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Author Topic: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge  (Read 1405 times)
Deozaan
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« on: January 23, 2015, 12:43:30 AM »

Here's an interesting article about the world before interchangeable game cartridges existed, and how the game cartridge came to be.

Quote
Consider the humble video game cartridge. It's a small, durable plastic box that imparts the most immediate, user-friendly software experience ever created. Just plug it in, and you're playing a game in seconds.

If you’ve ever used one, you have two men to thank: Wallace Kirschner and Lawrence Haskel, who invented the game cartridge 40 years ago while working at an obscure company and rebounding from a business failure. Once the pair's programmable system had been streamlined and turned into a commercial product—the Channel F console—by a team at pioneering electronics company Fairchild, it changed the fundamental business model of home video games forever. By injecting flexibility into a new technology, it paved the way for massive industry growth and the birth of a new creative medium.

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bit
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 02:42:26 AM »

I want one!!!
No, wait; that's really outdated stuffs--
Hmm, but-- embarassed now I -really- want one!!!  Kiss
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Deozaan
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2015, 08:25:30 PM »

Here's a related story about resurrecting an old Atari cartridge from the landfill:

The Story
Earlier this year the fabled Atari Landfill was discovered as part of a documentary called "Atari: Game Over".

The documentary covers what caused the gaming market to crash, and also the search for the "lost landfill" where Atari allegedly dumped millions of unsold games.  Unlike the bigfoot shows they actually did find what they were looking for – a big heap of games – and many of them were recently put up for auction on eBay.

Atari was a big part of my childhood and modding the consoles is what got me started in the maker community, so I felt obliged to own one of these trashy relics. Didn't have to be ET, anything from that site was good enough for me. I went with Asteroids and Star Raiders (with keypad!) I actually quite like 2600 Asteroids.

Back in the day the games were dumped, steamrolled and then covered with cement to stop looters. From the auction photos I could tell the cartridges were fairly intact inside their boxes, so I reasoned the PCBs were likely still intact.

My goal was to obtain one of these cartridges and try to bring it back to life. To actually PLAY a landfill cartridge that had been buried for 31 years!

Read the rest on BenHeck.com.
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bit
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2015, 09:02:29 PM »

Wow, Atari wasn't the only thing bulldozed.
After WWII the US Military laid thousands of katanas out on pavement and ran over them with bulldozers, and people are still trying to resurrect the tradition in the same way as with the Atari.

I used to hate tv commercials (still mostly do).
Then one day in the age of DVDs, I dragged out an old tv movie-grab on a VCR cassette that was complete with original commercials, and the nostalgia effect was so powerful watching outdated commercials from another era that I ended up enjoying the commercials as much as the movie.

BTW, I looked it up, and in Japanese, 'atari' means 'to hit the target' or 'to receive something fortuitously'.

That Atari console in the ^pic is actually quite stylish.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 09:13:42 PM by bit » Logged
Deozaan
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 03:19:54 PM »

That Atari console in the ^pic is actually quite stylish.

That's not an Atari. That's a Channel F console. The first console that used cartridges.
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Renegade
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Tell me something you don't know...

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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 08:13:21 AM »

Here's an interesting article about the world before interchangeable game cartridges existed, and how the game cartridge came to be.

That was an excellent read! It was like an action-packed thriller for geeks! smiley

I never had one of those, but we had an Atari 2600. My parents still have it in their basement.

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rxantos
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 09:56:13 PM »

I always wondered why computer upgrades where not designed this way instead of the painful open up the case way.

Assuming the computer is off:

Change the CPU? Take out the CPU cartridge and install a new one. (1 minute vs 20 minutes if you know what you are doing. 1 week if you don't  Grin ).

Change Memory? Take out the memory cartridge and install a new one.

Change OS? Take out the solid state hard drive cartridge for the OS and place a new one. Data and settings could be on another hard disk cartridge. Want backup, place another cartridge and do a copy of the data.

Etc.

Always wonder why it didn't go that way. Maybe its a tech work issue (as most people could do the upgrades on their own).
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Deozaan
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 02:12:49 AM »

Ever heard of Apple? All their devices are self-enclosed "cartridges." iPhone 5S came out 6 months after iPhone 5? Take the iPhone 5 "cartridge" out of your pocket and replace it with th iPhone 5S "cartridge." Wink
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Shades
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2015, 03:55:55 PM »

@rxantos:
That type of computer you can buy already for years. Don't even have to turn the thing of even if you needed to change the CPU. Just push a few buttons on the front of the machine that mark which hardware unit required replacement, wait for the indicator's (led or display) "permission", replace the unit and push buttons in front again to mark the unit has been changed. All that is left to do is wait for "permission" to use the hardware fully again.

Those systems were not affordable by mere mortals. Not buying or maintaining the hardware...or licensing the specialized operating system(s) required by such type of computers.


Things are as they are, because any modular hardware design requires software builders to give a lot more thought and planning to handle hardware changes at any given moment.
Don't think for one second that any of the currently popular operating systems is capable of working with this kind of hardware. At least not without (very) serious rewrites in the best situation to starting from scratch.

Besides that, modularity usually means making use of connectors. Every time you add any connector, you weaken the structure of the electronic circuits. You also lengthen the circuit, introducing more heat generation and susceptibility to RF interference. These things inevitably result in slowing down your circuits, sometimes significantly.

These are only the (basic) technical limitations you will experience with modular hardware. Those technical limitations will already rob a lot "fun" from the idea, but that will be nothing compared to the legal limitations.

Back in the day where we still could "run with the dino's" on a daily basis (instead of that new age sissy and annual thing called: "running with the bulls"), I grew up with a Commodore 64 and at one point in time I was able to buy the Geos cartridge for that home computer. Suddenly my C64 had a complete GUI with a word processor, all kind of tools and the pointer could be managed by joystick, keyboard or mouse.

Still, the Geos cartridge was not that successful. At least I was the only person who actually had one and I went to a lot of places, meeting a lot of people, doing some serious "sneaker-netting" for years (30 to 25 years ago). Concept was there, affordable computers were there and even in those years the modular hardware system never caught on.
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