Maestro64

Edit on Github | Updated: 17 November 2019

SN Systems Maestro64 was a development kit sold to game studios in the late 1990s mainly for use by 3D artists, Sound designers and the like rather than programmers.

It has also been called a Music Development System, most notably by the Handheld Museum [1]. But on the official website in 1998 it is described as a “low-cost preview tool for Artists, 3D-modellers, Musicians and Level-Designers” [2]. It goes on to describe the advantage of such a tool, basically using a stock N64 with this cartridge is a lot cheaper than buying an entire development kit again.

So the benefit of this kit is smaller studios can buy the cartridge from SN Systems, hook it up to a retail N64 console and each Artist can test their own creations on the N64 without having to bug the developers for the full development kit. This allows a much faster prototype cycle, allowing to see exactly how a creation would run on a real Nintendo 64.

Photographs of the Maestro64

All these excellent photos are from RetroGames.co.uk where one was on sale at the price of £250 [3]

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Very interesting looking box with a beautiful user-guide, I wonder if there are scans available on the internet for the content of the manual.

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This particular unit seems to have been purchased by the 3DO Company and you can see the SN Systems logo etched on the cartridge.

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The back shows the port where you connect to the PC.

References

  1. http://devkits.handheldmuseum.com/SN64.htm

  2. Official Website archive - https://web.archive.org/web/19980523231505/http://www.snsys.com:80/snsys/page.asp?c=maestro64

  3. Images from http://www.retrogames.co.uk/040010/Nintendo/N64-Maestro-Development-Kit