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ONM Remembered – #69

“To DD or not to DD. What was the question?”

from N64 Pro issue 6 (April 1998)

Oh, the 64DD. So much hype and so much build-up, and it disappeared like it never existed at all. I’ve ragged on about it before, but for those of you who never knew about it, here’s a multi-page feature that lays down the dirt.

N64 Pro offered a relatively grounded look at the 64DD and its promises, and was bold enough to state that it might actually be a big flipping catastrophe (pro-tip: it was!). It was an ambitious project with some neat-sounding tech, but that was kind of the problem – the N64 wasn’t winning crowds in Japan, and add-on peripherals are always a skeezy business. The promises are grand, yes, but how do you know anything would come of it?

Official Nintendo Magazine were not so restrained, and hyped the add-on like some sort of mythical, turbo-charged peripheral that could create graphics, process a million things at once and probably make toast, too. And not just for one issue, they kept plugging it for several issues if just to remind people of how awesome it would be. Then they shoved it under the carpet and only mentioned what happened to it in the letters page two years later.

But you wouldn’t believe the way they talked about it. It was hyped like some kind of magical gaming super computer! With this baby, any and all game ideas you had could be made real in a snap! GAMES CREATION HERE I COME. I can’t even explain how excited I was. I barely even understood what the heck it was, but any old fool could be won over by all those incredible features being touted and glamorous screenshots shown off.

After a whole bunch of delays, Nintendo released the stupid thing in limited quantities before dropping it entirely. Only nine titles were released, despite dozens of games being announced for it. Worst of all, we never got Mario Artist: Game Maker. All that excitement for nothing! Nintendo learnt their lesson, and never dabbled in the foul realm of wonky add-ons ever again.
… except for the Game Boy Mobile Phone Adapter.
… and the GameCube Broadband Adapter.
… and the Game Boy Advance e-Reader.
… and, y’know, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that they learnt nothing.