The Nintendo 64DD ("DD" being short for "Disk Drive") is an expansion system for the Nintendo 64. It was named the "Dynamic Drive" at the start of its development, and plugs into the N64 through the EXTension Port of the Nintendo 64's bottom side. It was a commercial failure, and was never released outside of Japan.
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 company that made Sound Tool for the Nintendo Ultra 64 development kit. This game advertised that it could be implemented into other games, allowing replacement of textures and possible creation of new levels and characters. Unfortunately, there was no playable version of Creator available at Shoshinkai 1995. At E3 in 1997, 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 their long planned out disc drive peripheral would become a commercial failure, sold the system through a subscription service called RANDnet, rather than selling the system directly in Japan to retailers or to consumers. 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 canceled or released as normal Nintendo 64 games.
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 Compact Disc that was used for Sony's PlayStation, which was cheaper to produce. Sony's CD storage could hold approximately 650 megabytes (MB) of information, compared to the Nintendo 64's 32 to 512 megabit (4 to 64 MB) cartridge.
The new media 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 MIPS4300i 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 standard OS. This would later be carried over to the Nintendo GameCube, Wii and the Nintendo DS.
Much like the SNES had the Satellaview online service in Japan, the 64DD had the RandNet service (named for the two companies involved with the project, Recruit and Nintendo). Launched in December 1999, the RandNet service allowed gamers to compete against each other online, play new unreleased games before they hit the stores, surf the Internet, listen to music online, and much more. The RandNet Starter Kit came packaged with 64DD machines and included everything a gamer would need to access the service. The subscription cost was ¥2500 per month.
Three games in the Legend of Zelda series were to be released on the 64DD: Ura Zelda, Zelda 64, and Zelda Gaiden. Due to the failure of the 64DD Zelda 64 became Ocarina of Time, and Zelda Gaiden became Majora's Mask, both for the Nintendo 64. Ura Zelda, however, was never released until a modified version of it came with pre-orders for The Wind Waker under a new name, Ocarina of Time Master Quest.
- ^ Stated in Nintendo Power: August, 1997
Video game consoles
| Home consoles|
Nintendo Entertainment System | Super Nintendo Entertainment System | Nintendo 64 | Nintendo 64DD | Nintendo GameCube | Wii | Wii U
Game Boy | Game Boy Color | Game Boy Advance (Game Boy Advance SP, Game Boy Micro) | Nintendo DS (DS Lite, DSI) | Nintendo 3DS
GameShark | Satellaview | Expansion Pak | CD-i | Wii Zapper