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Posted on May 15th 2011 at 03:07:20 PM by (blcklblskt)
Posted under Nintendo 64, N64, How To, Region Mod

In this post, I will explain how to region mod an NTSC Nintendo 64.  This mod will allow you to play either Japanese or North American games on your console.  This mod will not work with PAL consoles, which have a different internal chip that will prevent PAL games from working on another non-PAL console.  North American and Japanese N64 games are compatible on either console, so the "region-locking" consists of a small bit of plastic in the cartridge slot.  There are converters that will allow you to play a PAL game on an NTSC console, but I believe that they are not fully compatible with all PAL games.

This is definitely a mod that anyone can do with the right tools.  All it entails is removing the little tabs in the cartridge slot, or simply removing the entire piece itself.  After the mod, you will be able to play nearly any game on your console.  There are only 4 PAL exclusive titles (F-1 World Grand Prix II, F1 Racing Championship, Premier Manager 64, and Taz Express), so you won't be missing too much.

Tools Needed: - 4.5 mm security bit and a bit driver (or a pliers to grip the bit)
                     - Philips head screwdriver set
                     - Safety goggles (If you are using a Dremel.  I trust you won't poke your eye out with a screwdriver)

Optional Tools: Dremel with cutting bit

Time Needed: 5-10 minutes

Difficulty: 1/10

Here we have two NTSC-U Nintendo 64's.  However, the system on the right can play both North American and Japanese games, whereas the system on the left is limited to North American games.

The difference lies in the lack of a small piece of plastic inside the cartridge slot.  You can see the North American cartridge slot in the next picture.

This next picture shows the cartridge slot after that annoying bit of plastic has been removed.

You can see how these cartridges slot up if you take a look at the back of them.  For example, both regions had their own version of Pilotwings 64.  Aside from the language, there is little difference between them.

But, you will see that the North American game has a slot in the back of the cartridge so that it will slide into it's respective console.  The Japanese version clearly has a different slot, so it will not fit into a North American console without some work.

First, flip the console over and remove the six screws that are pointed to in red.  These "security screws" are properly known as inverted torx screws, and can be removed easily with the correct tool.  There are many sellers online who stock the two sizes you will need for your Nintendo products.  The 4.5 mm bit will work for nearly all the screws you will encounter in Nintendo consoles, and the 3.8 mm bit will fit your games.  Most of the online sellers carry the same bit, so be wary if you are going to open up a Virtual Boy.  The two deepest screws in the VBoy will require a longer bit than you will most likely end up getting online.

You will need a bit driver to grip the inverted torx bit, or at least a pliers to hold onto it.

Once you have those six screws removed, place them aside and take apart the console halves.  Place the bottom (with the cartridge slot and motherboard attached) aside and take a look at the top half.  The orange arrows in the next two pictures point to the next set of screws you will be removing.

Remove them using the correct size Philips head screwdriver, and place them aside once you have removed them.

You will now have the "region-lock" in your hand (first picture), and your console (second picture) will have the cartridge slot doors exposed.  DO NOT remove them.  They are spring loaded and can be a pain to put back in.  You now have two options.  You can either keep the "region-lock" piece of plastic out, or use a dremel tool to cut the plastic bits out of it and put it back on.  Keeping the region-lock out will not affect your console in any way, so it is up to you whether or not to keep it inside.  I choose to keep it, and use a dremel because they are fun to use.

If you choose to use the dremel, please please please wear safety goggles.  You will be cutting plastic, and small pieces can hit you in the eye.  I do not want to be responsible if anyone hurts themself.  You have been warned. Smiley

Secure the piece of plastic, and simply cut the little rectangle in the corner out.  The following picture points out what will be left once you have cut them out in blue.

After that is done, put everything back together.  Remember, the piece of plastic will only fit in one way.  Once you have everything nice and tight, you can go play Custom Robo!!!!

Bigger pictures can be seen on my photobucket account here: http://s981.photobucket.c...gion%20Mod%20Blog%20Pics/

I hope this helps.  Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.  Thanks for reading!

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This was my first mod!
I used a hammer and various sharp/blunt items to smash the plastic though.
I highly recommend using blcks method over mind Smiley
Unfortunately for my copy of Virtual Pro Wrestling 64, the previous owner went the other way with it by cutting out notches in the cartridge.

There's really not much different from Japan to the US when it comes to the TV signal, so it makes sense that their consoles were pretty much identical. NTSC-J and NTSC-U are just NTSC with different black levels.
@Izret:  Yeah, I'd say using the bit is a little bit easier. Smiley

@bickman:  I had no idea they were just different black levels.  That's a neat thing to know, thanks!
Nice write-up.  I plan on doing this sometime soon.
@blcklblskt: Yeah, you can essentially make the color right by adjusting the brightness level on your TV.
Sometimes I wonder if I should just do this mod or buy a bunch of inexpensive N64 sports titles and swap their backs with the import titles. Ah, decisions...

A cheap $5 tool is the better way to go IMO.  Plus, you can always use the tool for other consoles as well.
Great tutorial, I always love hearing about the N64. Keep them coming!!
Great tutorial. I always appreciate a nice amount of images, even when the mod is simple. It can be rather hard to visualise what to do when reading text-only tutorials.
Like Sirgin says, The pics are fantastic! Keep up the high quality articles.
As you can imagine, this works the opposite way too:
That is my modded Japanese N64 with my US version of Goldeneye.
I will have to keep this in mine when I inevitably pick up my N64. Just did the same mod on my SNES a week ago in case I ever want to pick some Japanese titles.

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