Are you old enough to remember floppy disks? The retro disk format was the dominate file storage solution during the 1980s and 1990s. But decades later, some organizations are still using floppy disks. Why? Here are the reasons why companies like Chuck E. Cheese are still using floppy disks today.
Who Still Uses Floppy Disks?
Before the “Cloud” and USB thumb drives. Before CD-ROM and DVD-ROMs. Playing games and transferring files was a slow and tedious process that required using computer disks that are about the size of a drink coaster.
Even though widespread use of floppy disks started to fade in the late 1990s, there are still a number of organizations that are still using floppy disks.
So, who still uses floppy disks? While the US nuclear weapons program just stopped using large 8-inch floppy disks in 2019, there are a number of other organizations that still use floppy disks. Boeing 747 jets, medical devices, part of the San Francisco public transit system, and even the animatronic creatures at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants all still use floppy disks today.
Why Chuck E. Cheese Still Uses Floppy Disks To Make Its Rodent Mascot Dance
In a recent TikTok video from @showbizpizzaman, a Chuck E. Cheese employee shared the latest floppy disk that was sent from their corporate headquarters. The video demonstrates how the employee uploads data from a 3.5-inch floppy disk onto the Chuck E. Cheese animatronic system.
Even though the floppy disk storage capacity of a 3.5-inch disk is only 1.4 MB, that’s big enough to hold the music and choreography data for the robotic animal performances at Chuck E. Cheese.
The video amazed the Internet and had everyone wondering why Chuck E. Cheese still uses floppy disks.
According to BuzzFeed, out of the 600 global Chuck E. Cheese locations worldwide, only about 50 of them have animatronics attractions that still use these floppy disks.
As Chuck E. Cheese slowly upgrades their locations, these animatronics attractions will be replaced with screen-based entertainment. Until then, it doesn’t make sense to upgrade the animatronics.
Also, floppy disks are still really efficient for what they do. Floppy disk storage is reliable, un-hackable and don’t require an Internet connection. Chuck E. Cheese does have some newer animatronics that use USB drives, but according to employees, these aren’t as reliable as the floppy disk models.
Do They Still Make Floppy Disks?
Yes! Several companies still make floppy disks, including floppydisk.com. Although there’s minimal retail demand for floppy disk sales these days, the company offers a variety of professional services, like coping data from old floppies to modern storage media and programming and reproducing floppy disks for organizations like Chuck E. Cheese.
Floppy Disk Problems
As much as companies like Chuck E. Cheese and Boeing still like using floppy disks, they aren’t perfect. Common floppy disk problems include vulnerability to dust, condensation, temperature extremes, and magnetic fields. If you ever accidentally placed a magnet next to a floppy disk before, then you know what I mean. A magnet can make you data disappear in just a second.
Not to mention rough handling or removing the disk from the drive while the media is still spinning. Even with a hard outer shell, floppy disks are still very fragile.
Are You Still Using Floppy Disks?
What about you? Are you still using floppy disks? Why? Are you into retrogaming, or something else? Does your company still use floppy disk storage as part of their daily business operations? Please let us know in the comments.
Private investor. Tech enthusiast. Broadcast TV veteran.