Ken Kutaragi is feeling a little anxious. He has already long established himself as one of the brightest minds at Sony, but today is like being a newbie all over again. That's because on this particular morning, Dec. 3, 1994, the machine that's essentially his life's work, the Sony PlayStation, is about to be released.

Kutaragi spent the previous night with software creators and others at a pre-release party in the Tokyo neighborhood of Ebisu. Now, he and members of his team have spread out across the capital to monitor the PlayStation's debut.

As the launch creeps closer, Kutaragi's mind is racing. Would people buy the system? The electronic stores were set to open at 10 a.m., were PlayStations already on the shelves? Was everything going to run smoothly?