The mid-90s presented Nintendo with probably their toughest competition yet: The Sony Playstation. released in North America in 1995, it was dominating the video game market. The CD based console was a developer’s dream. Production costs were cheap and the technical specs were great. soon, many of Nintendo’s favorite Developers began making games for the Playstation. The one that hurt the most might be Square who moved their flagship final fantasy series over to Sony. Needless to say, it became a massive hit. Nintendo’s system the Nintendo 64, Felt somewhat dated compared to the Playstation. Mostly due to the game still being on cartridges. Although load times were much faster, it costs more to produce games and development proved to be difficult for third-Party Developers. Chip Shortages didn’t help either. for Comparison’s sake, a Nintendo 64 cartridge can hold 12 to 16 megabytes of Data. A PlayStation CD-Rom could hold almost 700 megabytes! So, what was Nintendo’s answer to the growing popularity of the Playstation? Enter the Nintendo 64DD, also known as the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive It was announced at Nintendo’s show Shinkai trade show in 1995, and got the video game world buzzing about the possibilities The Nintendo 64DD would bring the 64 online and provide improved graphics and bigger games. The cartridges could now hold 64 megabytes of Data, and gamers would be able to download new updates for their games and store files. Personally, I was pretty excited! I remember reading tips and tricks’ magazine and seeing previews for all the games that were gonna come out for this thing, and boy were there a lot of games! Zelda 64, Mario 64 2, Banjo Kazooie 2, Earthbound 64, Kirby 64, It seemed like all the big games were going to come out for this system. Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan. Over the next few years, people started noticing that many of the games that were planned for the add-on were being released as a cartridge game for the 64, or being canceled altogether. Gamers continued to wonder: When was this thing coming out? Then, quietly in December of 1999, the Nintendo 64DD was released in Japan. By this time, interest was pretty much non-existent, and the next generation of consoles were getting ready to be released. But because Nintendo promised the add-on, it was finally released. However, it wasn’t released in the traditional way. you could only get the Nintendo 64DD through a mail-order subscription. For 22 dollars a month, for 12 months, you got the following: the Nintendo 64DD, a Subscription to Randnet, an online service where you could email, chat, play games online, swap files, and read a special Nintendo Newsletter, a modem, keyboard and mouse, the Nintendo 64 expansion pack, and finally, six games delivered on a bi-monthly basis. Now, let’s go over a few of the games released. Probably the best release was the F-Zero X Expansion Kit. This required the F-Zero X cartridge to play, but it added new tracks, a car creator, track editor a new soundtrack, and more! It really showed off the potential of the Nintendo 64DD. Mario artist was sort of a sequel to Mario Paint, and included four separate titles, paint studio talent studio, communication kit and polygon studio. You could create animations, draw pictures, and share them online with friends. Simcity 64 was basically a beefed-up version of Simcity 2000. However, it suffered from slowdown issues. It recieved average reviews. And finally, the most unique game, Doshin the Giant. it was basically a god simulator game, where you played as Doshin, who helps out Island Villagers. The game had a decent Following, and was eventually released on the GameCube in Japan and Europe. In Mid-December, Nintendo released a limited number of add-ons to stores. Probably to clear inventory. Overall, only about 15,000 Nintendo 64DD’s were sold, and the Randnet online service was shut down in February of 2001. Only nine games were made for the add-on, and it never saw the light of day outside of Japan. Not that nintendo of America would even want it. Howard Lincoln who was Nintendo’s Chairman at the time, Stated “The need is not as great, and we haven’t found compelling software. Putting it in out there would just be foisting an accessory on the consumer, and the memory of the Sega 32x is still vivid. You know things are bad when your product is being compared to the Sega 32x. In short, the Nintendo 64DD was a complete failure, and gave developers even more of a reason to move on to new consoles. It was however, a step in the right direction to bringing the world of gaming online. Nintendo would go on to release the GameCube, which used mini DVD disks in the fall of 2001. It was the first Nintendo home console to use a disk based system. Today, the 64DD is more of a collector’s piece than anything else. The add-on itself goes for about $500 on eBay. That’s all for this episode of The Gaming Historian. Thanks for watching.