So my primary gaming platform is my xbox 360. It’s served me well over the last two years, I’ve never had the red rings, and it’s only frozen on me twice. The one gripe I have about it is the hard drive. I got mine way back when the 360 only came in the 20 GB variety. I could upgrade to bigger drives, but Microsoft is notorious with marking up their hardware, as well as making sure on first party or licensed third party develops can produce the hardware.
So I was excited when I heard a few months ago that Microsoft would allow any usb flash drive to function as a memory stick, but limit storage to 16 GB. This is good news becuase the licensed xbox memory cards and flash drives are embarrassingly overpriced.
Recently I picked up an 8 GB drive for around 20 bucks and got cracking. I was able to move some things around and get 6 gigs of game saves off my hard drive and on to the stick. It was mainly my Left 4 Dead 2 dlc and all 4 gigs of my Mass Effect saves.
Then came the kick in the nuts.
I’m still not sure why, but now it’s all gone. I did have a power outage recently that could have wiped the flash drive (It went from having 2 gigs of free space, to an un-configured, empty flash drive).
The good news is that most of that space was DLC, stuff I can re download free of charge. The real bad news? I had roughly 120 hours worth of game play in Mass Effect 2 alone that is all gonzo. Now if I had lost my Halo, or Call of Duty saves, that’s one thing, those games run about 6-10 hours in single player and anything multiplayer related is tied to my gamer card. That means it doesn’t matter in I lose my saves, as long as my account isn’t deactivated.
But you might be thinking, I’ve already played the game, enjoyed it, why do I need the saves? Well the Mass Effect series is unique in the gaming world for how well they tie sequels together. My decisions (like who lives and dies, and how I played the game are tracked and carried over to the next game. And the developers, Bioware have made a considerable effort to make those decisions feel like they matter.
So now that we can start geeking out over Mass Effect 3, I am reminded that the 4, well developed and unique Commander Sheppards that I had, are dead. Actually, it’s worse than that, they never existed.
If there is a silver lining to all this, it’s that I will have a chance to play though the whole game will all of the story focused DLC in one go. I mean I did go back and replay some characters half way through when new content was released, but I really haven’t done a full playthrough with all the DLC together.
The other redeeming factor is that Mass Effect is an almost infinitely re-playable game. I’m going into my 5th playthrough and I am realizing that there are things I’ve never done in this game yet.
I also have a little more of an idea of what kinds of things I want my Sheppard to deal with in the next game. So I’ve been making careful choices in the game, but also importing specific save files from Mass Effect 1 so I have an idea of what I can expect to see in the series’ conclusion.
So I’m giving thanks for the great work Bioware has put into their games, and hoping that in the future I keep my important game data on somehting more secure than a flash drive.