SNK stands for Shin Nihon Kikaku, which means 'New Japanese Project'. It's a long going company in the arcade business (first game in 1981), and has cult followers among real arcade lovers.
At first the company made arcade games, with bizarre names like 'satan of saturn'. Interesting games in this era were 'Vanguard', 'Ikari Warriors' and 'Victory Road'.
In 1990 SNK took a gamble and released its own game system: the Neo*Geo system (alternative writeup). There was a home and arcade version. Both had the same specs and ran the same titles, only the format was different. No more crappy arcade-to-home-system conversions but the real thing(tm). Owning 'the real thing' was very expensive :-)
Different home and arcade versions of the system were released over almost a decade.
In 1997-1998 the neo geo pocket and neo geo pocket color were released, marking another milestone for the company. Nintendo's far superior marketing won over impressive technical specs.
the majority of SNK games are violent fighting games.
SNK has had rough times since then.
In 2000 SNK was taken over by the ARUSE group. After the takeover, foreign offices were closed and the company was forced to focus solely on japan.
Update 2/10/2001 SNK stopped his reorganization attempts and is bankrupt! Yet another indication of the fading glory of the coin-op industry.
From their site:
Dear All NEOGEO fans/customers,
It is with deepest grief that In the Autumn of 2001,
SNK will close the company history in its business.
It was all of your favor and encouragement which made our passion running to make better games for SNK fans.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and everyone of you for your continuous help and assistance rendered to SNK since its inocorporation in Japan July in 1978.
Without your support, SNK Corporaton would not have been possible throughout 23 yers of operation.
With all our heart-felt gratitude, thank you once again !