Cartridge or DVD/Blu-Ray?

Samples of Cartridge Games

Just like us (people in their 50’s), the older the better.  The phrase “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.” is fitting for this discussion.  Cartridges are the equivalent of a nice hard plastic safe for gaming software. The entire program is contained in one area whereas DVD’s have the data laid out across an extremely fragile surface.  Granted we used to have to blow the dust out of the cart but that usually got it to work correctly. With DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs one little scratch and the game is ruined.

Damaged CD/DVD

Needless to say with age comes a conspiracy theory (or two).  I think this is done by design so that we go out and purchase more games.  I still have most of the cartridge games I grew up with. I did, unfortunately, sell my original Nintendo Entertainment System.  I only had 26 game cartridges with that system but I was broke, living on my own, and I needed money. That was the most valuable thing I owned that would be worth something to someone else and could be easily sold.

In all actuality my class at University is currently reviewing a chapter on convergence and how a company like Sony worked to release the game Spiderman 3 with the new PS3 all at the same time the movie was set to be released.  This was obviously done on purpose to introduce the new tech to the consumer (us) and at the same time promote the other mediums. They even went so far as to use the same font in all of their brand logos just to subconsciously marry them all together in the mind of the consumer.

In sticking to the old tech, during my 50+ years on this planet there have been more than a dozen cartridge game consoles.  Below is a list of the more popular ones that I remember and this list doesn’t even include the handheld ones.

  • Intellivision
  • Atari 2600, 5200, & 7800
  • Magnavox Odyssey
  • Neo Geo
  • ColecoVision
  • Nintendo ES & N64
  • Fairchild Channel F
  • TurboGrafx-16
  • Atari Jaguar
  • Vectrex
  • Bally Astrocade
  • SEGA Genesis
PS4 & XBOX One

Now with convergence and the push for new technologies there are only two gaming consoles that I am aware of and those are the Sony PlayStation and the Microsoft XBox.  I am not even sure what Nintendo is using anymore since they changed to the Switch, which is a handheld unit and not a console. If there is another, outside of these, it is so far off the beaten path that it doesn’t have a horse in the running.  Out of the long list of cartridge game consoles there are only two contenders now and both of them use discs to retain their software.

Although, as you probably already concluded, I am a fan of the cartridges but I don’t believe the gaming industry will ever revert to those again; although, if they were thinking of reducing their carbon footprint they could go to flash drive games.  They are RAM (Random Accessible Memory) based so they could be backed up. They could also be password protected, or married to the console it is played on first, so that someone couldn’t just make copies and they are much smaller so packaging would be less.  The only drawback would be the people who would lose them and have to buy the game again.

Technological differences between HDD, SSD, and Flash

The access in a cartridge or flash drive running through a USB 3.1 connection can be as fast as 10 Gbps, which would be much faster than any DVD (10 Mbps) or Blu-Ray (36 Mbps) disc.  This chart shows the difference in opening a certain program using a HDD, SSD, or a Flash Drive. The Flash Drive wins…hands down. Look at Solid State HDD shown here. Those statistics are obviously better and faster than even the best standard gaming eSATA HDD with 256MB of cache.  Perhaps I am just being nostalgic or it might be a better idea to go back to technology like this.

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