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Playing Sonic Adventure 2 With a Broken Memory Card

It’s always a nostalgic treat to brush the dust off of your old Gamecube, turn it on, and play games from your childhood. It is not a nostalgic treat to see “Corrupted” on your save file, rendering it useless and unplayable unless deleted. Such is the case when you have a broken memory card, and when you can’t save, there’s only one option: never turn your console off. (Yes, I could just buy a new memory card, but that’s too simple)

The year was 1969, plus like 49 years, and it was the summer before my senior year of college. For the first time, I was actually home during the summer, working a food service job to save money to go abroad. Since customers can be entitled brats, it’s nice to come home at the end of the day and take out your frustrations by pretending in-game enemies are your customers so you can destroy them extra hard.

Slightly violent and concerning rant aside, at the end of the day all I wanted to do was play video games, and I only own a Wii and a Gamecube. That day I decided I didn’t want to deal with motion controls nor the walk downstairs to my basement, so I went across the hall to the console I keep upstairs: my Gamecube. I only had about 4 gamecube games left (3 since I seemed to have misplaced my copy of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door,) and decided that I would play Sonic Adventure 2. I plugged in the Gamecube, slid in the comically-small disk of a game, turned it on, and was greeted by, “Your Memory card is damaged, your files may be corrupted.” Lo and behold, they were, and all my save progress from years and years ago was unusable.

Photo Courtesy of SEGA

I would say I was floored, crushed, inconsolable, but that seems over dramatic and what I have also learned to be called “dishonest.” I was upset and pissed, but I figured the game was still playable. It was, and it still let me save throughout. So I played through Hero Story, saved the game, shut off my Gamecube, grabbed dinner, and thought nothing of it. When I came back after, I was greeted by the same message as before, meaning all my hard work was now lost to a faulty piece of plastic and metal.

This time, oh boy, I was slightly more pissed off. I wanted to see if this was a problem across all games so I put in The Thousand Year Door, which I found in a drawer and have since misplaced again (if anyone wants to send me a copy please do, they’re so expensive off of Amazon.) I was greeted by the same message. I then put in Sonic Heroes and was surprised to find it unaffected. I put back in Sonic Adventure 2 and was greeted by the same message again even though I had no file this time.

I needed a plan to make sure I could beat the game without losing my progress. I could’ve speedrun it, but that required practice, and if the game wouldn’t save, I couldn’t ever get good enough. I could’ve bought a new memory card, but I didn’t know when I was going to make it to GameStop, and ordering online would take a few days, plus money. 

I knew what I had to do: make my parents’ electric bill go up a little bit.

I started playing again, and when I got to a stopping point, I hit pause and just left the console on. I went to bed, and still left it on. In the morning, my day off, I was greeted with the beautiful sight of the pause menu still up, my game left in the exact place I stopped. Wahoo! I unpaused and continued to make a blue hedgehog and his edgy rival run around the world.

I beat Hero Story. I beat Dark Story. I unlocked and beat Last Story. And I stopped the Space Colony Ark from killing everyone on Earth (you’re welcome). I did something that millions of gamers had done since 2001 when the game came out.

So, why was I so interested in beating this game? When I was a kid, I had beaten both of the main stories, but when I got to Last Story, I couldn’t get past the part with Knuckles, because you needed the Air Necklace. You’re supposed to get it in Aquatic Mine, but I beat the level without it, because I didn’t realize there were OPTIONAL power-ups in the game that would be needed later. In 2006 or 7 when I was actively playing it, the internet was not as vast as it is today, meaning any walkthroughs were long and tedious text websites, and Youtube tutorials were bad or took forever to load on a dialup connection.

This meant, and I’m admitting this to the world, that it wasn’t until 2018 that I had actually beaten Sonic Adventure 2, and I had to do it with a broken memory card.

I will not say this is my proudest achievement, but I will say that if it’s not engraved in my tombstone I will come back to haunt people.

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