Hacker Gets The Fabled "Nintendo PlayStation" Working

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Hacker Gets The Fabled "Nintendo PlayStation" Working

Long abandoned by its creators, a hacker has brought the ill-fated Nintendo PlayStation to life.

The story of the Nintendo PlayStation is a very interesting one. Originally, Sony was contracted by Nintendo for a console collaboration. The project ultimately fell through, but Sony decided to enter the console market anyway using what it had learned and developed. Thus Nintendo ended up unwittingly creating its own biggest rival.

As for the Nintendo PlayStation, it existed only as a handful of non-functioning prototypes, one of which was shared back in 2015 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/141441-Sonys-SNES-PlayStation-Add-On-Prototype-Found-in-Junk-Box#&gid=gallery_4381&pid=1]. Now, hacking show "The Ben Heck Show" has announced that it has made the device fully-functional.

The prototype's problem was that while it could play regular SNES games in its cartridge slot, the CD-ROM drive didn't work. By replacing bad capacitors and making a slew of other adjustments and fixes to the unit, Heck has restored its ability to run audio CDs and, most importantly, CD-ROM games.

While many games were in development for this system in the early 1990s, none have ever surfaced publicly. But once the system's specifications became known last year, homebrew game developers created a couple of small games that, in theory, would run.

The good news is that some of those homebrew games do, in fact run. Not very well, but they do. Now that the hardware is fully functional, its up to developers to figure out how to make games for it.

Source: The Ben Heck Show [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaIfPuziJ-0]

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TelosSupreme

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thebobmaster said:
Cue Nintendo stepping in to issue C&D's to anyone actually trying to make games for this thing. :p
Actually, who does legally own this thing? After all, Sony had a significant part in its creation. I'm honestly surprised this hasn't been donated to a museum all this time.
 

Zontar

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Feb 18, 2013
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This seems like old news given how Super Bunnyhop did a video on it 3 months ago [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRail-6p--U]
 

Zulnam

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thebobmaster said:
Cue Nintendo stepping in to issue C&D's to anyone actually trying to make games for this thing. :p
You beat me to it. They're probably already have the papers done
 

step1999

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Zontar said:
This seems like old news given how Super Bunnyhop did a video on it 3 months ago [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRail-6p--U]
The CD part didn't function yet then, only the SNES port. They've actually got the disc drive working now and playing homebrew games.
 

AzrealMaximillion

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Jan 20, 2010
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The console that lead to the birth of the Playstation. Nintendo handled this situation with such disgrace. They signed a bad contract and rather than renegotiate, they up and left Sony high and dry with a console prototype while they went with a surprise failed venture with Phillips.

Sony proceeded to blow the fuck out of the competition for 2 generations straight. Its funny that the Playstation came out as a response to pettiness.
 

WeepingAngels

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AzrealMaximillion said:
The console that lead to the birth of the Playstation. Nintendo handled this situation with such disgrace. They signed a bad contract and rather than renegotiate, they up and left Sony high and dry with a console prototype while they went with a surprise failed venture with Phillips.

Sony proceeded to blow the fuck out of the competition for 2 generations straight. Its funny that the Playstation came out as a response to pettiness.
Nintendo signed a bad contract drafted by who?
 

CrazyGirl17

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Sep 11, 2009
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That's cool and all, but I wouldn't be surprised if some corporate suit will try to put a stop to this. And for anyone interested in how the "Nintendo PlayStation" came about, well, this guy explains it better than I ever could:
 

Naldan

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Feb 25, 2015
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Remember that this means that emulation eventually will profit from this as well.
 

nickpy

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CrazyGirl17 said:
That's cool and all, but I wouldn't be surprised if some corporate suit will try to put a stop to this.
I'm not convinced that any said corporate suit could have a leg to stand on here. Provided they can prove that the console was acquired legally, they're free under the law to do whatever they want with it, including reverse-engineering it for the purposes of repair and compatibility (at least, that's the law here in britain, not so sure about the 'states though I would imagine its similar). I watched all three of Heck's videos documenting the Nintendo PlayStation, and the only possibly illegal thing I saw was him playing the unreleased starfox 2 ROM on it in the second video, which obviously is piracy, but nothing else they've done looks illegal to me.

Also, at this point, what would C&D'ing it accomplish? Its the only prototype known prototype of a product that never made it to market some 20 years ago. Its hardly likely to contain any super-secret intellectual property that is still cutting edge today, and using it is hardly hurting nintendo. If anything I would hope that Ninty would recognise the historical significance of the machine, and just leave it be.
 

AzrealMaximillion

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WeepingAngels said:
AzrealMaximillion said:
The console that lead to the birth of the Playstation. Nintendo handled this situation with such disgrace. They signed a bad contract and rather than renegotiate, they up and left Sony high and dry with a console prototype while they went with a surprise failed venture with Phillips.

Sony proceeded to blow the fuck out of the competition for 2 generations straight. Its funny that the Playstation came out as a response to pettiness.
Nintendo signed a bad contract drafted by who?
That part isn't known.

What's known is Nintendo wasn't happy with the licensing of their characters and games on this machine, which was originally to be an attachment to the SNES. They wanted full control of the CD Based games but signed those rights to Sony. They went on to announce a partnership with Phillips the day after Sony announced the "Play Station" SNES CD-Rom. Without telling Sony.

Nintendo started off wanting a console attachment to compete with the mediocre Sega CD attachment, and wound up paying Phillips to make a Console/PC hybrid that was overpriced and not very good.

Sony threatened to sue, but then decided to use their resources as a manufacturer to make the Playstation.

Funny thing is. Sony was still one of the manufacturers of the Phillips CD-i. And Nintendo wound up giving Phillips similar rights to what they gave Sony.

Its looked at as Nintendo's biggest mistake to have done Sony dirty like that and it cost them a lot of 3rd party support by not having a console that was disk based until the Gamecube in 2001.
 

WeepingAngels

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AzrealMaximillion said:
WeepingAngels said:
AzrealMaximillion said:
The console that lead to the birth of the Playstation. Nintendo handled this situation with such disgrace. They signed a bad contract and rather than renegotiate, they up and left Sony high and dry with a console prototype while they went with a surprise failed venture with Phillips.

Sony proceeded to blow the fuck out of the competition for 2 generations straight. Its funny that the Playstation came out as a response to pettiness.
Nintendo signed a bad contract drafted by who?
That part isn't known.

What's known is Nintendo wasn't happy with the licensing of their characters and games on this machine, which was originally to be an attachment to the SNES. They wanted full control of the CD Based games but signed those rights to Sony. They went on to announce a partnership with Phillips the day after Sony announced the "Play Station" SNES CD-Rom. Without telling Sony.

Nintendo started off wanting a console attachment to compete with the mediocre Sega CD attachment, and wound up paying Phillips to make a Console/PC hybrid that was overpriced and not very good.

Sony threatened to sue, but then decided to use their resources as a manufacturer to make the Playstation.

Funny thing is. Sony was still one of the manufacturers of the Phillips CD-i. And Nintendo wound up giving Phillips similar rights to what they gave Sony.

Its looked at as Nintendo's biggest mistake to have done Sony dirty like that and it cost them a lot of 3rd party support by not having a console that was disk based until the Gamecube in 2001.
Chances are Sony wrote those terms or Nintendo wouldn't have reacted so violently when they found out what they had unknowingly signed. I think both parties were in the wrong here, Nintendo more so for their reaction but I object when people pretend it was ALL on Nintendo.

I also think that eventually Sony would have entered the market with their own console anyway. Once they got a taste of the game industry by working with Nintendo, I just don't see them remaining on the sidelines as a Nintendo partner.

The CD won out because of it's massive storage and that was great for the time but now when my son buys a game that needs 45 GB of storage on the criminally small PS4 HDD, I cringe at the massive size of modern games and I believe that size limitations did benefit game design. Shit just seems bloated now.
 

AzrealMaximillion

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WeepingAngels said:
AzrealMaximillion said:
WeepingAngels said:
AzrealMaximillion said:
The console that lead to the birth of the Playstation. Nintendo handled this situation with such disgrace. They signed a bad contract and rather than renegotiate, they up and left Sony high and dry with a console prototype while they went with a surprise failed venture with Phillips.

Sony proceeded to blow the fuck out of the competition for 2 generations straight. Its funny that the Playstation came out as a response to pettiness.
Nintendo signed a bad contract drafted by who?
That part isn't known.

What's known is Nintendo wasn't happy with the licensing of their characters and games on this machine, which was originally to be an attachment to the SNES. They wanted full control of the CD Based games but signed those rights to Sony. They went on to announce a partnership with Phillips the day after Sony announced the "Play Station" SNES CD-Rom. Without telling Sony.

Nintendo started off wanting a console attachment to compete with the mediocre Sega CD attachment, and wound up paying Phillips to make a Console/PC hybrid that was overpriced and not very good.

Sony threatened to sue, but then decided to use their resources as a manufacturer to make the Playstation.

Funny thing is. Sony was still one of the manufacturers of the Phillips CD-i. And Nintendo wound up giving Phillips similar rights to what they gave Sony.

Its looked at as Nintendo's biggest mistake to have done Sony dirty like that and it cost them a lot of 3rd party support by not having a console that was disk based until the Gamecube in 2001.
Chances are Sony wrote those terms or Nintendo wouldn't have reacted so violently when they found out what they had unknowingly signed. I think both parties were in the wrong here, Nintendo more so for their reaction but I object when people pretend it was ALL on Nintendo.

I also think that eventually Sony would have entered the market with their own console anyway. Once they got a taste of the game industry by working with Nintendo, I just don't see them remaining on the sidelines as a Nintendo partner.

The CD won out because of it's massive storage and that was great for the time but now when my son buys a game that needs 45 GB of storage on the criminally small PS4 HDD, I cringe at the massive size of modern games and I believe that size limitations did benefit game design. Shit just seems bloated now.
Oh, no doubt Sony did some fuckery. I think its more that the contract was written but then Sony decided to exploit some of the holes. They did build the thing and got to design it. In the end it came down to how Nintendo wanted the disks to be read. Nintendo wanted the disks to work more like a floppy disk so they could control the licensing. Sony wanted the machine itself to read the disks so they could license games themselves knowing full well they had Nintendo's characters at their disposal.

Nintendo should have made their own CD based console way earlier. They wouldn't have lost games like FF7 to Sony if that were the case.

I heavily agree with you that game's have become bloated in terms of size. Its one of the reasons I primarily PC game. Better for design, but the lack of proportionate HHD is frankly fucking disgusting.
 

Avnger

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WeepingAngels said:
Chances are Sony wrote those terms or Nintendo wouldn't have reacted so violently when they found out what they had unknowingly signed. I think both parties were in the wrong here, Nintendo more so for their reaction but I object when people pretend it was ALL on Nintendo.
Hold the damn phone here. It doesn't matter who wrote the contract when both parties signed it, unless you're trying to imply that Nintendo's management is stupid enough to sign anything put under their noses.

Nintendo isn't some random person off the street or a brand-new start-up business. They were, even at the time, a multi-million dollar corporation who had been around the block a few times that could hire the best lawyers money could buy. Nintendo is entirely to blame for the situation and their reaction to it. Either they failed to use their significant resources to read and understand a contract or they they did read and understand it but lost their shit anyway.
 

JayDeth

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Wait wait wait... people are making games for a decades old prototype game console? Why?