Game cartridges are inserted into game console units in order to play different games. They consist of some form of nonvolatile memory storage that could contain a program and data. Sometimes they have been used to store other sorts of programs (e.g., BASIC interpreters or web browsers), but games have always been their primary use. Cartridge-based games came into use in the late 1970s in such systems as the Magnavox Odyssey2 and the Atari VCS (later known as the Atari 2600), representing a major advance over earlier units that only played a limited selection of built-in games which could not be expanded. Since then there have been many generations of game consoles with steadily increasing capabilities, though eventually CDs and Internet downloads took over as more common means of distributing software for them rather than cartridges.
The electronic formats of data stored in these cartridges are documented in ROM and memory images, which is in the electronic formats section. This article, in the physical formats section, is intended for documenting the physical characteristics of the cartridges.
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