Now you can plug game cartridges in to your smartphone and play games

In the age of app stores and bountiful flash storage, handheld game cartridges are no longer necessary in the gaming technology. But, they all lack the most important part of the experience, which is the plugging of a cartridge into the console.

However, Japanese startup Beatrobo is hoping to change that and therefore, it has created the Pico Cassette to fuel your nostalgia for retro video games. It’s a tiny video game cartridge that plugs into your device’s headphone jack to unlock games. They are built on PlugAir technology, which uses a specially designed iPhone or Android app to draw power from the headphone jack and send data using specially modulated audio signals. Those coded sound waves are then used to unlock access to content that’s stored in the cloud.

Beatrobo founder and CEO Hiroshi Asaeda told The Verge at last week’s Tokyo Game Show that these cartridges are meant to reinstill that “same sense of ownership” that gamers had with an SNES cartridge.

However, unlike those game cartridges of the past, Pico Cassettes don’t have games stored on them. They instead send out inaudible sound to act as authentication keys for an app that you have to download and can then play.

Each cartridge has a unique identifier that can communicate with Beatrobo’s servers, so the users can save games and pick up where they left off on multiple devices, even if they’re tied to separate iCloud accounts.

According to The Verge, Beatrobo showed off a proof of concept of the Pico Cassettes with a Flappy Bird-like game at the Tokyo Game Show. However, the company says that is currently talking to content partners and will launch a crowdfunding campaign to bring Pico Cassette to market soon.

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