ROM cartridge

ROM cartridge

A ROM cartridge is a removable cartridge that contains ROM devices and commonly, flash memory devices to allow some read-write capability.

Uses of ROM cartridges

*Video games (Atari systems, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Game Boy series, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, SNK Neo Geo); the first system to use them was the Fairchild Channel F. [ [http://www.cedmagic.com/history/fairchild-channel-f.html Fairchild Channel F Videogame System from 1976 ] ]

*Personal computer programs (including Atari systems, IBM PCjr, [ [http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v10n3/74_IBM_PCjr.php IBM PCjr ] ] Commodore 64 [ [http://www.islandnet.com/~KPOLSSON/c64hist/ Chronology of the Commodore 64 Computer ] ] )

Benefits and disadvantages

The cartridge is a hardware device in the form of a printed circuit board that contains ROM devices with software. Because most cartridge formats allow significant random access and no need to copy data from an external media like a CD to use, they tend to be significantly faster and require little to no load time. They are also more expensive to manufacture. This factor became an issue in modern video game consoles — newer consoles began using CDs or similar form-factor discs, which required waiting for data to load, but gave the publisher cheaper production costs, as well as higher capacity. [ [http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repository/snes/history/snescdrom.html The Snes Cd-Rom ] ]

ROM cartridges could also be affected by dirt on the contacts of the cartridge or receptacle (as it was often practice to blow into video game cartridges before inserting them, to clear out dust). [ [http://retro.ign.com/articles/857/857894p1.html IGN: IGN Classics: N-Retrospect Vol. 1 ] ]

Additionally, there was no standardization across cartridge form factors. While the PlayStation series and Xbox series are different formats (how the game instructions and data are formatted on the media), they still use the CD/DVD disc, allowing for identical storage cases, booklets, etc. ROM cartridge designs varied widely, and cartridges designed for one system could rarely be used in another — the sale of a game in one package for multiple systems is rare, regardless.

References


* [http://users.tkk.fi/~eye/videogames/console.html History of Home Video Games]
* Isbister, Katherine (2006). "Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach" [http://books.google.com/books?id=TGBTzVj47ZcC&pg=PA99&dq=%22ROM+cartridge%22&client=firefox-a&sig=_JRzAGI9S5UHXCZdu1hYt-ng4Y8#PPA99,M1 p. 99.]
* Microsoft Corporation Staff (1997), "Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary".

ee also

*Cartridge (electronics)
*ROM image


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