Cartridges making a comeback?

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scotland
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby scotland » September 19th, 2017, 4:57 pm

I think we're using 'cartridge' informally. I'm not an engineer, but I think programmable media being like this:

1) Old timey ROM cartridges (and Hu cards) having permanent files - bugs and all. Since ROM is memory, it could be instantly accessed by the CPU. It was not just storage - everything from tapes, to floppy disks, to optical disks, to SD cards are storage media holding information that has to be transferred into RAM memory, while this is actual mapped memory. Another advantage of ROM cartridges is that the board can actually add abilities to the console's hardware.
2) All those other types of physical media with permanent files, but have loading times.
3) Hard Drive from Physical Media - games installed from optical media to hard drives, since accessing information from a hard drive was faster than pulling from a disk - often much faster.
4) Hard Drive from Digital Download - skip the optical disk and download the game to the hard drive - but now the file is always open to changes. Bugs can be fixed, new features and DLC added, etc.
5) Physical Media from Digital Download - download a game to an SD card and play from there. Once again, the game can be 'updated' whether you want to update or not.

My Odyssey 2 multicart is actually a ROM cart, I believe, while my Genesis multicart is nothing but an adapter for the SD card. Nintendo game cards have actual ROM chips on them, I believe, as well as SD cards for storing some game data. The SD card might allow patches to be made. So when the Critic says "Cartridges are coming back" my head canon interprets that as "releasing full games on physical media" are coming back.

pacman000
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby pacman000 » September 19th, 2017, 5:34 pm

Good point, Scotland, about older carts being "actual mapped memory." Also a good point about carts adding extra abilities to a system's hardware, like 3D co-processors, extra RAM, or the ability to map more memory.

I must point out that the Atari Lynx had to load games from the cart to it's RAM before playing; the Lynx was designed with a tape drive in mind then modified to use cartridges. Also, some verrry early systems didn't have any ROM in the cartridges; the Odyssey's carts selected which built-in game the system played. Later systems used GI Pong-chips built into cartridges.

Were the Astrocade's cartridges actual memory connected to the system's bus or did it have to load data from them to it''s RAM? I know the system has a start up menu, and that players had to select an option to read the cartridge, but I don't know how that worked from a technological standpoint.

Same thing with the Channel F; you had to press a button to "load" the game, if what I've read is correct and my memory isn't too hazy. I doubt the Channel F loaded anything into it's local memory; it had less RAM than the Atari 2600, but the Astrocade already could load games from a tape, so I'm curious about how it handled carts.

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Stalvern
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby Stalvern » September 19th, 2017, 5:36 pm

I don't think that it's unreasonable to call solid-state media "cartridges" as far as video games are concerned. But while I'd (broadly) call the Switch a cartridge-based system, I don't think that it's any kind of harbinger for the industry at large. The transition across the board has been DVD → Blu-Ray → download. As bandwidth and storage increase, this trend will only accelerate.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 19th, 2017, 8:46 pm

Yes, I was referring to Switch games as cartridges.
To me, a cartridge is any solid-state memory device you plug into a console to load a game.
Naturally the Switch carts are tiny (it's 2017 for Pete's sake) but they serve the exact same purpose.

BanjoPickles
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby BanjoPickles » September 19th, 2017, 9:40 pm

Pffft, some comeback. Grossly overpriced games ($50 for a port of LA Noir while the remastering t of the game is priced at $40, and this is far from being an isolated case), the return of compression techniques, etc.

I guess that I don't see it as some sort of victory lap. What has really been gained? A lack of software updates? Big deal! I would rather have the updates than pay the extra $10 per game. I figured that we left this crap behind with the N64!

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 19th, 2017, 10:04 pm

I think the point is that gamers are reaching a breaking point with the current paradigm of huge downloads, constant updates, and endless installs. Older gamers actually remember when you could pop in a game and play right away, and I think many realize the old way was better.

The clueless media is befuddled by Nintendo's success with the Switch, but physical media plays a major role with that.

Sut
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby Sut » September 20th, 2017, 3:54 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:I think the point is that gamers are reaching a breaking point with the current paradigm of huge downloads, constant updates, and endless installs. Older gamers actually remember when you could pop in a game and play right away, and I think many realize the old way was better.

The clueless media is befuddled by Nintendo's success with the Switch, but physical media plays a major role with that.


But don't you still get those same issues with updates and installs with the Switch ? Just from a cart rather than a disc ?

bluenote
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby bluenote » September 20th, 2017, 9:09 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:I think the point is that gamers are reaching a breaking point with the current paradigm of huge downloads, constant updates, and endless installs. Older gamers actually remember when you could pop in a game and play right away, and I think many realize the old way was better.

The clueless media is befuddled by Nintendo's success with the Switch, but physical media plays a major role with that.


I don't think the media is clueless about the success of the Switch. I think the success of the switch is because you can play it on the tv and as a portable. Nothing to do with the games being on a cartridge. Sure, some people do like that, but really, I don't think that's the driving force. I go on many video game forums, and really, I don't see many talking about that they're going to buy a Switch because it has cartridges. They want to buy the Switch because they like the option to play at home and as a portable.

The PS4 is on track to sell 100 million units, (they're around 60 million to date). That doesn't tell me that we're reaching a breaking point of consumers frustrated with huge downloads, etc. Quite the opposite actually.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 20th, 2017, 5:07 pm

Sut -
I don't think think my Switch has EVER been on the Internet. And it runs like a champ with no system or game update prompts.

mbd36
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Re: Cartridges making a comeback?

Postby mbd36 » September 21st, 2017, 12:43 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:Sut -
I don't think think my Switch has EVER been on the Internet. And it runs like a champ with no system or game update prompts.


This might be reason to get a Switch. I haven't bought a new Nintendo console since the N64.


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