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One of the most pivotal moments in video game history happened in 1991 when Nintendo signed a deal with Sony to produce a hybrid console that ran cartridges and CDs, called the “Playstation.” Midway through the deal, Nintendo suddenly snubbed Sony and went with Phillips instead (and wound up never making the device anyway). Sony made the Playstation on their own and changed the entire market. If the deal hadn’t gone south, the game industry would be very different.

A few months ago the prototype for Nintendo’s version of the Playstation turned up in photos. Some people wondered if the thing really worked, and this week we got proof that it did, when Engadget interviewed father and son Terry and Dan Diebold, owners of the prototype. Wait’ll you hear how much they paid!

“The company I worked for, Advanta Corporation, they filed for bankruptcy (November 8th, 2009). When they did that, we purged the buildings. What you do is you take pictures, you itemize, and then they had an online auction. And I had gotten into the auction myself because there were a few things I wanted to buy. So I knew what were in certain lots. And when they called out the certain lot number, I raised my panel and I ended up winning it. You want to hear the ridiculous price? $75.”

As one of the most important artifacts in game history, its true value is likely in the millions. The prototype was there because former Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Olaf Olafsson used to work for Advanta.

And it works — at least the SNES side does. Being a Japanese prototype, it only takes Super Famicom cartridges, but they function just like on a normal SNES. The CD functions are accessible by inserting a boot cartridge (seen in the video), but it only displays a “SuperDisc” logo and nothing else. Since no CDs were ever made for the device, it can’t play any.

Unfortunately the video of the Nintendo Playstation in action is using an obscure program that can’t be embedded here, but you can watch it by heading to this link.

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