Video Game History Wiki

Memory Cards are devices which serve to store saved data from multiple games. Their portability allows the user to pick up off wherever they left off from their last save

SD Russian Dolls


Memory Cards for video game consoles originated from the Neo-Geo AES console made by SNK. It had since then inspired rival companies to come up with their own game storage devices. Popular use survived for nearly a decade and more thanks to the PS2's lifespan and the Wii's backwards compatibility as such consoles now had internal memory support.


As mentioned, the Memory Card was used to story saved game data from multiple titles. Fifth and sixth generation consoles contained two slots for where the cards were to be inserted. Excluding the N64, players could check the neutral menu on the console to view their files, delete unwanted data or copy the data to a different Memory Card, as they have finite storage. Data was divided into 'Memory Blocks' (MB) and some games took up more than one Memory Block for save files. With the sixth-generation consoles, Memory Cards became an absolute necessity as all of them used discs in lieu of cartridges. Memory Cards with enhanced storage could be purchased at electronic media stores.


Despite that the N64 used cartridges, some games still required the use of a memory storage device which came in the form of a Controller Pak, which was inserted into the slot on the back of the controller, rather than inside the console. The Pak's storage was divided into 'pages' and a small blank space on the back of the card was placed onto it, allowing players to write down important contents.

The Dreamcast had a particularly innovative variation called the VMU (Visual Memory Unit). Like the N64, the VMU was inserted into one of the slots on the back of the controller, rather than on the console. Unlike other Memory Cards, the VMU had a LCD screen on the front along with buttons. The screen would display something according to the game currently being played, showing either small chibi animations corresponding to modes and/or situations or simply the title of the game. Some titles provided mini-games available for play for the VMU through saved data.