The Advanced Entertainment System (AES), originally known just as the Neo Geo, was the first console in the family, released in 1990. The hardware featured comparatively colourful 2D graphics.
The Neo Geo system was also marketed as a very costly home console, commonly referred to today as the AES (Advanced Entertainment System). The Neo Geo was marketed as 24-bit, though it was technically a 16-bit system with an 8-bit Zilog Z80 as coprocessor. The coprocessor was generally used for sound processing.
Initially, the (AES) home system was only available for rent to commercial establishments, such as hotel chains, bars and restaurants, and other venues. When customer response indicated that some gamers were willing to buy a $650 console, SNK expanded sales and marketing into the home console market. The Neo Geo console was officially launched on 31 January 1990 in Osaka, Japan. Compared to the other 16-bit consoles of the time, Neo Geo's graphics and sound were vastly superior. Furthermore, since the AES was identical to its arcade counterpart, the MVS, arcade titles released for the home market were perfect translations. Although its high price tag kept it out of the mainstream gaming market, a strong game lineup likely contributed to the cult status of the Neo Geo, enabling it to outlast the more popular Super Nintendo and the Mega Drive.
Source: Wikipedia, "Neo Geo", available under the CC-BY-SA License.