Video games have become a huge part of our culture ever since it was first introduced through classic arcade games. One of the first consoles to become successful worldwide was Nintendo's NES (which originally launched in Japan in 1983 and released to the rest of the world in 1985). For the longest time, Nintendo dominated the household market, developing a total of 7 different home consoles (ranging from classics like the Nintendo 64 to the most recent Wii U). Recently, however, Nintendo has fallen to the wayside to reveal the two juggernauts of the home console video gaming world: Microsoft and Sony. Many people argue about which one is better, Sony's Playstation or Microsoft's Xbox? Statistics would side with Sony.
History of the Playstation
Launching nearly a decade after Nintendo's NES, Sony's Playstation became available to the people of Japan in 1994. Six years later, Sony would release the Playstation 2, which is currently the best selling home console of all time, with over 155 million units sold. Another six years would show the unveiling of the Playstation 3. Finally in 2013, Sony started to sell the critically acclaimed Playstation 4, which would land the company another record. Within the first 24 hours of being on sale, the Playstation 4 was purchased more than one million times - marking it as the fastest selling console in history.
Clearly, Sony has been doing well for itself. Focusing on creating systems with the gamer in mind. By offering stunningly smooth operating systems and cutting edge graphics, Sony has managed to rise to the top of the pack competing alongside Microsoft's line of Xbox's. However, one can't help but wonder what the gaming world would look like if a system had come out before the NES, what if that system had been created by Sony?
Time Travel Back to the 70s
Take yourself back to a time when Star Wars and David Bowie were at the forefront of pop culture, politics were divided over the rights of select groups of people, the threat of war was on the horizon, and people complained of big businesses (huh...on second though it might not be that hard to think of such a time). Nobody had thought of offering a gaming system to be used in people's homes...at least, that's what we though.
Sony's "Prototype TV Game Machine"
A few days ago, a tumblr page by the name of Video Games Densetsu uncovered an old Japanese article boasting pictures of one of the oldest known home gaming systems ever. The article features pictures from the 2002-2005 "Sōichirō Honda and Masaru Ibuka - Dream and Creativity" exhibition (Honda is the founder of the Honda car company and Ibuka is the founder of Sony). All we know for certain about the very first Sony game system is that it used cards or cartridges to operate.
Dating back to at least the 1970s, it is believed that the system was operated using the red (こたえ/Kotae, or ANSWER) and blue (すすめ/Susume, or PROCEED). If this is true, than there would have been some sort of input onto a screen with plays using the blue and red buttons located on the console itself to play. There's also a large knob on the side of the system that would most likely be used to scroll through choices.
Why don't we know more?
The simple answer is Sony doesn't even know how the system would have worked. Famitsu reached out to PR at Sony to get more information years ago, and were told that specific details and the exact year it was made had been lost. Easy to understand, as there weren't exactly computers or the internet back in the 1970s were information could be stored more easily.
Imagine having an in-home console nearly a decade before the NES hit the worldwide markets. Would Sony have dominated the console game before anybody else even tried? Would we have the same console war as today? Would systems have become increasingly better as companies tried to outdo one another? If we had gotten into household gaming long before NES, one could theorize that we might have seen systems like the Xbox One and the PS4 years ago and by now be onto something bigger and better. Unfortunately, we will never know what might have been, but taking a look at one of the very first gaming systems is pretty cool!