On the PlayStation MiniDisc Walkman AirTag HighFives
editor's note: A pitch. A portfolio. A product.
Honestly? I'm struggling to articulate every possible avenue of my vision.
My sister was here over the holiday and she was writing an informative speech on the PlayStation and how it came about and what it became.
The intrapraneur at Sony had first modded the original Nintendo Entertainment System to have better sound because a game his daughter was playing produced sounds that irritated his engineer trained ear. This mod became critical to the success of why one should upgrade from the NES to the Super NES.
I was an intrapreneur at Netflix that wanted to break into gaming.
Mission: Failed. Game Over.
But the main reason why I worked in Los Gatos was to gain nine lives.
Netflix.Com was just one. Sillyz.Computer is just one. Sony.Com could be one— I see their offices on my walk every day.
Since breaking into entertainment, I've primarily been operating as a producer and capturing content.
My favorite album was recorded on a Sony Walkman MiniDisc Player.
MiniDisc was a storage format, like vinyl records, floppy disks, dvds, sd cards. However, this was a special hybrid digital physical format for a digital phyiscal device. It could sync music downloaded from the internet or from line-level microphones.
A cassette player style recording studio in your pocket that could remix and remaster with anyone anywhere.
You could sell your cassettes to other people with players, but the physical format of compact discs won the battle of the era for their ability to stack, sleeve, and spool more effectively.
The lesson is— physical storage of digital information is critical to the ability for it to be properly disseminated and archived. In short, the MiniDisc Walkman failed to gain market traction. That said, the MiniDisc was still a success in the evolutionary chain of computing.
I recorded an album in 2023 using it. I made a music video for it. Listen to the warmth in sound. That's a single SM-58— studio grade microphone— wired directly into a Sony WalkMan MiniDisc Player.
The video itself was recorded on Sony hardware, the ZV-1 point and shoot video cameras. I used three. That's what I record live standup comedy on, but that's better wired into Black Magic ISO Pro to download live edited footage to an iPad as Da Vinci Resolve files that can sync with cloud collaborators anywhere.
The Black Magic and the iPad are the only two non-sony devices I use in my interactive production studio.
For recording ambient spaces, I have six UX570— pocket field recorders. For playtesting my virtual environments, I have two PlayStation 4 controllers I connect to the iPad, and my web client. If I need to test backwards compatibility of my Object-Oriented Model-View Entity Component System— OOMVECS— I dial up the legacy web browser on my limited edition bronze-plated PlayStation 4 that reads 35040/50000.
My hardware might be unique to me, but I assure you the polyfill I use to make sure that the PlayStation 4 is a fully capable client of my live service gaming network is the same polyfill that makes sure my KaiOS flip phones are fully capable clients.
Realistically though, for the price, you're better of picking up a maxed out Rasbperry Pi 5 for under $100 and you can just swap out the SD card when you want to switch from my gaming platform to a retro gaming platform that's compatible with legacy computer architectures.
The flip-side is, I can cross-compile for other computer architectures, so if you don't like the free version in the web browser on the PlayStation 4, I can sell you a full release native build.
That's the expensive part— actually integrating my business model with the business models of my competitors, which is why I need to charge full price for that. But if you subscribe for a year, I'll include a native app for their gaming computer platform, otherwise I'm claiming this is already more stable than currently released AAA-titles— with an even higher upside for long-term player value and $60 is a fair trade, if $5 per month for cloud game saves sounds like too much.
So even if you don't have PlayStation 4, I can get you discs for your PlayStation 5 or your Xbox 360. If you're done with discs, my paper gameboys are fully digital and you can scan the qr code to unlock iPhone/iPad/Mac/Android apps, Windows executables, and 6-Platform Apes. Again, that's only if you don't like the free web version.
I know you're thinking this all sounds ridiculous and over-complicated, but please hear me out.
My product is a device fits in the palm of your hand, has four buttons— an X, a Circle, a Square, and a Triangle. A hand-held computer. Inside is the life of your entire digital avatar. Books. Music. Movies. Games. Stories of all kinds. Your stories. A new kind of Sony Walkman.
Anyway, I'll read you my sister's speech now, which is about the Sony PlayStation, but I like to think of it as free child labor that provided me with not just market research of my competition, but also a roadmap for my career and creative trajectory. That day we worked from a blue bottle coffee in San Mateo— the same city that headquarters Sony, Roblox, and Sillyz.Computer.
The main thing I want you to take away is that the Sony employee that helped Nintendo with their gaming platform wasn't fired for treason. He became the pioneer father of the first Sony PlayStation, which rivaled the Nintendo and Sega line of products— putting Sonic the Hedgehog underwater, but inspired Bill Gates to believe Microsoft could launch the Xbox after poaching the developers of the Halo franchise from Apple's Macintosh line by creating a compatible physical digital agreement that jived with the studio heads at Bungie more than Steve Jobs' pitch.
Ken Kutaragi eventually became the CEO of Sony, which still arguably has the best line of engineered entertainment products in all of not just Silicon Valley, but the world.
Now that's winning the metaverse and it all started by modding a platform that did exist and by happenchance creating one that didn't yet then.