Apparently, Sony was kicking around getting into video games years before it finally released its landscape-altering Playstation console in 1994.
Before its Playstation, Sony briefly partnered with Nintendo to create a game machine, but that deal fell through. But even that wasn’t Sony’s earliest feelers into the gaming world—it created a console way back in the 1970s so prototypical, it never even had a name.
As Kotaku reports, the console floated up to the surface of the internet this week thanks to a timely post on Video Games Densetsu, which cited an old article by Japanese magazine Famitsu, which in turn found the console at a gaming history exhibition in the early 2000s. Apparently the thing would run cards or cartridges of some kind, likely similar to the kind that used by the Atari 2600, and was seemingly controlled by the buttons and big-ass dial on the actual machine. The labels on the controls, according to Kotaku’s translation, don’t make them sound especially engaging: the buttons are marked “Answer” with the numbers 1, 2 and 3, and “Proceed.” Sounds like a retro-future bar trivia machine.
The craziest part is that this thing never seems to even have gotten out of the board room or R&D lab. The label on the exhibit just calls the console “Prototype TV Game Machine.” You don’t get more “Yeah, nevermind” about a piece of technology than that. Too bad Sony didn’t keep that kick-ass ’70s spacestation color scheme for its later machines, though.