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The Fabled Nintendo Playstation Goes Up For Auction Soon

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In February of 2020, YOU will have the chance to purchase and own one of the most valuable artifacts in all of video game history…provided you have the gazillions of dollars required to make the winning bid. Heritage Auctions is offering up the Nintendo Playstation prototype in two months.

If you’re thinking right now the words “Nintendo” and “Playstation” don’t go together, your knowledge of gaming history is painfully dim. Back when the Super Nintendo was a new product, its parent company was planning a CD drive add-on for the console, similar to the one Sega put out in 1992. They were working with Sony to make this happen, and as part of the deal, Sony would release their own CD/SNES hybrid console called the “Playstation.”

However, someone high up at Nintendo took a second look at the deal and didn’t like it, so the day after Sony announced their partnership, Nintendo announced a completely different CD add-on — this one manufactured by Phillps. Incensed by the betrayal, Sony decided to go it alone and released their own version of the Playstation, forever changing the video game landscape.

All we had to go on for what this mythical Nintendo/Sony hybrid would have looked like were a couple of blurry pictures — until 2009, when Terry Diebold unknowingly bought the prototype in a pile of junk auctioned off from a former Sony executive. Six years later his son found the machine in his attic and immediately recognized what it was.

Fame and fortune soon followed….well, not really. As Diebold told Kotaku, everything he’s done with the prototype has been at his own expense. “I’ve put a lot of work into this by traveling with it and we have made nothing on it. Every trip that we… have taken with it has cost us money out of pocket.”

They’ve been incredibly generous. The Nintendo Playstation has shown up in gaming conventions for several years, and has appeared multiple times at Portland Retro Gaming Expo, where I not only got to see it, but touch it. Anyone could touch it; unlike the other objects in the room, it was not roped off. You were allowed to insert cartridges into its front slot and play with the controllers. Diebold ran a Nintendo Playstation Petting Zoo.

He’s allowed the code and BIOS to be dumped online, and he let Ben Heck poke around its guts to get the CD drive spinning again (when they found it, it would not boot). Diebold has done everything for the community he possibly can; now he wants a little something for himself.

To give you an idea of how much this little machine could go for, Diebold turned down an offer for 1.2 million because he says after paying taxes, splitting the dough with his son and paying his debts, he would “pretty much end up with nothing.” The final price will probably be much more.

But hey — if you’re reading this from your luxurious mansion sipping 1907 Merlot while your trophy wife loudly narrates her Peloton bike video vlog, here’s something to put on your list. Just….please donate it to a museum once it arrives.