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Did The Super Nintendo Have Memory Cards?

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Have you ever seen a Super Nintendo and wondered if it had any place for a memory card? Maybe you are looking to buy one, but you want to make sure you can save all of your favorite games that you are going to play. No matter if you own one, or you are looking to buy, this article will answer all of your questions. 

So did the Super Nintendo have memory cards?

The Super Nintendo was actually released before the existence of memory cards, so it only ever used its internal memory for saving games. 

If you grew up with one of these machines even without memory cards, it was one of the best gaming systems around! If you want to know more about the SNES or the 16 bit gaming system then you will definitely want to keep reading! You can also watch this video to learn everything there is to know about the Super Nintendo.

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The Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The SNES can handle 128 Mbit. However, only 117.75 Mbit are actually accessible to be used on the cartridge. A moderately normal mapping could effortlessly deal with up to 95 Mbit of ROM data with 8 Mbit of battery-supported RAM, or 48 Mbit at the speed of Fast ROM.

Most memory access controllers that are currently available support only mappings of up to 32 Mbit. The largest released games, Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean, contain 48 Mbit of ROM data. The smallest games, on the other hand, come with only 2 Mbit.

Cartridges could also come with battery-powered SRAM to save the game state, custom coprocessors, additional working RAM, or any other hardware that will not go beyond the maximum recent rating of the console.

A history of gaming storage

From the era of the PS3s, Xbox 360s, and the new consoles which have only recently been released, there has been a revolution in the way we play and store games. Today’s consoles come with internal storage, often hundreds of gigabytes, just like a computer.

Looking at a few of the famous consoles, beginning from the fourth generation, there’s proof that technology has improved with the passing of years. We’ve developed larger pieces of software and more productive storage technologies as well as gaming has gone through quite a number of eras. 

Below we will look at those gaming eras and the difference between them.

The 16-bit era

At this time, storage sizes were actually interpreted in megabits rather than megabytes.  A megabit is about 1/8th the magnitude of a megabyte. These have been modified to make a comparison with the future and current sizes easily.

Games were usually on cartridges, and the cartridges came with the storage space for saved games. Many games needed only megabytes of space. Let’s see some of the most popular consoles from the 80s to the early 90s for this era.

Super Nintendo (6 MB cartridges)

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1991, in North America, and was a huge success. The Super Nintendo carried games in cartridges with the games’ sizes ranging from 0.23 MB to about 4 MB. The two largest games of the console, Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean, were 6 MB! This ended up bringing the maximum up.

Sega Genesis (4 MB cartridges)

Released in 1989, the Sega Genesis was the main competitor with the SNES. The Genesis cartridges usually have a 4 MB maximum storage size; however, two new 5 MB cartridges were built with Street Fighter 2.

Atari 5200 (2.75-111.5MB cartridges)

The 1982 Atari 5200 had cartridges with large storage spaces. The Neo Geo AES cartridges came with space to carry up to 111.5 MB of data. These are the largest cartridges made for a console.

The 32-bit era

This is also called the fifth generation and includes the switch from cartridges to discs. However, this switch meant that games could no longer store data on the game media. This is when memory cards became a thing. Memory cards offered a solution to this issue, and seemed to work very well. 

This generation also saw the transformation to 3D gaming. This generation of consoles greatly increased in power, especially through improvements in processor development. Games became more and more developed, and the limits of data storage on games started being pushed to the max.

Nintendo 64 (4-64MB cartridges)

This was released in North America in 1996. The cartridges had sized up to 64 MB. This was a big boost from the SNES even though the N64 cartridges were physically smaller than the SNES cartridges.

Atari Jaguar (max 6MB cartridges)

The Atari Jaguar was released in the U.S. in 1994, and it made fewer sales than its competitor. The legacy of the Atari, climaxed with the Jaguar and its cartridges whose storage size is about 6 MB.

PlayStation (1MB memory cards)

This was released in 1995 and was the first CD-based successful console. This console led the break away from cartridges and used 1 MB memory cards for game data.

The 64-bit era

The sixth generation of consoles mostly moved over to discs and left cartridges behind. This is when the full switch to memory cards happened. This group of consoles also led the way to internal storage for the next generations of consoles. 

Famous in the early 2000s, these are the most known consoles among people of college-age. Gaming graphics constantly improved at this time, and games themselves got bigger and deeper. As a result, these consoles require a mildly bigger average storage space.

GameCube (512KB, 8MB, or 16MB memory cards)

The GameCube was released in 2001 and is the first Nintendo console to utilize optical discs. The discs it used are smaller than the basic DVD format. These optical discs were what people loved about the GameCube at that time. Memory cards for saving game data on the GameCube range from about half an MB to 16 MB.

XBOX (8GB internal storage), (8MB memory cards)

The XBOX, was also released in 2001 and was the first console to make use of internal storage. It came with 8 GB of internal, and optional 8 MB memory cards that could also serve to store and transfer data. The XBox was the console that set the pace for future consoles, and made all the future systems to step up their graphics and storage as well as the games they were able to play. 

PlayStation 2 (8MB memory cards)

Released in 2000, the PS2 has removed the all-time best-seller console, as the playstation had more than 150 million units sold. The PS2 delivered 8 MB memory cards, providing space for two memory cards to be plugged in.

Today’s consoles offer enormous internal storage space, with the Xbox 360, which offers 320 GB internal storage, and the PS3 which offers 500 GB. The most recently released generation of consoles has also increased their storage sizes with the Xbox One offering 500 GB, and the PS4 still offering 500 GB. However, it can be upgraded, and it is supportive of SSDs.


Games, these days, are not only requiring more powerful hardware, but also data storage space. The days of cartridges and memory cards are gone, but now, we can look back and marvel at the growth of gaming.