Nintendo 64DD





The Nintendo 64DD ("DD" being short for "Disk Drive", and originally "Dynamic Drive") was a peripheral for the Nintendo 64 games console. It plugged into the N64 through the EXTension Port of the Nintendo 64's bottom side, and allowed the N64 to use proprietary 64 MB magnetic disks for expanded data storage. Although it had been announced before the launch of the N64, the 64DD's development was lengthy. It was eventually released in Japan when the console was in its twilight years. Scheduled for North American release in 2000, it was a commercial failure and was never released outside of Japan.

History

The 64DD was announced at 1995's Nintendo Shoshinkai game show event (now called SpaceWorld). One of the games that was featured for use with the 64DD was Creator, a music and animation program by Software Creations, the same people that made Sound Tool for the Nintendo Ultra 64 development kit. The game advertised that it could be implemented into other games, being able to replace textures and possibly create new levels and characters. Unfortunately, there was no playable version of Creator available at Shoshinkai 1995. At E3 in 1997, Nintendo's main game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, speculated that the first games to be released for the new system would be SimCity 64, Mario Artist, Pocket Monsters, and Earthbound 64.However, the 64DD was delayed until its release in Japan on December 1, 1999. Nintendo, anticipating that its long planned-out disc drive peripheral would become a commercial failure, sold the system mainly through a subscription service called RANDnet and customers would continue to receive games through the mail as well. However, very limited quantities of the 64DD were made available through stores. As a result, the 64DD was only supported by Nintendo for a short period of time and only nine games were released for it. Most unreleased 64DD games were either cancelled, released as normal Nintendo 64 games, or even GameCube games.

Hardware

The N64DD has a 32-bit coprocessor to help it read magnetic disks, and to transfer data to the main console. It was intended to be Nintendo's answer to the cheaper to produce Compact Disc that was used for Sony's PlayStation. Sony's CD storage could hold approximately 650 megabytes (MB) of information, compared to the Nintendo 64's 4-64 MB cartridge.The new medium for the N64DD was rewritable and had a storage capacity of 64 MB. The games on normal N64 cartridges could also hook up with DD expansions, for extra levels, minigames, even saving personal data.The drive works similarly to a Zip drive, and has an enhanced audio library for the games to use. The main N64 deck uses its RCP and NEC VR4300 to process data from the top cartridge slot and the I/O devices. To hook up with the 64DD, it needed an extra 4 MB of RAM for a total of 8 MB. Unlike the N64, the 64DD can boot up on its own, without the need of a cartridge on the top deck, because it has a boot menu. This would later be carried over to the Nintendo GameCube, the Nintendo DS, and Wii.The 64DD had its own development kit that worked in conjunction with the N64 development kit.

Accessories

The released version of 64DD included a modem for connecting to the network RANDnet, an audio-video (female RCA jack, and line in) adapter called the Capture Cassette to plug into the main cartridge slot, and a mouse and keyboard that plugged into the controller inputs.


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