How Apple and Bandai tried selling dreams to kids and the internet to adults

Ambitious. Unfocused. Desperate. This is the story of Pippin.

The early 90s were pretty grim for Apple. Employees didn't feel great about then-CEO John Sculley's hands-off leadership, and lots of the company's cash — too much, perhaps — was tied up in R&D for projects that either wouldn't connect with the market, or failed to see the light of day. The company's competitiveness was waning fast, and something had to change.

Meanwhile, 5,000 miles away, one of Japan's biggest toymakers was grappling with change of its own. To Bandai CEO Makoto Yamashina, his business — handed to him by his father, no less — was about being a "servant to children", and those children wanted to play video games.

This is the story of how two strikingly different companies decided to work toward a common goal: building a home video game console. And multimedia machine. That could also get you on the internet. Surely it wouldn't be difficult to get all of this stuff right in the 90s, right? History ultimately shows us that things worked out very poorly for everyone involved, but as Apple continues its push into our living rooms, it's worth taking a look back at the last time it tried.