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Nintendo 64 cartridge

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MK64gamepak

The Mario Kart 64 cartridge.

The Nintendo 64 cartridges was the medium that the Nintendo 64 used. The ROM based cartridges is primarily the reason why the Nintendo 64 was not able to best the competition, most notably Sony's PlayStation. When it was announced that Nintendo opted for a cartridge based system instead of a disc based one, it was considered a risky move that in the long run didn't pay off. Multiple third parties, perhaps the most noteworthy being Square and Enix, left Nintendo and chose the PlayStation to develop the next iterations of their popular franchises such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Others continued to develop games for the Nintendo 64, but released their "heavy hitters" on competing platforms.

Despite the controversy surrounding the Nintendo 64's cartridges, there are many advantages. One advantage is that games would have faster load times than PlayStation titles. Additionally, cartridges are more durable than CDs. Whereas CDs easily scratch, cartridges can go through a lot of torment before ultimately breaking down. However, the disadvantages arguably outweigh the advantages. For one, developing cartridges is much more expensive than developing CDs. Cartridges also had much less space than CDs (whereas some Nintendo 64 cartridges only had 8 MB, CDs had 650 MB). Finally, because the space needed for quality music is high, many Nintendo 64 games did not have the same amount of quality of PlayStation music despite the ability to develop such music being there.

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