Jump to content
eightbit

Jaguar was way ahead of its time with how game saving worked..

Recommended Posts

Something I always wondered was how exactly my games are still retaining and storing save games on these carts after over 25 years. I always assumed a CR2032 or CR2025 (or equivalent) were being used to store the data just as other console carts and that they would die one day and I would have to damage the label on these carts in order to replace them. Of all of the consoles I have collected for over the years I have never taken apart a Jaguar game as it meant ruining the label....and I don't want to do that!

 

Well, tonight, after so many years I have learned (from online research, thankfully not from damaging a label and taking a game apart) that the saves are stored via flash. From what I read they can withstand 100,000 writes give or take.

 

This puts things in my mind in an entirely new perspective. Why didn't everybody do this back then? I have had to replace coin cells in carts from the era a decade ago...and they probably need replacing yet again. But these fantastic Jag carts....no leaking, no replacing...they just save and store saves and life is good.

 

I don't think this point is driven home often....maybe people never think about it. But man, the decision to use flash for saves was really forward thinking. Really really cool!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of games used EEPROMs back then. I wouldn't say it was the most common type, but plenty of 8 and 16 bit games from Sega and Nintendo used EEPROMs. The biggest reasons why more didn't were size and price: EEPROMs were tiny (measured in bits, not bytes), and very expensive. It was much cheaper to use an sram and a battery than an EEPROM. It also gave you far more save memory.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Chilly Willy said:

Lots of games used EEPROMs back then. I wouldn't say it was the most common type, but plenty of 8 and 16 bit games from Sega and Nintendo used EEPROMs. The biggest reasons why more didn't were size and price: EEPROMs were tiny (measured in bits, not bytes), and very expensive. It was much cheaper to use an sram and a battery than an EEPROM. It also gave you far more save memory.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but name some SNES and Genesis games that used EEPROMS to save games. Because, I've replaced tons of batteries in many of the most popular titles of the day. Games such as Donkey Kong Country, Super Punchout, Zelda: Link To The Past, Super Mario World, Super Mario All-Stars, SimCity and Final Fantasy III just as examples. Those are all AAA software titles by the big developers. If anyone could afford to use EEPROMS (if price was indeed a factor), it would have been Nintendo and Square don't you think?

 

Actually, I can't think of a single SNES game that has a save feature that didn't have a battery. If the game didn't have a battery, it has a really annoying password feature. Lucas Arts games used a password save, so did Electronic Arts with their Strike series. Konami used a password for Castlevania IV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NES and SNES I'm not aware of using anything other than battery backed ram for saving game progress. The Sega Genesis featured some games with types of eeprom saving, but they were a handful compared to the majority that still used battery backup. Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Mega Man Wily Wars, Greatest Heavyweights, NBA Jam that I know of, but there are others.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm - checking again, I was mistaken about the SNES. For some reason, I thought they had some EEPROM games. Here's a list of all the Genesis games that used EEPROM. Not huge, but not insignificant either.

 

NBA Jam
NBA Jam Tournament Edition
NFL Quarterback Club
NFL Quarterback Club 96
College Slam
Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball
NHL PA Hockey 93
Rings of Power
Evander 'Real Deal' Holyfield's Boxin
Greatest Heavyweights of the Ring
Wonder Boy in Monster World
Wonder Boy V - Monster World III
Sports Talk Baseball
Megaman - The Wily Wars
Rockman Mega World
Micro Machines 2 - Turbo Tournament
Micro Machines Military
Micro Machines Turbo Tournament 96
Brian Lara Cricket 96
Shane Warne Cricket

 

EDIT: Sonic 3 used FRAM, not EEPROM. FRAM is like SRAM, but non-volatile. You can still get FRAM today. Another form of non-volatile SRAM you can get is MRAM.

 

Edited by Chilly Willy
More info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting list, I don't own a single one of those on cartridge. No wonder I wasn't aware of them having non-battery save features. I think the OP's point is a good one though, as Atari didn't put a single battery in any Jaguar game, or any other game cartridge they ever produced aside from the 7800 High Score Cartridge (That I'm aware of).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kobra Kai said:

Interesting list, I don't own a single one of those on cartridge. No wonder I wasn't aware of them having non-battery save features. I think the OP's point is a good one though, as Atari didn't put a single battery in any Jaguar game, or any other game cartridge they ever produced aside from the 7800 High Score Cartridge (That I'm aware of).

 

And thank you Atari for that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, making it the default type of save ram was thinking ahead. Prices would drop on EEPROM, allowing larger sizes at lower prices. But the Jaguar never really broke into the mainstream. Sega wound up using a battery backed SRAM in the Saturn, which I've replaced the battery for a number of times. The VMU for the Dreamcast burns through batteries like no one's business. So Sega never really learned anything. Sony did - the PS1/PS2 used flash memory for saving. The PS3 has some internal flash, and allowed external USB sticks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Batteries were all around a bad idea. I have actually found some CR2032 batteries that leaked. I have never seen that before, but I guess whatever conditions they were under caused it. And you don;t have to tell me about the VMU batteries....what a joke. At least that still worked in the controller without the batteries ;)

 

It is however a big relief to know that I will not have to do anything to the Jaguar games to fix any saving problems. Really fantastic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Chilly Willy said:

The VMU for the Dreamcast burns through batteries like no one's business. So Sega never really learned anything.

They sort of did. Working VMU batteries are not a requirement to retain Dreamcast game save files, unlike the Saturn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Austin said:

They sort of did. Working VMU batteries are not a requirement to retain Dreamcast game save files, unlike the Saturn.

Was just about to post this myself. The Batteries were only needed for RTC functions in the VMU and I suppose a few other things but far as I know game saves didn't use the VMU batteries at all and I don't think I ever bothered to replace the batteries in mine when they died and my saves are still there. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Austin said:

They sort of did. Working VMU batteries are not a requirement to retain Dreamcast game save files, unlike the Saturn.

Yeah you just have to put up with loud BEEEEEEEEEP!!!! every time you power up the system, when the batteries in the VMU are dead. My microwave is less annoying.

Edited by Kobra Kai

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Kobra Kai said:

Yeah you just have to put up with loud BEEEEEEEEEP!!!! every time you power up the system, when the batteries in the VMU are dead.

Yeah, you're right about that. The saves aren't part of the battery backup, just the RTC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...