Memories on Memory Cards

I guess it’s about time I came clean.

I’ve been writing about games from my past here for nearly three years now. This is officially my three hundredth post and probably a good two thirds of these three hundred posts have been specifically drawn from my gray matter. Or…that’s what I’ve been conveying anyway. But the truth is that maybe only half of the games (most of those being either very current games or those from the Atari to the N64 eras) that I’ve talked about have come strictly from my memory. The rest have come from…

…okay look, you can do this…just like we practiced… … ::inhale::

memory cards.

::and exhale::

That’s right. While I’d love to be able to say that I have the magical capacity to spew forth any and all gaming knowledge at the drop of a hat, it simply isn’t true. For some games, sure, the memories are solid; but for most, the memories are fleeting, fading. For games that didn’t become hardwired into my subconscious, I turned first and foremost to my collection of memory cards. Sure, watching videos and seeing pictures on the Internet is great, but what has helped me the most is seeing save data because it places games very concretely in a discrete moment in my past. Having that exact date of when I last played a game has been an invaluable tool, as it was the only way I could have written a number of posts. And as I’m getting to the end of long-past games from my game list, using save data to jolt my recall ability has been happening more and more.

The collection of memory cards that I have are from the Playstation 1, the Playstation 2, and the Gamecube. We still have a working Gamecube and a semi-working PS2, and up until a couple years ago we also had a PS1. The PS1 card didn’t contain much outside of FFVII and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night data, so I’ve been mostly concerned with the PS2 and Gamecube. (It helps that the Wii reads Gamecube cards as well.)

So here’s the part where I finally start talking about a game, namely, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003).

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time cover art © Ubisoft, Nintendo
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time cover art © Ubisoft, Nintendo

When I wrote up my game list that kicked this whole blogging shebang into high gear, I first listed all the games that jumped to my mind immediately. In and among the Marios and Metroids were the Prince of Persia games from the early 2000s, The Sands of Time and The Warrior Within. Though I thought both games were memorable, apparently they didn’t make as much of an impression as I had thought. Seeing Warrior Within save data was the only thing that helped spark its own post. Doing a follow up post on The Sands of Time then seemed obvious but…I didn’t have any save data from the game. At the time I remember being a little baffled (as in, why no save data?), but those confused thoughts only got caught up in holiday madness, so I soon forgot all about doing a post on anything having to do with sand and time.

Fast forward to this past Labor Day weekend –I’m cleaning up the house in a post-weekend party haze. As I’m roaming around clearing plastic cups from odd shelves, my foot catches on one of our boxes of gaming accessories – controllers, batteries, manuals, and memory cards. I’m not sure how it ended up on the floor, but I started looking through it to make sure that nothing walked away, perhaps, in the little hands of visiting children. When I start thumbing through the memory cards, my mind turns to blogging. I should really come up with a game to to write about, I think blearily. My gaze ends up on the nearby Wii, and I decided to take another gander through the Gamecube cards. I turn on the system, pop in the cards, and head to the appropriate screens. It’s fun watching all the little icons turn about in their little squares as I flip through each one. But I find nothing inspiring…except… I sit for a minute on The Warrior Within square and I think about my games list and the few games that I’ve yet to cross off it.

One of those games is The Sands of Time, which I know, just know, I played. I remember so clearly…it was the summer of 2006. I was at the Blockbuster looking for movies to rent and I walked through the game section because it was right there by the door. A used copy of The Sands of Time catches my eye. My brain hearkens back to The Warrior Within, which I never completed but had fun with nevertheless. Without much hesitation, I decide to forgo the movies and just buy the game. I remember so clearly the scratched cover with the big “USED” sticker. I remember looking at the scratches on the disc itself wondering if it would even play. But most of all, I remember playing the game because I really, really, enjoyed the mechanics of the “Sands of Time.” Having the ability to rewind several seconds of gameplay was just so novel and was really helpful at certain points. My brainwaves are completely sure that I really did, in fact, play this game.

This looks familiar enough, but does it really? Damn you second guesses!

But…could it be that I just think I did? Because neither of my Gamecube cards contain The Sands of Time save data, so I have no actually proof. (I had to check again this morning just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, but sure enough…nothing.) Maybe it was erased? Yeah, that’s crossed my mind, but considering the plethora of games represented on my cards, I’m not sure why I or anyone else would have specifically erased The Sands of Time. The more I stared at the save data, the weaker I became in my assertion that I had, in reality, played the game.

Is my mind playing tricks on me? Quite possibly, maybe.

As I sit here trying to figure out how to end this very rambly post, all that comes to mind is that I should probably play Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I mean, it is a Prince of Persia game, which means there’s lots of running and jumping and dangling from ledges.  Fun times! And I liked The Warrior Within enough. (Okay, so not well enough, but enough.) So maybe I’d like The Sands of Time too, if I haven’t already.

4 thoughts on “Memories on Memory Cards”

  1. I don’t think I played the last one in those realistic looking Prince of Persia games, but I really enjoyed the more recent one with the more artsy graphics almost as much as I enjoyed The Sands of Time. It’s such a shame that the series more or less burnt out. I’d love a freerunning Metroidvania/open world GTA-style version if they ever want to give us a new one!

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    1. Would that have been The Fallen King? (artsy graphics?)

      Also, a totally big, huge YES to a PoP game in the styles you mentioned! And it wouldn’t necessarily have to be 3D or have realistic graphics. A throwback to the old-school PoP would be seriously awesome.

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  2. I miss the era of going to Blockbuster to rent games. It was always a fun time. I also missed out on Sands of Time. Would love an update if you end it up playing it again (or for the first time, whichever it may be – hopefully you can smooth out that wrinkle in your brain 😀 )

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    1. Will do, if I ever get to it. 🙂 (After writing this post, I was more sure than ever that I had played the game, but a replay of it certainly wouldn’t hurt!)

      While I like Gamefly well enough, there was something great about walking into an actual video store and walking out with a video game. If you ever got a game that didn’t work, you’d just return it to the store — no filing an online report, no waiting a week for a new game. Simpler times, indeed.

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