Guitarist Laurent Brancowitz reportedly found the console for sale on eBay.com.
Frontman Thomas Mars tells The New Yorker, "The most mysterious part to me was that no one else - no nerd or music engineer or memorabilia freak - seemed to want it... It seemed like a scam."
But Mars and his bandmates did their homework, agreed the console was the real thing and paid $17,000 (£10,600) for it.
As a result, when the band started recording its new album in Paris, France, the project had the title Alternative Thriller.