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Metal Jesus

FOUND: Ultra-Rare Nintendo Prototype N64 Add-On (US Version of 64DD)

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In the mid 1990s, Nintendo announced the 64DD disk drive add-on for the N64 for the US market ....but it never came out. Instead the Japanese version of the drive crashed and burned upon release and it took all the hopes of US gamers ever buying one along with it. For almost 20 years it was consider a myth that an actual US retail version exists... until now. I have found a working prototype of the 64DD for the US market AND it contains a developer blue diskette inside of its drive. This unit is unique in many ways and in this video I tell you all the things that make it special...and what happens next...

 

 

For the curious, I got this off Craigslist...but the person is shy and prefers to have their identity kept secret and I will respect that.

 

 

post-30211-0-93146200-1468592927_thumb.jpg

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Cool.....I wanted this so bad back in the day.

 

In retrospect, probably smart they didn't release it in the US, and probably shouldn't have in Japan Either.

 

Still; would have been fun to turn my N64 into a tower of power like my Genesis/CD1/32x combo..

Edited by travistouchdown

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In retrospect, probably smart they didn't release it in the US, and probably shouldn't have in Japan Either.

 

You are probably correct. In 1999 floppy drives were starting to die out on COMPUTERS...or at least they were used less and less... The format was dying... Sony had clearly won with the CD format.

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^ Good call. Ben Heck and Kevin Horton would be my first two picks for a job like this.. I'm excited to see whats on that disk. What a sweet score, talk about luck! :)

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Very cool find, congrats! I remember seeing this reported in big (gaming) media and I jumped out of my chair when I saw it was MJR who found it.

 

But if I understand it correctly... it's a region locked console... locked to a region that never had any officially released software... sooooo... it's a paperweight? Still cool to see that boot up screen and I hope you can get to see what's on that disc it came with.

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Is it functionally any different than a Japanese version? Aside from the region lock, I can't imagine what they'd need to change.

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I can't see why it would be region locked. I used my N64DD with a US console! So that's not the issue here. The problem is that the N64DD drive he's found is a genuine retail type unit. The blue disks ONLY work on development N64DD drives. That's why he can't read it.

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I can't see why it would be region locked. I used my N64DD with a US console! So that's not the issue here. The problem is that the N64DD drive he's found is a genuine retail type unit. The blue disks ONLY work on development N64DD drives. That's why he can't read it.

 

What games are you using? The game disk themselves and/or the DD console are likely where the region check comes from. So you are using Japanese 64dd with Japanese games, the 64 itself is most likely irrelevant in this situation.

 

 

I would really love to know if MJR can give some inclination of what he paid. Was it a super steal or was it pricey? I understand you not wanting to fully divulge that, but throw us a tiny bone lol.

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I can't see why it would be region locked. I used my N64DD with a US console! So that's not the issue here. The problem is that the N64DD drive he's found is a genuine retail type unit. The blue disks ONLY work on development N64DD drives. That's why he can't read it.

 

No, you're not getting it. The N64 is not the issue. The N64DD unit itself is region locked to North America so therefore it won't play Japanese games, which is a problem because all the officially released software was Japanese.

 

I don't think you watched the video at all. They got him in touch with the guy who was in charge of the North American N64DD and he recognized the unit and tells MJR the blue disc could be a final version of a game for the North American market. So the guy working on it knew final versions of games were still blue at this point, which makes sense because it never released to the public anyways.

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Very very cool video! That thing has to be worth a crazy amount of money. I'd love to find out what's on the disk as well. I had a DD a while ago and thought it was really neat. Every once in a while I'll get the itch to get one again.

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That thing has to be worth a crazy amount of money.

 

Even in a non-functional state? I could see the value if it works, but in its current state it is really just a fancy doorstop.

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I watched the video over the weekend. What a find!!! I remember reading about the DD and wanting one after all the 90's gaming magazines were talking about a new/expanded Zelda game coming out for it. Back then, I had actually bought a N64 just because of Ocarina of Time, so seeing previews of Ura Zelda on the DD had me wanting to pick one up. And then, it never came out. I was bummed.

 

Hopefully someone can figure out what is on that game disk!

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Even in a non-functional state? I could see the value if it works, but in its current state it is really just a fancy doorstop.

It looks functional to me but he doesn't have any software that was made to run on it. IIRC the blue disc's are only for Dev units.

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No, you're not getting it. The N64 is not the issue. The N64DD unit itself is region locked to North America so therefore it won't play Japanese games, which is a problem because all the officially released software was Japanese.

 

I don't think you watched the video at all. They got him in touch with the guy who was in charge of the North American N64DD and he recognized the unit and tells MJR the blue disc could be a final version of a game for the North American market. So the guy working on it knew final versions of games were still blue at this point, which makes sense because it never released to the public anyways.

 

Fair enough if the American N64DD unit is region locked in itself and thus can't play Japanese retail games. But THAT'S NOT TRULY THE ISSUE HERE! As noted by myself and Punisher above, blue N64DD disks ONLY work on development units NOT retail units. I used to own a N64DD dev unit and a blue disk, so I was able to try this out first hand!

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Fair enough if the American N64DD unit is region locked in itself and thus can't play Japanese retail games. But THAT'S NOT TRULY THE ISSUE HERE! .

 

No that is TRULY the issue here. He tried playing Japanese games and they don't work because it is region locked.

 

You said this earlier.

I can't see why it would be region locked. I used my N64DD with a US console!

 

That is the whole point of this region locking being brought up in this thread. Just Because you could play Japanese games on a Japanese DD on a US N64, does not mean a US DD will/should play Japanese games.

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Fair enough if the American N64DD unit is region locked in itself and thus can't play Japanese retail games. But THAT'S NOT TRULY THE ISSUE HERE! As noted by myself and Punisher above, blue N64DD disks ONLY work on development units NOT retail units. I used to own a N64DD dev unit and a blue disk, so I was able to try this out first hand!

 

Please watch the video already. The guy who handled this exact same unit that MJR discovered told MJR that the blue disc could either contain code he wrote or a completed game for the North American market. Don't you think if the system couldn't read it at all then the first thing he would have said is "it can't read it, you need a grey disc."??

 

Yes, dev units play blue discs and Japanese retail units play grey discs. That is still true. But this unit is one of a kind, it is not a Japanese retail unit, nor a dev unit. We don't know what it can play but going by what the guy said, it seems it should play blue discs. I'm sure it was supposed to play retail (grey) discs BUT NO SUCH SOFTWARE EXISTS, they never started the production line for North American N64DD software. It's no surprise that production-ready versions of games (that would work on this one) would be on a blue disc, none of it ever reached retail here so no need to use anything other than blue discs.

 

What, do you think there's an optical color sensor in the N64DD unit that won't let blue colored plastic wrapped discs play?

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There's obviously something different about how the N64DD disks are recorded that prevent one machine type from reading the other type of disk. In a similar way that a normal GameCube can't read NR discs, and an NR Cube can't read retail discs.

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I thought the fact that this video showed up on my Facebook news feed was pretty cool. Great video about something neat.

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I am finally able to update this with new info today! oh...and did I mention that 3 more rare blue dev disks showed up after my last video!?

 

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As I already mentioned in the YT comments... Both of you should give Ben Heck a crack at your unique systems. It would be awesome to take a look inside, see how they tick and what the differences are.

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