The "Nintendo Playstation" is Finally Working!
It has been nearly a year since the "Nintendo Playstation" prototype was found at an estate sale, and it finally seems like we are starting to get somewhere with it.
Not only have emulator makers and home-brew programmers been able to create a facsimile of what games would look like on an SNES, but hacker Ben Heck has actually gotten to do what we thought was impossible.
In a new YouTube video, Heck explains that the CD-Rom suddenly started working overnight by beginning to send valid data to the system.
"I was working on this yesterday and the CD-ROM wasn't even detecting the disc. I came in this morning and jiggled the cables around and got ready to work on it some more, and all of a sudden it works... did a magic elf come in overnight?"
Heck first started by testing out a few different audio CDs before moving on to a burned copy of Super Boss Gaiden, an emulator-tested homebrew.
Unfortunately, the only thing that came up on the screen was an error message, but Heck then tried playing a simple puzzle game called Magic Floor. This game loaded successfully apart from a few small graphic glitches, which were later fixed when the home-brew programmer,
"Changed something in vertical blank."
He also found,
"Unexpected IRQ's from the disc system."
were causing the unexpected habits of the software that hadn't originally shown up on the emulator. It was found that vagaries in the method that the system's cartridge ROM used to load data from the CD onto the 256kb of RAM was the actual cause of these issues.
Heck then went on to say that it's now onto the programmers to learn what the program can do.
"I should really loan this to one of the emulator writers. The bootstrap code to load games needs to be tweaked now that programmers know how actual hardware works... now it's down to the programmers learning what the hardware can actually do versus what they thought it could do."
Now we all need to remember, this is just the first step down a very very long road. As of right now, there is no "official" software anywhere for the system, and any home-brew game will play basically the same as a regular SNES cartridge, just with additional storage for music, levels, etc.
But nonetheless, this is still an incredible step in restoring this piece of video game history and an incredible victory for classic hacking.
If you want to see the working system in person, check out the Midwest Gaming Classic, which is where Heck says he will be returning the prototype to its original owners.
What do you think about the discovery Heck has found? Let us know in the comments.