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Chuck E. Cheese Still Uses Floppy Disks to Control Its Nightmare Machines

TikTok user showbizpizzaman documented the process of uploading data to the computers that control Chuck E. Cheese's anthropomorphic robot animals.

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Chuck E. Cheese announced in 2017 that it would be moving away from animatronic shows, in favor of video-based entertainment.
Chuck E. Cheese announced in 2017 that it would be moving away from animatronic shows, in favor of video-based entertainment.
Image: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Two of the greatest memories of our childhoods—an adolescent casino and an antiquated data storage format—are still colliding to this very day. A Chuck E. Cheese employee gave his TikTok viewers the low-down on how the pizzeria/arcade combo still uses floppy disks to load its animatronic shows.

Earlier this year, TikTok user showbizpizzaman—who goes by Stewart—documented how his Chuck E. Cheese uses a floppy disk to load the character shows. Stewart shows the floppy disk, which reads “Evergreen Show 2023" and loads it into the dusty computer looming over him. After a few moments of bleeps, bloops, and flashing lights, Stewart pans to the monitor attached to the computer tower, which spits out lines of seemingly gibberish code in black-and-white.

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“You can see it’s loading everything,” Stewart says. As the code scrolls down the screen, Stewart explains: “Those are all the dances you see, [the computer] is getting all the information.”

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It’s 2023, and the floppy disk feels like a relic of a bygone era of tech, accompanied by the VHS tape or the Walkman, but Stewart’s workflow is an example of how the floppy disk just won’t die. As Wired points out, most of the parties that still use floppy disks are either small businesses or companies that haven’t updated their equipment due to it simply being too expensive.

In Stewart’s video, he says that his Chuck E. Cheese branch is getting a facelift in the near future, and that this is the last floppy disk he’ll ever have to load as the company does away with the format—likely in favor of DVDs or a completely digital file system. Chuck E. Cheese announced in 2017 that it was planning on completely ridding itself of the creepy robot mice and ducks that put it on the map—and inspired the incredibly popular horror video game Five Nights of Freddy’s—to focus on video-based entertainment and *gasp!* humans in mascot suits.

Chuck E. Cheese did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment on what its new file system will look like for its animatronic shows, or why it has waited so long to transition away from floppy disks.