With a few slightly different decisions, the video game industry of today could look wildly different from what we have now. Case in point is the Nintendo PlayStation; the phrase sounds like gibberish coming from your mom’s mouth when she wants you to stop bugging her, but was very nearly a real thing. Now, the prototype Nintendo Super Famicom-PlayStation hybrid system is up for auction. At the time of this writing, it has passed $300,000.
This rare prototype first surfaced back in 2015 in very good condition. Since then, the owner has managed to get the console working with the help of tech YouTuber Ben Heckendorn. The device can boot up with a debug cartridge and play audio CDs, the listing says. Heritage Auctions is hosting the listing, where the price is climbing quickly. The seller told Kotaku that he rejected an offer for $1.2 million for the console from a Norwegian buyer.
If you’re not familiar with the legacy of this device, it represents one of the biggest “almost was” moments of video games. Before Sony ever dreamed of entering the video game market, Nintendo had contracted them to help build a system that would play Super Famicom cartridges and CD-ROM games. Sony was to manufacture the system until Nintendo pulled the plug on it. While top brass at Sony lost interest in the device, parties in the company fought for it and kept it alive almost in secret. A quarter-century later, the system makes up the single biggest segment of Sony’s hardware business.
The Nintendo Play Station was almost lost to time
Photo Credit: Mats Lindh / Flickr / CC 2.0
The model on auction belongs to a man named Terry Diebold, who bought a lot of abandoned property from a former Sony exec named Olaf Olafsson; that name should sound very familiar to anyone interested in console history. He was a prominent figure in the Console Wars book by Blake J. Harris. Diebold’s son discovered the console in his attic and posted pictures online for the world to see, and the game collectors’ community went nuts.
The auction for the Nintendo PlayStation is up for another 20 days, ending in mid-March. The price is sure to keep climbing into seven digits before the auction ends.