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64DD
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64DD

64DD is the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive, named the Dynamic Drive at the start of its development. It is an external device that plugs into the EXTension Port of the Nintendo 64's bottom side. It is the Nintendo 64 equivalent of the Famicom's Disk System, the Play Station Xperimental project (PSX) and the BSX satellaview by Bandai, both for the Super Famicom.

It has a 32-bit co-processor to help it read magnetic disks and transfer the data to the main console. It was designed due to the high cost of cartridgess for the main Nintendo 64 system, and their low storage capacity. For example, Super Mario 64 was an 8 Mb cartridge. The magnetic disks had 64 Mb of storage space. By the end of the N64 era, however, cartridges had matched the 64 Mb storage capacity of the magnetic disks, obviating the need for the magnetic drive.

The drive works almost like a Zip drive, and has an enhanced audio library for the games to use. The main N64 deck uses its RCP and MIPS4300i to process data from the top cartridge slot and the I/O devices. To hook up with the 64DD it needed an extra 4 Mb of RAM for a total of 8 Mb. The 64DD can boot up on its own, without the need of a cartridge on the top deck. This is because it has a standard OS, unlike the N64 on which every game has its own. The games on normal cartridges could hook up with DD expansions, for extra levels, minigames, even saving personal data.

The 64DD had its own development kit that worked in conjunction with the N64 development kit.

The released version of 64DD included a modem for connecting to the testing network RANDnet, an audio-video (female RCA jack, and line in) adaptor to plug into the main cartridge slot, a mouse that plugged into the controller inputs, and some games: Sim City 64, F-zero Xpansion, Doshin The Giant, and the Maker Trilogy.

Games that were intended to be great hits on the system were: Ura Zelda (Master Quest), the expansion disk to (released on Gamecube); Pokemon Stadium 2 (only released in Japan); Cabbage, and others.

The 64DD was finally released but was not actually sold in some cases.Sometimes it was rented from a few chains of Japanese retailers and after a period of 5 months the renter then owned the hardware.Customers who bought the unit through the internet got a subscription with RANDnet and one game per month shipped to their postal address, with some extra magazines and newsletters related to the 64DD and its games and accessories.

With the release of the 128bit Gamecube console, most games that had been released, or were still in development for, the 64DD were released instead on the Gamecube.