What sorcery is THIS?!
It’s no secret that “retro” videogames are getting more expensive. As time goes on, more and more cartridges fail, are lost, or simply disappear. Demand is steadily going up for these old games, yet the supply is going down. Hunting down the rare games on each system takes time, and will cost you hundreds of pounds.
A quick Ebay search to prove my point:
Toatal amount (including postage) £328.44, and these aren’t even the most expensive titles!
Oh MISERY! Collecting all this, on a normal wage, is impossible.
Ladies and gentlemen, the first meme to appear on LOAD/ERROR!
It’s crazy, but it’s true. It’s called a Flash Cartridge. And there’s currently at least one available for each of the major consoles that used them. NES, N64, Megadrive…. they’re all covered!
In this article, I’ll be talking for the most part about the SNES version. But they’re all quite similar!
How it works
The cartridge is a very clever bit of kit. You load some system files on to a normal SD card, along with games (roms) downloaded from the internet. Insert the SD card into the cartridge, the cartridge into your console, and you’re good to go!
When you power on your console, the cartridge reads the SD card and throws up the menu. Here you can select which game you want, and it will load ready to play!
The best part? These games are so old they are now TINY in size. Super Mario Kart for example, is 513 Kilobytes. That’s HALF a megabyte, or 1/200th of a Gigabyte! Can you imagine HOW MANY games you can store on ONE SD card?
Everything. You Can store everything.* The entire SNES library can be put on one card, ready for you to play. It’s how I’m playing through Zelda right now!
*There are a small handful of games that wont run, but it’s hardly a concern given the amount of money I’ve saved from chasing all these games down myself.
Using a flash cart has other advantages besides saving my wallet from the brink of death. You can now play unofficial, fan-made games on your console. Some hardcore fans have translated Japanese games into English…. you can now play those on your console too. How about the early prototype versions of games? Yep, you guessed it. They’re playable whenever you fancy it. All on the original hardware, instead of emulators.
Games like Zelda used to save your game progress to an internal battery… those things can last for years, but they will eventually die. The flashcart sends this save straight to the SD Card, preserving it forever!
Finally, since you’re not inserting/removing cartridges all the time, there’s less wear and tear on your console’s connectors! Good news for NES fans especially, as the NES connector pins are known to bend and games stop working when they can’t be read!
So: Using a flash cartridge may well extend the life of your favourite console!
All this would of course be useless, if the games didn’t play properly. But they do…. oh my WORD they do!
See for yourself, I maded a video!
I’ve put my flash cartridges through their paces, and EVERY game I’ve tried works EXACTLY as the real cartridge would. The sound, graphics, animation, speed are all perfect. If there’s any small errors on the video, ignore ’em. It’s just my cheap capture card.
So, I’ve waffled on about how great these things are, what’s stopping you from running off to buy one? The price, that’s what. The site I buy these cartridges from currently has the SD2Snes cartidge up at £139.99. Ouch! You can expect cartridges for the other systems to cost similar amounts too.
Ask yourself this question: Can you spend £140 on a cartridge? It’s a lot of money, but for the sake of owning almost every game ever released for a system, I thought it was worth it. I can now play anything from a console’s entire back catalogue, with no regard of cost, or shelf space!
These things won’t be for everyone, and there’s still something to be said for owning the originals…. but if you’re ever curious about an ultra rare game, or want your whole collection in the palm of your hand…. Flash Carts are the way to go!
There’s a very good line of Flash Cartridges called Everdrives, give that a quick google if you want to know more. They are developed by Krikzz and you can always depend on those cartridges for quality.
Anyway, please drop me a comment if you want to know any more. Keep spreading the Load/Error love