SHOW / HIDE
Hardware (J)
Part Name
Part Number
Part Name
Part Number
Nintendo 64
NUS-001
Mouse
NUS-017
AC Adapter
NUS-002
Transfer Pak
NUS-019
Multi Out / RF Adapter
NUS-003
Voice Recognition System
NUS-020
Controller
NUS-004
Microphone
NUS-021
Cassette
NUS-006
"Tool to hang microphone around your neck"
NUS-022
Memory Expansion Pak
NUS-007
Controller Pak
NUS-023
Jumper Pak
NUS-008
"Tool to attach microphone to the controller"
NUS-025
RF Switch
NUS-009
Microphone Sponge
NUS-026
64 DD
NUS-010
Capture Cassette
NUS-028
64 DD Disk
NUS-011
Modem
NUS-029
"Tool to remove NUS-007/NUS-008"
NUS-012
Nintendo 64 Pikachu Edition
NUS-101
Rumble Pak
NUS-013
Keyboard
RND-001

Please check Submit / Contact section to see if you can help providing info, scans or selling Hardware. In case someone finds errors please don't hesitate to contact me.

Scroll down to see Pics of every Hardware part and some info about Nintendo 64, 64 DD, Randnet, VRS and all other technologies used by Nintendo for this unique gaming console.

This page contains info suited for most users, if you want to look at internal Nintendo 64 specifications, hardware functions, development methods, ecc. please take a look in the Development section at the official Nintendo 64 programming manuals.

HYSTORY

Released in Japan on June 23, 1996 and in the US on September 26, 1996, the Nintendo 64 game console was billed as the first 64-bit home platform ever created. Unlike the (then) next-generation competitors Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, which both read games off CDs, Nintendo 64, like Super NES before it, was a cartridge-based machine. Developed with Silicon Graphics International it includes a custom chip originating from a MIPS R4000 cpu.

It was the price of the the carts that ultimately made the console a disappointment in Japan, but Nintendo 64 was an outright success in America where it has sold through more than 17 million pieces of hardware (and 32+ million worldwide).

Many factors were against the console at the moment of the release: price of memories increasing, cheaper media for rival gaming systems, small storage system capabilities for carts and high licensing fees. On top of this, it was also difficult to develop games for it, so many game developers switched to different consoles.

Nintendo 64

** For detailed info on the machine itself click here **

Click on the cart image for a bigger picture.

Nintendo 64 Technical Specifications
CPU

MIPS 64-bit RISC CPU (customized R4000 series) - Clock Speed: 93.75 MHz

Memory
RAMBUS D-RAM 36M bit - Transfer Speed: maximum 4,500M bit/sec.
Co-Processor
RCP: SP (sound and graphics processor) and DP (pixel drawing processor) incorporated - Clock Speed: 62.5MHz
Graphics Subsystem

256 x 224 ~ 640 x 45 dots, Flicker-free interlace mode support

32-bit RGBA pixel color frame buffer support, 21-bit color video output, Z buffer, Anti-aliasing

Realistic texture mapping: Tri-linear filtered MIP-map interpolation, Perspective correction, Environment mapping

Size

Width 260mm (10.23") x Depth 190mm (7.48") x Height 73mm (2.87") - 1.1kg (2.42 lb.)

Software

Cart based, with a variable size for data that ranges from 32 megabits (4 megabytes) up to 512 megabits (64 megabytes). Save data can be stored internally, in the cart (again with variable sizes) or on a memory card to be inserted in the back slot of the Controllers or in a combination of both.

Controller

The Controller for Nintendo 64 has been the most advanced controller so far, possibly also because it was the first to introduce many new elements in the home market. First of all, as one can notice it can be handled in three different postions, and it has been the first to introduce the analog stick (the one in the middle). The first game to use it has been Super Mario 64, this game lets you control the way Mario moves by simply pushing the stick completely in one direction or just by a little: you can walk and run at so many different speeds. Since it has been the first gaming console to introduce the analog stick, designers at Nintendo thought it could be a better idea to leave the orignal 8-way directional pad as the main control way. But as games developed, not many titles use the original control pad; the analog one offers better control in 3d worlds with changing perspective, driving games, rpg games and even platformers, with the possibility to choose the speed of the character.

First introduced by Nintendo 64!

Every way you take the controller in hand you will end up with a trigger at the bottom or on the shoulder of the pad. It has been greatly designed to offer maximum comfort in all 3 postions.

Though the look originates from the old Super Famicom one, some buttons have been removed and other splitted. The most particular one is the yellow C butoon, which is made by four different buttons originating another control pad. This configuration makes possible to move a camera (like Super Mario 64 does - you can change the point of view while running around a mountain and even zoom to Mario's eyes) or to control movement, like in Turok. You cannot imagine how simple is to control a character in a first person view with the Nintendo 64 Controller: holding it like the 3rd example posted here, with the yellow buttons you control the movement on the ground, and with the analog stick you can look and shot freely around while running in another direction. It gives you better and easier control than a mouse and a keyboard, believe me.

Ideas behind this controller have surfaced in both Playstation, Dreamcast and now Gamecube, which takes the concept even further by keeping all the good point of the Nintendo 64 one and by adding two accelerator-like buttons at the top.

Controller Pak
The Controller Pak was released with the debut of the console on the market. It wasn't different from other Memory Cards for other consoles except for its particularity of plugging into the controller instead of the base unit. This way, game producers could have the possibility to develop a game by implementing game save data on the cartridge, on the Controller Pak or in a combination of both. Apart from 3rd and 2nd party developers, Nintendo didn't include support for it in games after the initial period. This is still, however, the most supported peripherial after the Rumble Pak.

 

Rumble Pak

First introduced by Nintendo 64!

The Rumble Pak was first introduced with StarFox 64, which in the first edition came in a bundle with it. It offers force feedback for software devloped with it in mind. Even if it does connect in the controller's slot, it is completely interchangable with the other peripherials at any time. It has been the FIRST attempt ever to offer force feedback on the home market, so it was developed separately from the controller; Nintendo didn't know if it would have bben succesful or not. Soon after that Sony followed the wave with its Shock controller for Playstation (but didn't planned it for a relelase outside Japan - the first analog controllers in Europe and USA were not giving vibrations of any kind, but after seeing they were selling only Japanese ones they changed their minds) and after that PC gaming devices makers and Sega with the Dreamcast. Another record for Nintendo and the Nintendo 64.

 

Memory Expansion Pak

First introduced by Nintendo 64!

The Memory Expansion Pak is a small cartridge that fits in the top cover of the Nintendo 64. It takes the place of the Jumper Pak; which is a similar cartridge shipped with every console. The Jumper Pak is simply a terminator for the RIMM bus, and it isn't much different than the terminators used in Pentium 4 machines nowadays. The Expansion Pak is an expansion for the 36 mbits of RIMM system memory built inside the Nintendo 64: it adds 36 mbits more, bringing the total to 72 mbits (9 mbytes). This added memory can be used to increase graphic resolution, add more polygons, ecc. First games to employ this extra memory didn't require it to work properly, they simply were able to detect it automatically and increase the resolution of the game. As further as we go into the evolution of the console the game started requiring it, and hardware bundles started to show. This memory does no harm if you leave it in the console any time. It shouldn't give you any improvement in games that don't officially support it, but if you are experiencing slow-downs this could help you a little, a bit of extra memory can make the difference. It ships with a small tool to remove both paks and is bundled with the 64 DD unit; all 64 DD titles require it to work. Please note that Nintendo started to sell a gaming console with Rambus Memory 6 years before it was succesfully employed in computers, with an unbeatable price of around 100$ for a whole unit. Think how much a 64mb Rambus bank costs today... This has been the first memory expansion released for a gaming console. Before, additional RAM memory was added on the game cartridges' boards (Super Famicom, Famicom, Game Boy, Genesis, Master System, etc.).

Colors

One of the first thing that comes to the mind of people thinking about Nintendo 64 are the colors of controllers. They were introduced first with the different standard controllers. Since the Nintendo 64 comes supplied with 4 controller ports, checking which controller is connected to which port could be difficult to spot while playing, so they started to produce the base set of six colors: Nintendo grey (one was supplied with the console), red, green, yellow, black and blue.

With the release of Mario Kart 64 (check Box Art section), they also produced one mixed controller made by the bottom part of the grey one and the upper and plug part by a black one. Intended as a limited release first, it was later released separately along with the other ones.

This move was very succesful, and 3rd party hardware producers started to develop colored Contollers with matching Controller Paks and Rumble Paks. After that Nintendo started to supply different consoles as well, one transparent pink and one transparent blue with the bottom half transparent white. Separated controllers were also available.

The release of a limited edition black transparent one (with matching joypad - exactly like the keyboard and modem) came on the market for people who wanted to buy a Nintendo 64 / 64 DD bundle at a special price. This, along with the clear ones stayed on the market for a while even after dropping the 64 DD. The same color has been part of the extra 6 for the american Nintendo 64. Scroll below to the 64 DD area to see them connected together.

Other colors that made it into the american (and then european) market are the limited edition transparent purple and transparent orange consoles with accompanying controllers. The first is like the other two, transparent white on the bottom and transparent purple on the top. The second one is transparent orange on the top but the standard Nintendo 64 color on the bottom.

Sorry for the crap pictures, nothing else available.

Since Nintendo 64 was much more succesful in the USA, Nintendo of America followed another way, making available 6 different transparent colors for the console (with matching joypads) and 2 extra colors only for joypads; gold and grey / black as the limited japanese Mario Kart 64 one. They were referred to as "Grape, Watermelon, Ice, Jungle Green, Fire and Smoke" colors.

Along with the debut of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the USA market - which the first, limited edition came in a gold cartridge (like the old NES titles) - they released a limited edition gold controller. This move in Japan was followed by the release of 2 gold controllers with different boxes, both limited. Later on in the USA and Europe a bundle with a gold controller / gold Nintendo 64.

Useless to say that after Nintendo 64 almost EVERY console started to show colorful units and accessories.

First editions of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask came in gold cartridges and started "coloring" also for carts that were not limited: gold, yellow, red, blue, black...

Click on the cart to see pics of colored cartridges released on the market

First introduced by Nintendo 64!

Pokemon Stuff

One special mention is needed just for this because with Pokemon stuff and the related games and hardware Nintendo has made billions of dollars and pushed some interesting ideas. Nintendo is the only company which sells and develop videogames and merchandise about these little creatures. Although I personally hate these kind of stuff, I must admit the games concerning Pokemons are awesome titles, with lot of features, an awesome life span and supported by dedicated hardware (from Gameboy to Nintendo 64 to Game Boy Advance and so on..). About Nintendo 64 the first noticeably thing are the limited edition light blue / yellow and orange /yellow consoles and controllers that were released a year ago in Japan and then in blue /yellow (not limited) in the other countries. Those, came first alone and then with the VRS unit + game (see below). Somewhere else the Pokemon version came as a standard console but with different colors and some stickers on it. With those 2 other controllers were issued to match the colors of the console. Though ugly in my opinion (Pokemon stuff is designed with young kids in mind - 12 years and under) colors are very nice. Note that this version doesn't have the expansion port for the (already defunct at time of these consoles' release) 64 DD unit; and thanks to that stupid Pikachu the Z64 doesn't fit on top of it.

Japanese ones

European / USA / Australian version and?... Please help find out for the one on the right!

About the games, the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy ones are the only games for console that have been translated in almost all countries where Nintendo 64 has been released. In the Game boy titles, which are rpg-like games, you can find, train and exchange Pokemons with other people. The first bunch of games released comprises the red, yellow, blue and green game; each one features different Pokemons to find and different plots. The Game Boy cartridges are the first to have a built-in clock to keep track as time passes by. Some of the creatures that you can find can only evolve by time, exchanging with other people or by things that can happen only if you connect more different games together. Why are Game Boy games and Nintendo 64 so tied together? Beacuse with this in mind, the engineers at Nintendo developed the Transfer Pak, that allowed people to bring their self-trained creatures in a 3d environment to battle! After the awesome success of these games Nintendo did it again with the release of 3 additional games for Game Boy (respectively Gold, Silver and Crystal) and (more advanced in terms of connectivity) matching Nintendo 64 games. Fortunately the Transfer Pak has evolved from the Pokemon lovers' niche and some beautiful games were developed for it.

Exact the same for connection/colors is happening now (though evolving) for Game Boy Advance and Game Cube.

First introduced by Nintendo 64!

Transfer Pak

This understimated accessory is the first idea for connecting a portable hand-held sytem with a standard gaming console to exchange data. The Transfer pak is another peripherial that plugs into you controller and enables you to import / export data between Game Boy (Color and B/W) and supported Nintendo 64 games. First titles to use the Transfer Pak are the Pokemon Stadium ones: these games allow you to bring all the creatures you've found and trained in the different Pokemon Game Boy games (that you could already exchange between Game Boys) into a 3d environment and make them battle in an arena. Not many titles support them, with the most interesting ones being the Mario Artist titles for 64 DD that allows you to take pictures by plugging the Game Boy Pocket Camera into the slot and paste them on 3d models. Again, the record for first introducing it into the market was by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. Jaguar and Lynx connection was planned but never released.

First introduced by Nintendo 64!

The Nintendo 64 Disk Drive add-on (64 DD): why Nintendo choosed to make it born dead?

Since the Shoshinkai show back in 1995 a Nintendo64 Disk Drive add-on was planned by Nintendo for a worldwide release. However the system, called 64 DD, wasn't released until December 1999, and by this time no one really wanted it, atleast not in Japan. But perhaps it could've been a lot more successful if it was released in Europe or the US, as the Nintendo 64 has done a lot better here.
On this page I'm going to guide you through an explanation of the system, the few software titles released for the system as well as all the rumors created over the years and how the 64 DD progressed until it's release late 1999.

In December 2000 the 64 DD and the online RandnetDD service was discontinued by Nintendo and the service closed down in March 2001, Nintendo has given away the last 3 months of service away for free to subscribers as a small thanks for their support, but not accepting new subscriptions. Rumors are that Nintendo has offered to buy back 64 DD systems and software, but I haven't been able to find any official statement about this.
Back when the system was planned for a worldwide release, developers and publishers quickly came up with games which was to be released for the add-on, but then later was changed to normal cartridges as the 64 DD was delayed over and over and Nintendo decided only to release it in Japan. Games such was Mission Impossible by Infogrames was started as a DD game (Misison Impossible 64 DD), Mother 3/Earthbound64 which unfortunately later was scrapped even after being changed to a cartridge game, Konami's Hybrid Heaven was originally a 64 DD game as well as Imaginners SnowSpeeder and Atlus/Quest's Orgre Battle 64, even Nintendo's Pokemon Snap game was originally a 64 DD game.

An add-on for the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was also in the works for the 64 DD, and even completed. It's title was Legend of Zelda DD, or better known as Ura Zelda. But a release of the title never happened as, I guess, Nintendo felt that no one wanted it anyway as they had realized that the 64 DD was a dead add-on, but a fact was that owners of the system actually waited and hoped for this release, and who knows, maybe it could've sold a few more 64 DD systems in Japan.

Nintendo have made a disk drive add-on before with quite a lot of success. It was a disk system, using 3" disks, released for the Famicom back in 1986, three years after the system originally was released, and over 200 games released for the system eventhough licensing fee's were outrageout high and was what finally killed it in 1992, along with lower chip manufacturing costs, but still 6 years on the market is quite good for an add-on.

But then again, the two systems can't really be compared since the video game market today is much more commercial and game development costs are enormous, while it today requires 30+ people to make a decent game, 4 people back then could make a sell-out. The game industry today is more about launching a lot of decent titles which will sell on the mass market, instead of taking the time to come up with an original game idea. I guess they don't have the time to come up with a great idea and decide to go along with a lot of bad games mostly based on movie hits, so that they know the game will sell because of the movie.

Well enough of that, I guess it's impossible to go back to what the game industry was once, if that's good or bad is up to you to decide, and we do get games today which are very playable and well done.

The first and last Shoshinkai showing commercial 64 DD stuff

64 DD

Companies have always complained about huge N64 game production costs compared to the low cost of a PlayStation CD. The 64 DD was Nintendo's answer to the world that they could bring down costs at a time where chip manufacturing costs rised because of a worldwide shortage.

They had a good idea on their hands which they unfortunately blew by announcing a Japan-only release of the system as well as delaying it until a time where the N64 hype, in Japan at least, was starting to slow down.

Another thing which probably helped killing the 64 DD was the insane price tag Nintendo had set on the unit, which as far as I remember went up to something like US$300-400 for a package including the Mario Artist Studio, Doshin the Giant and the RandnetDD starter kit.

But the advantage would still have been lower production costs for the disks and thereby lower retail prices. The late release, which also was caused by problems with the RandnetDD software, was the biggest disadvantage. The System was shipped to subscribers 1st December 1999, but the RandnetDD service wasn't up and running until February 2000.

Click on the image to see bigger pictures.

RandnetDD Service

At first the 64 DD was sold by subscription only, so you had to sign up for the Randnet service, however later on another version was released which didn't include the service or any games. The only way you could order games was buying them on line. This is probably why 64 DD games are so hard to find, notably "Kyojin no Doshin 2: Kaihou Sensen Chibikko Chikko" (Doshin the Giant 2), the last game released AFTER the announcement of Randnet Service shutting down and 64 DD demise.

To be able to use the 64 DD, the Nintendo 64 RAM expansion pak is needed, so it is of course included in the 64 DD package. Also included with the 64 DD Randnet Starter Kit is a modem and a RandnetDD disk, so that you're able to connect to the RandnetDD network.

The network would allow gamers to hook up and read/write e-mail, read a special RandnetDD Nintendo newsletter, and chat. A 64 DD keyboard released by Randnet in partnership with Nintendo was developed to ease the pain of writing e-mails and chatting with the RandnetDD software. Anyway, the main purpose of the network was to connect and play games on the net.

Randnet is a partnership between Nintendo and a company called Recruit; you can check on the RandnetDD disk, case and instructions booklet. NetFront is the company who developed the menu interface of the RandnetDD software. Also NEC and NTT (for connectivity?) appear on the manual and back but sorry I'm no japanese.

This image is a snapshot of what Recruit says about the new company giving life to online services developed with Nintendo:

You can see a cached copy of the page here and (if still on line) the original page from where this image has been taken.

The main web address for all RandnetDD services was http://www.randnetdd.co.jp; here is the output of whois as of today (28/04/2002); though useless now we can see it's still registered with Recruit:

Domain Information:
a. [Domain Name]
g. [Organization]
l. [Organization Type]
m. [Administrative Contact]
n. [Technical Contact]
p. [Name Server]
y. [Reply Mail]
[State]
[Registered Date]
[Connected Date]
[Last Update]


RANDNETDD.CO.JP
RandnetDD Co.,Ltd.
Corporation
YY1268JP
YY1268JP

yuichi@r.recruit.co.jp
Registered (2002/07/31)
1999/07/02

2001/04/27 16:12:13 (JST)
host-info-reg@ocn.ad.jp

It's said that a special event happened on the network where users would be able to download old Famicom (NES) games and play them on the Nintendo 64, but this is still unconfirmed.

Keyboard

The RandnetDD disk was the only software released that supported the keyboard to write mails, chat, etc. It comes with stickers to identify (user configurable) controller buttons.

Click on the image to see some additional pictures of the rare Nintendo 64 Keyboard!

 

64 DD Internal wave e font data
The 64 DD has something called an IPLrom built-in, also called DDROM, a 36mbit rom. It includes the Graphic User Interface (Mario running around the Nintendo 64 logo and a japanese menu running over it) seen when you power up the N64 with the DD attached and without a disk inserted. It also features font and wave data the games can use, the font data is complete even down to local letters such as the extra scandinavian ones (æ - ø - å). The 64 DD also has an internal clock displayed in real time in the lower left corner of the GUI. If you mess with this clock you will discover some cool things in games such as Doshin the Giant, heh. Look for info on this rom in the Development section.

 

Rewritable Media

The disk is about the size of normal 3.5" disk or a Zip disk (If you remember early development screeenshots of the drive and disks you will see they planned to use Zips). Is a bit thicker though, about 1 cm. The capacity is 64.45 megabyte (not 512mbit), and data is written on both sides of the disk. The system has error correction. Data transfer can be up to 1 megabyte per second and the data can be loaded without interrupting the game. The 64 DD has "please wait... loading" screens with few titles, but they are few and short.

One of the biggest innovations of the 64 DD was the capability of allocating more space on the media for saving (up to 38,44 megabytes) than using it all for the game data. While other gaming consoles were dealing with small memory cards that could only keep save data, this feature allowed options never seen even today: Doshin the Giant's whole world saved on disk, file browsing features to manage all your saved cities in Simcity 64, pics, drawings, voices and 3d models fully animated saved with textures in Mario Artist disks, tracks, cars and cups on F-Zero Expansion Kit and even mails on the Randnet DD disk. This feature, unique in his genre has been only replicated now with the GameCube and its Memory Card SD Adpater; used to save a maximum of 256 megabytes of data on SD Flash Cards. A simple workaround to avoid the need for rewritable media (the GameCube uses proprietary optical disks that looks like 8cms dvds). This combo (CD + flash) could have been made possible as well during the 64 DD development, but I think everybody remembers the extremely high prices and limitations in size of Flash Memory products; a rewritable media instead of a CD / Memory Card was undoubtly a better and cheaper solution. Now, with prices of flash memories and hard drives falling is hardly possible we will see such a solution again.

The label that's on the side of the disks is given separated inside the 64 DD Disks cases, and you have to place it on your own. With 3 labels each, the proprietary shape of the disk itself and of the case I hardly believe these could be sold at about the same price of a CD...

First introduced by Nintendo 64! Click on the images for bigger pictures.

 

Special Cartridges

Not much has to be said about these special cartrdiges; they were devolped with the 64 DD unit in mind, and with its sudden death all the ideas that were in development were dropped. The Modem comes bundled with the RandnetDD Starter Kit and is needed to connect to the Randnet Service. It's transparent black (like all hardware developed by Randnet) and it's awesomley fast in trying to connect to... a japanese phone number. You can check the Modem activity by looking at the red led (like the one in front of the Nintendo 64 main unit and the one for access status of the disks on the 64 DD) just above the Nintendo 64 logo. It is a bit higher than the other carts. The Capture Cassette could have been employed in so many different things that it's a real shame the 64 DD was cancelled. The software titles that use this cart are incredibly fast in starting the interface and acquiring video and audio data... you can look at the benfits of dedicated hardware! Part of the technology (and parts) employed here were later recycled in the Voice Recognition System.

A/V input first introduced (and yet first!) by Nintendo 64! Click on the images for bigger pictures.

The Nintendo 64 Mouse bundled with Mario artist: Paint Studio is almost (if not completely) identical to a 2 buttons Logitech one. The microphone, though cheap, is pretty sharp when recording stuff.

Check the 64 DD Games section to know more about these titles and the use they make out of the hardware bundled with them

Voice Recognition System

Some of the technology used in the 64 DD was used in other projects by Nintendo: the most notably one is the Voice Recognition System introduced the first time with the "Pikachu Genki Dechu" ("Hey you! Pikachu" for USA) game: originally planned as a 64 DD game employing the Capture Cassette for a voice input, the game was later converted on cart and a new unit to connect the already present Microphone was developed.

Connecting to a controller port, the Voice recognition Unit basically does the same as the Capture Cassette. The game itself is suited for kids under 12 (as stated on the box) and allows you to play with a voice-controlled Pikachu. No other games will be probably released after the announcement of Nintendo about the production stop of Nintendo 64 units and software this year (7/2001).