back to article Game CARTRIDGES make a comeback ... for smartmobes

A Japanese company named Beatrobo has revealed plans to revive games cartridges, for use in smartphones. Beatrobo already makes a device that plugs in to a phone's audio port and sends a sound to the phone to authenticate you as someone able to access content stored in the cloud. The company's now planning to use the audio …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Boffin

    ZX Spectrum, cartridge port?

    You sure? The port on the back was for Joystick/extra RAM/printer. I don't remember any games being plugged in. Would have been way to expensive.

    There was the microdrive, but that was much later, unreliable and expensive.

    1. bowdie

      Re: ZX Spectrum, cartridge port?

      They're talking about Interface 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Interface_2

      Joystick and (sort of) cartridge port. Didn't have the biggest selection, as the carts only supported 16k.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: ZX Spectrum, cartridge port?

      Interface 2 had a literal ROM socket. It worked just like a console. You plugged in a ROM when the computer was off, turned it back on, and it instantly booted into a game. About 10-12 games were made on the format, but it saved the 5+ minute loading time.

      It worked by exposing the memory bus directly to the expansion port, and the IF2 exposed some memory pins of that direct to a ROM chip in a cartridge. Literally when you executed the bootup / ROM routines, it was just using the chip on the cartridge instead of the normal Spectrum ROM. I believe size was limited to 16Kb because of the way the expansion port as designed.

      I had one. It was great. Also had two Sinclair joysticks ports you could use with games (and all ROM games supported those joysticks too - I believe the Jetpac ROM was rewritten to support it rather than Kempston / Cursor interface), Instant booting, guaranteed loading, Nintendo-like cartridges, dual joystick ports, and you could still plug in things like the ZX printer etc. into the back of the IF2.

      Sadly, never very many games but I did have (may still have somewhere) Jetpac, Planetoids and Hungry Horace on that format. The ROMs were a chip on a PCB covered in a black plastic case with a red rubber "skirt" to stop dirt getting on the exposed PCB edge.

      Fond memories.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: ZX Spectrum, cartridge port?

        Wow, the return of RAM Pack Wobble!

        All those times of getting far into a game, only to knock the Speccie, wobble the RAM pack and have the damn thing reset or lock up.

        They don't make 'em like they used to... (thanks $diety)

        1. NoOnions

          Re: ZX Spectrum, cartridge port?

          I had a ZX-81 and I thought RAM-pack wobble was only on that device (1KB to 16KB). Did the early Spectrums have that issue? I can't recall a RAM pack for the 16KB Spectrum versions - I thought the upgrade to 48KB was internal?

          1. Sestun

            Re: ZX Spectrum, cartridge port?

            Although most ram expansions for the 16k Speccy were internal, there were a number of external 3rd party 32k rampack, I still have one with a 16k Speccy that was given to me a few years ago made by Cheetah, and it still works!

  2. maffski

    Cassette

    Surely the C64/Speccy version would be a cassette player? Although as it's for mobiles perhaps a miniature version of the Datasette using dictaphone tapes.

    1. Anne-Lise Pasch

      Re: Cassette

      We had cartridge games on the C64. We just hardly used them because we all had an Action Replay cartridge for cheating on tape games that we used Action Replay to clone onto a floppy...

      1. Bleu

        Re: Cassette

        Anne-Lise, you are right, but for an early adopter (or receiver), some of the cartridge games were great.

        Radar Rat Race may have been a copy of Rally X for the Atari empire of the time, adequate graphics, but perfect gameplay. Likewise, Miner 2049er, IIRC the first version of Pitfall was cart-only.

        Action Replay, Final Cartridge were great, but couldn't work on everything, and the art of the fast-loaders was often great. One game had a version of Space Invaders as the loading screen, brilliant use of interrupts.

        I never used the cheat codes, but had much fun making graphics and sounds with Turbo Assembler and Action Replay or Final Cart.

        Sad that the latter-day AR cartridges were for cheat codes only.

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Cassette

        "We all had an Action Replay cartridge for cheating on tape games that we used Action Replay to clone onto a floppy"

        Really?

        I just used to ground the warm reset on the parallel interface port and dump the memory to a PET disk dual drive via an Interpod.

        You could then load the game back into memory at any time and restart with it with a SYS ....

        (IIRC)

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Cassette

      Yeah, it was more the VIC=20 that used the cartridges. I had Jelly Monster (PacMan), a few Infocom adventures and Gorf, and Atari 400/800.

      1. Jim 59

        Re: Cassette

        Even my Dragon 32 had a huge cartridge slot on the right hand side. Never saw a cartridge.

      2. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

        Re: Cassette

        I used to have a vic20. I think I had an absolutely brilliant game called "Myriad" on it. Which was sort of a vertical scrolling Defender-type game with a myriad of things to shoot at. It slowed down a bit when there were too many things, and it always crashed after I'd got a particularly high score. Those were the days... I remember downloading Myriad on a Vic20 emultator about ten years ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cassette

          First cartridge game I ever saw and played was lunar lander on a vic20...

          Ahh..Memories...

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Cassette

          Wasn't Myriad one of the first of the Imagine Software games for the VIC=20.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wring?

    no text

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Wring?

      "Deals for games haven't been done yet but the company hopes that copyright holders will be keen to wrong yet more revenue from retro-gaming-obsessed Otaku around the world."

      I though they meant wring as well, then I saw what they did ;)

  4. dogged

    Be fair, smoke signals are a more robust medium than audio cassette tapes.

    1. Stryker007

      Hey, I've got C64 cassette games that still work! :-)

    2. Jim 59

      Don't disrespect the cassette man! Using a common household item to store digital data was genius.

      It's like Apple finding a way to use a vase of flowers as a high capacity NAS.

      1. Little Mouse

        "Hey, I've got cassette games that still work! :-)"

        Same here. At least they did work last time I checked. They've managed to outlast every cassette player in the house and the hardware the games are supposed to run on. I still can't bring myself to throw them away though.

        3D Monster Maze - FTW!

  5. Baudwalk

    Great idea...

    ...because we're all so tired of buying and instantly downloading a game when we get a sudden urge.

    Much better to wait for a cartridge in the post.

  6. Bleu

    I am sure they may get some

    sales here in Japan, if they can offer some good games, doubt it can succeed.

    I have never seen anyone carrying a sillyphone in a game-controller cradle, so that rules any platformer, space shooter, fighting game etc. out of contention as playable.

    I doubt they will be getting licences to Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy.

    Wasn't planning to go to the Game Show this year, but the BBQ I was thinking of on Sunday will likely be washed out, so maybe will check TGS and their booth.

  7. Little Mouse

    I have a question for the brains behind this...

    WHY?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The kids used to have an Innotab.

    Downloaded games, about £2.99 a time.

    Cartridges about £25 a time.

    Guess how many cartridges we bought?

  9. Bluto Nash

    Will you still have to blow in it?

  10. Captain DaFt

    OH GOODY!

    They're finally bringing back the SD port for phones, but locked down and DM'd the cards to a select company's softwear.

    No thanks. I'll just stick with my phone and netbook's SD slot as is, and load what I want on'em.

  11. Slacker20012

    or just carry on using my emaultors instead

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