Flip Grip, a new vertical holder for Joy Cons in development by Fangamer, Retronauts co-host Jeremy Parish, and engineer Mike Choi. (Full disclosure: the Flip Grip was designed in collaboration from USgamer's former editor-in-chief Jeremy Parish). In the NISA demo room, the Flip Grips were comfortably lodged with consoles.

Overall, the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection's set-up is impressive, with both NES and arcade versions of some games, the genius "Watch" feature, and all these hard-to-find games now in an easily accessible place. It's shaping up to be a must-own for retro-inclined fans. And who knows, maybe other game collections will take a page from its book, and give every player a speedrun they can interact with at any time.

Disclosure: USgamer is owned and operated by ReedPop, which also runs the PAX family of shows.

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Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's official altgame enthusiast.

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