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Rare Nintendo Play Station sold at auction for more than $300,000

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photo of Nintendo PlayStation prototype with controller and cartridge, on white background

There’s one known Nintendo Play Station out in the world, and now it’s got a new owner, who offered $300,000 for the device. With the buyer’s premium, it’ll cost $360,000. Interested parties have been bidding online since February.

Collectors expected the console to sell for a lot more than $300,000. In 2019, the owner told Kotaku he’d turned down more than a million dollars from a person in Norway who wanted to buy the console. But on Friday, only a single bid was made, upping the price to $300,000.

The provenance of the rare console is fascinating. It was originally found by one Terry Diebold inside a box of stuff once owned by former Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Olaf Olafsson. Olafsson later worked at Advanta Corporation, where Diebold also worked. The company went bankrupt and a whole bunch of stuff was privately auctioned off. That’s when Diebold acquired the super-rare console. Diebold’s been shuttling it around to conventions for years before settling on Heritage Auctions to make the sale.

“It’s the first time this prototype has ever been offered at public auction before,” Heritage Auctions consignment director Valarie McLeckie told Polygon in December 2019. “Nintendo and Sony are arguably two of the biggest competitors in video games today. It’s just a little baffling to some to see Nintendo and Sony sharing the same console — and that it has the namesake of the PlayStation itself.”

As the story goes, there were a couple hundred prototypes of the Super NES CD-ROM System — known colloquially as the SNES-CD or Nintendo Play Station — after a failed partnership between the two companies. This is the only one that’s known to exist, saved from certain destruction by Olafsson.

No one’s ever found any games made specifically for the Nintendo Play Station, but it can play games. McLeckie confirmed to Polygon that everything works after master modder Ben Heckendorn took the console apart and fixed the CD-ROM drive.

The Nintendo Play Station was part of a larger auction of comics and video games. Plenty of games, like Chrono Trigger and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, went for thousands of dollars. There were also a bunch of ultra-rare games up for auction, including the elusive factory sealed Stadium Events: Family Fun Fitness, developed by Human Entertainment and published by Bandai in 1986. According to Heritage Auctions, it’s one of “most notoriously rare games ever sold in stores.” Only 200 copies are said to exist — and that’s why the game went for $55,000 on Friday (which translates to a total of $66,000 with the buyer’s premium).


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