Nintendo PlayStation prototype restored to working condition

Adam Westlake - May 7, 2017, 7:02am CDT
Nintendo PlayStation prototype restored to working condition

Gaming fans may remember back to 2015 when a prototype of the legendary “Nintendo PlayStation” was discovered in a box of junk — it was barely functional, but it was the first time the hardware was seen in the wild. The early ’90s saw Nintendo and Sony collaborating on the system — a SNES updated with a CD-ROM drive, allowing it to play both cartridge and disc-based games — but the partnership fell apart, and Sony went on to release the original PlayStation as we know it. Jump to today, and modder/hacker Ben Heckendorn has managed to repair the prototype.

As the only known remaining prototype in existence, Heckendorn has spent the last year working on mysterious Nintendo PlayStation. When it was discovered, it was only capable of running standard SNES games, and the CD-ROM drive was inoperable. On the latest episode of The Ben Heck Show, Heckendorn reveals the system’s internals and shows how he brought it back to life.

The full explanation can be seen in the video above, but essentially he had to closely study the motherboard, and in turn understand the purpose of a “mystery chip.” Eventually he managed to get the drive to play audio CDs, but the real hurdle was getting games to run. Since the console was never actually produced, there are no known games in existence that were designed to run on the hardware.

What Heckendorn did was use a SNES emulator that had been designed by homebrew developers to run on the prototype’s theoretical specs. This was paired with a game that was made to run on the emulator, and after some adjustments were made by the developer, Heckendorn burned it to a CD and managed to get it to run, albeit with a few small glitches here and there.

Now the hope is that programmers will be able to update their emulators and games to run on the system properly. It’s just too bad there’s only one unit in the world that they can be played on.

SOURCE The Ben Heck Show/YouTube


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