N64 Disc Drive development kit surfaces on Twitter through a collector

(Image credit: Nintendo)

A Twitter user has given us a first look at the Nintendo 64's Disk Drive Development Kit.

In the tweet thread below from Shane Luis of YouTube channel Rerez, we can see the full unboxing of the N64's Disk Drive Development Kit. In the thread, Luis takes us through each part of the Development Kit, which he was asked to photograph and document by a private collector.

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Once opened, Luis notes that there are five total development discs, each of which are blank, but colored blue, a stark different to the grey discs that were released to the public for the N64. On top of this, there's an N64 test cartridge and several adaptors, which would have been used by developers to test out games on the system.

This is a really fascinating look at a side of the classic Nintendo console that's incredibly rare to come across. The Disk Drive was released only in Japan in 1999 alongside Mario Artist: Paint Studio, but it wasn't exactly a commercial success among Nintendo's general audience.

Unfortunately, as the tweet thread above from Luis reveals, the actual system that you're seeing above was ultimately taken off the market by Nintendo relatively shortly after it launched. What we're seeing here is the Disk Drive Development Kit, which is what Nintendo would have sent to developers before the system publicly launched in late 1999, so they could test games on the new hardware.

It's kind of fascinating to see development kits from the 1990's, and compare them to modern dev kits. Less than 2 years ago in 2019 for example, we saw PS5 dev kits doing the rounds on online forums, which looked like strange boxes with a big V-shaped wedge cut out in the middle. Photos of the PS5 dev kit are still emerging online in 2021, as recently as earlier this month.

Few people see these dev kits outside of development studios, which are helping build some of the incredible upcoming PS5 games we can look forward to later this year and beyond.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.