The Nintendo PlayStation prototype, also known as the SNES-CD or Super Disc, has found its way into the news several times in the last couple of years, with images and video of the aborted console coming to light back in 2015 with further details following later that year. Since then, Ben Heckendorn, well known for "The Ben Heck Show" in which he created the Xbox One S laptop, has attempted to restore the prototype to full working condition.
When Heck first laid hands on the unit last year it was in pretty bad shape with no video or sound output from the console and the compact disc drive inoperable due to a lack of power. However, the system had previously been able to play Super Nintendo cartridges before reaching this state. After an initial teardown and repair, in which a number of suspected faulty capacitors were replaced inside the unit along with a tidy up, the disc drive sprung back to life. While the drive was still unable to read discs, sound and video output had been restored allowing cartridge-based SNES games to be played once again.
Now, the prototype has been restored to its full operational glory after Heck's third session with the unit, after having completely solved the problems preventing the CD-ROM drive from properly reading media and outputting CD audio. While official software is not known to exist for the Nintendo PlayStation, homebrew software was instead used to validate the operation of the console. Despite initial tests with Super Boss Gaiden having failed, a subsequent attempt with Magic Floor worked albeit with some glitches due to unexpected interrupt requests (IRQs) coming from the disc system. Although not shown in the video, these issues were later addressed by the game's developer eliminating the graphical artifacts.
In terms of further development, Ben Heck said:
"So now, what it’s really down to is the homebrew programmers figuring out the differences between their estimated emulator and what the real hardware can do."
While playing on a physical Nintendo PlayStation will remain a pipedream for most, the outcome of the restoration process has at least provided information for the homebrew community to more accurately emulate the unreleased console.