GR Asks: Why do some cartridge games still have loading screens?

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GR Asks: Why do some cartridge games still have loading screens?

Answered by: Chris Charla, Foundation 9 Entertainment

Above: Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (DS) has frequent loading screens

“Decompression -- some carts use a system like .zip to pack more graphics into less cart space, which was/is pretty expensive. They decompress the graphics into RAM which can take a little time -- the more you compress the data, the more time it takes to decompress, especially on low-powered machines which didn't have the horsepower for realtime decompression, as modern systems do.”

Thanks, Chris!

Above: Out of this World (SNES), a cart game, threw up this clock image during its copious loading screens

Why is this a big deal? Cartridges used to be the industry norm, and Nintendo stuck with them through the Nintendo 64 days, almost always citing lightning-fast loading times as one of the chief advantages. Unlike CDs, which have to access data, carts have it all at the ready. Thus, it’s strange to play a cart game that asks you to wait while it loads the data that, near as we could tell, should have already been “loaded” from the start.

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Last week’s question:Why was Biohazard renamed Resident Evil?

Apr 15, 2009