It finally happened. My Saturn memory card died... again. Years and years ago, after running the Saturn's internal memory completely empty, I picked up a card. Not the expensive, official card from Sega, but another that seemed like a good deal in comparison. This one had twice the memory, and more importantly, was about $20 cheaper. That's right; it's the good old Interact Memory Card Plus.
It would bite me in the ass several times.
So, the card worked fine for a couple of years. Despite recent claims that games will not allow direct saving to this particular card, it worked for me. Every once in a while, the card would take a restart to load, but excluding the annoying boot sequence (where the card loads an official Sega screen and then pops to the CD player) things were okay.
And then the card died. It hadn't been removed from my Saturn in a long time. It just stopped working. No more weird boot sequence. No more pressing a button for a game to load. No more saves. Friends with the same card had very similar experiences, all within two to four years.
Supposedly, the card damaged the Saturn's cartridge slots with its sharp edges and extra thickness. Supposedly, it was just crap.
It stayed that way for about four years. Randomly, one day I turn the Saturn on, and there it is - that annoying boot sequence is back. What? It can't be. The card started working again, apparently for no reason at all. There they were. My six year old saves were back in action. After losing them all, I'd gained them all back.
I took advantage of the working card and one of its undocumented abilities - I brought back some imports from my studies abroad. The card loaded the imports without a hitch.
That is, until now. Even in proper working condition, the card was hit-or-miss. Sometimes it didn't read. Sometimes it would randomly lock things up. Things had been getting worse lately for my Saturn, and I knew the card was the problem.
Then it happened again: no boot screen. Occasionally, I could get my card to read. So, before I lost all of my saves again, I wanted to copy them from the internal memory over to the card. To my luck, everything locked up during the copy. I reset the system and now, even though it still lists the data, everything has some crazy funky characters listed around it.
I'm pretty sure I've finally managed to destroy any functional data on the card. Now, it's only good as an import device, but then only when it decides to half-way function.
Now, I'm doing what I should have all along. Official Sega memory card, here I come.