Welcome to another article here at NESWORLD. This time around it's time to take a look at a new release out of China - N64 pirate carts are back! A few years ago Aliexpress had a few very pricey N64 pirates listed at or
around US$75, but they quickly dissapeared and I never got around to ordering back then. I was quite curious about the construction of the board inside.
Now forward to early 2017 and the N64 pirates were once again back at Aliexpress, but this time from several sellers and in larger quantities and a lot more titles. The prices has also been reduced significantly, it's
now around US$20 - 25 and that's including shipping. Titles vary from crappy games such as Mortal Kombat Mythologies to the crazy awesome Conker's Bad Fur Day, that means pirate carts with 512MBit roms are available
This time though there was one cart standing out from the crowd, being The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time "Master Quest". This is the version of Ocarina of Time that made it to a GameCube Zelda bonus disk way back, now on
cartridge all the way from China.
This is a N64 pirate board of 2017, it has battery backup, some 512kb of static RAM (v62c318256l-35T), an Altera MAX II CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device) which is the brain of the board, then there's 256mbit
of Flash Memory (S29GL256N10TFI01). The board can be expanded to 512mbit by adding another Flash Memory chip. Finally the smallest chip on the board, an "TINY 25", an "CMOS 8-bit microcontroller" which I'm not sure what
is for? lockout clone?
The board looks like it was soldered by hand, there's an extreme amount of flux left on the chips. I have not been able to dump the rom, but UltraSave is acting up, but I did get it to show the ROM.
All in all it's pretty interesting to see that N64 pirate carts have made a return, I guess technology has reached a point where N64 carts are doable at a reasonable price, and this Master Quest is
actually not a bad deal for US$25, and saving actually works.