The Only Nintendo PlayStation In The World Is Now Fully Functional

The Nintendo PlayStation, the legendary device that sparked one of the most dramatic betrayals in gaming history, not only exists, but it actually works now, too.

The breakthrough comes via video game console modder and hacker Ben Heck, who's well known among fans for tearing consoles apart, explaining how they work, and then reassembling them—often in new and unique formats. In Heck's latest video, he actually gets a CD-ROM-based game running on the only known copy of the Nintendo PlayStation, an ill-fated collaboration between two of the game industry's biggest companies.

The end result is a little glitchy, but that's to be expected. Heck actually received the Nintendo PlayStation from a collector about a year ago and quickly figured out how the system is supposed to work, but because the device never got past the prototype stage, there weren't any actgual games available for testing. As a result, a few software engineers programmed small games based on how Heck thought the machine operated. Allegedly, shortly after Heck got the Nintendo PlayStation working, the developer of one of the games made a few adjustments, and Heck says that things are now much, much better.

The Nintendo PlayStation is one of the oddest and most interesting pieces of video game history, and the story behind its production and ultimate demise could easily fill a book (or, at least, a short documentary). In 1988, before Sony and Nintendo were rivals, they teamed up to create a hybrid system that would play both Super Nintendo cartridges and CD-ROM based games. The end result, the Nintendo PlayStation, made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991, and seemed like a sure-fire hit for both companies.

And then, Nintendo betrayed Sony. The day after Sony unveiled the Nintendo PlayStation, Nintendo executives held a press conference and said that they were terminating their deal with Sony in order to partner with Phillips, which was developing the (ultimately doomed) CD-i. In order to get revenge, Sony transformed the PlayStation into its own stand-alone console, which ended up outselling the Nintendo 64 three-to-one. Nintendo never quite recovered, and Sony's been the biggest brand in video gaming ever since.

Given that the Nintendo PlayStation never actually came out, historians thought that it was lost for good until a collector picked up the prototype at a liquidation auction for $75. The only known Nintendo PlayStation has run SNES games just fine since at least 2015, but today marks the first time that CD-ROM based software is playable on the ultra-rare machine.

Very, very cool.