Vintage Sony Watchman Hacked to Play Pong

In 1982 Sony started selling a tiny portable TV called the Watchman. A Marvel of miniaturization at the time, this little TV packed a tiny CRT display, along with the tuner needed to pick up analog TV signals in a housing about the size of it’s audio-only cousin the Walkman. Unfortunately for any Watchman enthusiasts still left, TV stations no longer broadcast in analog signals, so if you turn one on you’ll have to be content watching static.

That is, of course assuming you’re not YouTuber “sideburn” who, as reported here, modded his device to play Pong via an Arduino Nano embedded inside. For this hack, he removed the obsolete TV tuner as well as the decoder chip, giving him more room inside in which to work, and revealing an audio and video input pin. He then subbed the appropriate outputs from the Nano to these two pins, and instead of adding extra buttons for gameplay, he converted the tuner knob into a paddle control. He also used the UHF/VHF selector as a play/pause button.

As seen in the video, it’s a very clean hack and both paddles are controlled simultaneously for single-player fun. Software is adapted from a Hackvision game, so perhaps we’ll see it running other games from that system in the future!

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