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Back in the early 1990s, the future of the video game industry was anyone’s guess. Nintendo and Sega were the industry’s two leading companies and the concept of switching from cartridges to compact disc media had the potential to propel either conglomerate miles past the competition. Despite Sony not taking the video game industry seriously at the time, Ken Kutaragi, now known as an industry legend at Sony Entertainment, took the initiative to create the Nintendo PlayStation, a Super Nintendo Entertainment System that could also play disc-based media.

Nintendo PlayStation

With the deal falling through, Nintendo instead opted to sign a contract with industry competitor Phillips and Sony went on to become a big time player with the Sony PlayStation line. However whilst the deal between Nintendo and Sony was still a possibility, 200 prototypes were manufactured.

199 of these prototypes were allegedly destroyed after the two companies’ falling out, however one remained in the possession of Olaf Olafsson, founder of Sony Computer Entertainment. Olafsson resigned from Sony in 1996 and brought the prototype with him to his new venture at Advanta. Olafsson’s time at Advanta only lasted three years and when he left, he did so without taking the Nintendo PlayStation with him.

199 of these prototypes were allegedly destroyed after the two companies’ falling out, however one remained in the possession of Olaf Olafsson, founder of Sony Computer Entertainment. Olafsson resigned from Sony in 1996 and brought the prototype with him to his new venture at Advanta. Olafsson’s time at Advanta only lasted three years and when he left, he did so without taking the Nintendo PlayStation with him.

In 2009, Advanta filed for bankruptcy. During a company auction, the Nintendo PlayStation then found itself in the possession of Terry Diebold where he held onto the console for years to come. This was until a few weeks ago when Diebold placed the infamous prototype online for auction and was ultimately purchased for $360,000 by the founder of Pets.com and Toys.com Greg McLemore.

It’s the single most expensive thing I’ve ever bought outside of a house. I believe I got a great deal… To me it was worth it, especially when combined with the rest of my collection, the whole of which tells a story I want to save for society.

Greg McLemore

McLemore is currently working with museums across the United States to see the Nintendo PlayStation shared with the public as a piece of video game history. Electronic games curator for The Strong museum in Rochester, NY said,

I’m glad that the Nintendo Play Station is highlighting the need for video game preservation, and obviously I wish we’d been able to have it in the museum’s collection, but we’ve never had the goal of getting every single piece of gaming history. Not only would it be prohibitive in terms of money and space, it’s also not necessary to tell the history of video games.

Shannon Symonds

It’s great to see that the Nintendo PlayStation, such an iconic prototype that shifted the gaming landscape forever, isn’t going to be placed into a glass cabinet for only a single individual to gawk at for the rest of their days. We hope to hear much more about the system for years to come and hopefully, more industry secrets will unravel themselves in due time.

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Posted by Alex Harding