List: Console Save Types: Listing How Consoles Store Data

I first wrote this guide in 2008.  Finally, I’m posting it on my site as well.  This is one of my two longest lists, the most complete ones I have and the first lists I’ve posted here.  The changes made to the guide since my last revision are detailed in the Updates section below.  It’s a nice and long-overdue update to the list, I’m glad I did it!

Console Save Types

Video game consoles have come a long way in a short time, and over the decades, many methods have been used to save user data.  This list tries to compile all of the ways that has been done into one list, sorted by platform, categorized by manufacturer.  This can be useful information for anyone wondering how some system saves its games.  See the links section at the end for more information about many details.

This is a guide listing what kind of saving system every console there is information for uses. This should be particularly useful for anyone unclear about which GBA, N64, Genesis, or other games or memory cards use batteries and which use flash memory chips. It is as comprehensive as I can make it.  This information should be useful to someone, sometime!

Updates

9/25/08: First version posted

9/25/08, later in the day: added Meganet/TeleGenesis modem, just in case it had some kind of permanent save feature — this and the Famicom Modem probably shouldn’t be on the list, but because I can’t find conclusive proof that they don’t have a permanent save feature, they are on the list.

11/11/08: Added Famicom Data Recorder Famicom addon, the V.Smile, V.Flash, and V.Motion consoles for young children from V.Tech, regularized phrasing (so each type is referred to the same way each time it is listed), added “Types of Saving” category to the top of the article for clarity on my terms, and added a table of contents.

11/19/08: Battery type of the Sega CD Backup RAM Cart added.

11/27/08: Knuckles Chaotix save type added to the list in the Genesis subcategory listing

1/19/09: Expanded Saturn memory card information, awaiting more info (see link)

1/21/09: Fixed a few spelling and grammar mistakes, regularized phrasing (the Famicom Communication Adapter is now referred to as a Modem/Internet type), in definitions section improved definition of term “Flash Memory” with regards to whether it includes battery-backed types, added FRAM to the 32X save-types list in the main list, because I forgot to when I added Knuckles Chaotix as a FRAM game in the list near the end, added CR2450 to battery types list in definitions.

1/25/09: Fixed incorrectly listed Sega Saturn internal backup size (it’s 32KB, not 64KB)

2/9/09: Sega CD Backup RAM Carts are 128KB, not 64KB.  Oops. 🙂

2/17/09: The Japanese version of Virtua Racing Deluxe has FRAM-based saving.  Incredible… I thought that Virtua Racing Deluxe was amazing except for its tragic lack of any high-score save feature, but here the Japanese version actually has it.  Why in the world couldn’t we have had that too? Sad… 🙁

4/3/09: Changed Dreamcast console listing to reflect that the internet settings are saved to a small internal flash memory, not to the same rechargeable battery that saves the clock — when you leave the system off for too long and the clock dies, the internet settings are not affected.

4/4/09: Family Basic Keyboard added as a NES console add-on, which it really is, with the Famicom Data Recorder as its save mechanism.  Still trying to avoid listing computers on this thing, but with how merged the two were in the ’80s, maybe adding computer addons to consoles would be a good idea… but not stand-alone computers, just addons that make a console into a computer.  That’s for later though.  For now, I just expanded the Famicom Data Recorder information in the NES listing, added it in the new Family Basic Keyboard section, and added a “Cassette Tape” save type for it in Magnetic Media, as there should have been already.

6/6/09: Changed Game Boy line battery type information, and added a few links for them, added CR1616 battery type, the type that most GB/GBC games actually use, not what was previously listed.  Noted the one known exception, in addition to the previously noted EEPROM game.

6/28/09: Found information on 3DO internal system battery type, and proof that the 3DO memory unit uses an internal battery.  See 3DO listing and links for more.

7/8/09: Added Console-Computer Hybrids section, APF Imagination Master, Tomy Tutor, Coleco Adam, Mattel ECS, Radofin 1292 and clones

8/24/09: Fixed one mention of the Tennokoe Bank battery type to reflect its correct battery type, a CR2320.

2/27/10: Added PC-FX save type information, because I found it on the web.  It’s SRAM.

8/1/13: Added link to support that the Tennokoe Bank does indeed use a CR2320 as its original battery.

10/10/14: Added Xbox time capacitor information, and Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, Playstation 2, and Playstation 3 clock battery information; these systems all use CR2032 batteries to save their clocks.  The Wii U’s is user-replaceable easily, for the first time ever in a Nintendo product!  The Xbox 360 and Xbox One’s wall-based clock has also been detailed.  In addition, the Wii U, DSi, 3DS, Vita, PS4, and Xbox One platforms with all of their information have also been added.  The DSi, 3DS, PSP, and Vita all use the main battery to power the clock as well, and this has been detailed now.  In addition, a few errors in the DS and PSP listings have been fixed.  Improved the Xbox 360 listing as well.  I also fixed up the formatting a bit for posting on my site, changed some section names, and checked and fixed the links section.


Table of Contents

Console Save Types
Updates
Save Type Categories and Terms
Forms of Data Saving
Save Type Descriptions
Flash Memory Backup Types
Battery Backup Types
Magnetic Media
Online
Other
List of Videogame Console Save Information
Categorized by manufacturer
Console-Computer Hybrids
Specifics
Subcategories: TG-16, N64, GBA, Gamecube, GBC, DS, NES, Genesis.
Sources/Links
Final Notes and Questions


Save Type Categories and Terms


Forms of Data Saving:

On-Cart: For cartridge or card-based games only. The game saves its data onto some kind of chip in the game cartridge.

Ingame: Password: The game doesn’t save any hard data, just information on what to load when a specific code is entered. To save a game, write down the displayed password; to load, enter the password and continue. This can be a hassle, but allows saving without expensive batteries or flash chips.

System Internal Save: The system in question has some kind of save memory (a hard drive, flash memory chip, battery-backed-RAM chip, or whatnot) inside the system itself that it uses to save some data and perhaps game saves. See description.

Memory Card: Games save to an external memory card of some kind that you plug directly into the system.  These use some kind of chip-based saving, either battery backed or solid-state.

Magnetic Media: There are several types of magnetic media.  In some forms, magnetic media drives (listed below) work like memory cards or external backup devices, simply storing data for games on cartridges.  In others they act as an internal save, with the game on disk or tape saving any save data the game allows directly to the disk or tape itself.  The “Magnetic Media” listing will be a subcategory under the main type this system has, whether external backup device, on-“cart” saving, or system internal save.

External Backup Devices: The system has addons that plug in to a port on the system (expansion port, controller port, or something like that) and contain some form of save memory. When attached these units usually function like internal saves or memory card saves, as long as games support them. See descriptions.

Modem/Internet: The system allows, or allowed, save file backup (or direct saving) via an internet connection to an external server of some sort. See description.

Add-Ons: Miscellaneous other addons. See description.

Save Type Descriptions

Detailed descriptions of the specific hardwares and methods the above methods of saving data use.

Flash Memory Backup Types — Perhaps the best form of backup. The main limitation is that there is limited number of writes until the chip cannot be written to anymore; this limit varies depending on chip type. Note that after some years of unuse, it is possible for some types of flash memory to lose their data (this will take 10-20 years at least), but until the max number of writes has been hit, you can still save to the chip, and if you just power up the game and refresh the data once every few years or decade or so (simply by saving again), you’ll avoid that issue.

EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) — Supports a medium number of writes (100,000 is perhaps average, though depending on chip this can vary up or down by a factor of 10 or more). The basic flash memory type used by games.

Flash RAM (Flash Memory) — actually a descendant of EEPROM, these have much larger sizes than EEPROMs, but they often have lower max write limits (that is, in many cases they won’t last as long).

FRAM (Ferroelectric RAM) — Uncommon, but allows far more writes than any other type of flash memory on this list — Wikipedia lists FRAM (also called FeRAM) as having as much as 10^16 writes, while EEPROM and Flash RAM are listed at 10^6 and 10^5 — or less. FRAM is technologically very similar to SRAM, so much so that the system can’t tell the difference between Battery-Backed SRAM and FRAM or other kinds of non-battery-backed types of nvSRAM (see link at the bottom of the page for more).

Unknown Flash Memory Type

Battery Backup Types — Great while the battery lasts, but once it dies, everything is gone — and since these batteries are usually soldered in, replacing them is a real pain.  These have at times been referred to as “Flash Memory” as well, so while they technically are their own category, the term “Flash Memory” is not specific enough to on its own say whether or not the memory uses a battery or is stand-alone.  Additional information to supply that detail is required, such as using the term “SRAM”, which always refers to battery-backed memory (though note that nvSRAM can be flash-based, such as with FRAM, but this is different from standard SRAM.  In this guide SRAM always refers to battery-backed memory.).

Battery-Backed SRAM (sometimes in a packed-in ‘NVRAM’ that is actually battery-backed SRAM, such as in the CD-i)
… Backed by…
AA Batteries (these are always user-replaceable)
AAA Batteries (these are also always user-replaceable)
CR2450
CR2032 (the most common type used)
CR2025
CR2320
CR1616 (often used by handhelds)
CR2016
CR2016 Rechargeable (CR2016 holds half the energy of a CR2032 but sends out the same amount of power, so they have a shorter lifespan)
Unknown Rechargeable Battery Type
Unknown Battery Type

Magnetic Media — Great while they last, and the whole disk can be written to, but don’t get these near a powerful magnet! Also, the more you use it, the more likely it will degrade.

Hard Disk Drive – A drive built into a system or USB hard drive enclosure. 3.5″ or 2.5″ width sizes.
Floppy Disk – A small disk, either 2″, 3 1/2″, or 5 1/4″ sizes.  Unreliable.
Cassette Tape – An audio cassette, recording game data as soundwaves instead of music.

Online

Modem/Internet, with the following notes to show services offered:
Dialup, Broadband, Wireless connection types with service types:
Single Service Only (XBand, for instance – can only connect to one provider with the system, limited services)
Direct-Dial (direct modem-to-modem connections, mostly just for gaming)
Limited Internet – Gaming Only (you can configure/connect to your own internet provider, but you can only actually connect to certain services, most likely the multiplayer gaming service, not an actual web browser)
Full Internet (you can configure/connect to your own internet provider, has a web browser)

Online modes are applicable here for any service which includes a download/upload component for files on your system – online services without some kind of permanent file download or file transfer capabilities shouldn’t be on this list.

Other

Capacitor-backed RAM — Like rechargeable battery backed RAM, this requires power to keep a charge, so it needs to be regularly plugged in.

Trickle Charge Clock — This means that the system keeps its clock going by pulling a small amount of power from either the power cord or, for handhelds, the internal system battery.  This is the most common form of clock power used by handhelds with system clocks, but only a few consoles use it (Xbox 360).

Unknown — I don’t know. Any help?

List of Videogame Consoles Save Information


Format:

Console Name

Location of save type: Save Type (Battery Type) (Save Memory Size in KB or MB, if available and standard) (“Memory Card Name”) (Notes)

Notes: This list should be consoles-only, not computers, though console addons that turn them into computers will be mentioned in a separate category, if the system is, at base, a console. For cartridge-based system games which save to cartridge, this only applies for games with on-cart saving, obviously. For clarity, this list will not say which game uses which type for systems that support multiple save types. If available, this information will be in future sections. Systems with games with password save are listed, but I’m not entirely sure that the password-options list is correct. All data here is, as far as I know, accurate, but if something is wrong, correct me and I will fix it. I am not including unlicenced backup accessories.

For systems that are not mentioned, either I do not know about whether they support saving, or they do not support saving.


All Pre-Crash Systems Not Otherwise Mentioned

No Saving (not even passwords, the NES introduced password saving as far as I know.)


Coleco

Colecovision with Adam addon

See “Console-Computer Hybrids” section


Nintendo

NES

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2032)
External Backup Devices: Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape): Famicom Data Recorder (Japan only) (saves to cassette tape) (see notes for compatible games) (this is an add-on for the Family Basic Keyboard Famicom add-on, listed below.  It allows saving to cassette tape for specific supported games — plug in one of these games instead of the Family Basic cartridge, with the keyboard attached and tape drive plugged into it, and the game will recognize the drive and allow custom level saving and loading.)

Famicom Basic Keyboard (NES add-on) (Japan only)

See “Console-Computer Hybrids” section

Famicom Disk System (FDS) (NES add-on) (Japan only)

Magnetic Media: 3″ Floppy Disk Drive (proprietary format)

Modem/Internet: Single Service (Famicom Communication Adapter, aka the Famicom Modem or Famicom Network) (NES add-on) (Japan only)

Frustratingly, I just cannot find information on if this system can save data. There is a suggestion in the N-Sider article that the never-released US version was going to have floppy disk (US FDS?) support, but while the service definitely had downloads, I just can’t find anything that says whether you could save them or not. Bah! There are several links about the service at the bottom… but they don’t seem to answer this important question. Does anyone know the answer (maybe the page in Japanese says more than the Google Translator can figure out?)? Lacking any other info I have to assume that it couldn’t save things.

SNES

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2032)

Broadcast Satellaview (BS-X) (SNES add-on) (Japan only)

System Internal Save: Unknown “Flash Memory” (unknown type, or whether it’s battery-backed or battery-free flash memory — I can’t find anything that says it has a battery, but “flash memory” isn’t enough for me to say for sure it is actually Flash RAM, not some kind of SRAM.) (256KB) (Japan only)

Memory Card: Unknown “Flash Memory” (same qualifications as the internal save) (1MB) (for saving download games)

N64

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2032) (32KB), Flash RAM (128KB), EEPROM (8 or 16 KB) (type depends on game; EEPROM is the most popular by far)

Memory Card: SRAM (CR2032) (256KB) (“Controller Pak”) (yes, Controller Paks are battery-backed. But why, if they’re twice as large as PSX or DC memory cards, do they not seem to actually hold any more save files than the cards on those systems?)

Magnetic Media: Nintendo 64 Disk Drive (64DD): Floppy Disk (proprietary format) (64MB)

Gamecube

System Internal Save (For Clock Only): SRAM (CR2032)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (512KB, 2MB, and 8MB sizes) (“Nintendo Gamecube Memory Card”), Flash RAM (SD Card standard format, requires adapter, Japan only, only supported by one game)

Game Boy

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (unknown type, likely CR1616)

Game Boy Color

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR1616 or 2025 (the latter perhaps for titles with real-time clocks only?)), EEPROM (EEPROM is used by only a few titles)

Modem/Internet: Cell Phone Connector (Mobile Adapter GB) (Japan only) (Works with KDDI Cellphones and Pokemon Crystal JP version only – allows monster trading, a few other things)

Game Boy Advance

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2016) (32KB), EEPROM (0.5KB, 8KB), Flash RAM (64KB, 128KB), FRAM (32KB) (Type depends on game)

E-Reader Games: No Saving

Nintendo DS

On-Cart: EEPROM (0.5KB, 8KB, 64KB), FRAM (32KB), Flash RAM (256KB, 512KB) (Type depends on game)

System Internal Save: Trickle Charge Clock (from main system battery)

Nintendo DSi

Same as Nintendo DS except with the additions of:

System Internal Save: Unknown Flash Memory (256MB) (for downloaded games)

Modem/Internet: Wi-Fi Broadband Semi-Full Internet (there’s a web browser, but you can only download (or play games online) from Nintendo’s proprietary service.  No internet file backup supported.)

Wii

System Internal Save: Flash RAM (512MB)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (SD Card standard format, various sizes, supports up to 2GB sized cards)

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Semi-Full Internet (there’s a web browser, but you can only download (or play games online) from Nintendo’s proprietary service.  No internet file backup supported.)

3DS

System Internal Save: Trickle Charge Clock (from main system battery).  Also present: Unknown Flash Memory (1GB) (for downloaded games; 256MB is reserved for DSiWare applications only, the rest and SD Cards are for 3DS download titles.)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (SD Card standard format, various sizes supported)

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Semi-Full Internet (there’s a web browser, but you can only download (or play games online) from Nintendo’s proprietary service.  No internet file backup supported.)

Wii U

System Internal Save: SRAM (CR2032) (For Clock Only, User-Replaceable), unknown Flash Memory (size varies, for saving data)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (SD Card standard format, various sizes supported)

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Semi-Full Internet (there’s a web browser, but you can only download (or play games online) from Nintendo’s proprietary service.  No internet file backup supported.)


Sega

Master System

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (Unknown Battery Type, but likely CR2032)

A Floppy Disk Drive was planned, but not relelased.

Genesis

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2032), FRAM, EEPROM (Type depends on game, but FRAM and EEPROM are each used by only a small number of titles, most games with saving have SRAM.)

Modem/Internet: Single Service (Meganet Modem, “Mega Anser” service; the unreleased US version would have been called the TeleGenesis modem) (Japan only) (Like the Famicom Modem, I don’t know if this could save data. The thing comes with a cartridge as well as the modem, but could you save games to that cartridge? None of the articles I found on it really say that clearly one way or the other, though one suggests likely not, so that will have to be my assumption — though I’d love to know for sure. See links for more.

Game Gear

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (Unknown Battery Type)

Sega CD (Genesis add-on)

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
System Internal Save: SRAM (CR2016 Rechargeable) (8KB) (when they die many people replace these with normal, non-rechargeable cell batteries, but don’t, bad idea.  Replace it with a rechargeable one, because that’s what it’s supposed to be.)

Memory Card: SRAM (CR2450) (128KB) (“CD Back-Up RAM Cart”) (see links for source of battery type)

Sega 32X (Genesis add-on)

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2032), EEPROM, FRAM (EEPROM only used in Acclaim titles with saving, FRAM by only one game.  See list below for details.)

Saturn

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
System Internal Save: SRAM (CR2032) (user-replaceable) (32KB)

Memory Card:  Unknown Flash Memory Type (likely EEPROM, maybe Flash RAM) (512KB)  (There are two models of Japanese card, HSS-0111 and HSS-0138.  There are one model each in the US and Europe, 80101 and MK-80300 respectively.  Unclear on if the two Japanese models have any differences beyond their boxes.  SRAM Saturn card on the link below — fake, or real?) (“Sega Saturn Backup”, models listed above)

Magnetic Media: Floppy Disk Drive (3.5″ standard format) (only released in Japan) (only supported by a few titles)

Modem/Internet: Dialup Direct-Dial and Full Internet (NetLink Modem, US only), Dialup Single Service (Xband/SegaNet Saturn Modem, Japan only) (With the NetLink, you can access the internet and upload files to outside email addresses for backup, and play direct-dial online games. The Japanese SegaNet and Xband online gaming services required access to specific servers which have been long offline, but you may still be able to access the internet on one via a dialup ISP.)

Dreamcast

System Internal Save: SRAM (Unknown Rechargeable Battery Type) (for the clock), unknown Flash RAM (for system configuration settings and internet connection settings only)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (128KB) (“Visual Memory Unit”, or VMU)

Modem/Internet: Dialup and Broadband Full Internet (PlanetWeb) (You can upload and download save files and downloadable content from the internet. Online gaming workarounds available for a few games.)

A Zip Disk (Floppy Disk format) drive was planned, but not released.


Sony

Playstation

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
Memory Card: Flash RAM (128KB) (“Memory Card”)

Playstation 2

System Internal Save: Battery (CR2032, custom but not soldered down)  (For Clock Only)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (8MB) (“Memory Card (8MB) (PlayStation2)”)

Magnetic Media: Hard Disk Drive (~8GB) (Can backup memory cards to it, a few games allow HDD download for faster loading times, mods open more features, official Linux kit sort of turns it into a PC – though the package is rare and uncommon.

Modem/Internet: Dialup and Broadband Limited Internet (connection to that game’s server only, unless you’re using that Linux kit – which is the only place you’ll get any downloads, so for this the ‘computer’ aspect is the only part that matters.)

PlayStation Portable

System Internal Save: Trickle Charge Clock (from main system battery)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (Memory Stick PRO Duo standard format, various sizes)

Modem/Internet: Wireless Internet with downloadable content from official store

Playstation 3

System Internal Save, Magnetic Media: Hard Disk Drive (20GB, 40GB, 60GB, 80GB, and more sizes, user-switchable), Battery (CR2032) For Clock Only.  The clock battery is called the “PRAM” battery and as with the PS2 it has a proprietary connection.

Memory Card: Flash RAM (8MB) (legacy PS2 card support, connects via adapter for file transfer to PS3 HDD only), Flash RAM (Memory Stick PRO Duo, CompactFlash (CF), and SD standard formats, various sizes supported) (only in certain models)

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Internet with downloadable content from official store

Playstation Vita

System Internal Save: Trickle Charge Clock (from main system battery).  One model, the PCH-2000, also has Unknown Flash Memory (1GB) for saving game data and downloads; for all others, a memory card is required.

On-Cart: Unknown Flash Memory (various sizes).  Games may or may not have on-board saving; many require Memory Cards.

Memory Card: Flash RAM (4, 8, 16, 32, or 64 GB, Vita-only proprietary format)

Modem/Internet: Wireless Internet with downloadable content from official store.  Online cloud backup of save files is supported.

Playstation 4

System Internal Save: Battery (CR2032) For Clock Only, Magnetic Media: Hard Disk Drive (500GB; user-switchable)

External Backup Devices: USB Memory Sticks supported

Modem/Internet: Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Internet with downloadable content from official store


Microsoft

Xbox

System Internal Save: Hard Disk Drive (8GB), Capacitor (for system clock only)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (8MB) (“Xbox Memory Unit”)

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Internet with downloadable content from official store

Xbox 360

System Internal Save: Some systems have have Unknown Flash Memory (4GB) built-in, others do not; depends on model.  Trickle Charge Clock (from wall power supply), so the clock will stop if you unplug the system.

Memory Card: Flash RAM (64MB, 256MB, and 512MB sizes) (“Xbox 360 Memory Unit”)

Internal/External Backup Devices: Magnetic Media: Hard Disk Drive (20GB, 60GB, 160GB, 320GB, 500GB sizes).  (The hard drive is external in the first Xbox 360 model, and internal in the second and third models.)

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Internet with downloadable content from official store, a web browser, and many online functions.

Xbox One

System Internal Save: Trickle Charge Clock (from wall power supply), so the clock will stop if you unplug the system, Magnetic Media: Hard Disk Drive (500GB).

Modem/Internet: Broadband, Wireless Internet with downloadable content, cloud save backup, online functions.  Keeping the system online is recommended.


NEC

TurboGrafx-16

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: SRAM (CR2320) (only used in one Japan-only title and the memory card)

TurboBooster Plus (add-on with save memory and A/V hookups — do not confuse this with the standard TurboBooster, which only adds the A/V hookups)

System Internal Save: Capacitor-backed RAM (2KB) (yes, really, it’s backed by a capacitor… )

Turbo CD, Duo, Duo R, and Duo RX (Turbo CD is a TurboGrafx-16 add-on, the others are stand-alone units incorporating both)

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
System Internal Save: Capacitor-backed RAM (same size as TurboBooster Plus)

Memory Card: SRAM (CR2320) (8KB) (“Tennokoe Bank”) (only released in Japan, looks like a normal HuCard except for the name)

External Backup Devices (all Japan only): 4xAA Batteries (unknown size) (“Memory Base 128”) (Only supported by certain titles, normally), 1xAA Battery (unknown size) (“Tennokoe 2”), AA Battery (unknown size) (“Back-Up Booster 1”), Rechargable built-in NiCd Battery (unknown size) (“Back-Up Booster 2”), unknown battery (unknown size) (“Back-Up Unit”, for the ShuttleGrafx) (See link below for more information)

PC-FX

System Internal Save: SRAM (unknown size) (32KB) (see links at bottom for proof)

Memory Card: 2xAAA Batteries (128KB) (“FX-BMP” Memory Expansion Module) (see links at bottom for more on this hardware)


Atari (post-1983 systems)

7800

Memory Card: SRAM (CR2032) (16K) (“7800 High Score Cartridge”) (Originally designed for release with the original 1984 version of the system, but canceled and never released. Fans found the plans and made and sold some a few years ago so it does now exist, but only a few games, 9 of the initial games for the system, support it.) (See link below for more information)

Lynx

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
On-Cart: EEPROM (to the best of my knowledge, these are only used in some of the more recent, homebrew releases. The classic Lynx games all are password or no saving only.)

Jaguar

On-Cart: EEPROM (varying sizes depending on game)

Jaguar CD

Memory Card: EEPROM (128KB) (“Memory Track” cartridge)


SNK

Neo-Geo

Memory Card: SRAM (Unknown, but likely CR2032) (2KB) (uses 68-pin JEIDA ver.3 (SRAM) card format — the original SNK cards are tiny 2KB cards, but the system accepts any card in that 68-pin JEIDA ver.3 (PCMCIA-like) format, including ones in much larger sizes.)

Neo-Geo CD

System Internal Save: SRAM (unknown rechargeable battery) (2KB) (yes, it doesn’t support Neo-Geo memory cards, for some reason.) (link below)

Neo-Geo Pocket, Neo-Geo Pocket Color

System Internal Save: Unknown Battery (small watch battery type, saves system settings and keeps the clock)

On-Cart: Flash RAM (512KB to 2MB depending on game)


3DO

3DO

Ingame: Password (certain titles)
System Internal Save: SRAM (FZ1: CR2354; other models are likely the same – see links for source) (32KB)

External Backup Devices: SRAM (CR2354?) (256KB) (Japan release only, probably, hooks up via the add-on port.) (“Memory Unit”, model FZ-EM256) (See links below for more.)


Phillips

CD-i

System Internal Save: ‘NVRAM’ SRAM (packed-in save chip with battery inside NVRAM casing — to replace, you must replace the whole NVRAM unit. The type of NVRAM unit and save memory size vary depending on CD-i model in question, but the most common ones are (M48T08) (8KB), though check your CD-i model, and the site linked below, for more info. Some models have larger save memories — there is also reference to a model with a 32KB NVRAM size.)


Tapwave

Zodiac

System Internal Save: Flash RAM (32MB or 128MB, depending on model)

Memory Cards (standard formats): MultiMediaCards (MMC), SD Cards, SDIO


Pioneer

LaserActive (see links for more info)

LaserActive Mega LD games (requires Sega PAC add-on): See Sega CD section above for saving info (if any titles support it)

LaserActive LD-ROM2 games (requires NEC PAC add-on): See Turbo CD section above for saving info (if any titles support it)

Note – the LaserActive cannot play LaserActive games on its own; it requires an add-on to do that. In addition, the games for the two add-ons are mutually incompatible, so a LaserActive with just a Sega PAC cannot play LD-ROM2 games and vice versa. All games were made for just one format or the other, not both. And the system launched at $970 and the add-ons at $600 each.


Nokia

N-Gage (dedicated system, not the phone service)

System Internal Save: Flash RAM (4MB)

Memory Card: Flash RAM (MMC Card standard format) (32, 64, 128, 256, and 512MB sizes officially supported)


VM Labs

Nuon

Ingame: Password (certain titles)

There was going to be a memory card, but the system died before it could be released.


Tiger Electronics

R-Zone (if you call it a console)

No Saving

Game.com

System Internal Save: SRAM (unknown button-cell battery) (unknown size)

Some games with on-cart save batteries (to be able to save more, like for an RPG) were planned, but none of them were released.


Commodore

Amiga CDTV

(borderline system, often called a PC – I’ll leave it out for now — but overall it’s similar to the CD32 features-wise, with 1KB of internal Flash RAM)

Amiga CD32

System Internal Save: Flash RAM (1KB)

Add-Ons: The Serial Port and Expansion Module connectors can connect a Hard Drive, Floppy Drive, or other storage medium devices as well, to turn it into a mini Amiga computer.


Tiger Telematics

Gizmondo

On-Cart: Flash memory, very likely Flash RAM

Memory Cards: Flash RAM (SD, MMC standard formats, many sizes supported)


Game Park

GP32

Memory Card: Flash RAM (Smart Media standard format)

GP2X

Memory Card: Flash RAM (SD, SDHC standard formats)


Bandai

Playdia

Unknown, likely no saving

WonderSwan

System Internal Save: EEPROM (1KB) (for system settings/config data)

In Cart: SRAM (unknown battery type), EEPROM (type varies depending on game)

WonderSwan Color/Crystal

System Internal Save: EEPROM (1KB) (for system settings/config data)

In Cart: SRAM (unknown battery type), EEPROM (type varies depending on game)


Apple/Bandai

Pippin

System Internal Save: Flash RAM (128KB)

Add-ons: As the system is essentially a mini Macintosh in a box, it has a built-in modem and serial and network ports for connection to many Macintosh accessories and networks — floppy disk drive, internet, etc, for use for data save/transfer.


Funtech

Super A’Can (Taiwan only system)

On-Cart: SRAM (unknown battery type, likely CR2032) (for more information, see links below)


Mattel

Intellivision

See “Console-Computer Hybrids” section

HyperScan

On the RFID Cards: Unknown, almost certainly Flash RAM or EEPROM (96 bytes of user memory + 8 bytes unique ID + 6 bytes of one time programmable memory) (see links for source/info)


APF

Imagination Machine computer with MP-1000 console attached (see links)

See “Console-Computer Hybrids” section


Tomy

Tomy Tutor with Data Recorder addon (addon required for saving) (see links)

See “Console-Computer Hybrids” section


Radofin and others (see links for complete list of systems)

1292 and clones with 16 or 3016 Hobby Module cartridge and a tape recorder (note that this is for homebrew programs only, not retail games, but those homebrew programs do support saving if it is programmed in)

Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape)


Fujitsu

FM Towns Marty (Japan only system)

Magnetic Media (Floppy Disk) (games are on CD, save to floppy — it’s a computer conversion)


Casio

Loopy (“My Seal Computer”, Japan only release)

Unknown — it’s not clear to me if this system had saving, other than the attached printer. If there was any, it’d be on-cart. See links for more on the system.


Watara and others

SuperVision, Mega Duck/Cougar Boy, GameKing

Unknown, no saving? The various links available from Wikipedia don’t mention any saving in any of these handhelds, anyway, as far as I can tell.


V.Tech

V.Smile

On-Cart: Flash memory (unknown type) (see notes)

V.Flash

Memory Card: Flash memory (unknown type, likely Flash RAM) (see notes)

V.Smile V.Motion

On-Cart: Flash memory (unknown type) (see notes)
Memory Card: Flash memory (unknown type but almost certainly Flash RAM) (“V.Link”) (used for copying saves to a Windows computer, where (once required software is installed) they are uploaded to the V.Tech online network and can be compared with other players’ scores) (see notes for links)


Console-Computer Hybrids

These are systems which are in part definitely a console, but are also in part definitely a computer.  Thus computer set-top boxes do not count as they are probably not definitely consoles as well as computers.


Nintendo

Famicom with Famicom Data Recorder addon

External Backup Device: Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape): Famicom Data Recorder (Japan only) (In addition to allowing saving for certain cart-based games as mentioned above, the data recorder’s actual main purpose is to be the Family Basic Keyboard’s save mechanism.  The tapes save programs you made for later use, or load programs on tapes sold at retail.  That is, it makes the Famicom into a simple computer.) (The Family Basic Keyboard’s keyboard unit attaches via the Famicom’s accessory port.  Use the Family Basic cartridge to use the keyboard.  As NESes do not have the Famicom’s Adapter port, however, and instead use standard NES controller ports for accessories, the Famicom Data Recorder cannot be used with any Western NES model but requires a Japanese system.) (see links for more info)

Coleco

Colecovision with Coleco Adam addon

Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape, Floppy Disk)

Mattel

Intellivision with Entertainment Computer System (ECS) addon

Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape)

APF

Imagination Machine computer with MP-1000 console attached (see links)

Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape) (Saving is only available for cassette-based computer programs, not for MP-1000 cartridges)


Tomy

Tomy Tutor with Data Recorder addon (addon required for saving) (see links)

Magnetic Media (Cassette Tape)

Other systems

Unknown


Specifics

Lists or links to lists of which games use which save types on platforms with multiple save types, if that data is available.

NES

The games or products the Famicom Data Recorder works with: Family Basic Keyboard, Excitebike, Mach Rider, Wrecking Crew (see links for source)

Gamecube

The one game supporting the SD card adapter is Animal Crossing Plus.

Nintendo 64

On-Cart SRAM: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, 1080 Snowboarding, F-Zero X, The New Tetris, WCW vs. NWO Revenge, Mario Golf, Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber (also supports controller pak), Resident Evil 2, Super Smash Bros., WWF Wrestlemania 2000, Major League Baseball Starring Ken Griffey Jr., Harvest Moon 64, Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 (Japan), and perhaps some of the other Japan-only titles; the information I can find is complete for the US/EU titles only.

On-Cart Flash RAM: Command & Conquer, Jet Force Gemini Kiosk, Jet Force Gemini, Ken Griffey Jr’s Slugfest, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Megaman 64, NBA Courtside 2 featuring Kobe Bryant, Paper Mario, Pokemon Puzzle League, Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Stadium, Pokemon Stadium 2, Starcraft 64, Tigger’s Honey Hunt, WWF: No Mercy.

The rest of US-released games with on-cart save have EEPROMs, while all controller paks have SRAM. A complete list of all titles, separated by type, is available at the noted link below.

Game Boy / Game Boy Color

CR2025 instead of the standard CR1616: Pokemon Gold/Silver, probably more (Pokemon Platinum, almost certainly). (Note that Gold/Silver is dual-mode GB/GBC, but Platinum is GBC only.   This is likely irrelevant for battery type, though.)

Game Boy Color

On-Cart EEPROM: Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble

I know of no other GBC games with EEPROM instead of SRAM. Is this wrong?

GBA

While save file sizes are all known, and Flash RAM games can be distinguished, because of how FRAM works, emulation cannot tell the difference between SRAM and FRAM. As a result, the only way to know which games are which is to open each cart in question and look at whether there is a battery inside or not. See the link below for a searchable database of all GBA games, but know that the “SRAM” listing also includes all FRAM titles. The “SRAM_F” type MAY be FRAM, but I have no proof that the “SRAM_F” games are all FRAM while the “SRAM_V” ones all have batteries.

DS

Search site linked below. Note — no DS games have internal batteries, all are different types of flash memory. Thus, for most people, this information is far less important than the GBA info.

Genesis

On-Cart FRAM: Sonic the Hedgehog 3

On-Cart EEPROM: NBA Jam, NBA Jam T.E., Blockbuster World Video Game Championship II (NBA Jam T.E. portion), Charles Barkley’s Shut Up and Jam! 2, College Slam, Unnecessary Roughness ’95, NFL Quarterback Club, NFL Quarterback Club ’95, Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball, Rings of Power, NHLPA Hockey ’93, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Evander ‘Real Deal’ Holyfield’s Boxing, Greatest Heavyweights of the Ring, Sports Talk Baseball, Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Genesis, JP/EU release only, only the second release ([alt] rom) of the Japanese version uses EEPROM; the original Japanese version uses SRAM. The European version uses EEPROM only.), (The following games were only released in PAL territories) Micro Machines 2, Micro Machines Turbo Tournament ’96, Micro Machines Military, Brian Lara Cricket ’96, Shane Warne Cricket.

All other US/EU-released games with on-cart saving have SRAM, as far as I know. I’d love to be proven wrong and have it shown that more titles used FRAM than just Sonic 3! As for Japan-only titles, I have no information that any of them use anything other than SRAM, so I will assume that that is what they all use, barring any information to the contrary.

Sega 32X

On-Cart EEPROM: NBA Jam T.E., NFL Quarterback Club

On-Cart FRAM: Knuckles Chaotix, Virtua Racing Deluxe (Japanese version only, US and European versions do not have any kind of saving)

All other games with saving have batteries as far as I know.

TurboGrafx-16

On-Cart SRAM: Populous (Japan only), Tennokoe Bank memory card

Memory Base 128-supporting titles: Emerald Dragon, Popful Mail, Brandish, Magicoal, Vasteel 2, etc. See dedicated list for more on this.

Sources/Links

Nintendo 64 Boot/Save Type List: http://n64.icequake.net/mirror/www.elitendo.com/n64/usa_boot_save_faq.html#s1

Game Boy line battery type info
http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15464
http://www.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1568128

Game Boy Advance Release List Search — To list SRAM games, choose the option you wish from the “Save Type” box and hit search. http://releases.pocketheaven.com/?section=advsearch

Nintendo DS Release List Search — Works same as the GBA list. FRAM may not be properly listed here. http://releases.pocketheaven.com/?section=ndsearch

Sega Genesis/32X EEPROM Games List — http://gxdev.wordpress.com/category/genesis-plus/
Direct link to the EEPROM guide: http://genplus-gx.googlecode.com/svn/gen_eeprom.pdf
Knuckles Chaotix Save Type Proof (Ramtron NVRAM chip): http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showpost.php?p=117099&postcount=23

Sega Genesis Meganet Modem — The best article I’ve found is Sega-16’s article on the unreleased US version, the TeleGenesis modem: http://www.sega-16.com/2006/11/disconnected-the-telegenesis-modem/

Sega CD Backup RAM Cart battery type info:
http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showpost.php?p=115118&postcount=24

Saturn backup cart information thread:
http://www.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1497805

TG-16 Plug-in Backup Unit Information: http://www.pcenginefx.com/forums/in…p?topic=1616.30

nvSRAM information, with handy Battery-Backed SRAM/NVSRAM/FRAM/MRAM chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NVSRAM

Neo-Geo CD Save Battery System: http://www.neo-geo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187197

PC-FX Memory Card (“FX-BMP”) info: http://pcenginefx.com/PC-FX/html/pc-fx_world_-_sm_-_pc-fx_bmp.html
As well as this forum thread: http://www.pcenginefx.com/forums/index.php?topic=3284.0

Atari 7800 High Score Cartridge Information: http://atariage.com/software_page.html?SoftwareLabelID=1015

3DO FZ-EM256 Memory Unit Box Scan: http://www.3dotoday.com/Accessories/panamemoryunitf.jpg

Super A’Can: For more information on this system, see this thread: http://assemblergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9289
Or Wikipedia (screenshots available at the link at the bottom): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_A%27Can

FM Towns Marty saving-to-floppy confirmation: http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/showthread.php?6352

CD-i NVRAM replacement information and guide: http://www.icdia.co.uk/articles/nvram.html

LaserActive: Clear description of the system and its awful incompatibility issue, though note that it is wrong about the number of Mega LD games – there were 15 US-released Mega LD games, not three (though there were indeed just three LD-ROM2 games released in the US). http://www.allgame.com/cg/agg.dll?p=agg&sql=5:17669
Site with more info and many LaserActive box and manual scans: http://www.cyberroach.com/new_laseractive_pics/default.htm
Wikipedia has a nice chart with all of the games listed, most with region and platform: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laseractive

A History of Online Console Gaming in the United States, 1982 to the present: http://www.revrob.com/content/view/38/52

Famicom Communication Adapter (Modem) Information: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/oroti/famicom/ish11.html (try this on Google Translate!)
thanks to: http://satellablog.blogspot.com/2008/09/tangent-other-vg-networking-services.html
English article about it: http://www.n-sider.com/contentview.php?contentid=213

HyperScan storage amount info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperScan
HyperScan site+forum: http://www.geocities.com/hyperscansoftware/index.html (dead link)

Casio Loopy info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casio_Loopy

V.Tech consoles info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V.Smilehttp://www.vtechkids.com/assets/data/products/%7B5149D6B0-B9F7-487D-B6EA-4A8E6072CE76%7D/manuals/80-078810-V.Smile_V.Motion.pdf (V.Motion manual), http://www.vtechkids.com/assets/data/products/%7BDAB2A137-2ACC-4D35-8B2A-B818CCCFA5D2%7D/manuals/V.Link.pdf (V.Link manual)

Famicom Data Recorder information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famicom_Data_Recorder
http://www.japan-games.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Consoles.HowToUseANintendoDataRecorder

3DO System Battery Type and proof that the memory unit has a battery in it
http://cdinteractive.co.uk/3do/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1069&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

APF Imagination Machine/MP-1000
http://www.nausicaa.net/~lgreenf/apfpage.htm

Tomy Tutor
http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/tomy/

Radofin, etc
http://www.dieterkoenig.at/ccc/it/s_it_cartlist.htm (site not working)

PC-FX board shots and proof of SRAM use:
http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=1305
http://www.pcenginefx.com/forums/index.php?topic=7558.15

Proof that the Tennokoe Bank uses the CR2320 originally
http://nonta6913.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2007-09-29

Gamecube clock battery http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=44167876#post44167876 though note that the poster is wrong in saying that the Gamecube has a similar flap; it does not.  The Wii U is the first one with it, I think. Here is proof of the Wii U’s flap: http://cdn1.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/7207473/wii-u-battery-replacement-3_1020.jpg

Xbox Time Capacitor information: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=857527

Playstation 2 Battery Replacement Information, for the slimline model: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/PlayStation+2+Slimline+Clock+Battery+Replacement/19959

PS3 “PRAM” Clock Battery Replacement Information: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/PlayStation+3+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/3490

Final Notes and Questions

Information for the main contents of the list come from many online sources — GameFAQs guides (only in a couple of cases), Wikipedia system information details, box shots, PCB scans, list pages like the ones above, and others. I linked to some things here, but if there’s anything else you want a source for, ask. If I continue to improve this list, a later version may put those links directly into the text, instead of them just being at the end.

-Do any systems use what are essentially flash carts, instead of flash memory chips on the cart? (very doubtful)
-Can anyone help fill in the blank parts, or add (reliable) info for a missing system? (this would be great!)
-Are there any errors in listing which consoles have games with password save options? Which consoles that I did not list as having it actually do?

To Dos Someday:
-Internal links to each section and internal links from listings to the referenced links at the bottom (for HTML version of the list only, probably)
-Try to find information for any missing entries or parts of entries! 🙂

About Brian

Computer and video game lover
This entry was posted in Classic Games, Dreamcast, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, Gamecube, Genesis, Lists, Modern Games, NES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Playstation Portable, Saturn, Sega CD, Sega Master System, SNES, Turbo CD, TurboGrafx-16, Xbox, Xbox 360 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *