News Article

The Unreleased Super Mario 64 DD Edition Appears to Have Been Uncovered

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Awesome collectable, but imperfect version of the classic

Super Mario 64 is one of the most iconic, important games ever produced, and is treasured by many gamers. It's safe to say that it's in most collections of those rocking a Nintendo 64, so while it's much-loved it's not exactly collectable gold. The unreleased Nintendo 64 DD version, however, is something else entirely, and it's been so rare that some have even doubted whether any copies remained in the wild.

The Nintendo 64 DD was an intriguing disc drive expansion that opened up far more expansive games and opportunities, such as detailed customisation and level creation. It was only released in Japan and barely got off the ground, however, as it arrived too late and was perhaps a little too far ahead of the time in terms of what it was trying to achieve.

Only ten games were formally released, with F-Zero X Expansion Kit among the most well-known, though various releases and projects were started and abandoned. One of these was a disc version of Super Mario 64, shown at SpaceWorld 1996, though it since quietly disappeared. Nintendo 64 collector jimmy130 has snagged a copy, however, and has recorded some footage of it in action.

Unfortunately this version doesn't appear to have any hugely exciting differences — possibly because it was never truly finished — and seems largely the same as the original version. You can see it below, including the second video that shows some bugs.

A fascinating collectable, though the standard N64 cartridge still seems to be the way to go to really enjoy the game at its best.

Thanks to Evan Butler for the tip.

[via retrocollect.com]

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User Comments (43)

FragRed

#4

FragRed said:

I remember hearing about this all the way back when N64 was current gen. Wow, so long ago, makes me feel super old. I can kind of understand why the add on was never released outside Japan and why only 10 games were made for it. Nintendo shot themselves in the foot with that system from the start.

unrandomsam

#5

unrandomsam said:

@FragRed Why ? They should have gone all in with it. Ocarina of Time would have been loads better on it. Zelda would have shifted the hardware. Some of the 3rd parties who were developing for it wouldn't have jumped ship.

ryansimmons

#6

ryansimmons said:

It's important to note that it is generally accepted that this version of the game was only ever produced as a tech demo of the 64DD.

As far as we know it was used at Shoshinkai/SpaceWorld 1996 to demonstrate load times of the 64DD.

Whether they were planning to release this or not as an actual re-release is unknown.

Starwolf_UK

#7

Starwolf_UK said:

This was used for demonstration purposes to show off the potential loading times of 64DD games. Apparently the build date is 1996 (64 DD was ready for a while but I guess games weren't) which explains why it seems to be like Japan v1.0 (no peach letter reading, some slightly different music).

Edit: LOL beaten.
There might be more than one of these floating around. This was seen several months ago:
http://iconosquare.com/p/601165509930473233_23537004
23k Yen with a prototype (that may have vanished into the void as tends to happen when Japanese people buy prototypes). Some stores really don't know the value of what they have.

FragRed

#8

FragRed said:

@unrandomsam That maybe true, though I thought Square already jumped ship with Final Fantasy. There is an article, I will try and find and link it, from 2001 or there a bouts where Nintendo said that the reason the N64 failed was due to how difficult developing games for it was which was intentional to try and force better quality games.

Zombie_Barioth

#10

Zombie_Barioth said:

@FragRed
Your right, Nintendo did intentionally make the N64 difficult to work with to encourage better quality games, the idea being only the best devs could make the most of it.

Sony did the same thing too though, at least with the PS2, not sure about the PS1. Their idea was publishers wouldn't have as many resources to work on other platforms and would stick to Playstation.

The PS2's success was what made that work, so the N4DD could have been successful too. I don't know what size those disks were though so things like that might still have been an issue, although I do know back then floppies were around 35MB in size. I doubt they were even close to 700MB.

b_willers

#11

b_willers said:

I have always wondered, what is that small unit for on the N64 controller cable just below the plug that you can see in the video? Anyone know?

FragRed

#14

FragRed said:

@Zombie_Barioth I never knew that was Sony's policy too. I can't see the size in games on the N4DD being dramatically bigger than the standard N64 cartridge, which I think was only 32 MB was it not? And only Resident Evil 2 used that size. Im just guessing looking at the picture of Super Mario 64.

MayhemStaff

#15

Mayhem said:

Given it's on a grey disk, then it's a properly produced disk, not a development (blue) type, and via the label, I would agree it would be a demo disk for shows. Nevertheless, still very intriguing :)

Blue-Thunder

#17

Blue-Thunder said:

I never really understood where Nintendo going with the 64DD. I would have bought one in a flash though :)

My N64 packed in recently; I took it apart to clean it, Doh!

MrCanzine

#18

MrCanzine said:

After market add-ons rarely find commercial success so I'd say they were wise not to go all in with this. While it may be neat, it would probably have found as much success in the world market as Sega CD, turbo graphics 16 add on, and such.

dustin_g

#19

dustin_g said:

extra levels, extra mini-games, store personal & user-generated content is what they were trying to do with it

SuperMalleo

#22

SuperMalleo said:

Supposedly there exists a playable demo of Super Mario 64 2, but Nintendo never showed it to the public with screenshots or gameplay.

gohanrage

#25

gohanrage said:

Super Mario 64 was 64 Megabits which is only 8 MegaBytes

Take the Size in Megabits and divide by 8 to get MegaBytes

BlackHearted1

#26

BlackHearted1 said:

That is pretty cool, i wonder what would have happened if Nintendo fully invested into the N64DD, I wonder if it would have paved a path to extend all console life times with a add on about half way through its life cycle, so say like a Xbox 360 Blue-ray drive add on.

Squashy

#27

Squashy said:

@Pinemeowth This is a rather exciting find for that guy, what a cool thing to own!

@Zombie_Barioth and @FragRed I've never heard of the PS2 being difficult to develop for, for some reason I was always under the impression that it's easy but I know the PS3 is complicated to work with.

Anyway something I do know is that N64 DD disks are 64MB, and N64 cartridges come in several sizes. For example Super Mario 64 is a 64Mbit (8MB) cartridge, quite a lot of games are 128Mbit, and then the big size cartridge is 256Mbit (so 32MB). Ocarina Of Time was the first 256Mbit game, making it the biggest ever cart at the time of release and 4 times the size of Super Mario 64!

Later on in the N64's life however, the cost of making cartridges came down enough for a whopping (for a cartridge at the time) 512Mbit (64MB) to be possible, and that's what Resident Evil 2 and Conker's Bad Fur Day are. It did mean of course that the memory advantage offered by DD disks no longer mattered because a cart the same size as the disks was now possible.

Squashy

#28

Squashy said:

@Pinemeowth Sorry I didn't mean to direct that first line of my post to you, I must have accidentally clicked the reply button on your post somehow. Darn touch screen accidental clicks!

electrolite77

#30

electrolite77 said:

@BlackHearted1

Not a lot. They were right not to release it, add-on units always struggle because they split the potential customer base. Do you develop for the,say,50% of N64 owners who have a disk drive or do you develop for the 100% of N64 owners who have a N64? Easy decision. See:Mega-CD,32X,Kinect etc

Zombie_Barioth

#31

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Squashy
That was their plan at least, I don't know if it was really that difficult (like the SEGA Saturn) so much as they didn't really help 3rd parties much (not translating the manuals and such).

I thought I remembered hearing cartridges getting that big, wasn't sure about the disks though. So yea, space would still be an issue for those 3rd parties then.

Henmii

#33

Henmii said:

It seems things wen't wrong in one of the most difficult parts: The Wiggler room!

8bitforever

#36

8bitforever said:

If only Nintendo had went disc drive with Sony's add on for the SNES. We would be having a different conversation today.

Knux

#37

Knux said:

It looks about the same except for the higher quality music and graphics. I wish there were more of these. :(

ZebraCardeath

#38

ZebraCardeath said:

they could reintroduce this concept today with system expansion and eshop integration for compatible games.

ZebraCardeath

#39

ZebraCardeath said:

i guess the DD is the reason nintendo followed up the cube and wii with a Gestapo-ic prejudice to load times.

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