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Collector uncovers US version of ultra-rare Nintendo 64 add-on

Brad Jones
In the late 1990s, Nintendo released a disk drive add-on for the N64 that never made its way to the United States -- but now a collector has found an American prototype of the system in Seattle.

Many of us have fond memories of the Nintendo 64, the console that brought us games ranging from Goldeneye 007 to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. However, fewer people are familiar with its doomed disk drive peripheral, the 64DD.

Despite being announced ahead of the Nintendo 64’s initial release, the 64DD was hit by a string of delays, and ended up only releasing in Japan. Most assumed that an American version of the hardware was never produced, but that hypothesis has now been disproved.

Former Sierra Entertainment employee Jason Lindsey took to a “Rare and Obscure Gaming” forum hosted on Assembler Games to share his most recent acquisition. The collector had purchased an English-language version of the 64DD, according to a report from Ars Technica.

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Photographs attached to Lindsey’s post depict the console booting up with English instructions rather than Japanese. The going theory is that the console is an early prototype of retail hardware, rather than a development kit — making it a rare find indeed.

Lindsey is based in Seattle, just a matter of miles from Nintendo of America’s headquarters. While he hasn’t shared specifics on how he came into possession of the 64DD, it’s not difficult to imagine how it could have originally been sourced from someone working at Nintendo while the project was in development.

The 64DD apparently came with a blue disk inside, which the hardware is unable to read. There’s hope that this could contain a previously unseen game — while plenty of titles were announced for the add-on, only nine were officially released.

If Lindsey chooses to sell his system on to another collector, he could be in line to make some serious money. Japanese 64DD systems regularly sell for more than $500 on eBay, and the rarity of an American retail prototype guarantees that this system could command an even higher price.