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A handheld TV game (TV game for short) or plug and play game (plug-'n'-play game for short) is an interactive entertainment device designed for use on a television set that integrates the video game console with the game controller.
A television set or television receiver, more commonly called a television, TV, TV set, or telly, is a device that combines a tuner, display, and loudspeakers for the purpose of viewing television, viewing any computer's screen, or viewing home video game consoles. Introduced in the late 1920s in mechanical form, television sets became a popular consumer product after World War II in electronic form, using cathode ray tubes. The addition of color to broadcast television after 1953 further increased the popularity of television sets in the 1960s, and an outdoor antenna became a common feature of suburban homes. The ubiquitous television set became the display device for the first recorded media in the 1970s, such as Betamax, VHS and later DVD. It was also the display device for the first generation of home computers and video game consoles in the 1980s. In the 2010s flat panel television incorporating liquid-crystal displays, especially LED-backlit LCDs, largely replaced cathode ray tubes and other displays. Modern flat panel TVs are typically capable of high-definition display and can also play content from a USB device.
A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.
A game controller, or simply controller, is a device used with games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object or character in the game. Before the seventh generation of video game consoles, plugging in a controller into one of a console's controller ports were the primary means of using a game controller, although since then they have been replaced by wireless controllers, which do not require controller ports on the console but are battery-powered. USB game controllers could also be connected to a computer with a USB port. Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mouses, gamepads, joysticks, etc. Special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games, are also game controllers.
The term "TV game" can be used to refer to any number of self-contained, portable game systems operating on either batteries or an electronic power supply which plugs directly into a TV or VCR. The game software is built directly into the unit, which is typically designed to look like a toy or classic game console/controller with the addition of two AV ports. These systems usually contain either highly specialized games or activities, or a collection of classic games. Thus, it could be viewed as a video game console without interchangeable game software. As the game software is integrated into the game unit and almost never designed to be changed by the user, these game systems are typically sold by retailers as electronic toys or collectibles rather than game consoles. Most units sell for prices typically under $50 US.
Although several manufacturers produced these devices before 2002, such systems became better known following the release of Jakks Pacific's Atari Classic 10-in-1 TV game. Most manufacturers have their own trademarked names for these systems, such as Radica's "Play TV" or Majesco's "TV Arcade"; however, most retailers refer to all of them as TV games or Plug & Play games.
Jakks Pacific, Inc. is an American company that designs and markets toys and consumer products, with a range of products that feature numerous children's toy licenses. The company is named after its founder, Jack Friedman, who had previously founded LJN and THQ and presided over the company until his death in May 2010.
From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s three things happened: first, the retro game movement started to gain momentum, secondly, the price of systems on a chip fell dramatically, and thirdly, car television sets became popular. Several unlicensed family games, such as the TV Boy, were produced. These factors led to manufacturers officially licensing classic games. The first TV games included collections of classic games; one of the earliest was the Toymax Activision 10-in-1, released in 2001. Although the first TV games contained collections of classic games many manufacturers started incorporating original content and controls into the device. Criticism that video games were contributing to obesity in children led to the development of TV games such as the "Play TV" series, including Play TV Baseball, Play TV Football, Play TV Barbie Dance Craze, and others in 2003. Nickelodeon also contracted with Jakks Pacific to create original-content games for the SpongeBob and Blue's Clues titles. in 2004 Tiger also started creating paintball and a Lord of the Rings sword-fighting game, using a toy sword as the controller. In 2004 Radica started producing collections of Sega Games. The C64 Direct-to-TV was also released in 2004 by Toy:Lobster and Mammoth Toys and had a copy of the C64 operating system and a virtual keyboard as a hidden extra. In 2005 Jakks Pacific produced original game content for the new Star Wars and Fantastic Four films, while Tiger produced a Jedi light-saber sword-fight game using a light saber as the controller. In 2005 Milton Bradley started producing TV game versions of Whack-a-Mole and Miniature Golf. Radica's titles include Sonic the Hedgehog , Sonic the Hedgehog 2 , Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle , Columns , and Gain Ground , among others.
The TV Boy and its successors TV Boy II and Super TV Boy are 1990s handheld TV games sold by many different companies, including Systema, Akor, and NICS, based upon an unlicensed clone of Atari 2600 hardware. They were widely available across Europe. In the UK they were most visibly available through Argos. They were released around 1992, and an improved version of the TV Boy 2, the Super TV Boy, was also made by Akor in 1995.
Play TV is a series of Interactive handheld TV game systems by Radica.
The C64 Direct-to-TV, called C64DTV for short, is a single-chip implementation of the Commodore 64 computer, contained in a joystick, with 30 built-in games. The design is similar to the Atari Classics 10-in-1 TV Game. The circuitry of the C64DTV was designed by Jeri Ellsworth, a computer chip designer who had previously designed the C-One.
Atari is a brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA. The original Atari, Inc., founded in Sunnyvale, California in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, and home computers. The company's products, such as Pong and the Atari 2600, helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.
Capcom Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher known for creating numerous multi-million selling game franchises, including Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Monster Hunter, Sengoku BASARA, Ace Attorney, Onimusha, Breath of Fire, and Ōkami, as well as games based on Disney animated properties. Established in 1979, it has become an international enterprise with subsidiaries in North America, Europe, and Japan.
Konami Holdings Corporation, commonly referred to as Konami, is a Japanese entertainment and gaming conglomerate. It operates as a product distributor, video game developer and publisher company. Besides those, it has casinos around the world and also operates health and physical fitness clubs across Japan.
A dedicated console is a video game console that is dedicated to a built-in video game or games, and is not equipped for additional games, via ROM cartridges, discs or other digital media. Dedicated consoles were very popular in the first generation of video game consoles.
A video game clone is either a video game similar to, or inspired, by a previous popular game or series. Usually the term is derogatory, implying a lack of originality and creativity; however, an intentional clone may be anything from a "ripoff" to an honorary homage to its exemplar. The accusation of a game being a clone carries the implication that its developers or publishers try to profit off of the exemplar's success. It may even take the form of an allegation of plagiarism or fraud, which could be taken to court.
The history of video games goes as far back as the early 1950s, when academic computer scientists began designing simple games and simulations as part of their research or just for fun. At M.I.T. in the 1960s, professors and students played games such as 3D tic-tac-toe and Moon Landing. These games were played on computer such as the IBM 1560, and moves were made by means of punch cards. Video gaming did not reach mainstream popularity until the 1970s and 1980s, when video arcade games and gaming consoles using joysticks, buttons, and other controllers, along with graphics on computer screens and home computer games were introduced to the general public. Since the 1980s, video gaming has become a popular form of entertainment and a part of modern popular culture in most parts of the world. One of the early games was Spacewar!, which was developed by computer scientists. Early arcade video games developed from 1972 to 1978. During the 1970s, the first generation of home consoles emerged, including the popular game Pong and various "clones". The 1970s was also the era of mainframe computer games. The golden age of arcade video games was from 1978 to 1982. Video arcades with large, graphics-decorated coin-operated machines were common at malls and popular, affordable home consoles such as the Atari 2600 and Intellivision enabled people to play games on their home TVs. During the 1980s, gaming computers, early online gaming and handheld LCD games emerged; this era was affected by the video game crash of 1983. From 1976 to 1992, the second generation of video consoles emerged.
The Atari 2600, originally sold as the Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS until November 1982, is a home video game console from Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games contained on ROM cartridges, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F in 1976. This contrasts with the older model of having dedicated hardware that could play only those games that were physically built into the unit. The 2600 was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a game cartridge: initially Combat, and later Pac-Man.
A handheld game console, or simply handheld console, is a small, portable self-contained video game console with a built-in screen, game controls, and speakers. Handheld game consoles are smaller than home video game consoles and contain the console, screen, speakers, and controls in one unit, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place.
The Game Gear is an 8-bit fourth generation handheld game console released by Sega on October 6, 1990 in Japan, in April 1991 throughout North America and Europe, and during 1992 in Australia. The Game Gear primarily competed with Nintendo's Game Boy, the Atari Lynx, and NEC's TurboExpress. It shares much of its hardware with the Master System, and can play Master System games by the use of an adapter. Sega positioned the Game Gear, which had a full-color backlit screen with a landscape format, as a technologically superior handheld to the Game Boy.
Tiger Electronics was an American toy manufacturer best known for its handheld LCD games, the Furby, Giga Pets, and the 2-XL robot product, and audio games such as Brain Warp. When Tiger was an independent company, Tiger Electronics Inc., its headquarters was in Vernon Hills, Illinois.
Radica Games Limited is a United States company that produces electronic games, founded in 1983. It began by producing electronic souvenir games for casinos. In the late 1990s, it became known for its Bass Fishin line of games. On October 3, 2006, Mattel, Inc. announced the completion of their acquisition of Radica. While Radica still produces electronic handheld games based on casino or card games, it has branched out into toys, board games, and video game accessories.
Following the popularity and longevity of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the system has seen many clone video game consoles. Such clones are colloquially called Famiclones, and are electronic hardware devices designed to replicate the workings of, and play games designed for, the NES and Famicom. Hundreds of unauthorized clones and unlicensed copies have been made available since the height of the NES popularity in the late 1980s. The technology employed in such clones has evolved over the years: while the earliest clones feature a printed circuit board containing custom or third party integrated circuits (ICs), more recent (post-1996) clones utilize single chip designs, with a custom ASIC which simulates the functionality of the original hardware, and often includes one or more on-board games. Most devices originate in Asian nations, especially China, Taiwan, India, Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent, South Korea.
The Japanese multinational consumer electronics company Nintendo has developed seven home video game consoles and multiple portable consoles for use with external media, as well as dedicated consoles and other hardware for their consoles. As of September 30, 2015, Nintendo has sold over 722.22 million hardware units.
A Namco Plug & Play Game is any of a series of models dedicated to games by Namco which make up a subset of Jakks Pacific's Plug It In & Play TV Games plug & play game system lineup with the exception of the newest one called Pac-Man Connect and Play which was handled by Bandai America instead of Jakks Pacific. They should not be confused with the Japan-only Namco Nostalgia pair of plug & play games directly from Namco Bandai Games.
HotGen, Ltd. is a toy and video game developer based in London. They work for Jakks Pacific and help develop handheld TV games. In late 2016 the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Skyrocket Toys, a California-based toy design company.
A home video game console, or simply home console, is a video game device that is primarily used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles.
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Toys-to-life is a video game feature using physical figurines or action figures to interact within the game. These toys use a near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or image recognition data protocol to determine the individual figurine's proximity, and save a player's progress data to a storage medium located within that piece. It is one of the most lucrative branches of the video game industry, with the Skylanders franchise alone selling more than $3 billion worth over the course of four years.
Atari VCS is an upcoming home video game console produced by Atari, SA. The system was first revealed in June 2017 and pre-orders began on May 30, 2018. While its physical design is intended to pay homage to the Atari 2600, the new Atari VCS is expected to play modern games and streaming entertainment via a Linux-based operating system that will allow users to download and install other compatible games onto it. The system shares a name with Atari, Inc.'s 1977 Video Computer System, usually shortened to VCS, which was renamed to the Atari 2600 in late 1982.