A Little Piece Of Personal Gaming History

If I've been reminded of one thing this weekend, it's that video game treasure doesn't always have to be in-game. Sometimes being a gamer results in me rediscovering treasure troves of my own. I last experienced this just over a year ago, when I stumbled across a box containing all my old Game Boy games. Something similar happened to me yesterday, although just saying that doesn't really do it justice - what I found was much older, and therefore much more exciting for me...

As some of you may know, I recently moved away from my University flat and back home with my parents. Obviously, that's resulted in my room becoming a little... cluttered with stuff. So now that my bedroom looks like the last three years of my life condensed into a jumble sale, I've got a lot of work to do - going through all the stuff I accumulated at Uni, deciding what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. The situation is aggravated further by the fact that while I've been away, the rest of my family has used my room as a dumping ground for all the things they can't find space for - a sort of halfway house for their boxes of miscellaneous tat. The result is a bedroom that just barely serves its main purpose. So over the couple of weeks I've vowed to re-organise not just all my University stuff, but everything in my room. Whatever isn't mine will get moved out, and whatever is mine I'll have to decide whether to hold on to or throw away.

I began this process yesterday evening, by going through a couple of very dusty cardboard boxes that must have been sitting under my computer desk for the best part of five years. Most of the stuff in there was the kind of things you'd expect a sixteen-year-old to have boxed up in an attempt to forget about - mainly old school exercise books, failed half-penned writing projects, and hand-written copies of sections from online FAQs (my family could just about afford internet five years ago, but a printer was considered too much of a luxury). I had a lot of fun digging through all this stuff, flicking through my old exercise books and reading some of my misguided teenage writings. When I came to the bottom of the box, though, I froze. Sitting in a corner of the box was an old PlayStation memory card. I recognised it immediately as mine - one of those unofficial ones that could hold more than the standard fifteen save blocks, a cool translucent red in colour, complete which a digital display to illustrate which 'section' of the memory card you were using.

I was astounded. I hadn't seen this little piece of plastic in around seven years, and now here it was, staring up at me from the bottom of this dusty old box of school stuff. I fished it out, dusted it off, and then began to wonder... No. There's no way this thing would work. There's a crack in the display, and besides, it's unoffical - it probably has some kind of cheap internal battery that died years ago. Even despite these protests from the logical side of my brain, I couldn't resist. My PlayStation 2 is currently set up for playing Dark Chronicle, but I remembered that this card, being unofficial, isn't recognised by PS2s. So I headed over to my writing desk (which for reasons unknown has doubled up as a console retirement home for as long as I can remember) and picked up a dusty old original PlayStation. I dusted it off, switched cables with the PS2, popped in the memory card and powered up the ancient machine. It sluggishly roared into life, showing the Sony Computer Entertainment logo before giving way to a funky-looking dashboard interface. The memory card's cracked display momentarily showed a 'J', then a simple '1'. It was working. I opened up the Memory Card Viewer. Section 1 of the card was blank, but when I flipped over to Section 2, several icons flashed up onto the screen. Not only was it working - there were game saves on it.

I spent the next couple of hours glued to the PS1, exploring all the old saves that this memory card still stored, searching through my collection for the respective games, and loading up these long-forgotten episodes of my early gaming life for the first time in almost eight years. Among the most interesting of these saves was a tentative foray into the original Gran Turismo's Career mode, featuring a garage loaded with what I must have thought at the time were incredible cars, significant progression in classic platformers such as Spyro: Year of the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, and a number of Final Fantasy save games, each with varying degrees of progression. Most of these were little more than a few hours from the start of their respective games, but one in particular stood out for me - a Final Fantasy IX save, time-stamped at nearly 72 hours of play-time. Curious, I fished out the final disc of FFIX and slipped it into the PS1. Loading up the save put me on the cusp of the game's final moments. I scrolled through the menu screens in disbelief. All of the characters had been named after old schoolmates, many of whom I've since lost touch with. My primary party (Zidane, Vivi, Dagger and Steiner) all had their levels in the mid-70s, and they had all learned almost all their abilities. Looking at all the equipment I'd amassed, all the effort I'd put in, brought back vivid memories of all the time I spent with the game and how much fun I had with it. It wasn't just an old game save - it was a sort of personal history lesson.

It's things like this that have me actually looking forward to the prospect of re-organising my bedroom. It's going to be a lengthy process, but if every day is going to turn up little treasures in the way that yesterday did, it's going to be a joy to do. That being said, though, I think anything else is going to have a hard time beating that rush I got from finding my old game saves. Thanks very much for reading, guys. I'll see you around.

Dan

---

Currently playing - Dark Chronicle (PS2)

14 Comments
15 Comments
Posted by dankempster

If I've been reminded of one thing this weekend, it's that video game treasure doesn't always have to be in-game. Sometimes being a gamer results in me rediscovering treasure troves of my own. I last experienced this just over a year ago, when I stumbled across a box containing all my old Game Boy games. Something similar happened to me yesterday, although just saying that doesn't really do it justice - what I found was much older, and therefore much more exciting for me...

As some of you may know, I recently moved away from my University flat and back home with my parents. Obviously, that's resulted in my room becoming a little... cluttered with stuff. So now that my bedroom looks like the last three years of my life condensed into a jumble sale, I've got a lot of work to do - going through all the stuff I accumulated at Uni, deciding what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. The situation is aggravated further by the fact that while I've been away, the rest of my family has used my room as a dumping ground for all the things they can't find space for - a sort of halfway house for their boxes of miscellaneous tat. The result is a bedroom that just barely serves its main purpose. So over the couple of weeks I've vowed to re-organise not just all my University stuff, but everything in my room. Whatever isn't mine will get moved out, and whatever is mine I'll have to decide whether to hold on to or throw away.

I began this process yesterday evening, by going through a couple of very dusty cardboard boxes that must have been sitting under my computer desk for the best part of five years. Most of the stuff in there was the kind of things you'd expect a sixteen-year-old to have boxed up in an attempt to forget about - mainly old school exercise books, failed half-penned writing projects, and hand-written copies of sections from online FAQs (my family could just about afford internet five years ago, but a printer was considered too much of a luxury). I had a lot of fun digging through all this stuff, flicking through my old exercise books and reading some of my misguided teenage writings. When I came to the bottom of the box, though, I froze. Sitting in a corner of the box was an old PlayStation memory card. I recognised it immediately as mine - one of those unofficial ones that could hold more than the standard fifteen save blocks, a cool translucent red in colour, complete which a digital display to illustrate which 'section' of the memory card you were using.

I was astounded. I hadn't seen this little piece of plastic in around seven years, and now here it was, staring up at me from the bottom of this dusty old box of school stuff. I fished it out, dusted it off, and then began to wonder... No. There's no way this thing would work. There's a crack in the display, and besides, it's unoffical - it probably has some kind of cheap internal battery that died years ago. Even despite these protests from the logical side of my brain, I couldn't resist. My PlayStation 2 is currently set up for playing Dark Chronicle, but I remembered that this card, being unofficial, isn't recognised by PS2s. So I headed over to my writing desk (which for reasons unknown has doubled up as a console retirement home for as long as I can remember) and picked up a dusty old original PlayStation. I dusted it off, switched cables with the PS2, popped in the memory card and powered up the ancient machine. It sluggishly roared into life, showing the Sony Computer Entertainment logo before giving way to a funky-looking dashboard interface. The memory card's cracked display momentarily showed a 'J', then a simple '1'. It was working. I opened up the Memory Card Viewer. Section 1 of the card was blank, but when I flipped over to Section 2, several icons flashed up onto the screen. Not only was it working - there were game saves on it.

I spent the next couple of hours glued to the PS1, exploring all the old saves that this memory card still stored, searching through my collection for the respective games, and loading up these long-forgotten episodes of my early gaming life for the first time in almost eight years. Among the most interesting of these saves was a tentative foray into the original Gran Turismo's Career mode, featuring a garage loaded with what I must have thought at the time were incredible cars, significant progression in classic platformers such as Spyro: Year of the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, and a number of Final Fantasy save games, each with varying degrees of progression. Most of these were little more than a few hours from the start of their respective games, but one in particular stood out for me - a Final Fantasy IX save, time-stamped at nearly 72 hours of play-time. Curious, I fished out the final disc of FFIX and slipped it into the PS1. Loading up the save put me on the cusp of the game's final moments. I scrolled through the menu screens in disbelief. All of the characters had been named after old schoolmates, many of whom I've since lost touch with. My primary party (Zidane, Vivi, Dagger and Steiner) all had their levels in the mid-70s, and they had all learned almost all their abilities. Looking at all the equipment I'd amassed, all the effort I'd put in, brought back vivid memories of all the time I spent with the game and how much fun I had with it. It wasn't just an old game save - it was a sort of personal history lesson.

It's things like this that have me actually looking forward to the prospect of re-organising my bedroom. It's going to be a lengthy process, but if every day is going to turn up little treasures in the way that yesterday did, it's going to be a joy to do. That being said, though, I think anything else is going to have a hard time beating that rush I got from finding my old game saves. Thanks very much for reading, guys. I'll see you around.

Dan

---

Currently playing - Dark Chronicle (PS2)

Posted by Red12b
Gran Turismo's Career mode, featuring a garage loaded with what I must have thought at the time were incredible cars 
 
What cars were saved?  
Mitsi GTO? that was my 700-900hp war horse, fuck I loved that game
Posted by Red12b

All of the characters had been named after old schoolmates, many of whom I've since lost touch with 
 
 
I did that with some games as well, ha, 
 
Most of my saves were on my old PC though, and that's been thrown out... I still have my PS1 in my room, I don't think I have the memory cards that I had with that machine though, I do have my PS2 cards and machine hooked up to my old tv 
 
goddamn, Nostalgia is a bitch eh? 

Posted by dankempster

@Red12b: My GT garage was abysmal. I had two Nissan Silvias (a Ks and a Qs, I believe), a Toyota Supra, a Honda CR-X del Sol, and some kind of Mazda MX-5. A quick scan through all the menus revealed that I'd finished the B and A licences, and done the Sunday Cup and Clubman Cup (probably multiple times each). I was not very good at racing sims when I was thirteen, I guess.

Posted by JBird

If you can write an interesting blog about 1 cardboard box, in what seems like a mine of the things then i really look forward to hearing the rest of the stories you'll find as your organise! 

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I love when finds like this happen. I found a near-decade old PS2 memory card about a year ago, and was thoroughly excited because it contained saves for various games I love to this day (like your aforementioned "Dark Chronicle" - fall in line with us Americans, Brit, because it's Dark Cloud 2 and everything we Americans do is right!). I set it on the edge of my nightstand, thinking I'd play through some PS2 classics. Big mistake. You see, at that point, I had two very lovable pugs. They were (are, in one's case - the other passed away, unfortunately) great dogs, but immensely in love with chewing on everything I owned. I reckon they got that from me and my love of stuffing my face. Anyways, in went the memory card, out came a chewed up plastic shell. In my dogs' defense though, it did look appealingly like a cracker. Or something.

I have Final Fantasy VII-IX saved on my PSP, and I fully intend on playing through at least VIII and IX. I think I've played VII enough for now, though I'm sure I'll revisit it at some point in the next few years, as is my way. I had started a playthrough of IX on my PS3, but it fell by the wayside at some point.

Moderator
Posted by Claude

Great story. It's amazing how much we forget over time. But when it hits perfect, those memories come flooding back.

Posted by JJWeatherman

That was really fun to read. I hope to have a similar experience one day. :P

I'm tweeting this, btw. I want more people to read it. :D

Posted by Mento

Very relatable blog. I've recently had to move a lot of stuff around to fit a new bed inside this pokey room, so I've been uncovering a whole load of older gaming paraphernalia I was storing in out the way places. As one of those gamers who (perhaps obsessively) catalogues what they have, though, I didn't quite get that rush of rediscovery. Still, some fond memories came bubbling up to the surface while perusing some of it.

Also Dark Chronicle is awesome, hope you're enjoying it.

@JJWeatherman: This is how I found this, in case you were worried people ignoring the things you tweet. And why would you think that? Have more self-esteem, duder.

Moderator
Posted by JJWeatherman

@Mento said:

@JJWeatherman: This is how I found this, in case you were worried people ignoring the things you tweet. And why would you think that? Have more self-esteem, duder.

Wait, whaaat? D:

Did I say that somewhere? I'm so confused...

Posted by Mento

@JJWeatherman: I made a facetious inference for the purposes of comedy. But really I'm just acknowledging that your link is what got me here, since you're a dude of these parts and I'm like the least connected community starlet ever.

I dunno man, it's super hot today and I'm not thinking straight. You're all wonderful people, Giant Bomb. Never change. Have a great summer.

Moderator
Posted by JJWeatherman

@Mento said:

@JJWeatherman: I made a facetious inference for the purposes of comedy. But really I'm just acknowledging that your link is what got me here, since you're a dude of these parts and I'm like the least connected community starlet ever.

I dunno man, it's super hot today and I'm not thinking straight. You're all wonderful people, Giant Bomb. Never change. Have a great summer.

Good god, you've gone mad. Must be all that Happy Hour marathoning. Speaking of that, I just watched that Creeper Cam Happy Hour. Man, that was, uhh, yeah...

But now we're just getting off topic.

Posted by BulletproofMonk

This stuff is always fun to read. I just found my old copy Medal of Honor: Rising Sun a few days ago. I remember spending countless hours with my friend just playing team deathmatches in the local co-op mode.  So much fun.
 
I could probably never go back to it, though. Has not aged very well at all. 

Posted by Asmo917

Aww, man, this just made me a little bit sad. I was just back "home" this past weekend after moving out after college (or Uni) 8 years ago. Realistically, it's been 12 years since I lived there. I was back home for a wedding and had the most AMAZING time with a group of friends that is otherwise scatted throughout the US and gets together way to rarely.

But I forgot to raid my bedroom for my old GameBoy games. I have a few here with me in DC, but I was looking for one in paticular that doesn't have a wiki page here, and I wanted to play it to gather everything I need to create that entry...

Glad the OP had a great experience - hope I get to try to recreate it in a few months.