Nintendo switch game cards

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Nintendo Switch owners, beware: Broken game cards may cause permanent damage

Nintendo Switch owners are advised to check their game cards before inserting them to play, as broken ones may result in permanent damage to the hybrid console.

A Japanese repair store issued the warning after investigating the issue, when some Nintendo Switch owners in Japan reported that their consoles stopped loading game cards after inserting a second-hand or borrowed one.

The repair store discovered that the problem occurs due to broken game cards with bent and broken strips at the back, as seen in the photo provided by the Esuteru blog.

If a broken game card is inserted into the Nintendo Switch, it will bend the contact pin inside the game card slot. Unfortunately, this appears to be permanent damage, as the repair shop claims that even after it is fixed, the console will no longer be able to read the cartridges.

The repair store recommends all Nintendo Switch owners check their game cards before they insert them, as sparing a second to look may save the console from irreversible damage. This is especially true in the case of second-hand purchases. If a game card has a bent or broken strip, the repair store said that it would be better to remove the damaged strip entirely to prevent bent contact pins. Fortunately, it takes severe carelessness and a lot of abuse before a game card suffers such damage, so players should not worry about providing extra protection to the cartridges.

It remains unclear why the Nintendo Switch will not be able to read game cards after repairs. While owners of consoles that are permanently damaged by this issue may still play games by purchasing their digital versions, it will be a shame to have part of a $300 device not functioning just because of negligence in checking the integrity of game cards.

The warning on broken game cards comes just before the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, which will air on June 11 at 9 a.m. PT. Among the games that Nintendo Switch owners may expect in the presentation are The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Pokémon Sword and Shield, a new Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and many more.

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Nintendo game card

Game cartridge used on some Nintendo video game consoles

A Nintendo game card (trademarked as Game Card) is a flash storage-based format used to physically distribute video games for certain Nintendo systems. The game cards resemble both smaller and thinner versions of Hudson's HuCard, the storage medium for the PC-Engine, and the Game PakROM cartridges used for previous portable gaming consoles released by Nintendo, such as the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance.[1] The mask ROM chips are manufactured by Macronix and have an access speed of 150 ns.[2]

Nintendo DS[edit]

Nintendo DS Game Card[edit]

Cards for the Nintendo DS ranged from 64 megabits to 4 gigabits (8–512 MB) in capacity[3][4] The cards contain an integrated flash memory for game data and an EEPROM to save user data such as game progress or high scores. However, there are a small number of games that have no save memory such as Electroplankton.

According to an IGN blog by Backbone Entertainment, the developer of MechAssault: Phantom War, larger (such as 128 MB) cards have a 25% slower data transfer rate than the more common smaller (such as 64 MB) cards; however, the specific base rate was not mentioned.[5]

Nintendo DSi Game Card[edit]

In 2008, the Nintendo DSi was launched. The console offered various hardware improvements and additional functions over previous Nintendo DS iterations, such as the inclusion of cameras. While many Nintendo DS titles released afterwards included features that enhanced gameplay when played on the Nintendo DSi console, most of these games retained compatibility with the original DS iterations. However, a select few retail game titles were released that worked exclusively for the Nintendo DSi consoles for reasons such as requiring camera functions, and these titles have game cards with white-colored casings (all DSi-exclusive games are region locked). Examples of such game cards include Picture Perfect Hair Salon. While these white game cards can be physically inserted into original Nintendo DS consoles, their software did not function due to the missing hardware features. These DSi-exclusive game cards are fully compatible with the Nintendo 3DS family.

Prior to the release of the Nintendo DSi, Nintendo encouraged developers to release DSi-exclusive games as DSiWare downloadables instead of retail game cards that would not function on older Nintendo DS consoles.[6]

Infrared support[edit]

Pokémon Black Version cartridge.

Despite all iterations of the Nintendo DS line lacking native infrared support, certain titles made use of this type of communication function using game cards with their own infrared transceivers. These game cards are generally glossier and darker than common Nintendo DS game cards, and reveal their translucency when exposed to light. Examples of such game cards include Personal Trainer: Walking and Active Health WithCarol Vorderman, which connect to the included pedometers, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which connect to the included Pokéwalker accessory,[7] and Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, which connect DS systems facing each other.[8][9]

Although all iterations of the Nintendo 3DS family support native infrared functions, Nintendo DS games still use the infrared-enabled game cards themselves when played on a 3DS system, reserving the native infrared for Nintendo 3DS-specific software.[citation needed]

Nintendo 3DS[edit]

Game cards for the Nintendo 3DS are from 1 to 8 gigabytes in size,[10] with 2 GB of game data at launch.[11] They look very similar to DS Game Cards, but are incompatible and have a small tab on one side to prevent them from being inserted into a DS, DS lite, or a DSi.[12]

Nintendo Switch[edit]

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridges that are officially called Game Card. This iteration is smaller and has a larger storage capacity than its previous versions.[13] Despite its similarities, the Switch is not compatible with DS and 3DS cards.[14] The game cards used in the Switch are non-writable and save data is stored in the console's internal memory, unlike the DS and 3DS's game cards, which are writable and are able to store save data.[15]

Because of their small size, the Game Cards are coated with denatonium benzoate, a non-toxic bitterant, as a safety precaution against accidental consumption by young children.[16] Videos of users intentionally tasting the cartridges and reacting with disgust at the taste became a meme prior to the console's launch, which originated from Jeff Gerstmann's actions on a Giant Bomb webcast.[17][18]

The cartridges come in a variety of capacities: 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB.[19] 64 GB cartridges were planned to be introduced in the second half of 2018, but due to unspecified circumstances, Nintendo originally delayed the launch of this variant to 2019,[20] then delayed again to 2020. As planned the 64 GB cartridges released in 2020 and are made using XtraROM technology from Macronix.[21]


  1. ^Vuijk, Rafael (11 October 2006). "First Nintendo DS cartridge information". Dark Fader (Rafael Vuijk). Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  2. ^"Nintendo: NDS Disassembly". GainGame's Blog. Archived from the original on 25 February 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  3. ^Ni no Kuni was the first DS game to use a 4-gigabit card "GoNintendo: Level 5's press conference - massive info roundup (Fantasy Life announced, Ninokuni's massive DS cart, and much more!)". Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  4. ^Adam Riley (15 July 2007). "E3 2007 News - Archaic Sealed Heat (Nintendo DS) RPG Details". Cubed³. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  5. ^Sara Guinness (16 June 2006). "MechAssault DS Developer Diary". IGN. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  6. ^Craig Harris (25 March 2009). "GDC 09: DSi Hybrid, Exclusive Carts Soon". IGN. Fox Interactive Media. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  7. ^"Pokewalker Operations Manual"(PDF). Nintendo. Archived(PDF) from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  8. ^"Pokemon Black 2 Instruction Booklet"(PDF). Nintendo. Archived(PDF) from the original on 17 June 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  9. ^"Pokemon Black Instruction Booklet"(PDF). Nintendo. Archived(PDF) from the original on 30 April 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  10. ^Yeung, Karlie (17 December 2010). "3DS Cartridges Could Store Up to 8GB". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  11. ^Pereira, Chris (21 June 2010). "A Look at the New Nintendo 3DS Game Cards". UGO Entertainment. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  12. ^"Nintendo 3DS Game Cards Look Like This". Siliconera. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  13. ^"Nintendo Switch will use cartridges". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  14. ^Arnold, Cory (21 October 2016). "Nintendo Switch not compatible with physical 3DS or Wii U games". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  15. ^Schreier, Jason (20 January 2017). "Nintendo Answers (And Avoids) Our Switch Questions". Kotaku. Retrieved 20 January 2017. "Nintendo Switch game cards are non-writable; game save data is stored in internal NAND memory."
  16. ^Dornbush, Johnathon (2 March 2017). "Nintendo Switch Cartridges Taste Terrible". IGN. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  17. ^"Nintendo Switch cartridges 'taste so bad'". BBC News. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  18. ^"New trend: Putting disgusting Nintendo Switch cartridges in your mouth". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  19. ^Yin-Poole, Wesley (13 March 2017). "Why Nintendo Switch games are ending up more expensive". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  20. ^Mochizuki, Takashi (27 December 2017). "Nintendo Delays Rollout of 64-Gigabyte Switch Game Cards Until 2019". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  21. ^Rahming, A.K. (24 December 2019). "Switch game cards potentially getting a 64GB variant". Nintendo Enthusiast. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
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I can’t wrap my head around this baffling Nintendo Switch OLED flaw

The Nintendo Switch OLED is a fine upgrade over the original Switch model, but it’s not without its flaws. 

The lack of enhancements for TV mode users is obviously the most glaring omission Nintendo chose to make – you’re still getting the same 1080p output as the older Switch, and practically all of the Switch OLED’s enhancements disappear when it’s docked. 

But there’s another baffling, simply maddening change that has been introduced with the Nintendo Switch OLED that I can’t wrap my head around: the decision to make the Game Card port almost completely inaccessible.

As I mentioned in our Nintendo Switch OLED review, the Game Card port is now flush with the device. There’s a tiny gap present, but the handy indentation on the original Nintendo Switch, which made opening the protective flap a doddle, has now been removed. As a result, it’s incredibly difficult to open the Game Card slot on the Nintendo Switch OLED.

Try as I might, getting a good purchase on the Game Card port on the Nintendo Switch OLED is nigh on impossible unless you have long fingernails. If you’ve trimmed your nails recently, prying open the plastic flap that covers the Game Card slot is honestly an exercise in futility.

You shall not pass

But perhaps it was just my sausage-like fingers that were the problem? To rule out that possibility, I decided to perform a quick real-life experiment. I asked my partner to first open the Game Card port on the original Switch, and then the Nintendo Switch OLED. Unsurprisingly, she had no trouble popping the Game Card slot open on the Nintendo Switch, but when it came to the OLED model, no dice.

After tilting and angling the Switch OLED in an attempt to find what was clearly missing, eventually, thanks to the power of a slightly longer fingernail, my partner managed to prise the slot open. “Well, that’s stupid,” she exclaimed. “Why did they change this?” 

Of course, I didn’t have an answer to her question, but it’s one that has been on my mind ever since I had the Nintendo Switch OLED in my possession. While I’m not someone who uses the Game Card slot regularly, I’ve never had any issues with the original Switch’s superior design. It’s always worked as intended and never became loose over time – unlike the dangly kickstand, which opens whenever I tilt my launch-day unit at a specific angle.

Physical foibles

The Nintendo Switch OLED is a curious device, then. It’s the best Nintendo Switch the company has ever made, with a beautiful new display, impressive speakers, and a redesigned, wider kickstand. And while an argument can be made why Nintendo didn’t enhance the console’s hardware and offer a 4K output, making the Game Card slot an absolute pain to open is, quite frankly, inexcusable.

Adam is a Senior Gaming Writer at TechRadar. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. (He’s still recovering to this day.) 

12 Best Nintendo Switch Game Card Cases - List and Overview

Top 10 best collectible card games on Nintendo Switch


Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is by the same developers as Gwent. Also set in the world of The Witcher, this game gives you a single-player experience, that includes deck building, puzzle mechanics and card battles. Though this game does have a lot of roleplaying elements, there are card battles in order to overcome your opponents, giving you a break from exploring the world. Certainly one of the best collectable card games for Switch!


Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire is one of my personal favourite collectible card games. The game gives you a procedurally generated world, where you will face off against enemies, choose what path you want to take, upgrade your cards and burn ones you don’t want, and continue forward. Your deck changes and grows based on your decisions and the paths you take. If you die, you get to restart, but as it’s a procedurally generated game, each run feels different and unique! Slay the Spire is full of challenges and fun to have.


Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a collectible card-based game that you can play in real life, so it’s only natural that there are digital versions of the game. If you are a fan of anime, you can find yourself playing through various storylines of the individual characters that you will recognize. You can find cards from the series inside the game, allowing you to play in duels against enemy AIs or online, against your friends or other people who feel they have the best deck around. This game also has a massive card pool for you to play around with and discover.


Signs of the Sojourner

Signs of the Sojourner is a bit of a different game, compared to others on this list. This game has you building a deck through conversation, and instead of battling against other people, you are actually trying to communicate with them so that they can have a conversation and try to help you. In Signs of the Sojourner, you will be travelling around, collecting items and interacting with loads of characters. It’s not as intense as battling against an opponent, but it’s a unique take on deck-building!


Nowhere Prophet

Nowhere Prophet is similar, in some ways, to Slay the Spire. It is also procedurally generative, with you building up your deck and taking on various enemies as you go. Instead of fighting in some magical place, you are in the wastelands, where you need to lead a bunch of refugees to safety, fighting against machines and thugs who are in your path. You can find lots of different cards to add to your deck, people to recruit to help you, various loot, and more as you travel across the wasteland.



Faerie is a turn-based, collectible card game with a lot of strategic elements, where you need to place down the board, as well as play cards and gather resources in order to win matches. As the board is ever-changing, with each placement, there is a lot to think about. Building the battlefield is what makes things unique, and the game has both a solo complaining, as well as some co-op missions and the option to go against other enemies. This game is free to start playing, but you can end up sinking quite a substantial amount of money in the game through in-app purchases.



Lightseekers is another free to play collectible card game, but you might end up spending money later down the line if you enjoy the game. This one has you selecting a hero from the world of Tantos, learning their story, and then use their playstyle and deck of cards to defeat your opponents. Each of the heroes has a different playstyle, as they follow a specific subset of magical energy. There are six in total, which are all quite different, so you can stick to one or master them all.


Mystic Vale

Mystic Vale allows you to collect cards and craft with them, to make your deck better suited to your needs and playstyle. This game has you taking on the role of a druidic clan, where you need to heal the Valley of Life, which has been slowly dying and gotten itself into quite a state. The unique aspect to this game is card crafting, which really gives you more control over your deck and allows you to take cards that may not be the best for you and make them into something more useful.


Eternal Card Game

Eternal Card Game looks quite similar to Hearthstone when you see the screenshots of the game itself, and plays exactly how you’d expect it too. You can build up your deck, play as heroes and challenge other players to see who has the better deck. There are tons of different cards and choices in this game, as well as counterspells, tactical combat cards and so much more. It’s a pretty nice addition to the genre and is also free to start.


One Step from Eden

One Step from Eden is a strategic deck-building game with a bunch of real-time action elements thrown in, where you need to quickly battle against enemies, watching the screen light up with attacks and attempt to keep yourself alive. You can choose if you want to destroy everything in your path or if you want to have mercy on the people you meet with. One Step from Eden feels extremely intense and is an interesting mix of genres!



Cards nintendo switch game

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