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Presenting Another Wacky Underused N64 Thingee

Mario no Photopi Nintendo sure did take a "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" point of view when it came to one-off peripherals for the Nintendo 64.  It seems that for every familiar add-on like the Rumble Pak or Memory Pak there's some obscure gadget that only works with one or two games.  For example, consider the SmartMedia cards that were used to import one's own digital photos into special Japan-only N64 cartridges.  Thanks to this technology we can gawk at the obscure not-a-game Mario no Photopi.

Mario no Photopi is a creativity game released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998 only in Japan. The game's cartridge had two SmartMedia card slots in the top to import digital photos and other graphics. Pictures created in the game could be saved to the memory card, would work with any digital printing display located in many malls and large scale stores, and the cards could even be sent away like any other film processing.

It was released only in Japan — and even there it is widely unheard of, making it a very popular game amongst collectors. Collectors like it even more, as it is the only game to use the Smart Media-ready cartridge. The unique cartridge has a Model Number of NUS-023. To date it is known to have had three Smart Media cards that were specially made for it, in connection with video game themes; Sylvanian Families characters from the toy line, Bomberman, and Yoshi.

The only way this particular add-on could have been more cumbersome to use is if it required voice input through the N64 microphone and pulled data from Game Boy Color games via the Transfer Pak which it then saves to the 64DD drive.   Still, this whole Mario no Photopi thing could be considered a distant relative of the modern Wii Photo Channel, and for that I suppose we should thank it for something.

(via Lost Levels)