Gamers quickly took to the idea of bringing their saved games with them when they left home. In addition to letting players share their progress and collaborate, memory cards also gave them an avenue for sharing competitive information and records of their gaming prowess. Inevitably, arcade games saw an opportunity to enhance their appeal, leading to a handful of memory card-compatible arcade experiences.
The first company to bring this idea to market was SNK, a publisher that’s mostly known for fighting games. These sorts of one-on-one games bred plenty of healthy competition between gamers, making them a natural fit for the idea of saving high scores and personal records. When SNK released a home console—effectively a repackaged version of their arcade hardware—including support for memory cards there, too, made sense.
Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution offers another popular example of arcade memory card use. Some DDR arcade cabinets were equipped with Sony PlayStation memory card slots, allowing gamers to save their customizations and high scores between sessions, and some customizations from the home console carried over to the arcade game.
Nintendo got in on the idea with 2003’s F-Zero AX, an arcade peer to F-Zero GX, released on the GameCube in the same year. F-Zero AX had a GameCube memory card slot, and much like DDR, allowed the player to bring customizations from their home game into the arcades.
Image: The first video game console memory card, released for the Neo Geo AES in 1990.