The Memory Card

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Mar 11, 2008

Filed under: Personal 77 comments

It’s Saturday night. We’ve finished our weekly D&D game, and have decided not to squander the evening rhythmically tapping the “Stumble” button as we did last weekend. That is, we decide to find some productive way to waste time.

I’ve been meaning to play Final Fantasy VI, and I even have vocational justifications for doing so. The (still unannounced on this site) project I’m involved with is a Nintendo DS title that is descended from the FFVI visual aesthetic. Imagine if, instead of moving to polygons, the makers of jRPGs had simply continued to refine the established gameplay and presentation. We’re talking about something that looks like some sort of “high res” Super NES level graphics here, as if it came from some alternate dimension where technology advanced along a different vector. In any case, the game I’m going to be working on draws from the same chibi-style fixed-angle orthographic presentation concept, and so to avoid making an ass of myself I really should familiarize myself with the medium.

The other three guys with me have all been through the game multiple times and are excited about the prospect of me experiencing the game for the first time. So much so that they’re actually anxious to sit and watch me play the game. I have the Final Fantasy Anthology (which includes FFVI) for the Playstation(null), which I plan to play on my Playstation 2. Except, my memory card doesn’t seem to be working.

We try the usual folk remedies: Blowing on the contacts, moving it to the other slot, and muttering various childish expletives at the thing. Surprisingly, none of this works. Not even the cussing. Eventually one of the guys gets around to noticing that I’m using a PS2 memory card on a PS(null) game, which, not that anyone ever told me, doesn’t work. How was I supposed to know? I’m new to all this old technology! I usually just plug the thing into the other thing and it it does whatever its supposed to do! Why can’t it just use the PS2 memory card? This last question has apparently been an imponderable among PS2 owners since the arrival of the platform eight years ago.

So it’s eight in the evening and we need an old-school PS memory card. Oh yeah. We’re in the midst of a snowstorm. Still, this is important and clearly an endeavor worth risking our lives over. We pile into the car and head for EB Games at the mall.

EB Games doesn’t have any Playstation(null) stuff. Apparently customer demand is such that we now need to dedicate an entire wall of the store to Halo, like a shrine to some pagan god of incoherent stupidity, but we can’t spare a couple of cubic centimeters for the diminutive PS memory card. We didn’t risk our lives in this storm to just go home empty. We now have a collective need to partake of FFVI. Clearly the only rational course of action is to risk our lives some more. Off to Gamestop.

Now, it doesn’t really make any sense to go to Gamestop. It’s run by the same company as EB Games as part of some corporate branding shell-game that probably looks fantastic on paper but makes no rational sense to the consumer. If one doesn’t carry Playstation goods, the other is going to have the same policy. This is like asking a guy if he’s Irish, and when he says “no” you ask his brother.

It continues to snow as we drive all the way to the other side of town. I’m pretty sure even the guys who drive the snow plows and salt trucks have given up and gone home to play with their XBox 360’s, leaving the four of us to slide all over town on this ridiculous quest.

Gamestop is similarly bereft of original Playstation hardware. Oh sure, you can buy used games for the platform, but you can’t buy any of the stuff required to put those ancient disks to use. I wonder if they have thought this through?

The last place to check is Wal-Mart. On the upside, they are in the same plaza as Gamestop. On the downside, getting over there and parking might quickly turn into an impromptu game of bumper cars in this great field of snow on ice on slush on asphalt.

Once inside, the brilliant white light illuminates the vast rows of consumer goods stretching off to the horizon. This is one of those “super” Wal-Marts that contains other, smaller outlets within its cavernous volume. Restaurants, pharmacy, photo development. In between these anchor stores they have everything imaginable, from running shoes to scented candles to tater tots. I wonder how long it will take them to realize that if they put up a few walls they will have come full circle: The place would be a mall.

Final Fantasy 6
And anyway, they don’t really have everything imaginable, because we imagined they would have PS memory cards and they don’t. Oh sure, we could buy rabbit ear antennae for a TV or a cassette player – both technologies that pre-date the Playstation by decades, but nowhere in this echoing expanse could anyone find a place to hang an item the size of a saltine.

This is stupid. I need a card to store 16Kb of data. An amount of data so miniscule it would not be big enough to contain even the HTML text of the webpage you’re now reading. The brave little Commodore 64, which first appeared a quarter century ago, had four times as much memory. I’ve got a memory card in my phone that is so tiny that the words “2GB Micro SD” printed on it are almost to small to read, yet it has more than a hundred thousand times the space of the thing we’re trying to buy.

We sit in the car and sulk while the savage wind flings snow around and dares us to try going someplace else. Its taunts are pointless: We’re out of stores.

My attention turns to my compatriots. Hey, waitaminute… You guys own this game, don’t you? You’ve played it before? Don’t you have, like, exactly the item we’ve been risking our lives for, probably laying around gathering dust somewhere? It turns out that each of them does indeed have several memory cards, but they are all packed with precious data that cannot be erased, or indeed looked at without first undergoing certain cleansing rituals. Cards that are not full are untrustworthy. For whatever reason, PS memory cards seem to go bad after a time. There is a long conversation where the guys list all of the memory cards they own, what games they have on them, and how awesome they are. Eventually somebody remembers a memory card they loaned to this one guy that one time that probably has some free space available.

We visit The Guy. He’s not home. But his friend is, and is apparently fine with strangers coming in and helping themselves to his anachronistic hardware. My friend presses the prize into my open hand – a 16k memory card. The word “sketchy” has been engraved on the grey plastic cover using some crude tool.

Super. We’ve been at this for two hours, and the fruit of our labor is a sketchy memory card that may or may not be able to recall any of the data entrusted to it.

We get it home without being killed by the weather or other drivers, who are all clearly insane for being out on a night like this to begin with. We crowd into one corner of my office and fire up the game. The memory card works. The good guys win. Cue the Final Fantasy victory music.


From The Archives:

77 thoughts on “The Memory Card

  1. Feylamia says:

    Don’t I know that feeling. :D

  2. Anonymous Botch says:

    I am truly impressed. You have restored my faith in the capability of humans to suceed no matter what, even if the weather is trying to kill you and your mission is a little unecessary, verging on pointless.
    I salute you.

    p.s. Was it worth it?

  3. Matt says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I went through almost the exact same process when I wanted to play Final Fantasy Chronicles, which had FF4 and Chrono Trigger. Nabbed it, found out I needed a memory card, drove everywhere looking for one, only to remember at least 3 of my friends who lived in walking distance owned and still played their old Play Stations.

    High fives all around.

  4. Colin R Lacey says:

    I may be corrected on this, but isn’t the reason no retailers carry the playstation hardware because Sony stopped manufacturing it? I can’t believe there’s a huge market for such things either.

  5. mark says:

    I’d argue fair use, and download zsnes (a snes emulator) and the rom for FF6. (I’ll email you that, if you want)

    I have anthology as well, but prefer playing it on zsnes, because:

    A: the FF5 translation in anthology is terrible, the fan-translated copy i have is far superior. (It gets the meaning across better than the PS1 version, which has a much more literal translation)

    B: I can use znes’s fast forward button to cheat slightly by rushing through random encounters if i ever need to do any grinding before a tough boss.

    C: save anywhere with savestates!

    dont forget D: no ‘sketchy’ memory card needed!

  6. Gahaz says:

    I was so pleased to discover that not only does my PS3 play PS1 and PS2 games, its internal HD acts as a super memory card! Mwa ha ha! But seriously, I have a large collection of PS1-2 software that I love (so many great rpgs!) and have transfered all my old saves from the cards of yesteryear to the much mightier internal HD of the PS3. When I first found out you could do that I actually giggled I was so happy! As was mentioned those old memory cards do have a tendency to go kapoot on ya, and its just as depressing as when you would fire up the original Zelda on your NES to discover the save battery is no longer working right and the 5 hours you poured into it is gone.

  7. scragar says:

    I agree with mark, rom and emulator deffinatly, nothing quite as bad as having to sit through a cut scene twice because you lost to a boss for something as silly as casting cure on the wrong target, with flashsaves(or whatever you want to call them) you just make a new save right after the cut scene and save yourself an effort.

  8. Gahaz says:

    But seeing as Square is still in buisness, and the FF name is still viable and not abandoned, I’m sure you people suggesting getting roms also own a copy of the game?

    Careful what you advertise on a man’s blog, more-so if its only quasi-legal.

  9. Deoxy says:

    That particular Final Fantasy title (it was sold as “IV” on the SNES, just for bonus confusion) is generally considered among the best games ever made, so yes, it is worth going back and playing. It has minigames bigger and better than some full “games” that were being sold at the time!

    That brings back memories… I hope you enjoy it.

    (And seriously, why didn’t one of them offer one of their own memory cards to begin with?!? Sorry to say, but your friends are idiots.)

    As to legality of ROMs, well, he has the game in his possession at this very moment; if that doesn’t cover it, well, the legal system is even more supremely asinine than even I thought (which is saying quite a lot).

  10. Lebkin says:

    The “reason” you need a PS1 memory card is that they are formatted differently than PS2 ones. The PS1 is setup in “blocks” (128 KB=15 blocks). The PS2 card is setup in standard Megabytes (standard card is 8MB). Now, why the PS2 couldn’t convert some of a 8MB card to blocks, I don’t know. It seemed like it would be a good idea. All it did for me was cause me to rarely buy PS1 games to play on my PS2.

  11. Chilango2 says:

    Apropos of nothing, Shamus, I thought this post would interest you:

  12. mark says:

    actually, deoxys, the sequence outside of japan was:
    (no FF3 because it never left japan (til it came to nintendo DS))
    FF4 (released as “FF2”)
    (no FF5 because it never left japan (til it came to PS1))
    FF6 (released as “FF3”)

    FF7 to 12 have been numbered normally everywhere.

  13. Phlux says:

    I had a tough time finding a PSone memory card when I bought a copy of FFVII a couple years ago to play on my PS2. I had exact the same reaction regarding the PS2 memory card not working with PS1 titles. It’s pretty asinine.

    Best bet for finding a non-sketchy memory card is to buy a memory card (probably third party) branded as PSOne, which will have been made after Sony re-released the PSX in a slimmer, cheaper format. These came out sometime around the PS2 release, so they’re a few years newer and most mom and pop used game stores have some. If you don’t have one of those…I guess ebay.

  14. Pederson says:

    Suggestions: FFVI was released a little while back on DS. I own a copy for SNES (that game was awesome when I was in high school), for PlayStation, and GBA, I think, but I’d have to spend some time to track any one of them down–I moved about 8 months ago, and stuff is still packed, plus I’m a terrible housekeeper in the first place. While I’m not sure if it’s my favorite entry in the FF series any longer (I thought FFXII was excellent), it’s the one I’ve played and replayed the most by far.

    Given that I have owned at least one legitimate copy of the game at any given time since it was released, I’ve never felt terribly bad about playing through it using a SNES emulator on my PC, and did that once or twice during college. (The wrinkle to this suggestion is that you possess a copy of the PSX port, not the SNES port.) I’ve never gotten around to cracking open the Playstation port, but I’m given to understand that it loads the menus off the disc, which adds some noticeable lag. If that’s so, ZSNES plus USB gamepad may actually provide a superior experience (my memory suggests that sound in ZSNES, especially with the opening of that game, is pretty mediocre, though). If you’ve got a GBA or GameCube with GBA player, that would probably be best.

    Man. Now I want to play FFVI again.

  15. Shinjin says:

    This story reminds me of Release Day for the first Baldur’s Gate. My friend and I hadn’t pre-ordered it, but suddenly decided that we had to get it. We called around town, but no stores had it. So we widened our search to nearby cities with the same result. Naturally we just continued to increase the distance we were willing to travel to get it.

    We finally found a store with extra copies that was a 90 minute drive away. So off we went. 3+ hours later we were back. We installed it which took awhile since it was on 5 CDS (this was one of the earlier games available on DVD, not like either of us had one).

    If memory serves, this was also through a storm, but can’t remember if it was snow or rain. Certainly not as bad as the one Shamus went through.

    Of course, neither of us actually completed the game…

  16. Nilus says:

    “Now, it doesn't really make any sense to go to Gamestop. It's run by the same company as EB Games as part of some corporate branding shell-game that probably looks fantastic on paper but makes no rational sense to the consumer.”

    Actually the reason they have different names makes perfect sense. They are a really cheap corporation. When Babbages bought Funcoland it took the company almost 8 years before they remodeled all there stores and renamed them(to Gamestop). Gamestop and EBGames have only been merged for about 3 years. From what I here from the guys working in the stores is that there inventory and POS systems haven’t even been integrated into the same system yet. So it was potential possible that you could have got a PS memory card at one and not the other.

    What doesn’t make any sense to me is I know of at least two malls in my area that have both Gamestops and EBGames in them. Does being in competition with yourself really help your sales any.

  17. Strangeite says:

    Wal-Mart. There was this one time in my days of youthful indiscretion when I was fairly buzzed but felt the need to walk to Wal-Mart for something.

    As I approached, the only thing I could think of was that it appeared as “The Florescent Fortress”. I turned around and went home, not daring to try and breach its defenses. To this day Wal-Mart is called The Florescent Fortress in this household.

  18. Roxysteve says:

    But…I thought the point of a console was to stop diddling around with hardware just to get games to work.

    Just before Xmas I pulled out a box literally filled with old NES (8 bit, no new-fangled Super-NES) games. My daughter spotted “Final Fantasy” and asked what number it was.


    “Yes. What number Final Fantasy is this?”

    “They don’t put numbers on the first game sweetheart. When that one was made no-one had thoughts of a franchise.”

    “This is Final Fantasy ONE???!!!

    “I suppose you could think of it like that.”

    “You have Final Fantasy ONE???”

    “Yep. Right there in your hand.”

    “Dad, you are awesome!”

    Waited 14 years to hear that.


  19. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Ok I just want to say that I do not appreciate being called an idiot. I’m also going to clear this up a little more then what Shamus may have. We all had ps1 memory cards that were either too far to drive or packed away somewhere that would take too long to try and dig out. If you hadn’t noticed we had to go get one we owned from a friend that had borrowed it at an earlier time. Also could you have thought that maybe Shamus had wanted to buy one for himself so he did not have to worry about borrowing and returning afterwards? So please do not go around calling people idiots.

  20. Binks says:

    Oddly enough I’ve seen Gamestops carrying stuff EB doesn’t, and visa versa. I live within 5 miles of 4 gamestops and an EB games (which is within walking distance of a gamestop, mind you) and all of them seem to carry different stuff, the furthest focused on XBox, the one in the mall on pure console stuff (with the occasional 5 year old pc game thrown in for good measure, at full price of course), the EB focuses on never having anything I want (why I keep going there is unknown, even to me), and the gamestop by me seems to have everything the others have that I could possibly want, and then some (but carries almost no used games). So there is some rationality behind going to a different gamestop, or an EB games, to try and find something.

  21. krellen says:

    I think I have a spare PS1 memory card from when I bought my PS2 and a bunch of old games several years back. I could donate it to the cause, Shamus.

  22. Vyolynce says:

    Suggestions: FFVI was released a little while back on DS.

    It was actually released on the GBA, which for most intents and purposes is still being “released on the DS”. But still, I’m glad somebody mentioned this. The entire time I was reading this story, I was asking myself “why didn’t they just grab the recent re-release?” You wouldn’t have had to put up with memory cards, load times, or tacked-on prerendered cut scenes (that are completely in opposition the inspiration to play the game in the first place); the trade off is that your buddies coudln’t watch you play, unless you were using the GameCube’s GBA Player.

    I bought it for my wife when it was released, as she had never played it; she played FF4 via emulator some time previously, and I felt she might as well experience the apex of the series (IMO). Since she was still in the middle of playing something (I believe Pokemon Pearl), I fired up the cart for a nostalgic run-through (now with a better translation): It was pure bliss, even over a decade after its initial release.

    Of course, that was nearly a year ago now. Coincidentally, the wife has JUST STARTED playing it this week, after FINALLY getting her act together enough to finish Pokemon. >_<

  23. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    You tell’em Mighty Bogan, now cast Knights of the Round on him and finish this battle royal

  24. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Krellen when you say donate do you mean give us free crap. cuz I’ll *cough* ahem I mean shamus will take it.

  25. Jeff says:

    Wow, your tolerance exceeds mine by quite a lot.

    Two tries at buying a game is when I give up and pirate it.

    I do have a copy of this FF on the DS, but I never did beat it. Mainly due to the unskippable cutscenes. It’s really, really, really, really annoying. Unskippable victory animations, unskippable spells, OI. Maybe I’ll try to get ahold of an emulator version… one with Fast Forward features.

  26. Vegedus says:

    Oh man, am I glad you succeded in your quest. While it’s mostly due to nostalgia, Final Fantasy VI is my favourite game, ever.

    Also, I’d like to note that it’s not like there aren’t pretty 2D games these days.

  27. Alex says:

    Heh, it’s neat to hear you talk about your super-secret project, Shamey. I too am working on a game that I want to look like a progression from the SNES jrpg days. Not that I don’t love the 3D era with all of it’s shiny polygons and such. But I adore the look of the SNES days and am glad whenever indie-game projects try to develop a look along those lines.

    I also hear about the wonders of FFVI all of the time, yet have never successfully finished it. I’ve tried countless times, each attempt edging closer and closer to the finale, but I never make it. Or the files get corrupt somehow, or some other cosmic force prevents me from reaching the final boss. Sometimes I just forget, and it collects dust. Then I return to my last save, and I feel I would be too “lost” with this party of highly trained characters built with strategies I am no longer privy to. So I start over.

    Circle of life, I guess.

    As for FFVI, if you have a Gameboy Advance or DS, you could probably have saved yourself a lot of trouble in exchange for slowdown, inferior music quality and the same Ted Woolsey translation from the 90’s.

    But then, we’re not animals.

  28. Zukhramm says:

    Reminds me of the time a couple of years ago I borrowed two friends’s Playstation. “Great” I thought “I’ve allways wanted to play Final Fantasy VII”.

    Soon, we realized, they had no working memory cards. Well, “I’ll just play without one, and never lose. And then I’ll keep looking for a memory card so I hopefully could start saving later on.” was my idea. Could have worked, though I would probably be very angry if I lost halfway though the game.

    However, my card quest ended there. Just after the first second, the game froze. I restarted it, and it froze, at the same spot. The disc was the scrtchiest thing I had ever seen.

  29. Patriarch917 says:

    HALO is best gam 4 evar and ur retarded i u dont leik it.

  30. Dreamshadow says:

    Just so people know (and for Shamus’ friends as well) you can store PS1 saves on a PS2 memory card, if you use the memory manager screen to copy the files. This means you only need to do a few seconds maintenance before booting up the game to have your PS1 card ready to go. This is how I keep my Carnage Heart saves handy when I want to play FF:Anthology, Chrono Cross, or Vagrant Story (Darn CH saves…1 file takes a whole mem card)

  31. Count_Zero says:

    As has already been mentioned, there is a GBA port of Final Fantasy VI already available, though if I recall correctly, the DS version of Final Fantasy VI has not yet been released.

  32. Scott says:

    Ahh… the sketchy memory card…

    SNES carts have the same problem, although a bit more serious. I have a Link to the Past cartridge that, every once and a while, deletes save data if you take it out of the SNES (or sometimes if you touch it!)

  33. Kimari says:

    You know you could just as easily download a PS1 emulator and run that original game on your computer, right?
    I know, I know, blasphemy, pirating is bad! blah blah, but you are still using the damm original game so how is that “pirating”?

    PS: I’m pretty sure more than one user has pointed this out in the 34 previous comments, but I don’t care, I just wanted to share my opinion :)

    EDIT: Holy mother of god on a stick, nobody mentioned this option.

  34. MissusJ says:

    I do hope you enjoy FFVI. We look forward to playing it as a family someday and showing the kids all their namesakes. :)

    I also appreciate your story, though in your place we probably would have called all the stores first, and then gone on a spontaneous road trip to another state to get the Mystical Item From Antiquity. (Seriously, the game was Thousand Arms on PSX/One/(null), and we went to Alabama to get it.)

    “Ok, kids, which direction do you think we should go in the dungeon this time?…..” (Why did I get the frowny triangle???? I’m not frowny!)

  35. EKKM says:

    I once had a smiliar quest for a graphics card that Future Shop had a major sale on. I wasted 1/2 a day to go to 4 different ones before I found it because I didn’t want to wait 2 days to receive an online order.

    No snowstorm but I did drag my wife along.

  36. Phlux says:

    I just wanted to comment real quick that I enjoyed the writing in this post. It has a very kind of humor to it, which I find highly entertaining.

  37. Daktylo says:

    I’m with the PSOne emulator for the PC crowd. I’m not sure how evil using one of those is (but probably a lot, knowing Sony). However, they have to take into account you do have the original. I mean, really now.

    Of course that would also require having a Gravis or similar controller which simulates a PSOne controller as well…

  38. ngthagg says:

    “FF7 to 12 have been numbered normally everywhere.”

    Not quite. FFX-2 anyone?

    If I remember right, FF6 on the GBA is actually not worth picking up, because they re-translated it, and did a poor job of it. But I could just be misremembering.

  39. Shamus says:

    On the using an emulator option:

    We considered this. I’d actually rather run the emulated version, because then you can save anywhere, and I can use my nice big monitor to play the game. I have ePSXe here, and it does run the game. But it seems to have trouble running it smoothly. The game, sound effects, and music speed up and slow down in a way that really detracts for the experience. I fiddled with the options several days ago but never came up with a way to get the game to run evenly.

  40. Shamus says:

    Addition to the above: I don’t want to create the impression that my PC is choking on the game. It moves between running the game just right and running it at double-ish speed.

    If I could figure out how to fix that, I’d be golden.

  41. Vegedus says:

    Why not just run it on a SNES-emulator then? I know from experience emulators for newer consoles, the PS as an example, runs badly, while I’ve never had any trouble with the GBA (which FFVI is also out on) and Super Nintendo emulators.

  42. Cadamar says:

    Truly an epic adventure of sacrifice and heroism worthy of retelling for generations. It’s impressive, you entered a Wal-mart and left untainted. Truly you are a mighty warrior with the purest of hearts.
    (Sorry if this comes off sounding sarcastic. It’s not meant to be…)

    Don’t listen to them about the emulator, Shamus. You must play it on the console to truly experience it as it was intended.

    Roxysteve: Awesome.

  43. Heh, I recall back when I worked at WaldenSoftware (now EB), about a bajillion years ago, that a collection of the Final Fantasy games from 0.01 text beta (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little) up to FFVII for the PC was available for a very brief limited time…
    It may have been part of the promotion thing when FFVII first came out, but my memory is a bit fuzzy that far back…
    Really, who actually actively tries to remember stressful days at work?
    Anyway, I may actually still have that old bit of software, though not sure if it would work on the newer computer hardware and operating systems…
    Anywhozit, regardless, I would not be surprised if a bit of searching on the interwebs would not turn up the pc versions of the various games…
    Not that you need to now that you have cast the Epic Win spell and acquired the coveted One Memory Card to Rule The Mall…

  44. Gahaz says:

    Long named person above me, ha ha ha!

    “Not that you need to now that you have cast the Epic Win spell and acquired the coveted One Memory Card to Rule The Mall…”

    I been thinking the same kinda thing all day! I been waiting for Shamus to put up a new post that resembles a story from H.P. Lovecraft!

    “As I inserted the old and decrepit piece of outdated technology into the proper resting place a cold wind of fear blew into my soul. The saves I have been witness to no man should have unearthed! I do believe I am mad now, yes quite mad. My family has fled our most humble abode upon the very eve of my, shall we say awakening. I have seen the saves of the Old Ones, and I have found no solace….”

  45. Rev Blacky says:

    Hehe, is that a better shorter name for you, Gahaz?
    Yes, I can easily envision Shamus Lovecraftian trials and tribulations, testing the sanity of his readers, his friends and cohorts, and himself, all for the sake of acquiring the fabled Lost Games of Consoles Past…

  46. Deoxy says:

    Kimari, I did SO mention it earlier in the thread!

    Shamus – run an SNES emulator and play it in the original (without the stupid cut scenes). I’ve tried several SNES emulators over the years, and they’ve all been good (and easy on the computer).

    mark – you are absolutely correct of course – it was 3, not 4. I think I’m officially disqualified from the FF uber-geek club. :-(

  47. Gahaz says:

    Addressed to Rev Blacky:

    Soo much better ha ha. I don’t have to put a sentence in to say you were funny!

    And after writing that short couple of sentences of Lovecraft imitation, I feel the need to GM a Cthulu game again. May the Gods look over the poor unfortunate folk that will wander in my blasted landscape, devoid of sanity, wondering forever in the darkness that I create.

    Man, i really am gonna have to start writing up another campaign…maybe a little on the modern side, something about forbidden information on a removable piece of data storage……

  48. Pete Zaitcev says:

    I just have to wonder at Shamus’ location. I live in the middle of nowhere, in a town of 80,000, and we had a local home console game shop for years and years. I went there a year ago and they had an assortment of PS memory cards (I needed one for my PSone). Used ones, of course. Oddly enough, that store is waaay older than the local plastic game shop, which only opened 3 years ago.

  49. Phlux says:

    On the ePSXe emulator: I think there are patch files available for a lot of games. FFVI is pretty popular, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one out there. I think they come in a .ppf format.

  50. wildweasel says:

    Double speed? Sounds like your problem is that the emulator isn’t limiting the frame rate. If you’re using a Petes graphic plugin, make sure it’s set to automatically detect the correct frame rate. If you’re not using a Petes plugin, try the Pe.Op.S Software plugin for the most accurate graphic emulation (including screen-wipe effects, which I recall FFVI had, and don’t work too well in OpenGL under most circumstances).

  51. kanthalion says:

    I’m in Denver, and we have a store here called GameForce that specializes in classic consoles. I recently inherited an N64 and a bunch of games for it from a friend who was moving, but the only connetor it had was the old RF style adapter. I went to GameForce and easily bought an RCA adapter for the N64.

  52. kanthalion says:

    (yes, my TV has an RF in, but it would take more work to pull it out and re hook things that way than to just plug the N64 into the RCA jacks in the front of the tube.)

  53. ArchU says:

    “We get it home without being killed by the weather or other drivers, who are all clearly insane for being out on a night like this to begin with.”
    Including you guys! =p Also, I agree that the PS/PS2 memory card compatibility deal is a very careless move by Sony.

    #5 Mark: I’d have done the same. Clearly a supply issue and facilitating an emulator would solve the problem.

  54. Joshua says:

    I went back and played FF V on an emulator, but I’m not sure how well that would work with FF VI due to Sabin’s martial arts moves. Trying to emulate some moves ripped off Street Fighter games is fairly challenging on a keyboard.

  55. Corsair says:

    Well, the game is worth it. Best JRPG ever releasd, if you ask me. And doing Sabin’s Blitzes on the keyboard is possible, actually. Essentially, left and right take the place of the diagonals. So, Up-right, up, up-left, left, becomes right, up, left, left. You get used to it after a while.

  56. Zaghadka says:

    (*Holds flashlight to chin*)

    …and then we went to the Wal*Mart and…

    (*flashlight goes out*)

    Dammit! You can’t replace the batteries on this iLight! WTF?!


    (A chilling story of planned obsolescence, Shamus. Well told.)

  57. Hal says:

    Honestly, I liked FF4 better than 6. I felt like there were TOO many characters in 6. With so many cast members running around, I never felt like anyone was given more than just surface definition. Then towards the end of the game, the differences between the characters became marginal at best; which weapons or armor you could equip.

    FF9 was a good one, too. I really liked the story on that one.

    Which is not to say FF6 is not a great game. It’s fantastic. Just not my favorite.

  58. Ian says:

    Yeah, that winter storm this past weekend was wonderful, wasn’t it? I was on I-76 (coming from Cranberry, heading toward Ohio) not long after it hit on Friday and had a very “fun” time driving through the debris (though I-680 was far worse — it resembled an ice skating rink more than a freeway). At least I was returning home from work, though, you went out voluntarily. :)

    The PlayStation save situation is really freaking annoying. I skipped the PlayStation and went right for the PS2 and was extremely annoyed when I had to find a PS memory card just to play the older games with. You’d think Sony would have provided a way to emulate a PS memory card using a PS2 one. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a 128KB chunk on my card for my small collection of PS games — it would sure beat having to dig around for my memory card.

    Also, if the memory card that you snagged doesn’t work out, give eBay a shot; there are quite a few matches on there.

  59. Rev Blacky says:

    Gahaz: You really need to find the short story “Pickman’s Modem”…
    It is a fabulous tribute to the Lovecraftian genre for the modern computer geek!

  60. JayBee says:

    It was a blessing and a cruse that FF6 was the first Final Fantasy I ever played – it had plot, a multitude of deep characters (as opposed to the fun but often lonesome adventure of the mysterious protagonist *cough* Link and the Legend of Zelda *cough*)…

    The curse, however, was that I found all the other final fantasy sequels prior to FF7 to be flat and tiresome…my head is still spinning to fathom how the leveling system works in FF8 – I think its something like Oblivion Elder Scrolls…

  61. Lebkin says:

    This reminded me of a great story with my brother-in-law. He was over visiting and I was talking about how much I enjoyed playing Soul Edge. I said that I still have a copy, but no PS1 memory card to save things.

    He then reaches into a pocket and pulls out a PS1 memory card for me to borrow. This pocket also contained a PS2 memory card and a USB flash drive. I commented that all he needs is a floppy disk and he’s set. He replied that the floppy was in his coat pocket. Got to love a well prepared geek.

    Note to Shamus: As an FYI, it doesn’t look like the wavatars are working. People are just the getting generic gravatar images.

  62. Kameron says:

    Yeah, it seems like the plugin just broke. I use it on my site and it’s displaying the generic Gravatar image. Did the location of the image files change?

  63. Takkelmaggot says:

    A good story, that, almost Lileks-esque. I say that as a man who enjoys the Bleat.

  64. Shamus says:

    Takkelmaggot: That is the best compliment ever.

  65. Patrick the Malcontent says:

    Hey dumbass…. just call me and drive the 2 miles to my house and you can have mine. dorks….

  66. Kotenku says:

    As to the emulator troubles, googling the ROM name and “epsxe” and “fix” will generally come up with a support forum or six dedicated to exactly the problem you’re looking for – though personally, when I wanted to get FF7 and Chrono Cross running on epsxe, I just set a FPS ceiling at about 120 and they ran fine after that.

  67. xbolt says:

    I love stories like this… :D

  68. Winter says:

    …and so to avoid making an ass of myself I really should familiarize myself with the medium.

    Yeah, you probably should do that :P

    Anyway, it occurs to me you could pretty much subtitle this “the dangers of proprietary technology”…

  69. hotsauce says:

    You know what that story needs? More Neil Patrick Harris. ;-)

  70. Chris Arndt says:

    I was walking into Best Buy seeking a Soul Edge.

    They replaced the wall rack of Playstation games…. with PSP movies.

    That’s DUMB.

    I’m still mad.

    UMDs with movies printed on them are the dumbest ideas, the most redundant media in all the universe.

    Playstation games are still awesome. Do we still have those? I want Soul Edge! I still don’t have Soul Edge. I ended up using the $15 gift card on a copy of Serenity DVD…. approx two months before they double dipped and the copy is buggy anyway.

    Up yours, Best Buy.

  71. Mark says:

    Sounds like my quest to buy Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney a few months ago. After finishing Trials and Tribulations I was all ZOMG MUST OWN OTHER GAMES NOW, and drove to every Gamestop, department store, and even Toys ‘R Us in the greater Madison area, in the middle of a huge snowstorm, trying to find it. And of course, no joy! I had to resort to Amazon shops to find my copy.

  72. Scourge says:

    Actually do the memory cards of the ps1 still work very very good (I still owe one including 2 memory cards) and they didn’t malfunction on me a single time, and that has to mean something.

  73. AmazingAdrian says:

    If all else fails and you can’t wait for an order over the internet to go through, try browsing pawn shops. They’re the best bet for secondhand obsolete electronics. Though always make sure you inspect whatever you pick up before you buy it, and make sure the place has a return policy for faulty equipment.

  74. Don J says:

    I just have to say – the Final Fantasy Victory music, sung a cappella while rhythmically moving one’s fists up and down, is the best possible response to winning an epic battle and acquiring “teh sw33t l00tz” during a tabletop D&D session.

  75. ct305.aspx says:

    But yes, I have already thought about what it would be like to play with Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta, who I am a fan of.

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