A Deleted Game Save
I downloaded a Game Boy Color emulator on my phone a while ago. The only game I have really been playing is Dragon Warrior Monster 2, which is the sequel to my favorite childhood game.
Like any good RPG, it takes dozens of hours to complete, but since it was on my phone, it was easy to put in a little time here, a little there, and before you knew it, I was the majority of the way through the game. The game is similar to Pokemon in that you go out and collect monsters and use them in combat. My team of monsters was decent for the point I was at in the game, even if I still wasn’t quite at the end. I had somewhere around 20 or so hours of gametime, if I recall correctly. I then started getting really busy with other things, and I found myself just not having time for the game anymore, so I simply stopped playing for a few months and took a short hiatus.
I then wanted to play my game again about a week ago. I started the emulator, started the game, and then when I went to continue my game, the save I was prompted to load only had 5 hours of gametime, and a very old team. Essentially, it seems that my save had reverted to a previous version, and I had no idea why.
I tried to investigate what the cause, and potential solution, was, but nothing came out. I made reddit posts asking for advice. I even contacted the developer who just gave me a really lazy and unhelpful reply. I tried using 5 or so different data recovery programs to find old saves that hadn’t been overwritten yet, but there was no such luck.
As best I can figure out, it seems that My OldBoy! (the name of the emulator) stores the game save files in the same folder as the game file itself… while it is still on the internal SD card. At one point (apparently when I had about 5 hours of gametime), I decided to move everything over to my external SD card. I deleted the old stuff off the internal card, and I thought things would continue fine. However, it appears that while the emulator will load the save file from the same folder as the game on an SD card just fine, it refuses to save to the external SD card, and it saves the new game files on the internal memory in the program folders for the emulator. That means that all subsequent saves were still being saved on the internal card, and not on the external SD card where I moved everything. That would have been OK if it would have stayed there. The part that baffles me is that that data just disappeared. Luckily I had made a “backup” on my external card at the 5 hour mark, but I definitely never went in an deleted any .sav files after my initial migration, after which I played for at least another dozen hours or so. The best that I can think of is that either through a My GameBoy! Update, or when my phone upgraded from Android 5 to 6, that somehow got deleted, deleting my progress.
I don’t usually lose much progress on RPG games, with the last significant loss I can remember being back when I played Final Fantasy VIII, and I was right before the final boss, and my friend overwrote my file. That game was much more linear though, so while I lost more total hours, it was easy, although time consuming, to get back to the point that I was originally at. On the other hand, I had worked on my team in Dragon Warrior Monsters 2, training my monsters and breeding them to get them to the strength that they were at when I temporarily stopped playing. I had planned out breeding lines and skill progression, and I tried to get monsters that had stats that complemented their roles (like having my healer have high magic and defense). I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to see that all my progress was lost.
I had invested dozens of hours into that save, and now they were gone. While it obviously cannot compare to having a real pet(s), these were more or less unique monsters with their exact skills, behaviors, and stats that I had worked on and raised them with, and their existence had been wiped away in some baffling mistake. The monsters that I had, and had worked on, had actually existed at one point, and while they weren’t ever going to interact with anyone else but with me, it is sad to know that I will never see the monsters that I had raised again.
The emulator luckily has a fast forward function, so I started working on getting back to where I was before at 2x speed, but it will never be the same. I will catch different monsters, with different skills. They will be bred differently, and the monsters that I end up with will never be like the team that I had before. There were procedurally generated keys (that open portals to procedurally generated worlds) that I had that will be different. It’s like I went back in a time machine, and due to a butterfly effect, the entire course of future has been altered (at least within this game), and while I could long for the way that it was in another timeline, that is… well… not in the past, but still lost. It’s not like there is even a memorial or anything of my old team of monsters. They were just bits of data, and they are just gone. Simply erased from this universe except for the memories that I alone have in my head.
The only way I can properly carry on their memory is to focus on an even better team, and beat the game with my new team, but I will still miss the old companions I had, and I will just have to continue with what I had, and now have again.