I recently listened to the latest Game On Girl short, where Rhonda discusses the loss of her Mass Effect 3 save data and the death of her avatar Smokey Shepard by a PS3 malfunction. It left her dispirited, and she’s trying to figure out what exactly she’s going to do next in terms of a Mass Effect replay. While listening, I remembered I’ve had a few similar situations happen to me. Not all of them were original characters, but that doesn’t make the heartbreak of losing hours and hours of playtime any less powerful.
Skies of Arcadia (DC)
Reason I Couldn’t Go On: Disc Loading Errors on Disc 2
Time Lost: Approx. 50 hours
Yes, Skies of Arcadia, one of my favorite games of all time, pulled a nasty trick on me. Sega accidentally manufactured several of their Dreamcast SoA discs (the second one in particular) with a small film stuck to the bottom. At some point, the film would mess up the ability to read the disc correctly, making it impossible to proceed without some drastic measures. A solution I’ve heard is to dip the disc in boiling water for a second or so, then pull it out and see if you can peel off the film. If it comes off, and you didn’t cook the disc for too long, it ought to work perfectly. However, I didn’t really feel like doing that myself. I was afraid it wouldn’t work! Vyse, Aika, Fina and company are by no means mine, but I bonded with them so much that they felt like they were good friends that I had to separate from involuntarily. I left a game I was adoring aside for a year or two until the Gamecube director’s cut came out, which I did beat. Another 60 or so hours had to go into it, but luckily I found Skies to be absolutely worth it.
Reason I Couldn’t Go On: Afraid of a PS3 Malfunction/Death
Approx. Hours Lost: 120 or so
Man, Skyrim was such a gutwrenching decision to sell. I regret it to this day! Alas, I just can’t justify keeping a game that can corrupt my console. The more Grace and I played Skyrim, the weirder its programming seemed to fall apart from the seams. The patches fixed some issues yet created whole new problems arguably worse than before. When we both gave up on our characters, we could maybe play the game for 5 to 10 minutes at a time before it froze or sputtered to the point of being unplayable. Now, both of us put in dozens upon dozens of hours into our individual quests. I had developed Karah anew from Morrowind, adapting her descendant into her own and discovering new ideas on how to further craft her Black Blood original. When I play an Elder Scrolls game, I take on a mentality of the character, and try to live as them. Make decisions they would make, not what I would make, and so on. Abandoning her was a horrible necessity to keep my PS3 safe. I am praying Bethesda fixes the issues and gets a GotY edition out soon, because I want to return to the world and continue taking Karah in new directions.
Final Fantasy (NES)
Reason I Couldn’t Go On: Cartridge Save Battery Formatted
Hours Lost: Probably 30
This was the very first experience of losing save data I had. I was about 14 or so when I finally got Final Fantasy for the NES, so I wanted to give the progenitor to the mighty franchise a playthrough. While the characters were templates and I couldn’t alter them at all, I gave their blank slates mild personalities so that I could relate to them a little better. I marched my way all the way through the game over a couple of weeks, knocking on Chaos’ door. I lost the fight, but I knew I could give him his comeuppance next time, so I shut off the NES and went off to do something else. The next time I turned the game on…the save was MIA. I don’t know if I failed to hold Reset when I shut it off or if the battery simply died, but my progress was erased either way. To be honest, I’ve never touched the game again. I sold it off out of frustration a few years back (yet I don’t remember doing that…). I may buy the game on the Virtual Console. At least that way I can back it up!
Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
Reason I Couldn’t Go On: Accidental Save Overwrite by Grace
Approx. Hours Lost: 60 or 70?
It happens to us all at some point, I have to imagine. It’s so easy to overlook what save slot you’re using, write over something you didn’t mean to, and then realize the mistake the next time you start it up. Well, when you’re in a relationship with someone who also likes games, that chance doubles. I’ve done it to Grace with Persona 4, she did it to me with Red Dead Redemption. Both of us had made considerable progress in our respective games. I don’t know how Grace feels about P4, since she did beat it from an earlier save of mine, but RDR still hurts me. I had done everything save beat one or two side quests and beat the game with John. I did all the ambient quests, I earned the majority of the game’s goodies, and I had the thrill of seeing the entire scope of the game’s wide country and knew it well. Alas, Grace mistakenly wrote over my file, and I was grounded back to square one. It’s a massive game, and to properly conquer it again would be such a commitment that I haven’t felt like trying again yet. John may not be my character, but he acted the way I wanted him to, and losing him stung. It still does.
Pool of Radiance (C64)
Reason I Couldn’t Go On: Accidental Formatting of a Key Gameplay Disc
Hours Lost: 30 or more
Pool of Radiance, along with The Bard’s Tale games, gave me my first taste of Western RPG philosophies, and I devoted a lot of time into throwing my pre-Black Blood designs into them. I learned a lot about gameplay design from them both! Unfortunately, I made a fatal error of judgment regarding Pool of Radiance. I had finally gotten a decent party together, and was making the most progress in the Slums that I had yet accomplished. The game had several discs of data to pull its wealth of gaming from, and often asked to switch them around to continue doing something. Well, somehow or another I pulled out a key disc without realizing that the disc drive was still reading it, and the disc became corrupted. Being ignorant of what formatting exactly meant, I attempted to do that when prompted, which made that disc useless. My questing had to cease in Pool of Radiance, and it was a big loss for me. I tried to get back into it through a PC compilation, but it sped up the combat so much that it wasn’t the same game for me. *sigh*
The Bard’s Tale (series)
Reason I Couldn’t Go On: The Commodore 64 died
Hours Lost: In total, 40+ Hours
Black Blood owes everything to The Bard’s Tale. It’s where my crazy idea of a fantasy-based universe came from. I really enjoyed the games, finding the latter two more intriguing. I spent a lot of time fiddling around with my party, recruiting a couple of high level allies from the prior owner’s character discs, and having them teach my rookies the ropes. I never got very far. Alas, my Commodore 64 kicked the bucket in 2005, not long after I moved to our current living establishment. I still have the discs as mementos, but I doubt I’ll ever revisit the worlds of Skara Brae and The Realm any time soon.
So, those are a sampling of some of my losses in gaming. Have any of you experienced anything as drastic as Rhonda or I? Feel free to comment!