Produced from 1985 to 1987, the Sega Card (known as My Card in Japan) wasn’t just created as a cheaper format to conventional game cartridges, oh no sirree!
The great Hideki Sato, creator of Sega’s SG-1000 console (and all other Sega consumer hardware) felt that the original game cartridges resembled small black tombstones when inserted into the console. Sato felt that an upgrade to the game cartridge media was required. This drove him to create the cute little pocket-sized alternative, the Sega My Card – games on microchips embedded in 2mm thick credit card sized plastic.
The compact design allowed game collections to be carried around with ease (instead of lugging around the much larger carts). Sega also experimented with a re-writable EPROM version of the My Card, which could be overwritten with new games at specifically-equipped kiosks (for a fraction of the usual retail cost), much like Nintendo’s Famicom Disk System, which arrived a year later.
Sega would eventually return to cartridges for higher memory capacity, while NEC would later use the My Card design pedigree for their PC-Engine HuCards.
The tombstone-looking carts
My Card VS Cartridge