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Memory Cards by the Pizza Delivery Guy

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 Memory Cards

One of my best friends, Jeremy, is a serious gamer. If there is a game for PS2, he’s played it. His collection was so large it took up his entire basement. Wading through all his things one day, we both realized that there was a game that both of us hadn’t played before. It didn’t have any labeling anywhere on it. I was excited to see what the game was like, but Jeremy wanted the moment to be recorded. His memory cards for the PS2 had been maxed out. Each and every one of them had no room for the game’s save file. Jeremy, being the way he is, wasn’t going to play the game without his progress being saved, and there was no way he’d delete an old file. So we had to set out and find a memory card for the game. There wasn’t any place in town that still sold PS2 memory cards, but as it happened there was a kid whose family was having a yard sale that very same day that had a PS2. Out of desperation we set off for the garage sale.

It was a run of the mill garage sale, from clothes to nick-knacks and everything in between. There was a pile of games the kid was willing to give up and score a couple of bucks off of, but all of them both me and Jeremy already owned. We were nearly off the property when the kid stopped us and offered to give us one of his memory cards. Just goes to show how much we paid attention to our original goals, as that part of the mission completely phased us when we had gotten there. We accepted the offer graciously. The kid told us one last thing: There was a corrupted save file on the card and he couldn’t do anything to get rid of it. We still took it and headed for Jeremy’s home.

Immediately we started the system, but when the kid mentioned the corrupt file, it struck Jeremy to check out how large the file was. So we checked out what was on the memory card. It was nearly empty, only containing save files for Need for Speed: Most Wanted, NFL 2005, Kingdom Hearts II, and the corrupted file, which all in all only took up about 1,000 kilobytes on the 8MB card. Curiosity got to the best of Jeremy, and he wanted to see how far the kid had gotten through the games, kind of like an “evaluation” of the kid’s “gaming skills.” Jeremy was really hardcore about these things.

So first we checked out NFS Most Wanted. Jeremy popped the disk in and the game began to load. All the titles and intros played out just fine. It wasn’t until profile select came up did anything unusual occur. The game read the memory cards and found nothing. At least that’s what the game said: “No profiles found.” We were both confused. Jeremy reset the console and went back to the memory card screen. It said right there: “NFS Most Wanted.” There was a save file on that card. Jeremy started the game again. When profile select came up, there still was no file. I told him we should just move on to the game that brought us to this point, but Jeremy was determined to beat the system. He grabbed one of his memory cards and deleted a save file. I sat there shaking my head in utter pity for the poor guy’s weakness to challenge. He copied the kid’s save file onto his memory card. I watched as NFS Most Wanted booted up, still amazed he made our efforts to get that memory card pointless. The profile screen popped up, and I’ll admit I had my doubts, but this time the save file came up! There it was: Wilson – 43% complete. Jeremy could have been done with his evaluation at that point, but he pressed forward, into the save file. The game played perfectly normal. I paced around the basement, around all the games, staring right into that unknown one as Jeremy screwed around in NFS.

Eventually he quit the game, looking almost satisfied. I asked him if we could get to the new game now, and he told me he wanted to check the other game files as well. I sighed as he dug out a dusty copy of Madden NFL 2005. The game booted up, past the EA Sports shout, past the loading screens, and into profile select again. The game searched “Wilson’s” memory card, and once again read nothing. Jeremy immediately deleted another save file off of his memory card, and I sat dumbfounded at his absurdity. So he booted up NFL again, and to neither of our surprise, the game read the file now. Jeremy once again began to goof off, completely dismissing our original plan to get the memory card and play the mysterious game. Jeremy miraculously ended NFL. I was still anxious for the unknown game. Jeremy once again said: No, let’s check out his Kingdom Hearts save! I was about ready to leave him to have his fun when he said he’d only check how far the kid had gotten. I humored him, what was another fifteen minutes of my life wasted that day?

He didn’t even try to see if the original memory card would work, he instantly copied the save onto his card, once again to the roll of my eyes. The game booted up normally, loading screens… but when Jeremy pressed start and the game searched for a save file… there was nothing. The game found no files. Both Jeremy and I were taken by surprise by this. Jeremy quickly checked to see if it was his memory card being read. It was.

Jeremy tried to check the saves on Kingdom Hearts II again. Still nothing. It didn’t get to him though, he shrugged it off and said: Alright, let’s check out this new game. We inserted the disk, the game booted up.

It was only Gran Turismo 3. Jeremy had about 5 of those already.

We were both disappointed, but it was getting dark and I told Jeremy I had to go. Jeremy stopped me and asked if I wanted to play a quick round of Tony Hawk Vs. I agreed, it wasn’t too late yet. So Jeremy got the game ready and he adjusted the memory cards. The game booted up fine… but when it looked for a save file, it found nothing. I had a shiver travel through my spine when I saw this. Jeremy labeled his memory cards. He knew that Tony Hawk was on that memory card. So we tried a different game. This time we tried DragonBall Z. The game started fine, but when it searched for the save file, nothing again. Jeremy was enraged. He tried at least twenty games in the next eight or so minutes, not a single game file showed for him.

I deducted that there must have been some sort of virus on the kid’s memory card that attached itself to the console, infecting all the memory cards Jeremy inserted. It really took to Jeremy hard. He had spent nine years of his life getting through all these games, and now had no way to prove it. He didn’t talk to me much until about a week later.

We met up at the kid that we bought the infected memory card from’s house. When we demanded an answer to the entire thing. His parents, in that way that most parents view their kid’s ludicrous ideas, told us that the kid’s goal was to become the greatest gamer on the planet. This obviously meant taking out the competition. Jeremy promised me that day that he would get revenge on that kid someday.

The kid and his family moved away shortly after of course, but I’m certain that Jeremy hasn’t forgotten his promise. I know I haven’t. The day Jeremy lost all that data I saw another side of him, an uncertain side. I haven’t seen that side again since he told me that promise.

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