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The Nintendo PlayStation prototype can finally play CD-ROM games

After over a year of on-and-off tinkering, the “Nintendo PlayStation” is fully operational. The unreleased console — which was formed out of an ill-fated partnership between Nintendo and Sony in the early ‘90s — can play games both from a typical SNES cartridge and the Sony-built CD drive. In 2015 one of these fabled prototypes (all of which were rumored to be destroyed) was discovered at an estate sale. And now it actually works.

The hardest part, naturally, was getting CD games to run. Since the machine was never released there aren’t any real games in existence to reference, but an SNES emulator was modified based on the machine’s BIOS to run this purely theoretical software. In 2016 the first title was released for the ill-fated Nintendo PlayStation: Super Boss Gaiden.

Now, after endless hours of patient hacking, Ben Heck has gotten the actual CD-ROM drive to work on the machine. There are some minor mismatches between the emulator and how the actual machine accesses the CD — games need to be read into the machine’s limited RAM, instead of running off a cartridge ROM like in typical SNES cartridges — but developers are already fixing their games to run correctly on the actual hardware.


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