The internet is great, isn't it? It's like the playground of your childhood, when shins were kicked and unpopular kids stood stony still as goalposts, turned inside out and spread all over electronic stuff that 99 percent of its users don't actually understand, where the tallest tale can quickly become hardened fact simply through enough sharing. If it's popular enough, it's got to be legit, right? Digital whisper one moment, pen-a-headline-and-publish-the-shit-out-of-it the next. Go, social network news sourcing!
But then again, that's completely wonderful, and leads to genuinely heart-warming incidents like CNN reporting the presence of an ISIS flag at London's Pride march of last week, when it was actually an image of several silhouetted dildos. Oh, the internet, you perfect bastard of a creation we can't control, you.
Today's hotly shared-on-the-socials titbit of if-this-is-true-it's-like- Half-Life-3-confirmed-big gaming news is the "discovery" by some chap who goes under the imgur user name of DanDiebold (we can always guess that his name is Dan, can't we? Let's call him Dan) of a prototype Nintendo-meets-Sony SNES PlayStation. "What the hell?" I hear you exclaim. Okay, I'll keep this amazingly simple for you, mainly because I already wrote about this once already (over here).
Before PlayStation became PlayStation – Wipeout and Tekken and Lara Croft and a bunch of other games you think would still be amazing today but that's nostalgia fucking with you, trust me – Sony were tit-deep into a development deal with Nintendo to produce a CD peripheral for the gaming giant's SNES, which subsequently turned into an entirely new console capable of playing games from both companies. The deal went spectacularly sour, with the Mario makers deciding to pal up with Philips instead before canning the SNES-CD project entirely. Scorned, Sony pressed ahead with the PlayStation on their own terms, abandoning the cartridge element to focus only on CDs and, well, the rest is history. As business-world middle fingers go, it's pretty amazing.
Today, Dan put pictures of a prototype model of what Nintendo and Sony had been creating on Reddit, and the internet subsequently melted down – at least in the corners occupied with gamers. Look! Here are some of those photos, below. (All via imgur and Nintendo Life)
Specialist gaming websites have, naturally, been asking the most pertinent question possible in this situation. Which is not "how much is that thing worth, I mean, come on, it must be thousands?" But yes, it probably is, if only there wasn't the small matter of that actually-the-most-important-question, which is: seriously, guys, this has got to be a wind up, right? Doesn't it? Think about it.
It looks completely awful
It does, doesn't it? I appreciate that this is, supposedly, just a prototype, but the Japanese Super Famicom, as the 16bit console was called in its homeland, was a sleek and curved beauty of a machine, with big buttons and a distinct colour scheme: green, blue, yellow, red. Even at the prototype stage, you'd expect to see this reflected on the body of the console – but as you can see, nope. Now, take a look at this image, an "official" SNES PlayStation model from the time. (Two hundred of these were mocked up, as this post from 2007 seems to confirm.) Compare the two and it's almost like what we've seen today is someone's best attempt at crafting what they've only seen before on a screen, from a collection of nearly-no-seriously-nearly-but-not-quite parts. It's mostly convincing, but there are several small details that don't match up. The panel that the controllers plug into, with its headphone socket and volume control, is different, likewise the power button.
There's a code on it, "SFX-100", that the internet doesn't seem to have seen before
Look beneath where it says "PlayStation" on the top of the console. "SFX-100", whatever can that mean? You'd have thought that kind of information would be out there in the wild, since the world's known about Sony's dealings with Nintendo since their falling out. But a decent amount of Google searching pulls in nothing that explicitly connects those letters and numbers with the PlayStation SNES project. The SNEStation? No, no, that'll never do. Anyway, there is a more tenuous connection or two: look at the code on this prototype SNES controller, "SFX-003". And the Super FX, the "SFX" (said nobody ever, but I suppose you could), was a chip inside certain SNES cartridges, powering games like Star Fox and Dirt Racer. If you were going to fake something Nintendo-shaped, beginning its code with "SFX" makes sense, I suppose.
And it does have that classic SNES "yellowing" going on
But so does a lot of white plastic from the 1990s. Go stick your head in a landfill full of ancient fridge-freezers and PC monitors. Looks like everything's been pissed on.
The pad only has Nintendo details on the back
There's often a lot of information on the back of your chosen controller, as this PS3 pad proves. Dan's Nintendo PlayStation SNES PlayStation whatever-we're-calling-it controller has Sony branding on the front, beside the Super Famicom "buttons" logo, while full model details, Nintendo only, are found on the flip. Now, check the code there: "SHVC-005". It's a standard Super Famicom controller, nothing more, nothing less. I'm not saying that, at the prototype stage, we should be seeing an all-new pad bearing all-new code – but then again, this could also mean that all Dan, or whoever, has done is paint the Sony branding onto the front of the pad. Wouldn't be hard. Total piece of piss, in fact. That plug mightn't have been quite so easy to fake, though. Hmm.
On Motherboard: You Can Never Go PlayStation Home Again
There's no mention of Nintendo on the body of the console at all
Unless I'm missing something? There's not even that button logo that features on the pad. Granted, there's nothing Nintendo-y on this image made public in 2012, either, but notice that the "PlayStation" on the pad is in a different font to what we see in Dan's snaps. They're not the same, is what I'm saying – and why would that be when the SNES PlayStation we saw three years ago was apparently how the 200 produced appeared? The story's beginning to sound like, like…
The story sounds like utter horseshit
Seriously, have you seen what Dan posted to go with his photos? Check this out:
"My dad worked for a company, apparently one of the guys he used to work with, I think his name was Olaf, used to work at Nintendo and when my dads company went bankrupt, he found it in a box of 'junk' he was supposed to throw out."
As Nintendo Life reports, this mysterious Olaf could be Ólafur Ólafsson, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment from its founding in 1991 until 1997. He never worked at Nintendo, though, and what about Dan's dad's company? What was that? Why would Dan not mention that? Was it the FBI or the CIA or Nestlé or someone? We're back in the playground again, as this sounds like the purest poppycock. It's easy to find out who was in and around the PlayStation during Sony's conversations with Nintendo – "Olaf" is mentioned, beside that magical 200 figure, in this 2007 post on the SNES CD – and the vagueness of any other details spells, for me, horseshit.
There's a ripple of support behind the suggestion that this guy made it
This Belgian fellow, Vadu Amka, who's clearly adept at modding the shit out of consoles. This French site writes that Dan's story is a "tall tale" (check the translation%20suite%20à%20une%20faillite%20d'entreprise.%20Bref%20une%20histoire%20à%20dormir%20debout.%20Mais%20peut%20être%20est-ce%20l'oeuvre%20mensongère%20de%20la%20talentueuse%20Vadu%20Amka%20X%20Florent%20Gorges%20qui%20veulent%20se%20faire%20de%20l'argent%20sur%20le%20dos%20des%20collectionneurs%20acharnés%20%3F%20%23jokeFace%0A%0AStop%20la%20déconnade%2C%20et%20regardez%20cette%20merveille%20!)) adding that it may well be the work of "the deceptive" Amka. Me? I'm not so sure, but it's certainly a possibility. It might be that only a pro could make something so authentically shitty looking.
The Reddit thread that this all started from, yesterday, has gone private today
See? What's that about? Actually, perhaps it means Nintendo and/or Sony are taking action and sorting this mess out, as I'm fairly sure nobody amongst the public should have one of these things. (It doesn't, but how about we just go with it anyway?) So, maybe this is 100 percent legit? And what if it works? Oh god, what if it works? I want it so bad. Let meee.
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