A super-rare prototype of the “Nintendo Playstation” — a failed Frankenstein collaboration between Nintendo and Sony from the early ’90s — surfaced last summer. On Friday, tech wizard Ben Heckendorn posted a video showing that he finally managed to get it completely working.
The Ben Heck Show on YouTube received a partially non-functioning prototype of the Nintendo PlayStation with the hopes that the channel’s host, Heckendorn, could find a way to make it work. After nearly a year, he managed to get the SNES/PlayStation hybrid running. Kind of.
The system has both a disc drive and a cartridge slot, and the prototype in the video could only play SNES cartridge games when it first arrived. The CD drive wouldn’t play anything.
The Nintendo Playstation never actually had any CD games released for it because it never made it to production. Whichever games were made for the console while it was being developed never made it out into the public (as far as we know).
So the only way to test the system was with games made for emulators. With enough tinkering, Heckendorn got two disc-based games to sort of load on the system even though they didn’t totally work like one would expect. But it proved that the hardware itself was up to the task; the software is the piece of the puzzle that needs to align with the hardware.
Heckendorn contacted the creator of one of the games, Magic Floor, to let him know what happened. Although it wasn’t shown on camera, Magic Floor‘s creator made some tweaks to the game and it actually worked.
The whole process of getting everything to work is pretty technical, but The Ben Heck show explains it pretty well. Part of getting the Nintendo PlayStation to run discs was replacing the system’s old capacitors along with “jiggling some things around.”
The Nintendo PlayStation would have been Sony’s first foray into console hardware, and the broken deal between Nintendo and Sony eventually led Sony to produce the disc-only PlayStation in 1994 while Nintendo pushed out the cartridge-loaded Nintendo 64 in 1996.