Found: The SNES PlayStation Prototype. Of things lost and imagined


Back in the day, Nintendo and Sony had teamed-up for the PlayStation. A collaboration that would bring disc-based games to a Nintendo system. But that shit didn’t pan out, Nintendo lost all their third-party support (for the most part) to the PSX, and the rest is history. Not lost to history, though. ‘Cause someone has unearthed a prototype console of this fabled machine.

Ars Technica:

At the 1989 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nintendo of America’s then-chairman Howard Lincoln took the stage to reveal some unexpected news: the company was partnering with European electronics firm Philips to make a CD-ROM-based games console. While the announcement took everyone in the audience by surprise, Sony engineer Ken Kutaragi was the most shocked of all. Just the night before, he and several Sony executives had been demonstrating a product developed in partnership with Nintendo. It was to be the world’s first hybrid console, featuring an SNES cartridge slot and a CD drive, with both formats available to game developers. That product, called “Play Station” (with a space), would never see the light of day.

Industry lore suggests that only 200 of the Play Station consoles were ever produced, and hardly anyone has actually seen one of the fabled consoles in the flesh. However, pictures of the legendary original Play Station surfaced on reddit yesterday (retrieved via Nintendo Life thanks to the current furore over on the site), showing the hybrid console in all its grey and yellowed-plastic glory.

The reddit user claims that the console was discovered in a box of items given to him from a friend of his father who used to work at Nintendo. The pictures show that the Play Station featured an SNES cartridge slot on top, complete with a small LCD display and buttons that appear to be used for controlling playback of audio CDs. The rear of the Play Station shows a variety of audio and video outputs, while the familiar SNES controller bears Sony branding.