Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Nintendo Play Station Super NES CD-ROM Prototype (ha.com)
206 points by edent 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 135 comments

The Nintendo PlayStation contains an undumped 4-bit NEC MCU for its CD controller. Once that EEPROM bit-rots (it's already past its guaranteed lifetime), the SuperDisc BIOS cartridge will no longer boot as-is. The two fan-made games ported to the CD-drive will no longer function at that point, and we won't ever be able to directly fix this, only to hack around and approximate the original functionality.

I imagine this won't be a significant loss to its new owner, but it's still unfortunate.

The MCU variant on the motherboard https://i.imgur.com/ehNHPeY.jpg is one-time programmable, as opposed to an EPROM. Because of this, I wouldn't worry about it losing its data, as OTP ROMs use blown fuses to store 1/0 state. It's true that it could just be an EPROM without a window, but the datasheet mentions two different programmers, one for the EPROM variant and one for the OTP variant so I doubt this is the case. More information: https://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/view/7077/NEC/UP...

Given your qualifications, what would you like to see happen?

Find the most qualified engineer in the world to desolder the surface-mount MCU, read out its firmware using the documented debugging mode from the datasheet, and then resolder the MCU back to the system. It won't happen, but it would be nice for posterity.

I'd love for this to happen. Then have a MiSTer code made for it or something. Maybe a bsnes variation?

A girl can dream.

Test clips won’t work with it?

What are the retention times for contemporary EPROMs? Datasheet for µPD75P308 doesn't seem to specify that. Modern EEPROMs specify retention time at over 100 years in room temperatures, shouldn't old chips be even safer due to older/larger process node?

Fun Fact: Secret of Mana was originally designed on the Play Station. Much of the game's content had to be cut to get it to fit onto a standard Super Famicom cartridge after the add-on was killed.[0]


Secret of Mana is my favorite game of all time and I always suspected it had been “edited” or “condensed”. When I first learned about the above it all made sense. The first 1/4 of the game is the pacing and intention that the rest always deserved. I have played sd3 and look forward to trials of mana BUT a “directors cut” of the original is my holy grail.

Do they have any further details of the cut content? Like images of cut content, what plot was removed, etc.? I've seen numerous applications mention the cut content but the descriptions are always very high level, like in this article.

I think the cut content is pretty obvious. It's almost all the second half of the game. You spend something like 15 hours getting the first four magical macguffins in the game and then suddenly the last four arrive within 45 minutes. I remember the "dungeons" where you get the last two are just empty towers with a room or two and no enemies.

I don't know why I seem to be the only one who notices how the second half of the game is obviously missing.

I always took the odd pacing as a way to mix up pacing. Break the mold that every magical macguffin required a dungeon with guardian like in many other RPGs of the time. The weapon orbs seem to be mostly well spaced out. I remember the last magical spirit seemed to have been given way too late to really notice the missing magical spell that ended up mattering in the final fight.

I wonder how much of it is just bad memory since it has been like 15 years since I last played the second half of the game (I've replayed it a few times but always stop around the mushroom kingdom).

In my experience, Squaresoft is pretty secretive about their development process. Their staff will talk on the record about the process and drop tidbits, like the interview above, about stuff that might have been cut, but it's pretty rare that they'll go into any great detail or provide "beta" screenshots. That stuff rarely happens unless we happen to find it dummied out in the game code somewhere.[0]

For the rest, we sorta have to look at what came later and work backwards from there to try to envision what the features might have looked like. For example:

> One of the most significant changes was the removal of the option to take multiple routes through the game that led to several possible endings, in contrast to the linear journey in the final product. [1]

Since this system eventually showed up in the game's sequel, Seiken Densetsu 3 (Now called "Trials of Mana" after its Switch port localization), we can probably assume that it would have worked something like that. It's also probably safe to assume that some of the other unused concepts from Secret of Mana eventually found their way into SD3. But I'm always hesitant to get too specific, since game developers change their mind all the time during development.

One of the best examples I can think of for this would be the Soul Reaver series, where the original title had a huge amount of content cut in order to deliver the game on time[2], instead ending on a cliffhanger and with the intention that Soul Reaver 2 would finish it up. We have a pretty good idea of what was supposed to happen in the original conception of the story, because we found a ton of leftover assets, voiceovers from unproduced cutscenes, and design documents. There's even a sequence of the main character "gazing into the future" with pieces of sequences that never occur (presumably they would have if the game had been finished as originally designed). By the time the sequels Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance were produced, however, the story veered off into a much different direction. Some of the boss fights that were planned for Soul Reaver 1 ended up eventually happening in SR2 or LoK:D under very different circumstances, or were scrapped altogether.




Square is no stranger to cutting huge swaths of content, with Xenogears being an early, infamous example. Final Fantasy XV suffers from the same.

If you're into this, I would suggest looking into the still-developing story of the defunct Fabula Nova Crystallis project (as well as FFXIV). What can be gathered heretofore is wild.

Secret of Mana has a special place in history as part of its development was cribbed from the Square-Enix work on Chrono Trigger, or rather a different evolutionary path sprung from the same root.

Such a beautiful game. I recently checked out the book “SNES Omnibus” from the library and it provided for some nice nostalgia:


Such a beautiful and accomplished soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGK3usiX31s

NeoTokyo has an awesome soundtrack too. It's a free HL2 source engine mod. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=408tWOubRDM

This is ridiculous. I have never even heard of NeoTokyo, but this soundtrack just blows me away. Thanks, man. I love stumbling upon completely random recommendations like this.

The NeoTokyo composer also did the soundtrack for Deus Ex's Breach mode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RET2PzWKzNw

He also released an album recently called tgr fuel: https://edharrison.bandcamp.com/album/tgr-fuel

oh man i remember loving that game when it was in beta. do people still play this?

I've always thought so too. So many memories.

Thanks for sharing, I never would have expected that. As a kid, I spent a ton of hours completing everything there was to do in Secret of Mana. Recently I purchased a SNES Classic and threw that game on it to play with my daughter. We are both enjoying it greatly :)

For anyone interested, the history of the original PlayStation is pretty interesting (all the different collaborations Sony was attempting with Nintendo and Sega before going it alone - mostly getting rejected by Nintendo and Sega).


For more recently uncovered information about a possible deal between Sony and Sega, read:


That article also gives insight into why Kutaragi/Sony wanted to partner with Nintendo.

A quote by Kutaragi:

“I wanted to start up a business that would become a new major income source for the company in the future… [Sony executives] thought it would take too long to start a new business from scratch with venture capital. So the only way to initiate change was from the outside. We could join forces with the best-performing company in the field. We would sell them our technology, establish a track record, and use that as the springboard to future success. That was my reasoning.”

Also, from historian Reiji Asakura:

“Nintendo was concerned that its business would eventually be taken over by Sony if Sony continued to drive product development. Although Nintendo was dominant in the game-machine market, the company was fully aware that Sony had a superior research-and-development operation and thus had the potential to outstrip its competitors in the area of technological advancement.”

References are in the linked article.

Those quotes are interesting. Seems like the prevailing opinion is that Nintendo made a mistake cancelling this deal with Sony because it opened up the door for Sony to become it's largest competitor.

In reality it seems like it was Sony's intention all along to use this as a stepping stone to competing with Nintendo directly anyway.

Yes. The same is said about the Sega-Sony deal, which Sega is often criticized for not following up on. The accounts of former executives make it clear, however, that it was too risky to work with Sony due to their ultimate motives. Sony wanted to dominate the market from the beginning, and they wanted to use established companies as an entry point.

Also, the contract between Nintendo and Sony was signed in 1989, and Sony would have received all royalties from CD-ROM sales. This was at a time when it was still not clear that CD-ROMs would soon dominate the market. However, that had changed by 1991 when the Nintendo Play Station was revealed.

Then-president of Sony, Norio Ohga, said the following in his autobiography: “What we learned later was that Yamauchi’s son-in-law, then the head of Nintendo’s U.S. operations, had apparently nixed the deal. The son-in-law, Minoru Arakawa, had witnessed firsthand the stunning growth in U.S. sales of CD-ROM drives and disks. Arakawa knew that Sony had built a strong position in CD-ROM products. And he apparently feared that Sony would get the better of Nintendo in a collaboration.”

Also, I'd say that "Sony's generally better at the tech" has basically come true. But Nintendo adapted into its current position, which is a pretty nice position to be in. Had they taken the deal, it's possible they could have gotten complacent and gotten sidetracked away from focusing on game quality.

The focus of Nintendo on gaming and not technology is even larger that it seems, because the hardware and software engineering of at least Wii and WiiU (and probably even of GameCube and Switch) was almost completely outsourced.

Indeed, they always had that Intelligent Systems Co. within their HQ campus, as if engineering jobs needs to be “elsewhere”.

Console Wars[0] was a good book about this. Mostly centers around Sega, but the development of the PlayStation is a major topic covered as well.

[0]: https://www.amazon.com/Console-Wars-Nintendo-Defined-Generat...

One can imagine how things would be if Sony didn't end up being a standalone player in this field.

The gaming industry saw the birth of companies like nvidia, and now GPUs are tools.

I believe they always intended to eventually be standalone. They wanted to use the collaborations to get the Sony name associated with games.

Did you read about this somewhere ?

Ok, properly amazing

It's more of a modern issue, but I recently discovered that a lot of triple A console games are demo'd (at trade shows and in promo videos) on a pc. They then cut down video quality and content to port them to the console game you can actually buy. There's video of a pc hidden under a desk, and a console controller modified to work with it.

It may be old news to a lot of people, but that blew my mind. I don't see how that is acceptable. I guess that hardware for these consoles is still a struggle.

It's likely not a PC, but a development console.

Also, the current-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony are pretty much PC hardware-- somewhat customized APU (both the PS4 and Xbox One are based around combined CPU + GPU designs from AMD), but still derived from designs that are available as commodity PC hardware.

Nintendo's the only one that's really gone a different direction; the Switch is ARM-based and built around the Nvidia Tegra X1 (same chipset as the Nvidia Shield). Software-wise, they're (reportedly) running a derivative of the OS from the Nintendo 3DS.

Yeah, the real winner of the console war this round was AMD.

A UK games journo and general publicist Ryan Brown tried to crowd source to put this in a museum


What's telling is that neither Nintendo or Sony give a flying fsck about this. The real reason people are willing to pay so much is nostalgia, then pile on some novelty and rarity. They'll claim it's an important historical artifact, which it may be. But even in the distant future it will not represent the culture of the day, it's just an interesting oddity that never made it to market.

You're not wrong, but it seems to me you could say that of 99.9% of private collecting.

Unless the collection becomes so extensive you and it gain international renown, demand for collectables is all driven by arbitrary, subjective human passion.

I think something like this is more representative of the culture of the day than your pick of million-dollar painting. This interesting oddity and the decisions around it shaped the trajectory of Nintendo, Sony, Phillips and Sega.

This represents an era whose end resulted in Sony and Nintendo becoming bitter rivals. I wouldn’t expect them to care?

Turned down an offer for $1.2M and expected $3M minimum

This Nintendo Play Station is not worth anywhere near $3M, nor is it worth anywhere near $1.2M IMHO.

Considering an original Apple I computer just sold for $375k at auction less than 2 years ago [0]

People actually used the Apple I computer, saw it, touched it, it existed in the mind of the general public and still does to this day to some extent.

This prototype is only valuable to perhaps the engineering team who worked on it, some extremely eccentric gaming enthusiasts, and perhaps a few others.

I would have taken the offer of $1.2M if I were him.

I imagine the bids in this auction will top out around $100k.

[0] https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45647449

The fact that Nintendo Play Station wasn't used is what makes this console all the more rare.

Plus retro gaming tends to pull higher prices than retro computing (generally speaking) and this piece of hardware is almost mythical in that it's the birth of the Play Station as well as a rare piece of hardware from the much loved SNES era (which also tends to command higher prices than it's 16bit Sega counterpart)

When I first saw this auction my first thought was "I bet that gets at least $1 million." - I think $3M is a little ambitious but I wouldn't say it's impossible.

This is my observations as a retro hardware collector. Ultimately something is only worth as much as someone else is willing to pay so it's sometimes hard to put a price on rarer items.

>The fact that Nintendo Play Station wasn't used is what makes this console all the more rare.

Value is not a function of rarity.

That's a lesson that took me many years and many thousands of dollars wasted at estate auctions to learn.

Palm pilots are pretty rare. And a lot of people liked and used palm pilots. But even brand new ones in their box are worth less than $1,000 at auction right now. [0]

You can only play Super Famicom games on this Nintendo Playstation. No games were ever created specifically for it.

This is purely a museum piece, not a collectible item that will gain in value over time.

Value is a function of supply and demand.

There are thousands of chinese porcelain pieces out there worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Some are worth millions. Because China is a wealthy nation now filled with hundreds of millions of people trying to recoup party of their culture that they sold to the lowest bidder of yesteryear.

100 years ago, a lot of these same vases that are now going for millions of dollars were literally being drilled through their bottoms and made into lamps for middle class American households.

[0] https://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_odkw=gamegear&_sop=16&LH_Com...

> Value is not a function of rarity.

They're not exclusively linked but it would be ignorant to deny a relationship.

> Palm pilots are pretty rare. And a lot of people liked and used palm pilots. But even brand new ones in their box are worth less than $1,000 at auction right now.

Again, retro computing hardware generally sells for less than retro gaming hardware. Also while boxed copies of specific brands Palm Pilots might be rare, there is a lot of PDAs still around and not a lot of people (compared to the retro gaming scene) collecting them. So prices are naturally going to be lower (market forces et al)

> You can only play Super Famicom games on this Nintendo Playstation. No games were ever created specifically for it.

I think you're missing the point of why some people collect. Sure, some of us like to buy stuff exclusively to play but there are a lot of people who like to buy simply to own.

You get people who collect full sets of PAL or NTSC games for a given console even knowing that they would never play most of those games. You get people who like to buy factory sealed games or hardware with no intention of opening. You get people who like to own variations of consoles (eg Pokemon, Animal Crossing, themed Nintendo Switches) even though they're all functionally the same and you can't actually play on more than one at a time. It's like stamp collecting for some people; it's not about the practical value but rather just the buzz of owning something uncommon or a collection. The more difficult or the higher the resale price could be, the greater the prestige.

Not everyone gets this mentality and to anyone on the outside it seems totally nuts and a complete waste of money. However regardless of your opinions, these people do exist and it's a big part of the retro gaming scene.

> This is purely a museum piece, not a collectible item that will gain in value over time.

Of course it will gain value over time. Inflation alone will see to that. However, like collecting anything from popular culture as a retirement nest egg: there is always the risk that the market could bottom out as people who grew up with those systems die off. That's what happened to the original gauge Hornby rail collectables (back when they had a dedicated 3rd rail for electricity). Trains used to be worth a few hundred each until recently when all the adults who collected that stuff started dying off. Now they're practically worthless.

The same might happen with retro gaming as well. Though as long as Nintendo and Sony are actively making consoles, I predict there will be interest in the Nintendo Play Station. So I can't see this particular piece losing value.

> Value is a function of supply and demand.

I'd already said that when I said things are only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. What you're ignoring is the real demand for people collecting retro gaming hardware.

> There are thousands of chinese porcelain pieces out there worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Some are worth millions. Because China is a wealthy nation now filled with hundreds of millions of people trying to recoup party of their culture that they sold to the lowest bidder of yesteryear.

> 100 years ago, a lot of these same vases that are now going for millions of dollars were literally being drilled through their bottoms and made into lamps for middle class American households.

That's true for a lot of collectables though. There's a period when old stuff gets sold off cheap because they're superseded by newer stock but not old enough to be "retro". Playstation 2 and 3 stuff is pretty cheap at the moment but in 10 years time those prices will start to climb. 5 years ago I could pick up Sega CIB Mega Drive / Genesis games (CIB meaning "complete in box" -- so with manual, game and box) for £5 to £15 (£15 being the expensive end). Now They're frequently a minimum of £15. Prices have literally doubled in 5 years. Same is try for the Dreamcast and Saturn too and in their cases prices climbing fast because those consoles had a limited life so there's some rarity attached.

Source: my dad (rest in peace) collected model railway. I collect retro gaming and retro computing hardware. So I'm rather familiar with the scene (in fact I knew about this auction from my buddies in the scene before it was posted on HN).

I would just like to see this in a well known popular museum, and have a generation kids who own the PS4 and Switch look at this thing and go ‘wait, wtf?’.

This is the only known unit of its kind, there are 63 known Apple I's according to wikipedia. Its also a hybrid of two extremely high selling, well loved consoles, the Super Nintendo and the Sony PlayStation, which far more people used than the Apple I. Case in point - a not particularly uncommon Super Nintendo game is already being bid at $2100 on the same site with several weeks left because it has a, umm, nice cardboard box [0].

I think the console will go for over $100k, but I agree an offer of $1.2M was worth taking.

[0] https://comics.ha.com/itm/video-games/nintendo/secret-of-man...

My SNES games were stolen when I was younger so I only had the boxes and manuals which I kept in pristine condition. I decided to put one box+manual up on eBay and was surprised that it sold within 10 seconds (likely by a bot) for the $100 buy it now price. I suppose I should have priced it higher!

The high bid is now at $200,000, 8 hours after your comment was made and 12 hours after the link was posted to HN (when the highest bid was ~$30,000).

This is expected by many to be the highest valued item ever sold at auction in the game collecting community.

If HA's bidder vetting system is anything like ebay's... I imagine that massive bid will go unpaid like they usually do on ebay.

It's not easy to prove to a website that you have $250,000 USD in your bank account... and will continue to have that much 20 days from now.

>This is expected by many to be the highest valued item ever sold at auction in the game collecting community.


Heritage Auctions is having floor bidding on March 6, which is where the value will really be decided. But a copy of Super Mario Bros. sold for $100,000 last year. This thing is going to go for a lot more.

Just browse Twitter if you need sources for public opinion. Expectations are very high:


Heritage Auctions is running a sealed games scam, pumping fake values for veblen goods. That $100K SMB was "sold" to the owner of Heritage Auctions :-)

It’s worth whatever the buyers are willing to pay for it. $3.50 or $3M, doesn’t matter.

The owner (who is now auctioning it) did, that is.

I’ve held, examined, and played this prototype at a couple of conventions while talking to the seller a bit. He’s an interesting and controversial fellow.

Working in quote marks. He did an very impressive job, but it’s only half working. The cartridge port works, but he couldn’t get the drive to read. Shame. I hope someday, someone can get that working.

Did you watch the final video? He got the drive to read, play audio CDs through the bootstrap SNES cartridge and then run a home-brew game off of a CD-ROM (no original games exist to test with so the CD format and hardware capabilities were reverse-engineered from the ROM).

"he couldn’t get the drive to read" is completely false. It boots a game off a CD-ROM!

I feel like the “proper” thing to do, if the goal here is to figure out what the prototype is “supposed to work like” in order to develop emulators and so forth, is to watch the CD drive protocol on the line with an oscilloscope and then iterate on an FPGA that speaks that protocol but is just reading from e.g. blocks on an SD card. It’s not like there are any actual SNES-PSX CDs to read on it, so you don’t need the “CD drive” to read actual CDs, just to get the information of theoretical CDs into the console somehow.

I didn't watch the whole thing, but it looks that it can boot homebrew from CD.

I came into the comments to say this. I'm surprised the auction description doesn't mention that it has been worked on.

If it didn't before, it certainly does now.

"Though the CD-ROM drive was not currently working when it was found in 2009, it has since been repaired by Benjamin Heckendorn, a YouTube personality known for his console repair videos."

Semi OT -> Sometimes I'm baffled at how people don't know about rare things like this, but I wonder how long that can last.

Do you think the 'boxed up in a random lot, IDK what it is, some computer thing' behavior we've seen up to now with many rare electronics, games, computers, etc. will go away over time as more people grow up with internet access and web search?

Let's take something that is equally 'dead' in terms of not being made any more: the Samsung Taylor, a dev windows phone. A few devs got some, but otherwise it is gone to the wind. Just to look at it, it looks like a slate smartphone, pretty innocuous. But if you were to search its model number, you'd immediately know you had something rare and valuable to a certain niche (which I admit to being in).

I own a piece of semi-precious test equipment, a Fluke 9010a base unit along with some pods. A beloved mentor got it when an engineering company discarded it and gave it to me while it was mostly a curio. I used it on a retrocomputing project ten years ago.

Tens years ago when I last used it I was a bit surprised to find the set was worth about as much as "a new laptop." (Apparently people still use the Fluke for troubleshooting arcade machines.)

This week I was surprised again to discover the set is now worth about as much as "a new Mac laptop" (i.e. about twice). And many of the prices I was looking at were for non-working ones. Mine works.

So I think it's very easy to lay something aside with a vague idea it "might" be worth something without realizing it's worth the effort to find out exactly how much. You don't know what you don't know.

(I don't think I'd sell mine due to its sentimental value from who gave it to me and what I've used it for. Though I would probably sell it if it doubles again.)

I'm a bit into hunting for old film cameras and you'd be surprized how many people barely do any checking before putting things on sale (or worse, just throw them away). I wonder how many old 'Nintendos' ended up on the landfill that way.

For instance here's three old Agfa folding cameras:




One's barely worth anything, one's worth quite a bit, one's extremely rare. Would you know which is which just from looking?

I mean, if by “putting them up for sale” they’re putting the thing on eBay as an auction, that’s not exactly mal-adaptive behaviour. The market will—hopefully!—recognize the value and set the price.

Honestly; that it's hard to tell the difference is a non-trivial reason why they are valuable in the first place; increases rarity.

Well that's the thing with making history. When you're making it, it is often boring, thankless and paved with dead ends. Does anybody want your shitty high school drawings? Only of you end up being the next Picasso. But who would have thought? Then there's artifacts that are worth a lot to the right dozen people, and literally nobody else would give you a dime.

> Do you think the 'boxed up in a random lot, IDK what it is, some computer thing' behavior we've seen up to now with many rare electronics, games, computers, etc. will go away over time as more people grow up with internet access and web search?

It's over for rare cars. A friend lives in Southern Africa and used to buy gems cheaply when the person didn't know what they had and then ship them to Europe or the USA for a good profit. Now the owner can just google it and see immediately it's worth big bucks

Corporates always destroy gears to protect IP, so scarcity for failed gears is definitely skyrocketing as we speak.

Spinning up a mini computer in the basement was a good stupid nerd hobby a decade ago, but I can’t see the same happening with retired AWS or GCP servers, now or in a decade.

A great, great podcast on the whole Nintendo/Sony early saga is:

Business Wars -> Nintendo vs Sony series

Highly recommend.


Wonder what's up with that "NEXT" port. It looks like a cross between USB and HDMI, but predates development of the former by 2 years and the latter by a decade. Would be interesting if it were an early implementation of concepts that were later standardized as USB.

Looks like something akin to the serial i/o port of the original playstation:


Also if you think that looks like an USB port, check out the link cable for the original gameboy.

Fun story, the original firewire port was openly designed with the Gameboy link cable as inspiration, and the USB port was derived from there.

I think that's right, the fact that it's called "next" seems to imply some kind of chaining as well.

Or it means "Nintendo EXTension" or something similar. I wouldn't read too much into their naming schemes wrt what that means for feature set.

Also looks like it could be a shrunk version of multi-out

The multi-out is visible on the other side.

Might be the memory card?

This is pretty insane. Ostensibly this is even rarer than other Sony oddities such as as the Net Yaroze[0] or the Japanese PSX[1]. I wonder if it truly is the last Nintendo/Sony "PlayStation" in existence.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Yaroze

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSX_(digital_video_recorder)

I have a PSX sitting next to my TV right now, hard drive surprisingly still works and everything. It's an interesting console, mine is a later model (DESR-7700) and can even write to a memory card to play later on the PSP while on the go.

Funny enough while I was at SIE, I brought the console in and no one had seen it before. Sat on my desk and started a few conversations from people walking by checking it out.

Net Yaroze is not particularly rare.

Neither is the PSX which you can easily buy used in Japan.

Yeah, saw one lying around the Junk section of HARD OFF for not much. It's only rare in the western market.

A working one is much harder to find, the hard drive is signed to the individual unit so when it breaks it's impossible to replace and you end up with a brick.

How are they paired? is it using ATA password like Xbox? HDD serial number? its all easily bypassable nowadays.

Before the retro collectors market went crazy a friend got a net yaroze in a carboot sale for a five quid.

That day he came back with about 10 playstations.

The PS2 Linux Kit was amazing

This is one of those situations where $31k seems expensive now, and when it’s resold in 20 years you’ll see it move for $1mil. Rare things like this tend to increase in value enormously.

The thing is, we don't know about that. Maybe it will. Maybe in 20 years less people will be collecting vintage video game consoles.

I think you're right. Video games aren't like furniture that gets handed down from generation to generation and increases in value. They only have value to the people who remember them.

In 20, 30, 40 years the vast majority of people who cared about these machines will be dead. Those who still care will be such a minority that there won't be upward price pressure.

It's the same way you don't see people going nuts for Sperry and Burroughs gear today.

Well, maybe, but this is kind of historical in that obviously both Sony and Nintendo are hugely successful companies, and it's weird to see a product that's cross-branded by both. Even if you're not particularly interested in video games, this is a very rare artifact.

It's like finding a pair of shoes made by Adidas but branded Nike, or a can of Coca-Cola made by Pepsi. It's more than just an oddity.

It's no coincidence that the prices for even not-at-all-rare games and equipment spiked right around the time those who grew up with them started making actual money, and a bunch of nostalgia-focused web shows grew up at the same time, feeding and feeding off of the phenomenon. The only reason the prices may stay as high as they are for working gear & media is because both are starting to fail at a high rate, for that 1985-2005 aged stuff. Interest in them will definitely wane.

Get ready in a couple decades for the original Xbox to be on auction house blocks.

The problem with that is how common the original Xbox is. In North America, at least, the system was fairly popular; even if it made Microsoft very little to no money at the time.

In the mean time there are some "conventions" that feature arcade machines (because they're more fun to play than just look at)


IN NH arcade machines are now housed in a playable museum:


Sperry and Burroughs gear is pretty hefty though and it is appreciated by computer museums who have the space and budget to house and maintain them.

My brother bought a box of baseball cards in the 90s hoping to cash in (unopened card packs). Its really not worth that much, he noted recently, but he still has it.

(Wondering how the gum that came in those packs held up.)

Classic video games are fun for nostalgia, but one of as the Broderbund software guys (Doug Carlston) says during an interview that he has old machines and the sometimes plays the old games:

"They not as great as they are in memory, in truth is our tastes change and become more sophisticated over time"

The rebooted Karateca for IOS and it didn't do well, and maybe he's rationalizing. Its kinda a fun listen, though not as good as others in the series:


>> Maybe in 20 years less people will be collecting vintage video game consoles.

That is most certainly true. Emulators have taken away a lot of the value, and the people who collect for actual nostalgia will eventually die.

How many people collect video arcade games vs the really old arcade novelties?

Edit: BTW - Marvins Marvelous Mechanical Museum


Another one of these could be lying around in someone's attic, just like this one was.

Yeah, and I'm 100% sure that both Sony and Nintendo have at least some in their own storage units. I work at a games studio and we have some early devkits for old consoles(not this though) and they are just collecting dust in a warehouse somewhere, we're not exactly allowed to sell them but I'm sure they would have a huge collectible value.

I don't know if this will follow usual eBay patterns, with with it being, you know, not on eBay, but with 22 days left to go in the auction, there's little reason to believe $31k will be even close to the final price. One order of magnitude up would be no challenge to believe and two is completely feasible with 22 days to go. On eBay, action wouldn't have even started yet.

16 hours later and we're on ten times that. I wonder what the final price will be.

If I had 50k laying around, I'd buy this in a heartbeat without a thought. I love stuff like this.

That wouldn't even cover the buyer's premium of $58k.

Note the buyer's premium, too. Right now it's higher than the top bid.

The buyer's premium is actually just 20% of the bid (with a minimum of $19). For the current highest bid ($48'000) this results in a buyer's premium of $9'600 resulting in a total price of $57'600.

Ah, you're right. It says "w/ buyer's premium", not just a flat premium. I was looking at the total price as if it was labelled the premium.

Can someone teach me what a Buyers Premium is? There's just 20% added on top of the current price. Is that basically the fee that the auction house is taking?

That’s exactly what it is.

I feel this truly belongs to a museum.

I'd like to think the National Videogaming Museum in TX would have put up an offer if they felt the seller was willing to work in good faith, but based on some comments I've seen from some of the Directors on Facebook about their intersections with the seller at conventions, the impression I get is that's pretty much a non-starter.

And the NVM having probably the largest one-of-a-kind prototype system collections on Earth, it'd have been the natural home for the Nintendo PlayStation. That they want no part speaks volumes, and I'm sure there's a lot there left unsaid in the public eye.

No idea who it'll go to now, but it's probably going to be someone with deep pockets or a collective (like another museum, perhaps) with a fairly wealthy network.

Looks like Palmer Luckey is one of the bidders. It's getting high up there: https://twitter.com/PalmerLuckey/status/1228115750381948928

I found The Gaming Historian to an excellent source of history about this kind of thing. I don't doubt he's covered this very device at some point.


Sony’s industrial design in the 90s and early 00s was superb.

Are the specs of this device well known? I wish this could get into the hands of an emulator developer so that this thing could be preserved in code form. It'll probably end up in some hoarder's collection though unfortunately.

no$sns supports it - homebrew games have even been made for it!

We at Heritage can attest the prototype is working, as we've played a couple of rounds of Mortal Kombat on it using a Super Famicom cartridge.

That gave me a good laugh :). This collaboration reminds me of the Panasonic Q. Nintendo's collaboration with Panasonic that was a hybrid version of the GameCube with a DVD player: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panasonic_Q

It looks like something from a weird parallel universe.

I can't even fathom competing companies today ever working with each other like this. Then again, Sony wasn't a competitor yet in the early 90s.

This is like the holy grail of videogaming.

Are there any other videogame legends and artifacts like this and the Atari cartridge dump[0] that could be lying around somewhere?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_video_game_burial

To be fair somewhere in the multiverse this did become the real Playstation.

What's with those bids? People are bidding $525 for N64's Golden Eye? It's going for $10 at Ebay. Is having it in a sealed box in pristine condition really that valuable?

Heritage Auctions is creating a new market for sucker^^^former comic book speculators.

Nice domain.

Seeing graded, sealed video games makes me angry. Some of the games in this auction are legit rare and haven't been played enough.

I'm glad emulation is a thing.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact