Here’s Why The Robots At Chuck E. Cheese Are Still Powered By Floppy Disks.
by Trisha Leigh
Businesses that have been around since before technology really took off have had to make a lot of changes over the years in order to not only stay relevant, but to keep their own now-outdated technology working.
While a lot of them enjoy having the latest and best of everything, others – like Chuck E. Cheese, for example, seem to live by the mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
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Specifically, we’re talking about their animatronic rodent-bots (which you probably recall from your childhood nightmares), which are still controlled by actual floppy disks.
There are more than 600 Chuck E. Cheese locations all over the world, but fewer than 50 still run the old school animatronics, which were created by “Studio C.”
According to one anonymous employee, that’s because it still functions just fine for their purposes.
“The floppies work surprisingly well. The animatronic, lighting, and show sync data are all in the floppy disks. I’ve seen a few of the newer Studio C Chuck E.’s run on flash drive/SD card combo. But usually, newer setups cause issues with stuff, and it’s easier to just keep the old stuff running.”
Other surprising things still run (or have recently still run) on floppy disks, too – like nuclear weapons code storage, Boeing 747s, and the entire San Fran public transit system.
Tom Persky, the owner of floppydisk.com, says that’s because the old tech has more than a few benefits.
“If you’re looking for something very stable, really non-hackable – floppy disks are not internet-based, not network-based.
It’s quite elegant for what it does.”
I think there are more than a few reasons that a bunch of people aren’t going to switch back anytime soon, but the logic does make sense.
And this way, a whole new generation of kids can be traumatized by those robots.
Upside or downside? You decide.