Thursday, March 11, 2010

The evolution of the cards of memory in consoles

Cards of Memory

The first video games were very simple and they had roots arcade, so the programmers were worrying about keeping the state of the game. Nevertheless, little by little there were appearing qualifications more complex that needed of this type of functionality, although initially they were resting on complexes passwords that they were very bothersome of noting down.

One of the achievements of “The Legend of Zelda“, was to introduce a battery in the cartridge to keep the game, an advance that little by little other qualifications were incorporating. Nevertheless, with the progressive disappearance of the cartridges, an alternative way became necessary to store this information, there being created in turn a "culture" of exchange of games between friends, which also came to Internet in the shape of webs that were compiling files to unblock all the secrets of the games.

In this article, I am going to give a revision to the different formats that have appeared during all these years, to see the evolution of the same ones, and of step showing some curious details on the most unknown cards of memory …

PC Engine

The games of this console usually used passwords to continue the games, but some of them were supporting the use of memory to keep games and the records of our games. Some consoles were incorporating this memory of series - basically the last models with CD unit - and for the previous ones there existed several accessories as Tennokoe Bank - that came to Occident as TurboBooster Plus - or Memory Base 128, which they were allowing to add this functionality to our console.

Basic Memory 128

Neo Geo

This SNK system was the first one in incorporating cards in strict sense of memory, with a capacity of storage of 2KB … at least the official, since the invention really was talking each other of a card standard PCMCIA - it was used in other professional teams of the epoch - and there were compatible others of more capacity.

Memory Card Neo Geo

The card could be used so much in the domestic system as in true recreational - whenever they had at sight the slot correspondent - and normally it was limiting itself to storing the phase in which we had remained. In other games as “Baseball Stars 2“, the finished information of the period was keeping even … the whole achievement in that epoch.

Gentle CD

In this SEGA system it was incorporating 8KB of internal memory so that the games could record his information. On the other hand, we could add additional capacity in the shape of cartridge of Gentle Drive with memory SRAM.

Gentle CD Backup RAM

Like handyman already does a time, TOTOTEK threw the Megacart, which in addition to we were allowed to play with games of other regions and with backups, was adding an enormous quantity of blocks Gentle to our system CD.


The following SEGA console CD inherited the philosophy of Gentle, although in this occasion the internal memory was multiplying for 4. The games quantity that we could store considerable age, but some games as “NiGHTS“ with his A-Life system, or “SEGA Rally” with his repetitions, practically they were occupying the whole available space. In these cases, there was becoming essential the use of cartridges of memory.

Saturn Data Backup

As I commented in the article that was enumerating some curiosities of this console, the cartridges made by third companies had a badge lightly thicker than the originals, what was doing that with the time the cartridges port was deformed lightly in case of using them. Also, they been not detected usually like an extra storage unit, becoming necessary the use of a special tool to spend the games between the cartridge and the internal memory.


If “PlayStation“ turned in synonymous of console, Sony "Memory Card" did the proper thing with the cards of memory. This company could see the market of this one peripheral and the social possibilities that it had, motivated for which the console was provided with two ports for cards.

PSOne Memory Card

The "bad" of these cards, the fact is that the size of every block was disproportionate, and his capacity was wasted enough. I put it between quotation marks because this was an advantage for the manufacturers, since if we had a considerable games collection, or were recording enough games in some RPG, we needed to have Memory Cards different. Of course, to buy one compatible with hundreds of blocks was almost a sucidio, since they were usually giving more problems than three red lights of the Xbox 360

Nintendo 64

The games of this console generally were keeping the game in the proper cartridge, but some of them had the option to export them to a Controller Pack to be able to share them with other friends, or even were offering the possibility of using this one peripheral to keep complex contents, like the information of a career of “Mario Kart 64“. In fact, the files of kept of some qualifications as “Wonder Project J2” was occupying one of these "cartuchitos" to the maximum, and was giving one with the game.

Controller Paks

Also there was Controller Packs of other manufacturers with more capacity, but as it is usually habitual, it was preferable to bet for the Nintendo originals.


SEGA introduced enough with his last console, and one of the innovations there were his cards of memory, known as Visual Memory. They were incorporating a child display, a loudspeaker, a crosspiece and four buttons, and in addition to saving games in his 128KB from memory, were showing animations in some qualifications, and even were allowing to unload minigames to spend the moment when we were far from the console. If it was small, two cards could get connected to exchange information without need to use a console, or even to compete in small qualifications multiplayer.


The big snag was that the batteries lasted a sigh, and then a peñazo was the whistle to that one was listening on having lit the console when the tarjetita had remained without batteries. In any case, it was a quite original idea, that then Sony dealt with copying with his PocketStation, an almost identical pot to Visual Memory, but slightly more powerful.

VMU Vs. PocketStation

PlayStation 2

This console used a few quite similar cards of memory in appearance to those of the previous system of the company, but that instead of having 128KB of memory, were coming even them 8MB. Also it could make use of the cards of PlayStation for the games of this console, but for the new ones those of major capacity were necessary, being also encriptadas with MagicGate, an invention that Sony of the sleeve extracted to charge royalties from the manufacturers of compatible cards.

Memory Cards de Sony

To change, we could find memoirs of third of major capacity, but bearing in mind that in the official one tens of games were fitting, the risk was not worth it.


In using optical support for his games, the first Nintendo console made use of a few quite pretty cards of memory, which were thrown in three sizes: the gray one of 128KB (59 blocks), another black woman of 2MB (251 blocks), and a last half note of 8MB with 1019 blocks … with his corresponding not official versions, skylight is.

Memory Cards de Gamecube

Some games as “Animal Crossing” were filling a card of the kidlings, and it was coming incluída in the proper game. In fact, that of this title was special, since it was including a small file that then was exchanged by a special object in our game.


The original console of Microsoft had built-in a hard disk of 8GB of series, what was allowing an enormous space to keep games. Nevertheless, and with the target to be able to do a backup of the same ones, or to share them with our friends, there was commercialized a card of memory of 8MB that was getting connected to the control as in Dreamcast.

Xbox Memory Unit

Nevertheless, some games of the console - especially the published ones by Tecmo - were signing the games so that they could only be used in a console, what was doing that the grace was getting lost of sharing games … although like the community hacker always managed to eliminate these limitations

Xbox 360

Microsoft chose to throw versions of his following console without hard disk, what became necessary to throw a card of bigger memory. Initially the model of 64MB existed, but later others were thrown of 128MB and 256MB to be able to use the new interface in the ancient consoles. In fact, during the transition phase free cards were offered to the users of the models Arcade of the console.

Xbox 360 Memory Unit

In the last reviews of this model, this memory has joined in the badge, having available between 256 and 512MB of memory flash to store games and games of Xbox Live.


At the end of the 90, there began becoming popular several types of cards of memory Flash - that was used in devices like digital cameras or breeding animals MP3, or PDAs - each of them created by different manufacturers like Sony, Sandisk, or Toshiba. That's why, it is no wonder that they began being used also in consoles.

In December, 1998, Nintendo published “Mario not Photopi“, a software for Nintendo 64 that was allowing to import cameras photos with cards SmartMedia (SMC), to edit them and later to print them on destined machines to that end that usually existed in shopping centers. This type of cards - whose maximum capacity was located in 128MB - was used later in the GP32, and at present it is almost impossible to find them new, although converters exist to be able to use the xD, which they keep on using in some camerawomen made by Olympus and Fujifilm.

Cards of memory flash

The successors of this one portable - GP2X and GP2X Wiz - changed the support to cards SD, which have turned nowadays practically into a storage standard. The latter console also supports SDHC, with capacities that come even them 32GB.

Nintendo also has chosen for this format in his consoles DSi and Wii. In case of the portable one, it serves to keep photos, music, and software unburdened of the shop online - since the games keep the state in the proper cards, as in the old times - and in the Wii it complements them 512MB of internal memory to keep games, channels and another type of information.

Sony, since it is obvious, has chosen its own format for PlayStation Portable. The first models make use of cards Memory Stick Pro Duo, while in the last PSP Go! Micro Memory Stick must be used … although them 16GB of memory flash interns are sufficient for the majority. In case of PlayStation 3, the first models were incorporating a cards reader into support for Memory Stick, SD/MMC and Compact Flash, but it was eliminated in later reviews of the console. Nevertheless, it is possible to transfer our files to any support USB, already be a hard disk, a pendrive, or an external reader of cards.


Since we see, every time standard has a tendency more towards supports to keep games, and the last consoles already usually bring the sufficient internal capacity - it is already by means of a hard disk, or with memory flash - not to have to make use of cards of memory. On the other hand, also it is necessary to bear in mind that it is very possible that in the next generation all this information is in “the cloud”, as it happens already in some Steam games …

To all this …: what is your card of favorite memory?

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