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Backward compatibility

The GameCube's successor, the Wii, employs backward compatibility with the ability to play games designed for its predecessor and support its legacy controllers. All Nintendo handhelds, besides the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo DSi, following the Game Boy have at least one model that is backward compatible with its predecessor.

Backward compatibility (sometimes known as backwards compatibility) is a property of a system, product, or technology that allows for interoperability with an older legacy system, or with input designed for such a system, especially in telecommunications and computing.

Modifying a system in a way that does not allow backward compatibility is sometimes called "breaking" backward compatibility.[1]

A complementary concept is forward compatibility. A design that is forward-compatible usually has a roadmap for compatibility with future standards and products.[2]

A related term from programming jargon is hysterical reasons or hysterical raisins (near-homophones for "historical reasons"), as the purpose of some software features may be solely to support older hardware or software versions.[3]

  1. ^ Belleflamme, Paul; Peitz, Martin (2010), "Strategies in standard wars", Industrial Organization: Markets and Strategies, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521862998
  2. ^ Zeldman, Jeffrey (2006). Designing with Web Standards. Peachpit Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-321-38555-1.
  3. ^ "hysterical reasons". FOLDOC. Retrieved 2019-06-25.

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