Apparently they "work surprisingly well."
The history respecters at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant/entertainment chain still use floppy disks to control their animatronic rodent-bots — and they wouldn't have it any other way, apparently.
As BuzzFeed News reports, there are actually more than 600 Chuck E. Cheese locations throughout the world, and less than 50 still use the aging "Studio C" animatronics setup that runs off floppy disks.
But according to an employee of the distinguished Mr. Cheese who spoke to the website on condition of anonymity, even though this "paleotech" seems super old-school, it actually functions better than you'd expect — and at times, better than the newfangled setups.
"The floppies work surprisingly well. The animatronic, lighting, and show sync data are all in the floppy disks," the Chuck E. Cheese worker told BuzzFeed. "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."
When the website reached out to Chuck E. Cheese, the company did confirm that some of its franchisees still use floppies, but were, per the report, "very cagey" about supplying any additional information, and eventually decided to pull its on-record cooperation with BuzzFeed entirely.
As antiquated as floppy disk technology feels, BuzzFeed notes that it's remained in usage until recent years for all kinds of things, including nuclear weapons code storage, Boeing 747s, the San Francisco public transit system and, of course, animatronic robot musicians.
The low-tech-ness of floppies actually leads to one of their greatest benefits.
"If you’re looking for something very stable, really non-hackable — [floppy disks are] not internet-based, not network-based," Tom Persky, the owner of the floppydisk.com marketplace that is now the largest floppy sales site in the world, told BuzzFeed. "It's quite elegant for what it does."
Persky went even further in endorsing the technology he sells, too, saying that if someone's life depended on either using a USB drive or a floppy disk to save data, one should "pick the floppy disk every time."
While the man obviously has a stake in his accolades, they do make a lot of sense — though it's unlikely we're going to switch to using floppies anytime soon, given that most modern laptops aren't even equipped with CD-ROM drives anymore, much less equipment to read floppies.
More on tech changes: Gen Z Is Apparently Baffled by Basic Technology
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