These retro game cartridges have been designed to work with smartphones

It's a cool idea but we're far from convinced

Retro gaming is extremely popular, both in terms of playing the games themselves and its aesthetic. What can we say? We’re a generation that seems to love nostalgia. One company is trying to keep the feel of retro gaming in an increasingly smartphone focused and digital industry by creating gaming cartridges for iPhones and Android devices.

The small cartridges are called Pico Cassettes and each one stores one game. To play you simply plug it into the headphone jack of your smartphone which will launch a dedicated app and allow you to get started. The project is seeking support on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake with its first title Ninja JaJaMaru-kun, a NES game from 1985 that has players take control of a ninja trying to save a princess and the world. The project has achieved 35% of its goal with another 72 days of the campaign left and the company are planning to announce more titles in the Pico Cassette range soon.

It’s a pretty cool idea and we admire the attempt to bring a greater sense of nostalgic fun and console gaming to mobile but we wouldn’t say it’s convenient or convincing. Although it would allow indie mobile developers to release games without going through an app store, really the best thing about mobile gaming is its convenience and we certainly don’t think these cartridges make it more convenient. If anything, it’s the opposite. Not only are the cartridges more expensive than downloading an app game with an expected RRP of around £19, they mean we can’t plug our headphones in to enjoy the sound when we’re playing on public transport. They might look cool and take us back to the days of plug-in-and-play but we think it’ll be hard to make the case for these cartridges when there are many good emulators out there.


Image: Makuake