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Pac-Man Connect-and-Play from BANDAI (coming in 2012)


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#26 Mingy Jongo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 5, 2012 10:43 AM

I picked one up yesterday.

PROS:
The controller itself is neat, and the back opens up so you can store the AV cable inside, which is really nice.
The games are MUCH more accurately reproduced than in any other retro controller, including the Ms. Pac-Man ones. In fact, they appear to use the original code; for example, you can "insert" two coins by pressing the "B" button and start a two-player game. I haven't compared them to MAME yet, though.
It saves high scores, including initials (and in Xevious' case, the entire name). You can also reset scores individually for each game.

CONS:
The controls could have been much better. The joystick has an 8-way octagon guard, but I found that I had to push harder to go in some directions than others. Maybe it just needs wearing in, I don't know. The buttons are nice and solid, but lack the "click" of the Jakks games.

#27 PacManPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012 10:33 AM

I picked it up also, and agree with the above assessment (although I think Mingy Jongo meant 'Pac-Man' instead of 'Ms. Pac-Man' as there are no 'Ms. Pac-Man' ports on the thing.

I also don't like the controls, I may (one day) add a 9-pin sub for a Atari-type joystick to be plugged in.

#28 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:19 PM

Wish nintendo would do a Donkey Kong.


Assuming you mean coin-op DK, I wouldn't hold my breath.

From Gamasutra
a judge ruled Nintendo didn't own the rights to Donkey Kong's code

That would likely explain why coin-op DK never came to the Wii Virtual Console Arcade as well.
Pity.


Fascinating bit of history! I suspect, however, that part of the settlement between Nintendo and Ikegami after that ruling was that Nintendo got all rights to the code while Ikegami got a bit more money and recognition. The article mentions Ikegami did the same thing for Sega with Zaxxon and Congo Bongo, but the original Zaxxon has since appeared on at least one Sega game compilation.

It seems more that Nintendo is just against creating any sort of rerelease of their arcade games. Namco, Sega, Atari, Midway, Taito... even Stern, Irem and Exidy have all either rereleased or allowed rerelease of their arcade games. But not Nintendo.

Edited by FujiSkunk, Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:20 PM.


#29 Mingy Jongo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:51 AM

even Stern, Irem and Exidy have all either rereleased or allowed rerelease of their arcade games.

When did Stern and Exidy rerelease arcade games?

#30 sdamon ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:19 AM

Exidy released a handful of their earliest games for free, non-commercial use (games like Circus, Targ, and Star Fire.) And I know Stern licensed some of their games to be played on some of the commercial arcade cabinet releases (like Arcade Legends and Supercade.)

If there have been any other releases of Exidy and Stern arcade games (or that of other smaller companies like Universal), I'd be very interested!
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#31 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:58 PM

What sdamon said. The arcade cabinet compilations are what I was referring to.

#32 NightSprinter OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:05 PM

And all I've seen for Exidy was a licensed port of Crossbow to Android.

#33 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:10 AM

The games are MUCH more accurately reproduced than in any other retro controller, including the Ms. Pac-Man ones. In fact, they appear to use the original code; for example, you can "insert" two coins by pressing the "B" button and start a two-player game.


The claim by Bandai's representative at Toy Fair was that the system does run the original code (i.e., running on emulation, rather than being ports). Do all the games display Namco manufacturing? I'm curious if any of the ROMs are, say, Midway ones.

I picked it up also, and agree with the above assessment (although I think Mingy Jongo meant 'Pac-Man' instead of 'Ms. Pac-Man' as there are no 'Ms. Pac-Man' ports on the thing.


I believe Mingy Jongo was saying that the games are more accurately reproduced here than in any other retro controller, including the Ms. Pac-Man retro controllers, rather than "ones" in his text referring to games on the system. The Ms. Pac-Man plug-n-play system would be the second Namco TV Game from Jakks Pacific, in 2004, which was noted for being more arcade-accurate than the first, 2003 Namco TV Game system.

Can either of you, or anyone else who owns the system now, tell me if there are any company logos at startup besides that of Namco Bandai? I'm still trying to find out who developed the software for this one. Also, if you open it up and see anything noteworthy on the mainboard, please let me know as well.

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#34 PacManPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:35 PM

It looks like they took the copyright out completely from the game itself:
(sorry for the crappy pictures)

BTW, it seems to be emulated. The monsters act exactly as the arcade. I tried a few of my patterns quickly and it looks good.

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#35 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:16 PM

I was discussing this system with someone, and they pointed out that promotional screenshots show several games having side panels where things like the score are displayed, games which were originally on vertically oriented monitors with those elements displayed above/below the playfield. This is visible in PacManPlus' attached images in the post above this one (the part of the screens where "High Score," "1Up," and "Credit" are displayed). This detail, combined with PacManPlus' statement that "they took the copyright out completely from the game itself," leads me to wonder: perhaps these are not emulations after all, but rather ports once again? This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since ports can still be programmed well enough to accurately mimic the original programming, but it would contradict the Bandai claims that they run "the original code."

Also, I still really want to know, are there any company logos at startup other than Namco Bandai's?

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#36 LynxVGL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:58 PM

Anyone care to chime in on a little more detail about the joystick? I love me some "Bosconian" and if the 8 way is crappy I'll pass.

#37 PacManPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:45 PM

I only remember Bandai - If I get a chance this weekend I'll make a short video or take some pics of the startup.

#38 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 PM

This PnP confuses me because of the bizarre design which is obviously not ergonomic. I would be interested, except I already own these PnPs that are pretty cool:Is the new Namco PnP worth getting if I already have all of these... or is it simply a "collector thing?"

#39 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:44 PM

Is the new Namco PnP worth getting if I already have all of these... or is it simply a "collector thing?"


I would say that these are the reasons someone would get the Bandai system on top of the older Jakks systems:

- They're interested in the direct link to the 255th board of Pac-Man.

- They want to display it, either still in the box or just with the controller on its side on a shelf, the bottom facing the viewer (so that it looks like a pixelated statue of Pac-Man).

- They really like Bosconian. This is one of few plug-n-plays which properly plays Bosconian as an 8-direction game. The only other one is Jakks' wireless variant of the Ms. Pac-Man Namco TV Game (that variant added New Rally-X and Bosconian to the original 5-game selection of the Namco 2 model), which is a bit hard to find nowadays. All the other Jakks systems with Bosconian use 4-way sticks. However, Mingy Jongo's post above says the Bandai system's stick isn't very good.

- They are interested in sharper graphics than the Jakks systems (which were QVGA resolution). I'm not actually certain that the graphics are sharper, but the videos I've seen online seem like it.

- They believe this new model is more arcade-accurate than Jakks' renditions. At the least, though, the screen layouts do not match the original arcade games.

- They prefer hitting buttons with their right hand instead of their left. And, um, they don't like ergonomic things--nor easy game pausing. I've heard that pausing on this new system requires you to hold the A and B buttons for a bit.

If any of the above apply to you, maybe you should get yourself one. By the way, there is no apostrophe in the word "Jakks" (which, technically, is all upper-case).

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#40 PacManPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:58 AM

Hi:

I'm fairly certain that it's running original code, modifying the screen routines (kind of like Opcode did with Pac-Man collection of the Colecovision). I was able to use my pattern from the arcade game here (at least on the Cherry board - that's as long as I've had time to play it) which I was not able to do on *any* of the others. I suppose it could just be a very good port, as I can *almost* use my original patterns on my version of Pac-Man Collection on the 7800...

I *don't* like the shape of the thing (although of course I see what they were trying to do), nor the joystick and buttons. I may put the insides in another joystick or wire up an external 9-pin Atari compatable connector.

#41 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 3, 2012 8:43 PM

Also, I still really want to know, are there any company logos at startup other than Namco Bandai's?

I only remember Bandai - If I get a chance this weekend I'll make a short video or take some pics of the startup.


Video and photos aside, can you start up the system and confirm?

I still haven't decided to get one myself yet, what with the rerun game selection, control complaints, user-unfriendly form factor and pause system, and price over $20.

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#42 Atariboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012 9:28 PM

Most of the Namco Museum releases and such always relied on recreations.

Couldn't this use original code while still being a port? If the original source code is converted to run on this hardware, it seems like they could still use that claim that it uses original code (Albeit modified).

#43 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 7, 2012 8:25 PM

Well, I think that's a bit of a grey area. In my opinion, once it's been converted, it's no longer the original code. You can still say that it's "based on the original code," but I would disagree if you claimed it were "running the original code." Granted, if you have a bad emulator, you could run the original code and actually have less faithful results than a port based on the original code. But, you could, in that case, claim "it's running the original code" and not get any objection from me--as far as terminology, anyway.

The claim at Toy Fair from Bandai was that it was original code in this product. My interest in this actually does not stem from an interest in faithful gameplay, but rather from just wanting to nail down the simple fact of whether this is a port or an emulation. Emulation is historically rare in plug-n-play games; that's the reason for my curiosity.

onmode-ky

P.S. *ahem* Still curious about the company logos at startup.

#44 RJ OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 7, 2012 9:15 PM

Did they fix Xevious this time around? I don't mean controller-wise; on that previous 12-in-1, gameplay was SERIOUSLY messed up.

Not that I'll buy the thing.

Edited by RJ, Fri Sep 7, 2012 9:15 PM.


#45 iesposta ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 7, 2012 11:08 PM

I bought this... happy with it overall.
I own a coin op Mappy, that was $400.
This comes with Mappy and was $34.95 (probably less when in stores, discounted!)
It hasn't been mentioned, but Dig Dug scrolls vertically a bit when near the top or the bottom of the screen. Quite shocking at first.
RJ: I haven't played Xevious in MAME for a long while, but it is exactly how I remember the arcade coin op, if that helps.

#46 PacManPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 8, 2012 6:09 PM

Ok:

Here are the startup screens, in order (sorry for the crappy pics).

1. Copyright for all games:
IMG_0006.JPG

2. Bandai Copyright:
IMG_0007.JPG

3. Main screen:
IMG_0008.JPG

That's it.

Now, I tried PacManPlus, and I was able to use my pattern from the arcade there as well. These are running the original code, guys (at least the Pacs are).

Having said that - I HATE the controller. I am absolutely tearing the guts out of this thing and putting it in a 4-way (I don't care about Bosconian or Xevious).
I wish they would have used the same controller from the *new* Space Invaders PNP.

Bob


*EDIT* - The board inside it is tiny. I think I will take one of the Space Invader joysticks (I picked up three - they were $7.99) and put this board inside it.

Edited by PacManPlus, Sat Sep 8, 2012 7:47 PM.


#47 Atariboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 8, 2012 9:33 PM

Wish they'd do another one that twisted for steering. It's ashame they had one that did justice to Pole Position several years ago yet never gave us a gamekey with Pole Position II on it to take full advantage of it.

That Jakks one still gets regular use here thanks to Pole Position.

#48 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 9, 2012 3:22 PM

Did they fix Xevious this time around? I don't mean controller-wise; on that previous 12-in-1, gameplay was SERIOUSLY messed up.


Different company. Bandai wouldn't even have access to Jakks' messed-up Xevious code that got into the last model (2008) of their Namco series.

This comes with Mappy and was $34.95 (probably less when in stores, discounted!)


Where did you buy it that priced it $10 (40%) above MSRP?

Here are the startup screens, in order (sorry for the crappy pics).


Thanks for the images. So, it seems the packaging, manual, and software all neglect to disclose who developed the onboard programming. Bummer for me.

It hasn't been mentioned, but Dig Dug scrolls vertically a bit when near the top or the bottom of the screen. Quite shocking at first.

Now, I tried PacManPlus, and I was able to use my pattern from the arcade there as well. These are running the original code, guys (at least the Pacs are).


It sounds like it's either a well-converted port or an emulator that fiddles with the display aspects of the games, then. When I talked about this Bandai system with the guy who did Jakks' Xevious port (before it got botched in the final model of the series--again, that wasn't his fault), he mentioned that the games' score panels were likely easy to modify as far as where that part of video RAM got displayed by an emulator.

I wish they would have used the same controller from the *new* Space Invaders PNP.

Bob


*EDIT* - The board inside it is tiny. I think I will take one of the Space Invader joysticks (I picked up three - they were $7.99) and put this board inside it.


I think Jakks would have been rather upset if Bandai had used their controller design. :) It probably wouldn't be something they could litigate for, though.

Is there anything interesting written on the Bandai system's board?

Wish they'd do another one that twisted for steering. It's ashame they had one that did justice to Pole Position several years ago yet never gave us a gamekey with Pole Position II on it to take full advantage of it.


Yeah, I thought the GameKey idea was pretty good, but apparently the retailers didn't agree. The self-centering twisty-top stick applied to other games would have been nice.

onmode-ky

#49 iesposta ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 9, 2012 4:02 PM

Where did I buy mine from? Amazon.com
It was $26.99 and $7.95 shipping for a total of $34.94.

#50 PacManPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:05 AM

Well, I did it. I transferred the guts to the prior Pac-Man 'Plug'N'Play' and although it was a PAIN, It's 100x better now. Of course, I lose Xevious and Bosconian because of the 4-way stick, but to me that's of little consequence.

I had to move two capacitors to the opposite side of the board, to make it fit. I also had to install a switch in the front (see pictures), and pull the excess A/V cord out of the back.

All, in all, I like it ... just wish it had Ms. Pac-Man on it as well.

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