In today’s world of internet gaming and high definition consoles, downloading and sharing content has never been easier. In fact, it has become a staple in every new console released. But back in the days of the Playstation and Nintendo 64, this was unheard of. That is, until the DexDrive was released. The DexDrive allowed users to share save files and content with each other easily, and was the beginning of downloadable content. This episode takes a closer look at the DexDrive.
The Sony Playstation was released in the United States September 9th, 1995. It was a CD based home console that used memory cards for game saves and data storage, although it is not the first console to use memory cards. That would be the NEO GEO AES, which was released in 1990. The Playstation was a huge success in the video game market, and soon companies were throwing together accessories for it. One such company, InterAct, developed a device that made quite an impact. The DexDrive. So what exactly did it do?
The DexDrive was actually not a “drive” at all. It was more of a memory card slot than anything. Basically you could hook it to your PC, put your memory card into the device, and transfer game data. The possibilities were endless. The DexDrive had alot of benefits. For one, you no longer needed to buy more memory cards. Just transfer old game data to your PC, clear it off the memory card, and save some more. You could also download other people’s game saves, characters, levels, any game data and put it on your memory card. And of course, you could download team rosters for your sports games. EA Sports even endorsed this product. It was that cool. PSM Magazine said it best with “it opens up a whole new world of exchange..”
Luckily, these things are actually not that hard to find. I was able to find a Playstation DexDrive and a N64 DexDrive brand new, for about 5 bucks each. Hooking up the DexDrive is fairly straightforward. Simply plug the device into your computer, plug the AC Adapter up, and install the software with the floppys. Unfortunately, my floppy drive no longer works, but if you simply google Dexplorer, you will be able to download updated software. The Dexplorer is software is simple as well. Open it up, plug in your memory card, and you can view your game data. As you can see, I have Final Fantasy 7 and MedEvil data on here. I can backup, restore, duplicate, re-format the card, e-mail data, and delete data.
Although InterAct went out of business in the following years, the DexDrive’s impact had been made. A few years later, The MaxDrive was released by Datel for the XBox and Playstation 2. However, with the advancements in online capabilities for consoles, these types of devices were dying out and simply not needed anymore. The Dex Drive is important because it introduced some of the benefits of going online to consoles. Soon after, the ability to go online became a staple for home systems, and the current generation systems such as the XBox 360 and the PS3 take advantage of some of the features the Dex Drive was capable of. For example, the 60 and 80GB PS3′s have flash memory card readers built into the system.
Pick up a DexDrive if you can, it’s an interesting piece of history, extremely useful, and well worth it for only 5 dollars.