Rareware’s tenure on the Nintendo 64 is untouchable, which is ironic when you recall one of their most unique ideas involved pulling cartridges out of the system. Much has been discussed when it comes to their Stop ‘n’ Swop feature, the idea of transferring bonuses and items across games by “stopping” one game and quickly “swapping” in another while a small bit of data remained on the N64. It’s a fascinating subject, and one I highly suggest learning more about.

Why I’m bringing this up now, though, is thanks to a discovery shared last week by longtime Rare developer Paul Machacek – the very person who invented Stop ‘n’ Swop. In a Tweet thread, he called back to a previous interview with Rare Gamer in which he discussed the history of the pulled feature (see what I did there?).
 


 
Noting a couple of contradictions in that interview, he mentioned how Nintendo spotted the feature in the original Banjo-Kazooie and asked it be removed. The problem there is that he knows he implemented it into the game, with the plan of it both sending colored eggs to Banjo-Tooie and then eventually allowing access to the Ice Key via Donkey Kong 64. So, if Machacek knows the feature went into Banjo…when did Nintendo catch on to their plan?

Thanks to the discovery of a Nintendo email to fellow Rare member Chris Stamper from 1999, we have that answer. Stop ‘n’ Swop was pulled from DK64, and only about a month ahead of its release at that.
 


 
The email goes on to list several alternatives to link DK and BK together, such as a passcode system. It also details three potential issues with the feature, necessitating its removal from their perspective. It’s at that moment that Stop ‘n’ Swop effectively ends, even though it received a reworked role in Banjo-Tooie and went on to be referenced in future Rare titles.
 

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.

Ricky Berg