You have an opportunity to own one of the rarest video game consoles in existence: the Nintendo Play Station. Once mythical and still a unicorn even among vintage consoles, this system is the last remaining prototype of a failed joint venture between Nintendo and Sony from the early 90s.
Only 200 of the so-called Nintendo Play Stations were created before the companies scrapped their collaborative project, which was a console with both a slot for Super Famicom games as well as a CD-ROM drive. After canceling their venture and parting ways in 1991, the companies destroyed all prototypes of the Nintendo Play Station—all but one.
As legend has it, this single surviving Nintendo Play Station was once owned by Olaf Olaffson, Sony’s founder, first president, and chief executive officer. Olaffson later became president of Advanta Corporation, a finance company that filed for bankruptcy and liquidated its assets, including a mystery box that was auctioned off by the company.
What was inside that mystery box? No, not a head. The Nintendo Play Station. And a man named Terry Diebold unknowingly became its owner in 2009 after buying Olaffson’s abandoned property through an online auction for only $75. It wasn’t until 2015 that Diebold’s son discovered the rare machine in the family’s attic. While it was undoubtedly exciting to find such a gem, it has turned out to be a mixed blessing for the Diebolds.
Terry and his son have reportedly toured the Nintendo Play Station around the world to show the machine off at vintage gaming expos and the pair have done so entirely out of pocket. “I can’t keep losing money,” Diebold wrote to Kotaku. “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.”
Now the Nintendo Play Station can be yours, assuming you have a pile of cash to spare. The 90s console prototype is scheduled to be sold through Heritage Auctions on Thursday, February 27, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. It will be a public auction and there’s no reserve price, but you can bet that the console will attract plenty of bids considering Diebold has already turned down an offer from someone in Norway who wanted to buy the system outright for $1.2 million.
Note that while the CD-ROM drive didn’t work on the prototype as of 2009, the auction listing mentions that it was repaired by famous console hacker Ben Heck. All the more reason why this thing is so cool.