Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memor32.. great Playstation 2 Accessory!

So still holding onto that Playstation 2? Smart! Between its rather impressive graphics, and huge library (still more new titles being added all the time.. Guitar Hero Metallica, anyone?) and easy of use it is still a formidable opponent in the video game market. But one thing that gets to a lot of hardcore gamers with this console is a common complaint: an 8 Megabyte Memory Card. Now don't get me wrong, there are some nice third-party cards out there that have a little more storage bang-for-your-buck, but unlike some of the newer consoles, like the Nintendo Wii, there is no way to back up your saves and even email them for bragging rights. That ended a little while ago with the advent of a new player on the market: The Memor32.

Now i didn't misspell that name, and it seems to stick in the mind as it rolls off the tongue. But what makes this one the more special of the higher-capacity cards out there with its 32 megabyte capacity? One useful feature is the fact that it has a mini-usb port built-in so one can port over their older saves (including that high score on Guitar Hero III or that certain speedrun). Now when i had gotten mine in the mail it came with only the card itself as well as a mini-usb cable. There was no software with it, but anyone with access to the internet and Google can find the software within minutes. After a search i found the software ( http://www.memor32.com/downloads.php ) and using the card was simple enough out of the box (so to speak). All i had to do was power-on the PS2 with only the Card plugged in (no game) and access the browser. A quick format later, and i was in business. But to connect the card to offload the files with the software provided by Memor32 (because you need drivers for your computer to interface with the card), go to http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/CDM/CDM%202.04.16%20WHQL%20Certified.zip if you are like me and use Windows Vista (works for XP as well). http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm gives a complete listing of all OS that are supported by the Memor32 (don't worry, Linux and OSX are supported as well).

So anyone that may have googled their way into this article may have asked how to get this card to do its greatest magic trick, which is to play backups. Now before i tell you all this i must say this little disclaimer: I do not condone or endorse the downloading or ripping of discs without the ownership of the disc (thats why they are called backups).

now with that out of the way here is your "shopping list" for this feat:

1.Nero or other disc image burning program(.iso, .bin, .nrg)

2.Blank DVD-R (i used Fuji brand)

3.computer capable of burning dvds

4.The Memento Firmware ( http://www.mementoteam.com/ )

5.Winrar (Google it!)
6.The game you want to back up (my more-than-mildly and much-loved copy of Katamari Damacy was a good choice, as all the Pledge and toothpaste scratch-fixing was starting to not work)

7.Playstation 2 (Of course!)

So first you want to rip the disc. Open Nero Smartstart, then select the Backup catagory, then select Copy DVD. This will bring up Nero Express. Now under Destination Drive, select Image Recorder, as this will make the program create an image file (in the NRG format). Then simply click Copy, name the image file (I named mine KD for Katamary Damacy and saved it to my desktop for easy of use). Then just let'er rip! When this is done, simply place a blank disc (DVD-R, remember and try not to cheap out on this.. the bargain brand will not be as good). Now go to the Memento Site and proceed to the Free Download section, and click the appropriate firmware (i suggest the 1.2 Beta as the accompanying software is compatible with the NRG format of image file). After the download, uncompress the files to a folder with the name and location of your choosing (again the Desktop was a good choice). Then take your formatted card and connect via USB and then open the MementoFW.exe program, click Update, let it do it's work, then click OK when it notifies you that it is complete, then Exit.

The final step has to be done right, or your Backup will not load properly (took me three burns to realize this). You have to patch this image file! This is simply done in the following manner:

1.In the same folder as the firmware updater, there is a program called MementoDiscPatcher0.9e.

2.Run this and click Patch ISO image (don't worry it supports NRG).

3.Select the image file you created, then click Open. The patching process is only a few seconds in duration.

4.When this is done, double-click the image file, but make sure not to ignore this one crucial step: do not burn this disc at top speed! If you have a disc and burner that can run at 16X, step the burn speed down to 8X. No matter what others say about the 'burning at low speed method' , lower speeds will benefit you because it will ensure that the image will burn correctly and will not lose any data.

When this is done and the computer spits out your disc, simply load it into your PS2 (with the Memor32 in Slot1) and power it up. You will see a Memento logo in white against a black background, then your game will load easily!

This is also a good sloution to anyone that was wanting their PS2 Slimline (like mine) play Backups but could not find a way to Mod it and didn't want to crack it open or make a simple mistake and brick their PS2. Doing this will also not violate the warranty of the PS2, as you do not alter the system itself. But i do not take any responsiblity for anyone using this to play blantantly-pirated games and violating, Federal and/or International Copyright Laws. There, I said it! So don't email me about torrent sites, or anything less than lawful. I don't want to be in the same position as those poor guys at The Pirate Bay).

For anyone that was curious about a related and similar card named VAST . Now i have investigated this a bit, as i came across this first before finding out about the Memor32. I am getting conflicting reports that this project is dead, a hoax, still in beta, etc. I have no answers to when and if this card exists or will be released, but all i can say is that the Memor32 can be bought online (got mine at http://www.memor32.ca).

Next time i will be telling about the infamous Twilight Princess hack for the Wii, another solderless (softmod) way of playing backups (my copy of WarioWare Smooth Moves was rather abused and i was addicted like a 7 year old to pixie sticks with that game), as well as ROMs from various systems, and even Sega Saturn Games (in case you have your old games but your console bit the dust). But more about that next time. And remember people, don't let Tech intimidate you!

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