This might seem like a stupid reason to sign up in the AtariAge.com forums, but I did it just to make known the following piece of information: most of the generic plug-and-play systems, with the large numbers of unheard-of games, seem to come from one company: http://www.jungletac.com
. As you can see from their website, they are a Chinese company which makes OEM products for other companies; for example, Senario's VS Maxx brand, Dreamgear's My Arcade brand, PDP's (parent of Pelican) new VG Pocket handheld brand, and probably other companies all at least partly include plug-and-play game systems from Jungletac. The hardware is designed by Jungletac, and the games are theirs, too; however, the brand labels are customized for the company that orders them from Jungletac.
It's sort of like how the Sega Genesis plug-and-play games under Radica's Play TV Legends brand are actually made by Sega Toys. In Japan, Sega Toys sells them, and Radica has the rights to sell them outside Japan (however, I'm not sure Jungletac sells anything under their own name, with much of their site geared toward attracting companies to hire them as OEM suppliers). Radica does own its own factory in China, though, so they may make their own, too.
I found out about Jungletac about a year ago when I picked up one of the VS Maxx 15-game units out of curiosity. After playing all the games, I returned it in horror. I'd never played so many bad games before. But, before I returned it, I looked up the name which showed up in most of the games, "Jungletac," and Google led me to their website. The site was a little different back then, and it mentioned that they used to do some third-party manufacturing for Sega hardware. Also, it seems like Jungletac allows you to put your own games on the stuff you order from them, since Snood
and Speed Racer
-branded games appeared on one of the VS Maxx models.
I never tried any of Dreamgear's releases, but some of the game lists had familiar Jungletac titles. Other models in the lineup may be from some other OEM suppliers.
The new VG Pocket handhelds had me a little interested until I looked at the game list on one and recognized some of the names. A look at Jungletac's site showed that they were now making handhelds, too, which looked just like the VG Pocket models, so that explained that.
A toy company I'd never heard of, Silverlit, also seems to use Jungletac games in their plug-and-play units.
The actual games generally play either plain poorly or as if they were someone's game-programming practice projects. I don't know for certain if they were hacks of existing games. However, there is at least one instance of copyright violation: in one of the shooters I played, the game actually came to an end (instead of being an endless repetition of the same enemies, as the others were), and at the end, you were rewarded with a full-screen image of two pilots. That image came from the famed 1982 anime series Superdimensional Fortress Macross
(known to most in the US as the first part of Robotech
So there is my contribution to the local knowledge base. Hope it wasn't too boring.