The evolution of video game media

From jumper cards to hard disks, these are the cards, cartridges, and drives that have shaped the world of gaming.

The First Cartridges

The first video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey, could generate only rudimentary graphics. Its jumperlike game cartridges (2) contained no active components but still instructed the console how to set up a particular game on screen. Between 1972 and 1977, all new game consoles shipped with built-in, noninterchangeable games (think Pong). Fairchild broke that streak with the first system to use cartridges containing software ROM (Read Only Memory) chips (3). From then until the 1990s, most game consoles used this format.

Key: [1] Atari 2600 (1977), [2] Magnavox Odyssey (1972), [3] Fairchild Channel F (1977), [4] RCA Studio II (1977), [5] Magnavox Odyssey 2 (1978), [6] Bally Professional Arcade (1978)

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