RetroVision – A Wild Nintendo PlayStation Appears!

One of the holy grails of retro gaming has been discovered, behold the Nintendo PlayStation.  Yep you read that right!  Nintendo might have been on top globally in the early 90s, but that didn’t mean they weren’t concerned by both the challenge that SEGA posed, and the rumours of an impending Mega Drive / Genesis CD-ROM add on.  As such Nintendo began a secret joint venture with Sony which looked to combine the increased graphical potential of Sony’s proprietary CD-ROM technology with the Super Famicom.  However, during the project a variety of disagreements arose between the two Japanese powerhouses, leading to Nintendo Owner and President Hiroshi Yamauchi to cancel all plans for the venture, and subsequently causing the project to never fully see the light of day – until now.

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Two of gaming’s greatest names beautifully merged into one.

Rumour had held that only around 200 prototypes of these ‘Nintendo PlayStation’ consoles were ever produced, and then they were unceremoniously destroyed following the closure of the joint venture, and as such all physical evidence of the partnership.  However, it seems not all were destroyed, as recently a reddit user called “Dan Diebold” posted these pictures of the hybrid console’s prototype that he found in his father’s attic.  There have been a great many discoveries in the gaming world recently that have turned out to be fakes, however the description that goes along with the find does seem to lead credence to the authenticity of the discovery.  According to Diebold, in the early 2000s his father used to work for the now bankrupt banking company – Advanta Corporation, this company was run at the time by Olaf Olafsson, the former CEO of Sony’s Interactive Entertainment division at the time the ‘Nintendo PlayStation’ project was being developed.

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It seems Mr Olafsson managed to save one of the prototypes from the project and when Advanta Corporation closed its doors Diebold’s father managed to save the prototype from the landfill when clearing out the place.  He obviously didn’t know quite what he had in his hands, and hence the prototype seems to have spent the last decade unfortunately hidden in his attic, before being found by his son in a moment most gamers could only dream of.  Thankfully Dan Diebold has shared this with all of us and we can now marvel at just what could have been.  Nevertheless as we all know, despite the failure of the project, thanks to “The Father of the PlayStation” Ken Kutaragi, and Sony President Norio Ohga, Sony pressed ahead declaring they would finish project ‘PlayStation’ themselves.  The Sony Playstation was later launched in December 1994 in Japan, and was built around the CD-ROM technology once reserved for Nintendo.  The rest as they say is history.  Thankfully though we can now hopefully have a physical reminder of this monumental event in the history of gaming.  Let’s just hope that one day the ‘Nintendo PlayStation’ makes it way into a museum, where it deserves to be.

Simon Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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