For decades, the video game cartridge was the staple of home video game play, and even a vital component of many early home computer systems. Interestingly, the companies that developed the first videogame cartridge and brought it to market are largely a forgotten footnote in the annals of early game development. Writing for Fast Company, Benj Edwards has documented the early days of cartridge development at Alpex and Fairchild:
If you've ever used one, you have two men to thank: Wallace Kirschner and Lawrence Haskel, who invented the game cartridge 40 years ago while working at an obscure company and rebounding from a business failure. Once the pair's programmable system had been streamlined and turned into a commercial product—the Channel F console—by a team at pioneering electronics company Fairchild, it changed the fundamental business model of home video games forever. By injecting flexibility into a new technology, it paved the way for massive industry growth and the birth of a new creative medium.
I was a kid in the 1970s and envied my friends who had video game systems, especially the beloved Atari 2600. I wouldn't get one until much later, when Coleco introduced the ColecoVision in 1982. But there's no question that video game cartridge systems would have an enduring and significant impact on the way generations of kids and their families played video games for decades to come.