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Ker-chunk.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as inserting a cartridge into a console and listening to that clicking sound.

The cartridge itself is an afterthought when it comes to modern gaming. Most of today's home consoles utilize DVDs, Blu-rays, or increasingly popular digital downloads.

With the advent of disc-based media, carts slowly lost ground. Packing a game into a tiny, plastic package was difficult. As any Nintendo 64 fan can tell you, side effects like blurry textures and muddy sound were inevitable. Classics such as Conker’s Bad Fur Day were exceptions, and they stood as technological feats.

Limitations aside, the cartridge signifies something larger: the unmistakable representation of a video game.

 

Anyone can look at the physical copy of a Sega Genesis title and immediately know its purpose. The shape is unique — one that wouldn't fit into a DVD player or USB slot.

Carts are meant for one piece of equipment: a game console.

I feel that discs don't have that characteristic form factor. Compare the bottom of an Xbox 360 DVD to a movie DVD, and they are exactly the same. The only thing that separates the two is the label printed on the top.

Is this a game or movie? Your guess is as good as mine.

Discs are easier to produce and reproduce. Perhaps gaming's shift in media was necessary in order to enter the entertainment mainstream. The industry has thrived since it made the move.

But sometimes I wish that inserting a video game into a modern console had at least an ounce of that clunky feel. Feeding an ultra-slick disc tray isn't the same.

Maybe I’m just old-school.


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