Back in the 1990s, console manufacturers like Nintendo and Sega thought expanding the capabilities of their home gaming systems with add-on hardware was a great idea (like the Genesis’s 32X or CD expansion). Nintendo, however, changed its opinion before releasing one of its more interesting products in the United States.
The Nintendo 64DD, also known as the 64 Disk Drive, never came out in the U.S., but someone has found a prototype unit that proves the company was well into testing the hardware for this market. Retro-game collector Jason “Metal Jesus” Lindsey recently stumbled upon a working U.S. N64DD in Seattle, where he lives and Nintendo of America has its headquarters. The system is in English and starts without any extra components. That’s unlike the 64DD developer units, which are slightly less rare.
Metal Jesus runs a popular YouTube channel dedicated to retro gaming, and he published a video of his find. Lindsey reached out to former Nintendo engineer Mark DeLoura who worked on the 64DD, and he confirmed that this was a demo unit that he worked on.
You can check out the clip below:
While this 64DD hardware works, the disk that came with it doesn’t boot up.
Metal Jesus is now trying to reach out to the game-hardware cracking community to see if anyone wants to help him read the contents of the disk. Additionally, he is offering up access to the 64DD hardware to anyone that can help rip the operating system for use in emulation. This could lead to interesting homebrew software and, potentially, a way to run U.S. 64DD games on modern computers.