An extremely rare and precious prototype of what appears to be a Nintendo-Sony Playstation has been discovered.
Before Sony entered the home console arena it partnered with Nintendo to work on a CD-ROM drive for the SNES. Sony introduced a standalone console at 1991’s summer Consumer Electronics Show called the “Play Station.” The goal was to eventually release a console that could not only play Nintendo game cartridges but also games on compact disks. Development of the format started in 1988, when the two companies signed a deal, but after several years of development, things went haywire.
Due to licensing disagreements with Sony, Nintendo announced that it had formed an alliance with Sony’s rival Philips instead, making it one of the most infamous double-crosses in the history of the medium.
The Nintendo/Philips deal produced a few games featuring Nintendo characters for the CD-i multimedia device, but never resulted in a CD-ROM add-on for the SNES. The CD-i itself was as a commercial failure; meanwhile Sony would release the stand-alone PlayStation system, which would go on to become a best-selling console and end Nintendo’s dominance of the industry.
Only 200 of the consoles were said to have been produced in the early Nineties, and it was believed that all of the prototypes were ordered destroyed … until now.
A Colorado man released images this week of what might be the mythical Nintendo Sony Playstation – the most treasured piece of video game memorabilia. Dan Diebold of Denver posted a photo of what he called his father’s “super disc” on Reddit and thus began a world wide web investigation. Additional pictures were later uploaded showing details of the box, made of a mix of components of the Super Nintendo and what later became the Sony Playstation. Included is a Super Famicom controller but with a Sony PlayStation logo.
Polygon reports that Diebold’s father, Terry Diebold, “worked as a maintenance man at a company called Advanta Corporation from 2000 to 2009. As chance would have it, Olaf Olafsson, a then 35-year-old physicist and best-selling novelist, was the president of the company. Olafsson also happened to be the former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, a unit of Sony created in 1991 to, among other things, create and bring to market the PlayStation. It was during Olafsson’s time that Sony worked to establish a relationship with Nintendo to create a peripheral that would allow the Super NES to play CD games. The company also worked on creating a Sony-branded device that would play both SNES games and SNES-CD games”.
Some have doubts as to the machine’s accuracy. Commenters on message boards have pointed out that the font appears to show PlayStation as a single word while the original project was named Play Station. More curious is how only parts of the console seem to have aged, while others have not.
The entire story has yet to be confirmed, but the finder has posted a video on Youtube showing off the console. He hasn’t powered it up yet since he doesn’t have the correct power supply, but he intends to find one. Given the age of the system and its status as a prototype, there’s a good chance it won’t ever work.
Speaking to Polygon, Diebold admits that his father’s current financial situation may result in him selling the machine to the highest bidder: “When they went bankrupt the company ordered my dad to throw a bunch of s*** out. As he was cleaning out the rooms he found this box. He kept a bunch of stuff from there. My dad has tons of old systems and s***. He keeps everything. I’m sure my dad would think about selling it because he’s pretty broke.”
What’s your take on this? Is this a long-lost piece of video game history, or have we been duped? Does it belong in a museum or should he sell it to the highest bidder? Watch the video below for a closer look.