PlayStation 3 Hands-On: Memory Card Adapter
Back on launch day, our first order of business was to test out the PS3's vaunted backwards compatibility, and we were most pleased with the results. As of now, we've tested over 35 PS2 and 20 PS1 games, and we've found zero noticeable issues. FF VII has that weird little black box on the cursor in the first Mako Reactor battle, but that's about it.
But we really weren't able to fully test the b/c functionality until today. After all, what's the point of making thousands of titles backwards compatible if you can't transfer your accumulated progress over to the PS3? If you've got a big library of PS1 and/or PS2 games, chances are, you've got a bunch of game saves you don't want to lose. Therefore, Sony has provided us with the Memory Card Adapter, a simple accessory that handles the issue quickly and effectively.
We've been trying to locate one for the past week, but most stores only had extra Sixaxis controllers and nothing else in the way of PS3 accessories. Finally, we found one at a local EB today. The unit is a reasonable $14.99 and consists of one small black box that is quite self-explanatory: the memory card goes in one end, and the USB cord (packaged with the PS3 for use with the Sixaxis) plugs into the other end. After that, it's just a matter of making the data transfer.
Once in place, the memory card pops up under Game Data, and when you select it, the system asks if you'd like to copy all save files over to the PS3 hard drive. Just hit "Yes," and wait a few moments. It took about 30 seconds to transfer a full PS1 memory card and about 2 minutes to transfer a full PS2 memory card. You just create an internal memory card to hold the data (described in the feature linked above), and that's it. You're done.
If you'd like to play an old PS1 or PS2 game and access the transferred data, make sure the internal memory card in question is assigned to Slot 1, and pop in the game. The system treats everything like you have that memory card in a "slot," so there's nothing to worry about. We tested this with our transferred save data of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts II for the PS1, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and We Love Katamari for the PS2. We specifically selected games that auto-load (GTA: VC) and games that have you select the file and load the traditional way (FFT).
Just like our initial b/c testing, our efforts tonight were successful. Everything works nicely. We easily transferred three full PS1 and two full PS2 memory cards in the span of only 10 minutes or so, and the games and transferred data operated flawlessly. We relaxed a lot after this, because it was the second major issue regarding the system's backwards compatibility, and this little unit completed the PS3/s b/c program without any trouble.
Now, when we transferred PS2 memory cards, we'd get an added message upon successfully moving the data from card to drive. It said, "Copy-protected files were not copied." We had heard whispers about old data that doesn't transfer, but in this case, we transferred about 35 PS2 files and 25 PS1 files, and all copied over. Therefore, we have a theory: the data that doesn't transfer might be from those same games that don't quite work as well on the PS3.
Those 200 PS2 and PS1 titles that have issues on the PS3 have been well documented, even though we have yet to find a game that doesn't work on Sony's new machine. But as we said in our Report Card regarding backwards compatibility, those 200 are likely obscure titles that few gamers would actually own. If our theory is correct, and those games have the same data that won't transfer to the hard drive, than that might make some sense... Then again, the two issues might not be related at all.
But we can only go by our own testing, and we're happy to report that the "A" we awarded to the b/c program of the PS3 can remain fully intact. The memory card adpater is a straightforward winner, and a necessity for those of you looking to transfer old save data to the PS3 hard drive.
11/28/2006 Ben Dutka