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How Oldschool ROM Cartridge Games Worked

The 8-Bit Guy2016-09-11
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3M views|7 years ago
💫 Short Summary

The 8-Bit Guy discusses the early days of cartridge games, their limitations and advantages, and how they were used in various systems such as the Commodore VIC-20 and Atari 2600. The video also covers the technical aspects of cartridge games, their rarity and unique design, and their contribution to the gaming industry's history.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
The video discusses the evolution of game distribution from cartridge format for the Fairchild Channel F to various other systems, including the Atari 2600, Speak & Spell, music keyboards, and the Nintendo 64.
00:06
The very first games were distributed on cartridge format for the Fairchild channel F.
ROM cartridges were used in various systems such as the Speak & Spell, music keyboards, and the Nintendo 64.
Cartridge games for the Commodore VIC-20 were better than tape games due to their larger size and more complex nature.
04:40
VIC-20 cartridge games were usually better than tape games because they could be as much as 16K, allowing for more complex games with better graphics.
Most software for the Atari 400 and 800 was distributed on cartridges, but the machines also had the capability to use floppy disks.
07:10
Atari 400 and 800 had a cartridge slot on the top like a game console, indicating the expectation that most games would be on cartridge.
Atari 800 had two cartridge slots, but the right cartridge slot was not commonly used.
Later systems with 64K RAM had most software distributed on floppy disks, but the cartridge slot was still displayed.
Cartridges can contain extra hardware to enhance the console's capabilities, such as additional RAM or sound chips.
10:09
Pitfall 2 for Atari 2600 had a specialized chip inside the game cartridge that gave the system more capabilities.
Some NES cartridges had an additional sound chip to enhance the console's original sound chip.
Different manufacturers had their own designs for game cartridges, leading to a variety of cartridge appearances.
13:10
Atari 8-bit computer line had cartridges with a similar design, but Activision used a different shape for their cartridges.
Nintendo cartridges looked more or less the same regardless of the company that made them.
💫 FAQs about This YouTube Video

1. What are the advantages of cartridge games over other types of media in the 1980s?

Cartridges have two advantages over other types of media such as floppy disks or CD-ROMs in the 1980s. First, they provide instant access to the game without any loading time. Second, they can contain extra hardware, enhancing the capabilities of the console.

2. How were more complex games with better graphics made possible on the VIC-20 through cartridges?

Cartridges added additional memory to the VIC-20's simple memory map, allowing for more complex games with better graphics. For example, an 8 kilobyte game cartridge added read-only memory, and a 16 kilobyte memory expansion cartridge could add RAM to the machine.

3. What was the role of cartridges in early game systems like the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64?

Early game systems like the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 relied heavily on cartridges for game distribution. Cartridges provided the advantage of instant access and could also contain additional hardware to enhance the capabilities of the systems.

4. How did game developers enhance the capabilities of consoles through additional hardware in cartridges?

Game developers enhanced the capabilities of consoles by including additional hardware in cartridges. For example, the Atari 2600 game Pitfall 2 used a specialized chip inside the cartridge to give the system more capabilities. Cartridges could also add extra RAM to increase the console's capacity.

5. Why were cartridges for computer systems rarely used, and what were the alternatives?

Cartridges for computer systems were rarely used due to the cost, and it was more economical to put the software on floppy disks. Floppy disks were a common alternative for computer systems to distribute games and software.