Why ROM Cartridges Mattered

Given that we’re hearing reports that the Nintendo NX is going to be using cartridges, it’s a good time to remind ourselves how cartridges work and why companies bothered with them at all.

YouTuber 8-Bit Guy, with a cameo from TheObsoleteGeek, recently did a deep-dive on the history of ROM cartridge games, as well as the machines that ran them.

It’s a good look at the hardware and theory behind why cartridges were better initially, as well as some of the technical techniques that companies — Nintendo included — had to deploy.

After 9m30s, there’s even a nice guide on how to clean game cartridges if they get corroded.

The extra hardware advantage of cartridges is an interesting element. Wonder if it’s something we’ll see with the NX — if the NX uses cartridges at all, of course.

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