Great find! I found an article
with more pictures of the unit and a video from Toy Fair. The claim that it's better than Jakks' Namco series because it runs the original code is interesting because: a) it implies the system runs on emulation, similar to Jakks' Taito TV Games system from late last year; b) emulation is not necessarily better than ported code, depending in either case on the programming and the hardware capabilities; and c) when I spoke to the programmer of one of the games on Jakks' second Namco TV Game, he said that they were not provided with the original source code by Namco
. He ported his game by reverse-engineering it from the original assembly. It seems kind of a low blow to say, "Ours is better because we never gave anyone else the goodies we used to make ours."
Also, having remembered that Jakks once announced an extension of the Namco license many years ago, I dug up a Jakks Pacific press release from April 2007 saying just such a thing. It didn't "really" say how long the extension was for, but a quote in it said Jakks was looking forward to "at least another three-year-run." So, it appears the Jakks Namco license expired in 2010, hence Namco Bandai releasing their own plug-n-play system now. Too bad, though, that this system doesn't actually contain any games not already in a Jakks TV Game, unless you count the skip-to-board-255 version of Pac-Man
Its title listing is the same as the final Jakks Namco TV Game except without Pole Position
--and Ms. Pac-Man
is still AWOL in plug-n-play since ~2005. Could we not get anything else from the Namco Museum series?
P.S. I'm curious, too, about whether it's a 4-way or 8-way stick. The latter would suck for the Pac-Man
games; the former would suck for Xevious