A while back, I got into retro game collecting, and I noticed that PS1
and Dreamcast games (this was near the end of the PS2 generation) were
much harder to find in shops than N64 cartridges. This is because the
lacquer used on CDs breaks down. The aluminum data layer then oxidizes
and becomes unreadable. Time for this process? About ten years. So PS1
discs are rapidly decaying and failing all at once.
Of course, that console didn’t have that instantaneous “feel” that the
older machines did anyway.
Meanwhile, cartridges last basically forever as long as you don’t
short them out. I collected a decent-sized pile of N64 games, and
every cart but one that I bought worked perfectly. And that one just
needed the leads cleaned.
The non-cartridge consoles also break down much, much sooner. Non-moving parts = much, much longer life span.