Several of 2014's scheduled plug-n-play releases have now appeared in stores (some earlier than intended, in the case of AtGames' Flashbacks), so I thought I'd add a new post about the new developments to this thread. Incidentally, this is my 600th AtariAge forum post.
On the retro gaming front, the ColecoVision Flashback, Intellivision Flashback, and Atari Flashback 5 (possibly also the 2014 edition of the Sega Genesis Classic Game Console, though I'm not sure if I just have some crossed wires in my memories; can anyone confirm?) showed up at Toys 'R Us stores over a month before AtGames' planned release date. As told in one of the main Flashback threads (the CV FB one
or the INTV FB one
), by a store manager to one of us (nurmix?), the Flashbacks had the October 1st release date marked in their databases, but unlike most "hold until X day" products that TRU deals with, no warning notices were on the shipping boxes. Therefore, the systems were put onto the shelves, with only the cash registers flagging them as pre-release when someone tried to buy one. I surmised that maybe the warning notices were missing because AtGames, being new to picking a specific date of release for their products (as far as I can recall, they've never done this before), didn't know about the protocol.
Earlier last month, also on TRU shelves (legitimately :P), the first 2014 Jakks Pacific products began showing up. The TMNT Hero Portal TV Game system appeared first, followed by the DC Super Heroes model, and the final, Power Rangers model is at least available from TRU's online store. More recently, these showed up at my local Walmart. I picked one up, and lo and behold, the processor was not
under a glob-top, but rather what looks to me like a Quad Flat Package
--with the chip model number printed on it
! It's a Generalplus GPL32612, meaning that Jakks' plug-n-play video games have moved from 16-bit, unSP-architecture microcontrollers to 32-bit, ARM-architecture microcontrollers: plug-n-play's equivalent of a generation transition
. Elsewhere on the PCB was a 128-MB NAND memory chip, double the secondary storage of Jakks' previous largest sizes (Jakks' gun games this year--of which I've seen the new Walking Dead
entry on eBay so far but nowhere else--are also using 128-MB NANDs, so it's across the board for the TV Games line).
Still, even with the technology having been updated for the first time in 6 years, the Hero Portal games don't really look
a ton more advanced than recent products in Jakks' TV Games line. Maybe this is because their go-to chip for the last half decade, the GPL16250, was already pretty capable, with VGA resolution, a large color palette, hardware sprite scaling, and basic 3D capabilities. At any rate, these Hero Portal titles aren't really an ideal demo for any new capabilities; the main games are 2D beat 'em-ups. I think the foreground graphics are polygonal, but the camera is always a side view, so it's not easy to tell. The main clue is the high animation frame rate. In some of the mini-games, you do get to see some objects from multiple angles, though. Speaking of the mini-games, it appears that all 3 Hero Portal games use the same set of mini-games (with different graphics, of course), including shooting gallery and
finite runner types, as well as vehicular combat types with viewpoints similar to OutRun
and Space Harrier
. Similarly, all 3 games seem to share level layouts to some degree, plus certain background graphics. I guess that's how they could build 3 new games on completely new hardware in a short time. :/
P.S. I've updated the first post in this topic with the CPU details for the ColecoVision Flashback and DC Super Heroes Hero Portal system, as well as a new packaging evolution entry for Hero Portal.