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The N64 Video Capture Cassette Explained

If you've played a Nintendo 64, chances are that you've run into at least one of the many peripherals that were developed for the system. Everything from the controllers to the console itself got special accessories with added features, be it the Transfer Pak to add connectivity with Game Boy games, the Expansion Pak to double the system's internal RAM, or the failed 64DD to allow for special games to be played on floppy disks. However, one accessory that far fewer fans may know about is the N64 Capture Cassette.

In the modern age of game capture software tools, one might be inclined to think that the N64 Capture Cassette is some sort of proprietary capture card to get direct-feed footage from the console, but that's not exactly the case. In reality, the Capture Cassette's functionality is only limited to a small handful of games, but it adds some fascinating features to the N64's arsenal in those special cases.

The Capture Cassette is the N64's weirdest peripheral

The N64 Capture Cassette's obscurity likely has something to do with the fact that it was a peripheral for another failed peripheral which released in one single country. Indeed, the device was an add-on for Japan's N64DD, which sold roughly 15,000 units (per Kotaku), and only functions with a few pieces of software.

Those with nostalgia for "Mario Paint" on the Super Nintendo may be surprised to learn that the platforming plumber's foray into art creation software was actually a full-fledged series. Japanese audiences received a follow-up suite on the N64 titled "Mario Artist," including experiences like "Paint Studio," "Talent Studio," and "Polygon Studio." These programs are surprisingly robust, allowing users to create images, record audio, develop videos, and even generate 3D models, and the Capture Cassette was created for these titles (via Console Variations).

So, what exactly does the Capture Cassette do? Well, it essentially serves as a portal for transferring creations in and out of the "Mario Artist" suite. Users can import images and textures into the software for creation purposes, and they can also use the cartridge to export their finished productions onto other devices, like a computer, for viewing.

With its niche yet interesting functionality, the N64 Capture Cassette still stands as an underrated part of the console's legacy. But while it's a cool piece of hardware to look back on, odds are Nintendo won't be bringing this one back for its N64 efforts on the Switch.