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I've been willing to write about this for quite some time, so I'm glad I finally got around to it. What is it that I am going to complain about this time? Cartridge cases. It seems that nowdays nobody bothers to include a game cartridge case, even though games aren't cheap and manufacturing a case out of a few drops of plastic doesn't cost much.


It's funny how a copmany such as Nintendo, who could manufacture cases for their games back in the GameBoy and GameBoy Color days, can forget so quickly about the customers who brought them to the top and focus on the cash. It's obvious that the lack of casings is just another way to lower the production costs, but I'd gladly pay the extra dollar just to have some protection for my game when it's not in the box.


When Nintendo took over the handheld market completly, after killing both Neo Geo Pocket and WonderSwan, they decided that protective cases won't be happening during the GameBoy Advance era and this theme continues even today, with Nintendo DS. The funny thing is, people want protection and plastic cases are being manufactured. Of course you have to buy them separately and someone will make a profit because Nintendo doesn't care about its customers.


In the past there used to be some form of protection for every cartridge type. Neo Geo Pocket games always came with a small case, just like the old GameBoy games. WonderSwan games had a neatly designed plactic cover. Even PC Engine games came in protective sleeves, not to mention N-Gage titles, which had a special case in every box, with not just one, but four places for MMC cards.


Back when PlayStation premiered, during the first two years or so, every console box came with a case for the memory card, even though there was no memory card supplied with the console. Later however, Sony forgot all about this nice custom and stopped including these handy plastic boxes. When PlayStation 2 came along, we could forget about the memory card cases because clever midgets at Sony designed a memory card holder present in every single game box, even though nobody used them.


Nintendo duplicated the idea in GameCube game boxes, equipping them with a memory card holder and not supplying a case with the expensive, separately bought memory card. I don't know about you, but I can't be bothered to look through hundreds of game boxes looking for a damned memory card. I'd rather have a special casing for it.


When you buy a memory card for your camera, phone or PDA, it usually comes with a casing. Even the cheapest ones. I bought some SD cards that were so cheap, I didn't even believe they would be working once I plugged them in, still they had the protective case [and yes, they worked. Still do]. I bought a Nintendo DS flash cart and it came with a special protective case with rubber lining. If China can do it, why can't Nintendo and Sony?


It's sad to see once respectable companies sinking lower and lower, focusing on making more and more money. Forget about the customers, just get the product out and they'll buy it. After all nobody can say to Nintendo "Hey, why aren't there any cases for DS cartridges? Competition has them!" because there is no competition. I don't see PSP as competition, but even if I did, their UMDs have no protective covers either.


We can always hope for the better and in the meantime, buy third party products to protect our games. Shame on you Nintendo and shame on you Sony. Oh how I wish for Namco Bandai to make a new WonderSwan and whoop your asses.
PR

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