The Nintendo PlayStation was the result of a temporary partnership between Nintendo and Sony, a partnership that ended when Nintendo “betrayed” Sony, causing Sony to go on to make their own PlayStation console, and sending the Nintendo PlayStation into the game console void. Out of the roughly 200 Nintendo PlayStation consoles that were made, only one is known to still be in existence, and it has now been rendered playable.
According to Popular Mechanics, the partnership between Nintendo and Sony began when Ken Kutaragi, who worked as a researcher for Sony, was watching his daughter playing on an original Nintendo, or Famicom, system. He thought that the sound design on the Nintendo system could be improved upon, so he went to the higher ups in Sony and convinced them to work with Nintendo. Kutaragi’s idea went beyond a simple sound card for the Super Nintendo, Nintendo’s next console. Together, Nintendo and Sony would add a CD-ROM unit for the Super Nintendo, allowing the console to play both game cartridges and CDs. A prototype was made, called the Nintendo PlayStation, and the partnership was officially announced in 1991 at the Consumer Electronics Show.
What Sony did not know was that Nintendo had gone behind Sony’s back, and had made a deal with Phillips, which was the company providing the CD-i technology. This deal, which has been called a “betrayal,” gave control of the Nintendo PlayStation project to Nintendo. Sony executives were furious and decided to go their own separate way. Sony made their own PlayStation console, which has led to Sony being one of the top game companies with rumors of a PlayStation 5 being announced in the not-so-distant future, according to TechRadar.
What, then, became of the Nintendo PlayStation? For more than 20 years, the Nintendo PlayStation disappeared. Gamers enjoyed the other Nintendo consoles, Sony’s PlayStations, and consoles from other game developing companies. Then, two years ago, a man named Terry Diebold found one of the ancient Nintendo PlayStation prototypes in his attic.
Diebold gave the Nintendo PlayStation to a hardware hacker named Ben Heckendorn, who was able to open up the Nintendo PlayStation and managed to get it working enough to play Super Nintendo cartridges, but he was unable to get the CD-ROM part of the console to work. However, in a recent video, as reported by US Gamer, Ben Heck has finally managed to get the Nintendo PlayStation fully working and playable.
“I was working on it yesterday and the CD-ROM wasn’t even detecting the disc,” said Heck in the video.
“I came in this morning and jiggled the cables around and got ready to work on it some more, and all of a sudden it worked. Did a magical elf come in overnight?”
Heck was able to get the Nintendo PlayStation to play two separate audio CDs. One of the CDs skipped a bit right at the beginning but had no other problems after that. Heck then attempted to get the Nintendo PlayStation to play some games. Since there were no games made specifically for the Nintendo PlayStation, he had to use what are known as “homebrew” games in order to test the Nintendo PlayStation. Heck tested two different games, Super Boss Gaiden, which only gave an error message, and Magic Floor which played mostly fine, aside from a few glitches. Heck contacted the homebrew developer of Magic Floor, and the glitches were fixed. Heck is now ready to return the Nintendo PlayStation back to Diebold as a fully functional, fully playable console.
“…now it’s down to the programmers learning what the hardware can actually do, versus what they thought it could do,” says Heck near the end of the video.
At last, the dead Nintendo PlayStation has been brought back to life. It can now perform its intended function of playing both CD-ROMs and game cartridges. Who knows what Diebold will do once he receives his newly resurrected Nintendo PlayStation, but he should count himself lucky to have the only one.
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