Nintendo 64 development hardware

The Nintendo 64 has a whole bunch of development hardware used to make games for the Nintendo 64, many of which are quite rare nowadays and very hard to get a hold of. This page will contain a list of the various bits of hardware used on the Nintendo 64.

Note: For the N64 SDK Homebrew section of this website, I will only be using PC/windows hardware so having this hardware is unnecessary for this purpose. This page is for reference only.

Flash Cartridges

These are the only items on the list that are still available for sale. Flash carts allow you to load ROMs onto them so that you can play N64 games on the original hardware rather than depending on an emulator. The good thing about these devices is that they’re still in production so you can buy one if you want. They are a bit costly though.

Everdrive 64

The Everdrive 64 by krikzz is a cartridge with an SD card slot at the top which allows you to play N64 and NES ROMs on your N64 console.

There are various models, but the model 3 is the latest and has a pretty much 100% compatibility with all games that came on a standard cartridge, even ones such as Animal Crossing (japan only) which have a battery for the internal clock. The model 2 has a few more incompatibilities such as Banjo Tooie and Jet Force Gemini which had a custom CIC lockout chip. The model 2 also needs to be restarted in order to register a save onto the SD card while the V3 cannot.

This is the one that I use and it works pretty well for general play and running homebrew ROMs.

everdrive-64-v25-pcb

The Everdrive 64 PCB without a shell.

The Everdrive inside a cartridge shell.

The Everdrive inside a cartridge shell.

64Drive

The 64drive is made over at retroactive.be and can run Nintendo 64 ROMs much like the Everdrive. However, its purpose is more for developers than it is for just loading ROMS. As far as I know, it cannot run NES games or some games like Animal Crossing or Dezaemon. It is also a bit more expensive than the everdrive.

However the big advantage to the 64drive is that it has a USB port on top of the SD/Compact Flash which allows developers to load ROMs onto the device within a few seconds, whereas otherwise you’d need to constantly be switching out SD cards.

The 64drive cartridge.

The 64drive cartridge.

The guts for the 64drive.

The guts for the 64drive.

Workstations

These are PC-style machines that allow for development environments where you can code for the Nintendo 64.

SGI Indy

Made by Silicon Graphics Incorporated (Makers of the Reality Co-Processor used in the N64), the SGI Indy is a workstation used by many developers for the N64. The official SDK comes with two versions – one for Windows and another for the SGI Indy.

SGI Indy front view.

SGI Indy front view.

Back view with ports.

Back view with ports.

Backup hardware

The backup hardware is sort of the ancient version of Nintendo 64 flash carts. It allows the players to create backups of their cartridges (and upload them to their computer) and even load ROMs for play on the console itself.

Doctor v64

The Doctor V64 by Bung Enterprises is an adapter that plugs into the bottom expansion port of the Nintendo 64 much like the N64DD. Its purpose is to allow the user to load their ROMs to a CD (later models added a port to transfer ROMS with a cable instead of a CD).

The original Doctor V64

The original Doctor V64

The later released Doctor V64 Jr.

The later released Doctor V64 Jr.

CD 64

The CD64 by UFO/Success Company is a backup device that can run ROMs off of a CD. As far as I know, it doesn’t write, only read. It also has a handy port for connecting to a computer that can be used for some development purposes.

CD64

The CD64 with a cartridge inserted in the front.

Mr. Backup Z64

This bit of development hardware connects through the cartridge port on the top of the N64 require a PC but rather you just plug a cartridge into the machine and copy the ROM onto a zip disk. That’s really all there is to it.

The Mr. Backup Z64 on a working console.

Mr. Backup Z64 on a console.

Mr-Backup-Z64--model

A model of the Mr. Backup Z64.

Real-time development hardware

This hardware is used mostly to enable the developer to edit the assets in a ROM while the game is playing. Most of these are used alongside SDK applications like the Monegi Multi Viewer (MMV), NIFF Editor or CITextureEditor for real-time editing of game assets and debugging during playback.

IS-Viewer 64

The IS-Viewer 64 looks like an elongated cartridge with a chunk of circuit board sticking out through the top. It is used in conjunction with some of the applications included in the SDK pack.

The IS-viewer 64 cartridge

The IS-viewer 64 cartridge

The IS-Viewer 64 circuit board

The IS-Viewer 64 circuit board

Partner N64

This is another development setup that can be used for development and debugging during ROM playback. It can also be used with the MMV, but it appears to have its own SDK included that is as of yet unfound. Not that it would be helpful because you’d actually need the hardware to make the interface work.

The Partner N64 also has two versions – one that connects directly to your pc via an installable card, and another version that is accessible through a LAN.

Connecting a P64 to a PC using the card

Connecting a P64 to a PC using the card

Connecting to your P64 via a network

Connecting to your P64 via a network

P64 dev cart and ribbon cable

PC card for the P64

PC card for the P64

Monegi Smart Pack

The Monegi Smart Pack (MSP) is another dev system that can be used to do some real-time editing of Nintendo 64 games while the games is running.

I don’t have much information about this, except a Japanese auction that listed the following components and photos.

Hardware

  • DEBUGGER-N64
  • HuP IOD-N64 (Interface Board)
  • Flat Cable (HuP IOD-N64 <->Emulator Pack32-N64)
  • BusBox-N64
  • AC AdapterN64
  • EmulatorPack32-N64 (2 Pcs)
  • DC power supply cable (2Pcs)
  • memory enhancing pack
  • packijekta
  • Nintendo 64controller
  • Nintendo 64 ACadaptor
  • Nintendo 64 box
Software
  • 64Total Pack CD-ROMset
  • OS2.0L
  • 2. Nintendo 64 Developers Kit
  • Nintendo 64 Integrated Online manual
  • 4. DR1 Power Up Kit
  • Code Warrior for Nintendo 64
Manuals
  • Monegi Smart Pack HardWare Guide
  • Monegi Smart Pack Set Up Guide
  • 64Total Pack Install Guide
Hardware included in the Monegi Smart Pack

Hardware included in the Monegi Smart Pack

Software included in the Monegi Smart Pack

Software included in the Monegi Smart Pack

Nintendo 64 development hardware
Nintendo 64 development hardware
There is a large variety of development hardware for the N64 such as the IS-Viewer 64, Partner 64, Monegi Smart Pack, 64 Drive, Everdrive 64 and more.

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