Nintendo PlayStation Prototype: Finally Working!

It’s been almost a year since the Team met Terry Diebold and his Nintendo-Playstation prototype at the 2016 MGC (Midwest Gaming Classic). They have a month to give it back to him at the next Midwest Gaming Classic and their goal is to have it back to him in working condition.

There are two digital-to-analog converters (DACs) on the prototype. One of them is for the Super Nintendo side and one of them is for the CD ROM side. They are muxed together after that. DACs take digital streams and turn them into analog signals – audio in this case. Ben has the prototype hooked up to an Oscilloscope so he take a closer look at it. He checks the signal for the music from Super Mario Kart and is able to determine that the Super Nintendo DAC is working. The CD rom DAC, which is side by side with the SNES DAC, is not working however.

Ben’s been doing some mapping of the schematic and thinks he knows what a mystery chip does. Its probably some sort of BUS decoder chip. Someone has mapped out what data you send out from the expansion port. The chip let’s you talk to other chips on the board based on what type of register is sent out. Ben continues mapping out the chip in order to give him more points from which to test things.

After replacing several questionable capacitors off-camera and jiggling some things around, Ben returns to the shop to find that CD ROM on the Nintendo-Playstation prototype is suddenly working. On the board there is a CD ROM controller chip, a digital signal processor, and there’s also a microprocessor on a connected board. When the system is not in game mode, the microcontroller on the connected board tells the CD ROM controller on the motherboard what to do (such as play music). Ben checks the ribbon cables and takes measurements from the three potentiometers on the driver board for the disc.

Ben attempts to get a disc to up a game disc. A SNES program is sending commands to the NEC microcontroller, telling it to do disc functions. These commands (and data) would have gone over the expansion bus if this had been a SNES add-on. Super Boss Gaiden loads to black screen so progress has been made. No one has actually made games for the Nintendo-Playstation prototype, the Super Boss Gaiden game was programmed for an emulator. After making adjustments to the burn disc, Ben is able to successfully get a game to run!




  2. Sony DEMANDED that Nintendo hand over all their iconic characters, like Mario, Link, Donkey kong, Kirby, Starfox etc…
    that’s why this never happened. Sony is pure evil. Still are.

  3. Reminder: Nintendo said no to SONY after sony wanted all of Nintendo’s IPs.

  4. Nintendo Playstation sounds like something my mum would call the wii

  5. I’ve waited for this video for so long and it’s only 14 mins long 🙁 I was hoping for an hour of regrettable acting and useless knowledge, but oh well. Good job!

  6. Minty Shoedabaker

    Nintendo is my Mom and Playstation is my angry Uncle Phill.

  7. Where’d you get that sweet MST3K jacket, Ben?

  8. Ben, we do need a *microSD card adapter for the PS Vita.*
    Please help us get out of this proprietary cage set up by Sony.

  9. Wow. Amazing! You’ve basically turned the prototype into an actual working system! Considering this stuff was relatively unknown and intact from the 90s and your being able to do this really shows how anything is possible. This was a huge challenge, good job! I guess the next big one is that N64 portable LOL… seems like it’s been at least as tough.

  10. I wonder if this would have been a successful system if it would have hit the shelves, or would it have been loaded with FMVs like the Sega CD?

  11. damn Ben you made work the bastard son of Sony & Nintendo, i envy you so freaking much.

  12. i bet it can run Mass Effect Andromeda on 4K 60FPS

  13. This is amazing. I’m so glad that they decided to trust you with this console, I knew if anyone on the planet could get it to actually run it would be you! Did you ever figure out what caused it to suddenly start working and what was preventing it to begin with? (Hinted at ribbon cables in the video but not sure if that was conclusive)

  14. Well the Question is would it be possible to creat a Hardware clone of it ? Or even a Ben Heck Hardware clone of this console ?

  15. Whats with all of this BS about Sony asking Nintendo for all of their IPs? That is not true at all. It’s actually the opposite. Nintendo was aggressive at demanding licensing fees from game makers because it made them millions. Sony wanted to enter the gaming market not just make hardware for nintendo. Nintendo did not like that idea. They wanted to control the entire console.
    In 1991 Nintendo started secretly dealing with Phillips to make a CD based system to use some of its properties in games for the Philips CDi (we all know how bad it was)
    By 1992 Sony and Nintendo’s alliance broke. Sony moved forward and decided to start working on a 32Bit system instead of the “aging 16-bit technology”
    The rest is history. By 1994 Sony released the Playstation.

  16. what the hell are with these “Sony is the devil!” comments? They never demanded Nintendo’s IPs. That has nothing to do with what actually happened…

  17. Wow, a system with no games for it.
    Its already up there with today’s console.

  18. Scoop of the Crispy

    All of a sudden started working. “What changed!?” Story of troubleshooting electronics and computers

  19. Well…There goes the warranty….

  20. I wish I felt smarter watching these sorts of things… but it just makes me realize that I’m dumb. 🙁

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