天の声バンク (Ten no Koe Bank) is not a video game. It is not a manga. It is not a hybrid of the two. It is not a Big Mac and chips. 天の声バンク (Ten no Koe Bank) is an accessory that was released for the NEC PC Engine video game console in 1991. The PC Engine console was not afforded a great deal of on-board memory, and managing save games was a problem that quickly required addressing.
If I asked you what’s the first thing that comes to mind about the history of television, you’d most probably bring up names like John Logie Baird, or Marconi. Or perhaps give a detailed description of a post-war family huddled around a box the size of a modern-day London apartment watching Ajax commercials and Blue Peter. You may be of a younger age group and perhaps recall a time when you ‘had to get up to switch the channels’, or ‘the remote control was actually connected by a cord’, or that a television cost a decades wages.
What may not come to the forefront of your mind is the fact that Japan joined the world of broadcasting in 1950, making it one of the first countries in the world with a full, yet experimental, television service. In 1979 Japan was at the forefront again, with NHK launching the world’s first consumer HDTV television service. By 1981, Sony was developing HD video cameras, and by April 1984 had consumer products available in shops nationwide.
Sony. Inventors of Betamax. The Walkman. MiniDisc. Hi-MD. SDDS. 3.5″ Floppy Disks. Blu Ray. This shortlist alone makes for quite a staggering portfolio. So how did a company with such an illustrious technological history make such a catastrophic mess of things with their venture in to IPTV (Internet Protocol television)? Let’s find out with a real first-hand look at PlayStation Vue from someone who actually used the service. Me.