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New game console that uses ROM cartridges

Bring back the ROM carts!
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

remember the good old days where you almost never had to re-purchase a game because your original copy was damaged? Not to mention that the game console had no moving parts and thus lasted a VERY long time if taken care of? I had a sega genesis that lasted *OVER 10 years* before it finally died, and there are many people who still own older cartridge based consoles that still work to this day. I never once had a genesis cartridge stop working completely- though some of mine are a bit worn out- I got a used one on Ebay to replace my old genesis, all my games still work, but some require more scrutiny to get them to work. Other than that, those cartridges are "virtually" indestructible, and they often outlast the actual console. The console only has a circuit board, some plugs, and a cartridge slot- there are few points of failure for a cartridge console.

Sadly, those are days gone by. Even portable game systems are now migrating away from ROM carts- the PSP uses those horrible UMD things, which are housed in flimsy plastic casings, and they scratch VERY easily- FAR worse, even than a normal CD or DVD. A PORTALBE GAME SYSTEM THAT USES A FORMAT THAT IS *MORE FRAGILE* THAN A NORMAL CD???? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

CDs are easily damaged compared with cartridges- often a few scratches can cause the game to malfunction to the point of being unplayable. Also, the game console itself has a lot of mechanical crap to read the CD. My first PS2 only lasted 4 years before it died, and it was- you guessed it- a CD-ROM drive failure. It also makes things more difficult for companies that rent out games- in addition to the CD being subjected to god-knows-what at the "rentee's" house, if it's a US mail netflix-style service, it's even more of a mess because CDs can be easily damaged in the mail.

How about bringing back the old ROM carts? I mean, the DS lite uses game carts the size of an SD card- the games are comparable to N64 games, but they used to take up a cartridge that was about the size of an SNES cartridge. Imagine how "big" of a game you could fit into a cart that size NOW! You can get a 5GB CF card for pretty darn cheap. so, 5GB of ROM can't be that expensive (DVDs, which current home game consoles use, hold about 4 GB of data, so you could theoretically fit a game of today's standards on a cartridge like this) although of course the cartridge would need some re-writable memory set aside for saving games. the only problem would be that there'd need to be a rather fast connection between the console and the cartridge in order for the game's graphics to be up to today's standards- and a high speed connection may drive up the cost of the console and the cartridge

Dickcheney6, Aug 16 2008

Here's a REALLY cheap 5GB flash card! http://stores.chann...aspx?itemid=2061288
[Dickcheney6, Aug 24 2008]


       Er. yes, that would be a good idea!   

       I also wonder about the wear and tear on the connectors, and i've thought that a combination of LEDs and photocells would be better to replace something which, again mechanically, sticks into something else. Then the problem becomes power on the cartridge. Induction?   

       Concerning the PSP, i agree and it also shortens the battery life. I think the point of a UMD is that Sony never got over having Betamax fail and they've turned into control freaks as a result. The PSP could've been an EBook reader, but oh no, they have to make one of those too and sell it for X hundred quid rather than making the PSP open.
nineteenthly, Aug 16 2008

       Hmm... Sony did Betamax... I'm beginning to understand why these lovely sony memory stick cards that fit into my computer are no longer available...   

       Induction ought to provide sufficient power, and might even suppliment other connectability methods.   

       Speaking of bad connections, a friend of mine has some strange eight bit nintendo console that continues to work fine, and requires no blowing. Before going off onto photocells and LEDs, you might see how viable this peculiar old technology would be today.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 16 2008

       Well, there are ZIF sockets. I imagine they'd wear very slowly. I've not recovered from wobbly RAMpacks yet. Give me time.
nineteenthly, Aug 17 2008

       // You can get a 5GB CF card for pretty darn cheap. so, 5GB of ROM can't be that expensive //   

       Problem: 4GB of flash ROM is about $40-80. A 4GB DVD-RW is about $1-2. Solid-state memory has to come waaaaaaay down in price before it can replace discs.
Bukkakinator, Aug 17 2008

       Even so, there's a trade-off between reliability and speed on the one hand, and storage capacity on the other. In any case, a gigabyte flash drive costs around ten quid, so you can still have a game which takes up a whole gigabyte for relatively little money.   

       I don't think bandwidth is an issue because you're actually talking about a parallel interface which is equivalent in speed to the rate of data transfer on a PC motherboard if you use RAM chips. Then, you're not loading the game into memory in the conventional sense of loading something from a punch card or paper tape: the game is already in the memory as soon as the cartridge is connected. Not possible with flash memory but possible with battery-backed RAM.
nineteenthly, Aug 17 2008

       I don't think this would not work for next-gen consoles, the Blu-Ray and HD discs hold much more than DVDs. The equivalent amount of storage on silicon would be about 10 times more expensive. Agreed, the connection speed and loading times could be much faster than an optical disc, but the big issue these days is storage capacity and not processor speed.   

       This is the same argument as 'why don't they make cars that last 100 years?' It's totally possible to do but there's two good reasons why they don't;   

       1. Cost - if it costs 10 times more to make something which lasts 10 times as long that thing becomes more expensive to replace when it does eventually break. Also, the faster consumer products are cycled the more innovation you can build into the product, like having a new Playstation every 7 years instead of every 25.   

       2. Capitalism - people tend to buy the cheapest products, competition in the marketplace drives down prices and costs have to be cut somewhere. It's not the best way to get quality but that's what Apple is for.
mecotterill, Aug 18 2008

       Optical discs and drives break. They scratch and the lenses become misaligned. They're slower, less reliable and liable to get thrown out, which is an environmental problem. There's also an issue of game play quality, because on the one hand you have the sensory experience of the graphics, sound, force feedback and other aspects, and on the other you have the creativity and provocation of thought of older games. Tetris was a great success even though it could have been done on micros a decade previously, there's a huge retro gaming scene today and the soul of the great Douglas Adams himself lives on in 'Bureaucracy', the Hitch-Hiker game and probably 'Starship Titanic'. It's a question of style over content. Even 'Hunt the Wumpus' was good.
nineteenthly, Aug 18 2008

       [Bukkakinator], I just checked one of the big shopping web sites, and the lowest price for 1GB flash is $3.19, 2GB is $5.25, 4GB is $10.49, and 8GB is $20.99. Well more expensive than optical media, but they do keep coming down.
JakePatterson, Aug 18 2008

       I'm not sure flash memory is the best solution, as they have a limited lifespan and so can't be used as main memory. If you had actual RAM or real ROM, it could be part of the memory map without any problems and there would be no discernable wait. Capacity would be smaller.
nineteenthly, Aug 18 2008

       [nineteenthly], The life-span limitation of flash memory pertains to erase-write cycles. A flash memory based video game console cartridge would have the binary for the game, which would seldom or never be overwritten, and some space for game saves. The utilization pattern of game saving would be easy to wear-level, but I don't think you would even have to worry about it because modern flash memory has a lifetime on the order of 100,000 erase-write cycles. From a practical standpoint, I think that if one were to design a modern game console to use flash memory based game cartridges, it would be more sensible for the cartridge to appear as a mass storage device rather than directly mapped memory. This would allow the use of off the shelf components and chipsets.
JakePatterson, Aug 18 2008

       Thanks for the info, i didn't know that. However, the limiting factor is the rate of data transfer, and the external data bus is bound to be faster than any conventional interface. After that it can spend a lot of time in the cache physically inside the CPU package. Actually, come to think of it, would that apply more to game data or op codes? Maybe less sensorily-oriented games would benefit more from internal caching than graphics and sound style ones. I don't know.
nineteenthly, Aug 18 2008

       //Well, there are ZIF sockets.//   

       Love those connectors. Not that I'm a connector geek or anything...
wagster, Aug 18 2008

       I did not realize that ROM was actually MORE expensive than rewritable memory. I figured that since it couldn't be changed, it'd be cheaper.   

       But the whole game could just be on 5GB of memory- the game programming would never be over-written anyway, because the console wouldn't be able to do that. there would still be space set aside for game saves, possibly in another bank of memory- the console would simply be so designed where- the game programming would be read by the majority of the pins in the cartridge connecter, but there would be 2 or 3 seperate pins that are just for saving games, connected directly to the portion of the memory which is for saving progress/high scores, etc. the console, in theory, could be so designed where it would not be able to send a "erase/overwrite-signal" to the pins that interface with the actual game programming- it would only be able to send a "read" signal. Would that be possible?
Dickcheney6, Aug 18 2008

       Also, keep in mind that the XBOX 360 uses normal DVDs, not blue ray DVDs or HD-DVDs.   

       I never understood the "better graphics=better game" mindset. As long as it's fun to play, I'm happy. Blue ray DVDs are expensive, but a 5GB flash CF card is only around $20. granted, some money would go to the actual game developers as well, but it still is a workable idea.
Dickcheney6, Aug 24 2008

       4gb rom???? I remember 4 KILOBYTE ROMS! yes, thats 4096 bytes, multiply it by one million and youve got 4gb! so i guess games nowadays are a million times better than some old games LOL
Arcanus, Mar 26 2010

       There was an early game console whose cartridges actually contained a series of jumpers and no memory at all - the Magnavox Odyssey. They simply connected the hardware on the PCB up in different ways.
nineteenthly, Mar 26 2010

       Hey I just relised I've never actually owned a console system, but alwasy played on computers...from a c64 to Amiga to various PCs
simonj, Mar 26 2010

       Ok, so I know I'm replying to an old idea, but there's still a valid point, both in the idea and the annos :)   

       What about making a CD variant which is never removed from it's case? Just like old 3-1/2 inch floppy disks (aka microfloppies), the disk would be fully enclosed by the case, with a window that is slid open by the drive, and pulled closed by a spring.   

       This ought to protect the CD from most forms of CD rot.   

       Ideally, it would be very close in size and shape to a conventional "jewel CD case," in order to fit into existing racks and shelves made for CDs in cases.   

       Hopefully, our CD cartridge reader would be able to use many standard parts, and the CD that's in the cartridge could also be standard. This would reduce costs.   

       If we use standard parts and the standard data formatting, it shouldn't be to difficult to make a reader which accepts both cd-cartridges, and regular CDs.   

       Furthermore, if the CD in the cartridge is, as I said, standard, then we might provide a way for a user equipped with a special tool (or at least, a screwdriver) to remove the CD from the cartridge and use it in a standard CD drive, or to put a different CD into the cartridge.
goldbb, Nov 20 2012

       They already did that. It was called DVD-RAM, and never really caught on. The drives could take either cartridges or discs, but could only write to a disc that was in a cartridge. Many cartridges had removable discs, so you could write them on a DVD-RAM drive, then take the disc out and put it in a regular DVD-ROM drive.
ytk, Nov 20 2012

       let''s not forget the venerable CD caddies.
FlyingToaster, Nov 20 2012

       I must support this [+]
piluso, Nov 20 2012


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