Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sony Playstation 2 Memory Card 2-Pack (PS2)

Rating: 5 out of 5
Pros: Reliable cards that have sufficient space for an average gamer
Cons: Could have more storage, some third-party cards have 4x or 6x the room

A memory card is all but required for any Playstation 2 game since the Playstation 2 did not have a built in hard drive for storing game saves or data. Following the same general design of the PS1 memory cards, the PS2 cards are about 2.25" long, 1.75" wide, 0.25" tall and weigh 0.4 ounces. They're fairly durable -- mine have held up fine to being dropped, thrown and stepped on. You can plug in two of these cards at once, one directly above each of the the controller ports on the front of the PS2. Memory cards for the PS2 are much faster than memory cards for the original Playstation, they're MagicGate encrypted and they hold a lot more data as well.
Official PS2 memory cards hold 8MB of data each, which is usually adequate for playing a few games at a time. Every game uses a different amount of space to save its data; some may only take a few kilobytes, while others can take multiple megabytes. This means that how many games you are able to save on a card varies depending on which games you are playing. One card may store 5 game saves, while another may store 30. To help save space, PS2 memory cards only use as much space as they need for the save. Conversely, original Playstation cards stored their data in blocks -- which meant if your save took up 1.001 blocks of space, then it was going to use 2 full blocks on your card regardless.
Being made by Sony, these cards are pretty reliable. I've had mine for many years and they're still in perfect working condition, while one of the three third-party memory cards I own has failed and another likes to erase itself every so often for no apparent reason. Sure, two of my third-party cards hold 16MB and the other holds 32MB, but the extra space is pointless if you can't use it. For this reason alone I recommend getting the higher quality Sony brand memory cards. These days you can easily find a two pack like this for $20, which is less than half of what I paid for these many years ago.
Another thing I really like about this set is that it comes with two different colored semi-transparent cards, one in Crimson Red and the other in Island Blue. When we originally purchased these, my girlfriend and I were both playing PS2 games and it was really nice to have different colored cards so that we could tell them apart at a glance. They still have the 0.75" tall flat spot on the face of each card like the flat black cards, where you can place a label to identify the card in case you have multiples of the same color that you want to tell apart. Entirely different colored cards is just way easier to distinguish at a glance, and is much appreciated.

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