Sole Surviving Nintendo PlayStation Rare Prototype Is Now Fully Functional

The wonderfully retro and incredibly rare Nintendo PlayStation has now been made fully functional. The Nintendo PlayStation did not initially include any games. Gaming and electronics freak enthusiast Ben Heck of the Youtube channel The Ben Heck Show, however, recently managed to get Super Boss Gaiden running on the console.

How did Ben get the console to work? After experiencing a few initial roadblocks, Ben replaced a number of capacitors in order to get the CD ROM to work. The board contained a CD ROM controller chip, a digital signal processor, and a microprocessor. The microcontroller controlled the the CD ROM when the system is not in game mode. Ben also discovered that an SNES program was sending commands to the NEC microcontroller and telling it to perform various disc functions. After a few tweaks, Ben was able to boot and play Super Boss Gaiden that was programmed for an emulator.

nintendo playstation running games

Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida recalled playing a few games on the console when he joined PlayStation in 1993. He noted, “When I joined Ken Kutaragi’s team, there was a system called ‘Play Station’ that had both Super Nintendo cartridge support and some disc game support. Actually, I played some games [on it] as well.”

The Nintendo PlayStation or “Super NES CD-ROM System” was supposed to be a cartridge-based SNES with CD ROM capacity. Olaf Olafsson, the former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, was instrumental in this collaboration in the late 80’s and early 90’s, The project fell through and Olafsson eventually moved on to Advanta Corporation. The Nintendo PlayStation may have been entirely lost if Advanta had not filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and auctioned off its items.

Some of Advanta’s possessions were sold to Terry Diebold, a maintenance man for the company between 2000 and 2009. In one of the boxes was the Nintendo PlayStation. Diebold’s son Dan posted about the find in 2015 and sent off the console to Ben Heck in 2016. Only 200 prototypes were ever made and the the remaining 199 have not been found. The Nintendo PlayStation offers a unique glimpse into the video game world of the 1990s and what could have been but unfortunately never was a production ready classic gaming machine.