Old News '96: Nintendo Also Increasing Storage Capacity, Hopefully, Maybe

The PlayStation 3 may be expanding to 250 Gigabytes in the United States next month, but a mere 13 years ago Nintendo was working on its own storage expansion. A whole 64MB more storage capacity was coming. With Zelda.

You are reading Kotaku's once-weekly journey back to yesteryear. This week I am comparing Sony's newest boost in console storage capacity to an old expansion that Nintendo never delivered to those of us in America.

We journey to July 1, 1996 when publication Consumer Electronics announced on page 13 of the 27th issue of its 36th volume that: Nintendo Adds Disc Games.

That was a big deal, because Sony had charmed the market with its CD-based PlayStation, while Nintendo was backing its third straight cartridge-based home console, the Nintendo 64.

But, hey, Nintendo could do discs too and expand the size of its games. From the article:

After stubbornly sticking to cartridge-based videogames while rest of industry shifted to discs, Nintendo plans to introduce disc games that will play only on storage peripheral for N64.

Nintendo's 64DD high-speed magnetic disc drive will be unveiled at Shoshinkai trade show in Japan in Nov., with Japanese launch tentatively set for Dec. and U.S. in 1997.

George Harrison, Nintendo of America vp-mktg. & communications, said that while N64 will remain cartridge-based and 64DD will be marketed primarily as storage device allowing players to customize and save characters and games, company is planning to develop games for high-density 64-Mb magnetic disc, with likely first release being sequel in Legend of Zelda series, to be produced in-house.

Caddy-enclosed magnetic discs, thicker than standard floppies, have 10 times memory of N64 cartridges and 16 times that of Super Nintendo Entertainment System cartridges.

The 64DD did come out a couple of years later then planned in Japan, in limited release. It never made it to the U.S., no big Zelda was made for it, and somehow we N64 owners got by without all that extra storage capacity. Sixty-four more megabytes? On a disc?

In terms of storage capacity and technologies, Nintendo adopted disc-based gaming with the N64's successor, the GameCube. The company's handhelds continue to use cartridges. In recent years, Nintendo has expanded storage capacity on its machines with added support for larger SD cards for the Wii and with the introduction of the DSi, which added both SD card support and more on-board memory to the DS line.

[PIC]