Introduction to Development Kits (Hardware)

Edit on Github | Updated: 11th April 2021

Introduction to Development Kits (Hardware)

Games consoles required specialist hardware in order to develop for them as it was very rare for a PC of the time to be able to emulate newly released consoles. Programming would be done via a PC as normal but when it comes to debugging or testing the game it would need to be run on hardware similar to the retail console.

This is where Game Console development Kit Hardware comes in, they are systems that norally connect to a PC but have the hardware of the target games console.

Game console development kits come in all shapes and sizes, some are built by the games console manufacture themselves and others are built by 3rd-party companies.

Development Kits offer a fascinating insight into the game development process, most come out before the specs for the console have even been finalised or announced to the public.

We have tried to document all the development kit hardware available for the most popular retro consoles, so hopefully you will find the posts below helpful. If you notice anything missing, please let us know!


Nintendo Console Development Kit Hardware

Nintendo has used Intelligent Systems to create all their Development Kit hardware and then Nintendo would officially sell them to game development studios for a high price.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES/Famicom)

NES (Famicom) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Famicom development hardware check out this post.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

SNES (Super Famicom) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Super Famicom development hardware check out this post.

Nintendo 64 (Ultra64)

Official Nintendo 64 (Ultra 64) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Ultra 64 development hardware check out this post.

3rd Party Nintendo 64 Development Kits

There was also a device created by Bung which advertised itself as a development kit but many consumers used it for backing up game cartridges.

Bung Doctor v64 (N64)

For information about Bung's v64 development hardware check out this post.

For Music creation, SN Systems created the Maestro64 development cartridge that made it much easier for Musicians to test their sound on real N64 hardware.

Maestro64

For information about SN Systems's Maestro64 development cartridge check out this post.

Nintendo Gamecube (Dolphin)

Nintendo Gamecube (Dolphin) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Dolphin development hardware check out this post.

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Wii development hardware check out this post.


Nintendo Handheld Development Kit Hardware

Nintendo Game Boy (DMG & GBC)

Gameboy (DMG & GBC) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Game Boy development hardware check out this post.

Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA)

Game Boy Advance (AGB) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo's Game Boy Advance development hardware check out this post.

Nintendo DS (NDS)

Nintendo DS (Nitro) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Nintendo DS development hardware check out this post.


SEGA Development Kit Hardware

SEGA themselves tended to rely on third party hardware manufacturers to create their development kits and as such each console’s kit was completely different.

SEGA Master System

Krisalis Development Kit (Sega Master System/Game Gear)

For information about the Krisalis 3rd party development hardware check out this post.

SEGA Game Gear

Sega Game Gear Development Hardware

For information about SEGA's Game Gear development hardware check out this post.

SEGA Mega Drive

Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) Development Kit Hardware

For information about SEGA's Mega Drive development hardware check out this post.

SEGA Saturn

Official Sega Saturn Development Kit (Hardware)

For information about SEGA's Saturn development hardware check out this post.

There was also a third party development kit by SN Systems which was part of their multi-platform toolchain known as PsyQ.

Psy-Q Sega Saturn Development Kit

For information about SN Systems's Saturn development hardware (PsyQ) check out this post.

SEGA Dreamcast

The Dreamcast arguby had the best development kit that SEGA had ever sold for their consoles, it is just a shame the lifespan of the Dreamcast was cut short.

Sega Dreamcast Katana Development Kit Hardware

For information about SEGA's Dreamcast development hardware check out this post.


Sony Development Kit Hardware

Sony have long been in the hardware development buisness and it shows with the quality of their development kits, they were fairly well-liked by the development community even if development for the later Sony systems sch as the PS3 was in general a pain.

Sony Playstation Portable

Official PlayStation Portable Development Kit

For information about Sony's Playstation portable development hardware check out this post.

Sony Playstation 1

Official PlayStation 1 Development Kit (Hardware)

For information about Sony's Playstation One development hardware check out this post.

Sony also officially supported a consumer development kit known as Net Yaroze, which was limited compared to the full development kit but some excellent games were created with it!

Net Yaroze - The PS1 Consumer Dev Kit

For information about Sonys consumer development hardware known as Net Yaroze development hardware check out this post.

Sony Playstation 2

Sony PlayStation 2 Development Kit (Hardware)

For information about Sony's Playstation Two development hardware check out this post.

Sony Playstation 3

Official PlayStation 3 Development Kit (Hardware)

For information about Sony's Playstation 3 development hardware check out this post.


Microsoft Development Kit Hardware

Compared to the other companies on this list Microsoft is the newest to the hardware game, as their primary focus has been Software such as Windows or the Office suite. However even with this relative inexperience they managed to create some excellent development kit hardware that made it even easier for developers to move from PC to games console development.

Microsoft Xbox

Microsoft Xbox (Original) Development Kit Hardware

For information about Microsoft's Xbox development hardware check out this post.

Microsoft Xbox 360

We still need to create a page collecting all of the Xbox360 development kit hardware


All Posts tagged with Development Kit

Bung Doctor v64 (N64)

Read all about Bung Doctor v64 (N64) in this s...

Nintendo DS (Nitro) Development Kit Hardware

Read all about Nintendo DS (Nitro) Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Game Boy Advance (AGB) Development Kit Hardware

Read all about Game Boy Advance (AGB) Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Nintendo Gamecube (Dolphin) Development Kit Hardware

Read all about Nintendo Gamecube (Dolphin) Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Sega Game Gear Development Hardware

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Gameboy (DMG & GBC) Development Kit Hardware

Read all about Gameboy (DMG & GBC) Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Krisalis Development Kit (Sega Master System/Game Gear)

Read all about Krisalis Development Kit (Sega Master System/Game Gear) in this s...

Maestro64

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Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) Development Kit Hardware

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NES (Famicom) Development Kit Hardware

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Net Yaroze - The PS1 Consumer Dev Kit

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Official Nintendo 64 (Ultra 64) Development Kit Hardware

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Official PlayStation Portable Development Kit

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Psy-Q Sega Saturn Development Kit

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Sony PlayStation 2 Development Kit (Hardware)

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Official PlayStation 3 Development Kit (Hardware)

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Official PlayStation 1 Development Kit (Hardware)

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SNES (Super Famicom) Development Kit Hardware

Read all about SNES (Super Famicom) Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Sega Dreamcast Katana Development Kit Hardware

Read all about Sega Dreamcast Katana Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Official Sega Saturn Development Kit (Hardware)

Read all about Official Sega Saturn Development Kit (Hardware) in this s...

Nintendo Wii Development Kit Hardware

Read all about Nintendo Wii Development Kit Hardware in this s...

Microsoft Xbox 360 Development Kit Hardware

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Microsoft Xbox (Original) Development Kit Hardware

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