Wait … what’s a walkman doing in here?
True, it has an LCD so fits the liquid crystal vibe — but have you ever seen a name-brand cassette walkman (sorry Sony, personal music player) with not one, but two unique games?!
This isn’t some iPod lookalike with a big colour LCD where it’s pretty easy to program a game – but a classic early 90s walkman with digital tuner and auto-reverse cassette.
The AIWA HS-TX494 – also badged with slight or no differences as HS-TX496 and with weather and TV audio as HS-TX591 – came with HP-M007 earphones and an average but quality feature set.
Radio (AM/FM with 30 presets available), auto-reverse cassette, Super Bass, Ear Guard and, best of all, games!!
The games don’t make any sounds so can probably be played without disturbing your musical enjoyment.
Game one is a reaction timer / slot machine game. You start with 20 points, each game costs one point to play. You are aiming to get three of a kind (for 20 points) or, ideally, three sevens (for 50 points). Strangely compelling, it’s a game that’s hard to master but quite fun to play despite its simplicity.
Game two is a reaction timer with a difference. The five preset station buttons represent numbers 1-5. Numbers flash up on the screen and you have to press the corresponding button. Should be easy but the numbers don’t appear above their expected button so you have a split second to work out which button to press based on the number on the screen without being put off by where on the screen it appears.
At the end of a minute you see your score, and immediately want to try and beat it!
The only other game walkmans I’ve seen, other than a very few different AIWA models, have been no-name products with a tetris game slapped on the side of a cassette player. A bit like the Sanyo Radio and Game offerings in the 1980s.
This walkman I picked up locally for around $20. The belts have long since perished (not mentioned in the auction 😖, but even if they were still intact they would have needed changing after this long) – the rest of it works great and while it will be a bastard to take apart (looks like a single screw then a lot of tight, brittle clips) I’m looking forward to getting this fully working again.