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Nintendo 64DD

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Nintendo 64DD
64DD-Attached.jpg
Or: How the Big N's second attempt at a disk-supported game system ended up blowing up in their faces.
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: JP: December 1st, 1999
Predecessor: Famicom Disk System
SNES-CD (cancelled)
Successor: Nintendo GameCube
Competitors: PlayStation
Sega Saturn
Generation: Fifth generation

The 64DD (short for 64 Disk Drive or Dynamic Drive) was a magnetic disk drive peripheral for the Nintendo 64 game console developed by Nintendo released only in Japan on December 1st, 1999 and was discontinued on February 28th, 2001, prior to the release of the Nintendo GameCube.

Why It Flopped

  1. Only 10 disks (eight games, one expansion disk and one utility disk) were released for it. Four of these discs are Mario Artist games.
  2. It used a proprietary magnetic disk format which could only store approximately 1/10th of what a CD-ROM could store. The 64DD disk only holds up to 64 MB of data, while CD-ROMs hold even more than that, up to 650 or 700 MB. Plus 64MB N64 cartridges already existed, so that makes this disk format pointless other than being produced at low costs.
  3. 64DD disks were also a bit more expensive to manufacture than CD-ROMs.
    • It's worth noting, however, they were cheaper to produce than cartridges.
  4. Its release was constantly delayed, and according to a Digital Heroes 98 magazine interview, it was because of timing, trying to balance the add-on with N64 games, and poor sales of the Nintendo 64 console in Japan[1]. This meant that by the time it did come out, it didn't last too long in the market against the other competing consoles, especially with the Dreamcast having already been released in Japan in '1998'.
  5. Initially, it was only available in the Randnet Starter Kit via mail order.
    • Later on, though, small quantities of the add-on were sold in stores.
  6. Mother 3 (EarthBound 64 in the West) was cancelled, due to the Nintendo 64DD being discontinued. It was eventually remade as a Japanese-exclusive title for the Game Boy Advance.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. It wasn't particularly expensive when it was first released.
    • That being said, however, the 64DD and its software titles nowadays command very high prices on eBay, due to being an extremely rare device, as only 10,000 units were sold.
  2. 64DD disks were much faster, more flexible and durable than CD-ROMs, and they also have copy protection.
  3. The disks were difficult to break, unlike the fragile ones from the older Famicom Disk System.
  4. The design of the disk drive unit blends in well with the base N64 console.

List of released disks

A total of 10 disks were released for the 64DD; Eight games, one expansion disk and one utility disk.

English title Release date
Mario Artist: Paint Studio December 1, 1999
Doshin the Giant
Randnet Disk February 23, 2000
Mario Artist: Talent Studio
SimCity 64
F-Zero X Expansion Kit April 21, 2000
Japan Pro Golf Tour 64 May 2, 2000
Doshin the Giant:

Tinkling Toddler Liberation Front! Assemble!

May 17, 2000
Mario Artist: Communication Kit June 29, 2000
Mario Artist: Polygon Studio August 29, 2000

Trivia

While the add-on was sold exclusively to Japan, rumors have been appearing that there was a North American version that was made, that rumor wasn't proven until 2016 and Metal Jesus Rock found an Ultra rare version of it, however due to the fact that it's region locked, it can't play any games.

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