When the thought of a videogame can bring you back to a specific time and place, you can say that it’s been saved to your “Memory Card”. In this column, we take a look at these saved states and the games that take us back.
It was early 2001. The GameCube and Xbox were still looming just over the horizon, but the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 were in full swing—meanwhile, I was playing Super Nintendo games, listening to They Might Be Giants, and trying not to freeze.
Followers of the ongoing saga of my youth may be able to guess that I was back in Wellsville. My grandfather’s health had suddenly deteriorated and we had to rush back to New York shortly after my 15th birthday. After my memory card wiped out my save near the end of Xenogears, I’d sworn off PlayStation games for the time and decided to grab my SNES instead, along with a few CDs and a couple VHS tapes.
And there I sat, alone with the silence in my cramped room. There’s something unnerving about listening to music when the world around you is perfectly still, and there’s only so many times a person can watch Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. It was up to my games to help keep my mind off anything going on downstairs.
While I know I must have brought a few different titles, the only game I remember playing that winter was Lufia II. In a small town in the middle of winter, there really isn’t much for a young teen to do. I would play for hours every single day, taking breaks mostly just for meals with my family.
Even after beating the game, I kept playing. I got to the 99th floor in the Ancient Cave, the procedurally-generated pseudo-roguelike dungeon, and made it through the glitchy room to beat the giant slime. I won enough coins in the Casino to get all the items. I found all the Dragon Eggs. Twice. After that I just got tired of dealing with the Egg Dragon.
Some days we would go shopping. I picked up Lynyrd Skynyrd’s greatest hits to go next to Boston’s. We’d get some snacks and Mellow Yellows because they were on sale over Mountain Dew. But, that was my life for about a month—being cold, drinking Mellow Yellow, listening to music, and playing Lufia II.
My mom eventually realized that things weren’t going very well and decided to send me back to Florida, and I wasn’t able to take my Super Nintendo with me on the flight back by myself. What started there ended there, and I’ll always associate Rise of the Sinistrals with that one winter.