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Gaming History You Should Know – Floppy Disks June 4, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday and that means its time for another Gaming History You Should Know. This time, we are going to get a little personal. I got into computers back in the early 90s and I can’t remember a time before PCs included floppy disks as a standard storage peripheral.  To the young me, those disks, which could allow people to take their data anywhere, had an almost magical quality. As I got older I discovered just how little data those disks could actually hold and the magic behind them eventually faded.

So how did floppy disks work?  I’ll let David Murray, who hosts a phenomenal YouTube Channel called The 8-Bit Guy, do what he does best and talk about it.  However, I would be neglectful if I didn’t also mention he did a full video on an earlier form of magnetic storage, cassette tapes.

With that bit of history out of the way, here is David’s video about floppy drives. If you ever wondered how a floppy drive worked, how many different form factors disks had over the years, or why disks had to be formatted in a certain way, watch this.

Die-hard Nintendo collectors will certainly remember that time Nintendo used disks as a storage medium for a product that was sadly only released in Japan.  While Nintendo Disks couldn’t store much more data than a traditional cartridge, disk games were cheaper, offered better sound, the ability to save, and could be rewritten. I’ll let Norman Caruso, who you know better as The Gaming Historian, tell you all about it.

Sadly this technology never made it to the US, because I would have loved to see those disk rewriter stations in my local Sears.  As for my own history with floppy disks, I kept a 3.5″ floppy drive installed in every PC I owned up until the release of Windows Vista SP1.  After that, I’ve only needed to use them while trying to replay older games.

Floppy Disks were a very useful technology in their heyday but they were eventually eclipsed by rewritable CDs, DVDs and now USB storage.  I don’t have a floppy drive in my PC anymore, but I keep a drive in storage just in case I need to use it again. While these newer storage mediums would offer superior storage and speed, it’s always good to look back at our roots.

Hope you’ve been enjoying our look back at Gaming History You Should Know, the closest thing we’ve ever had to a weekly series on this site.  Due to E3, there may not be a new article next week but there will always be great content to feature from across the web and we promise to bring it back to you once E3 ends!

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