Rare, never-opened Nintendo 64 Disk Drive dev kit gets opened for the first time

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,086   +131
Staff member
Recap: Nintendo in the 90s came up with what it thought was the perfect balance between cartridges and optical discs. The N64 DD used proprietary magnetic disks to expand the storage of the cart-based Nintendo 64, but it flopped so hard in Japan that it was discontinued before ever arriving in the US.

Nintendo in the late 80s was faced with a dilemma. Its partnership with Sony to develop a CD-ROM add-on for the upcoming SNES had floundered, eventually paving the way for Sony to enter the market on its own with the PlayStation.

Nintendo forged ahead with the SNES, but the company knew that the limitations of cartridges would eventually have to be addressed. With Project Reality, the codename for the Nintendo 64, they attempted to do just that.

In an effort to keep costs down (the N64 launched at $199.99 in the US), Nintendo stuck with the cartridge format but came up with an add-on accessory called the Nintendo 64 DD. Short for disk drive, the accessory used proprietary 64MB magnetic rewritable disks to greatly expand the capabilities of the console.

After multiple delays, it did finally launch in Japan in late 1999 but flopped hard and was discontinued less than a year later. Only a handful of software titles were ever released for it, and the add-on never made its way to the US.

Recently, YouTuber Shane Luis was asked to photograph a rare piece of Nintendo history for a private video game collector – a new-in-box Nintendo 64 Disk Drive Development Kit. Luis was kind enough to share the entire process with the world, and even put the images up on the Internet Archive for all to enjoy.

The dev kit is a bit different than the US prototype that Metal Jesus found back in 2016. For example, it has a blue lip around the disk slot rather than a black lip to match the rest of the chassis. The kit also comes with adapters that let you plug in two N64 cartridges at once.

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Neatfeatguy

Posts: 269   +363
Sounds like Genesis's Sega 32X. That add-on flopped, but it didn't keep me from buying it for my gaming collection and use back in the day when it released.

I had one back in the day and a few games for it:
- Doom (was fun, but still not as good as playing it on the PC)
- Virtua Fighter (I loved playing this game in the arcade, it was okay on the system, but the arcade version was so much better)
- After Burner (still better to be played in the arcade)
- Mortal Kombat II
- Primal Rage
(I think that was it)

I'd still have it to this day had my older brother not gone through his "wannabe drug dealer" phase during his Junior year of high school.....he stole 98% of all my video game stuff and 99% of all my baseball/football card collection (had tons of awesome rookie cards such as Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and the list goes on.....I had thousands of dollars worth of games and cards.....all stolen so he could buy weed. What an ***.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 269   +523
Sounds like Genesis's Sega 32X. That add-on flopped, but it didn't keep me from buying it for my gaming collection and use back in the day when it released.

I had one back in the day and a few games for it:
- Doom (was fun, but still not as good as playing it on the PC)
- Virtua Fighter (I loved playing this game in the arcade, it was okay on the system, but the arcade version was so much better)
- After Burner (still better to be played in the arcade)
- Mortal Kombat II
- Primal Rage
(I think that was it)

I'd still have it to this day had my older brother not gone through his "wannabe drug dealer" phase during his Junior year of high school.....he stole 98% of all my video game stuff and 99% of all my baseball/football card collection (had tons of awesome rookie cards such as Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and the list goes on.....I had thousands of dollars worth of games and cards.....all stolen so he could buy weed. What an ***.

Ouch man. Did you ever get back at him for that?
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 269   +363
Ouch man. Did you ever get back at him for that?
No. He sort of stayed a complete waste of breath since then and had really gone off the deep end 4+ years back.....In fact, I haven't seen nor heard from him in the past 4 years. All I know is he's still alive.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 340   +357
No. He sort of stayed a complete waste of breath since then and had really gone off the deep end 4+ years back.....In fact, I haven't seen nor heard from him in the past 4 years. All I know is he's still alive.
I can relate. I haven't talked to my sisters in years. In my case my sisters are the holier than thou types and I don't have time for their BS.
 

envirovore

Posts: 152   +352
TechSpot Elite
Meanwhile, Modern Vintage Gamer silently weeps while wishing it was him that got a hold of this.

Cool channel if you're into how consoles functioned, and were eventually hacked to allow for emulation. Worth checking out if you're not familiar with it.
 

kmo911

Posts: 306   +34
It was cd .vs n64 disk drive dev in that time 19xx-1999 20xx. so now they getting back in speed of slling n64 stuff. just like duke nukem forever. many many --**-- --//-- years later. sega x32 cd ps1 and somehow snes cd-rom drive. and many other cd-rom tweaks on pc. it was forgotten. nitendo pulled every ting from marked. so that was it. we didnt got those for sale after 1999.FINITO and then came ps1 2 3 4 5