An extremely rare Nintendo 64DD development kit was sold via eBay just after 8pm GMT this evening for a staggering £1555.
The bundle, which was first listed last Sunday by seller mattmoss1982 is an especially rare find, mainly due to the fact that the add-on was only ever commercially released in Japan and was a failure for Nintendo. The development kit (which exists in considerably more limited numbers) is complete in box and comes with the following:
- Four blue dev discs
- 200+ page English manual in official binder
- Original Japanese letter
- Disc stickers
- Data disk used for development
- Cartridge adapters
- IPL cart and extra software
The packaging for the unit is remarkably similar to the retail packaging for standard Nintendo 64 systems in Japan, but contains English text on the box. There’s also a full English manual inside, which makes sense given that the unit was at one point going to be released in the US.
First announced in 1995, The 64DD (Disk Drive – originally Dynamic Drive) was eventually released with a limited production run in 1999 after numerous delays. The system add-on was supposed to play a more central role during the N64′s lifespan, with both full-release 64DD games and add-on packs to standard cartridge releases.
The disk drive, which plugs into the extension port on the bottom of the console, used 64MB magneto-optical discs that added more storage space for games. Nintendo had hoped that it would be prove to be a viable competitor to Sony’s vastly cheaper-to-manufacture CD-based games for the PlayStation. Unfortunately, the Big N realised that the project was effectively dead in the water before it was even made available to the Japanese public (most probably because of the cost, the need for consumers to buy another piece of equipment and the N64′s less-than-stellar sales performance).
The add-on released with a modem cartridge that allowed Japanese users to connect to an online service called Randnet. Through this, users could play against other players, watch other players’ game sessions and even swap content among many other things. It’s a side of the N64 that many of us in the West sadly never got to experience, especially considering how advanced it sounds for its time.
Many games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Paper Mario were originally destined for it, but ended up being shifted to standard cartridge. Most titles were cancelled, and only a handful of games were eventually released (the only add-on disks making the final cut being the F-Zero X Expansion Kit and Kyojin no Doshin Kaihō Sensen Chibikko Chikko Daishūgou).
The retail version of the 64DD occasionally pops up on auction sites such as eBay and also fetches high asking prices.
Do you think the development kit should have sold for the amount of money that it did? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.