Rare ‘Nintendo Play Station’ prototype going up for public sale

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photo of Nintendo PlayStation prototype with controller and cartridge, on white background

Image: Heritage Auctions

There’s an alternate timeline in some other universe the place the PlayStation is a Nintendo product. In the early ’90s, Sony Computer Entertainment engineer — and later chairman and CEO of the unit — Ken Kutaragi created the Super Nintendo sound chip, which sparked one other collaboration between the 2 firms: a disc-based console addition. Despite disagreements on each side, Kutaragi designed the console, and a pair hundred prototypes have been produced of the Super NES CD-ROM System, colloquially often known as the SNES-CD or Nintendo Play Station.

For a very long time, nobody was even positive certainly one of these nonetheless existed; it’s possible that almost all of them have been destroyed. But one exists, owned by Terry Diebold, who purchased the unit in a blind public sale when the corporate he labored for, Advanta Corporation, went bankrupt. The SNES-CD was in a field of stuff as soon as owned by former Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Olaf Olafsson, who later labored at Advanta. After shuttling the console round to gaming conventions for years, Diebold is now able to half with the Nintendo Play Station.

“It’s the first time this prototype has ever been offered at public auction before,” Heritage Auctions consignment director Valarie McLeckie instructed Polygon. “Nintendo and Sony are arguably two of the biggest competitors in video games today. It’s just a little baffling to some to see Nintendo and Sony sharing the same console — and that it has the namesake of the PlayStation itself.”

None of the games created particularly for the console prototype have ever been discovered, however the machine is in a position to play games. In 2017, grasp modder Ben Heckendorn took the console aside and fixed the CD-ROM drive. McLeckie confirmed to Polygon that, certainly, every thing nonetheless works.

The public sale is scheduled for March 5-7, 2020, however patrons can begin bidding online in February. “We don’t have any sample as to what this could possible sell for,” McLeckie mentioned. “The market’s going to have to dictate the value on this one.”

She famous that estimates vary from six figures to “the downright shocking.” Last week, Diebold told Kotaku that he turned down a $1.2 million provide from an individual in Norway.

Heritage Auctions started auctioning video game collectibles in February 2019; McLeckie mentioned it’s gotten progressively extra video games consigned to it over the previous yr. In early November, a super-rare copy of Mega Man was offered for a shocking $75,000 — a record as probably the most worthwhile sealed game offered at public sale. Hundreds of different games have been offered on the time, too: Bubble Bobble Part 2, Super Mario Bros., and The Legend of Zelda for $19,200 every, and Mario Bros. for $15,465.60.

An inflow in collectibles offered at public sale could also be, partially, because of a trusted third-party grading service referred to as Wata Games. Grading companies are outdated hat for the public sale business; every thing’s received a ranking to find out its situation, and, subsequently, worth. Wata Games was based in 2018 as an skilled service that assesses and certifies video games and associated collectibles.

The Nintendo Play Station will definitely promote when it’s up on public sale in March. I imply, take a look at the factor. There’s one thing so implausible a couple of basic Super Nintendo controller that, as an alternative of Nintendo, says PlayStation.

“If you look at the back, Nintendo is actually embossed in the plastic, and the connector has Sony on it,” mentioned McLeckie. “As far as rarities go, it’s such a unique piece.”