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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?

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Accessories
FINAL SCORES
9.5


 Written by Ilan Mejer  on April 10, 2002

Accessories: Yet another 3rd Party memory card solution? Uh oh?


Time has told its tale; Nintendo's standard for saving games on their GameCube console is not sufficient. The Memory Card 59 (MC59) is inadequate to suit a hardcore gamer's requirements, particularly in light of the fact that Playstation 2 and Xbox owners are currently enjoying an official, 8MB (megabyte) standard. Nintendo's own solution is a 4Mb (megabit) solution, which translates to a piddling 0.5 megabytes. As my calculus teacher is wont to remind us, 0.5MB < 8MB. I would be the last to recommend a third party memory card, due to my horrible experiences in the Nintendo 64 era, which included but were not limited to spontaneous erasures, increased load times, and malfunctioning page-swapping mechanisms. See, the Nintendo 64 was limited to a certain core size of memory card, and third party companies like Nyko, Mad Catz, and Interact overcame this limitation only by combining multiple standard-sized memory cards with a toggle button that allowed you to go from master page to master page. This was an extremely cumbersome method of managing memory, and no company handled it perfectly. In fact, my most successful experience was with a Mad Catz card that had a LCD display telling me which of 16 pages you were currently accessing. All hell broke loose when that LCD screen malfunctioned and I had no way of tracking what saves files were stored in which master page.

When Interact Accessories unleashed their Mega Memory 16x (MM16x), I withheld from purchasing it and opted for a second MC59 instead. However, despite all precedent, Interact's newest attempt at a viable 3rd party memory card solution managed to garner highly favorable reviews from Planet GameCube and the lovable IGN Cube crew. After rigorous testing, independent of that done by our colleagues at IGN and PGC, it has become obvious to me that Interact has outdone themselves this time around. They have succeeded in turning this jaded gamer, who shuns 3rd party peripherals, into an equally surprised, and pleased memory-rich fool. Perhaps it was the initial impact of booting up the GameCube with a brand new, empty memory card, and seeing an unbelievable 1019 blocks free, instead of a pathetic 59. Perhaps it was the ease and relative speed with which I was able to copy over all of my game files from my two MC59 cards onto one memory card, leaving over 950 blocks remaining. It is true; Interact's MM16x is one complete 8MB memory card. It is not a collection of 16 individual MC59s tied together by a cumbersome toggle button.

Interact's Mega Memory 16x functions exactly as its Sony and Microsoft counterparts do, by providing a complete 8MB solution in one package. Furthermore, it runs with exactly the same efficiency, speed, and ease of use as Nintendo's woefully inadequate MC59. In fact, the only limitation the Interact memory card has is that of the GameCube itself, which does not allow one memory card to contain more than 127 files, irrespective of their cumulative block-usage. In essence, depending on the average size of your game files, you could fill up the memory card with 127 independent files and still not reach your total 8-megabyte quota. Until Nintendo implements an update to the GameCube's memory management software, no memory card will be able to surpass this limitation, so Interact is not to blame. However, it is not a major issue, and this new card will perhaps succeed in setting a new standard for memory allocation in GameCube games. Electronic Arts had to cut back on Madden 2002's Franchise Mode in order to fit all of the data on one MC59, an unfortunate compromise. Most developers also refuse to program their games to recognize and take advantage of the GameCube's dual memory card slot, further limiting the amount of save memory available to them. However, one GameCube game has already been released that absolutely requires a 3rd party memory card, in order to maintain a franchise mode. Acclaim's All Star Baseball 2003 has a game mode that uses between 100 ? 300 blocks, requiring more blocks even than two simultaneous MC59s could ever provide. For such a game, the MM16x is the perfect solution as it truly blows past all of its competition, 1st, and 3rd parties alike.

I began by copying the entire contents of my two Memory Card 59s into my new Interact Mega Memory 16x, using the GameCube's main menu interface. I fooled around, copying to the new card, and from, testing its abilities to read and write. Happily, Interact's card easily kept up the pace with Nintendo's own card. Confident about its abilities to read and write data, I tested the MM16x's ability to store information and access it in game. I proceeded to test each individual file, now stored on the new card, by booting up the respective games in my GameCube collection, accessing the newly relocated saves, copying them if possible, and overwriting each. I also started new games and tested the new card's ability to create new files on the fly, in game. Everything proceeded without a hitch. Finally, I tested the limits of the memory card by accessing game modes I never truly had the opportunity to do so previously (due to memory card constraints) such as the replay modes of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and SSX Tricky, as well as THPS3's create-a-skater and create-a-park modes, and Super Smash Brothers Melee's camera mode. I was able to save a hitherto impossible number of extra game files on the new card, and nearly maxxed out my 8MB quota before reaching the 127-file restriction. Amazing!

The package itself is similar to all other GCN peripheral packaging. But once you overcome the difficult plastic packaging, and rip through the accompanying cardboard, you'll be treated to an aesthetically pleasing, solid black card only slightly larger than the MC59, featuring a very cute black bubble sporting Interact's stylized ?I? swirl logo. The Mega Memory 16x does not attach quite as securely to the GameCube memory ports as the Memory Card 59, but it will not exactly slip out on contact either. The color matches my black GCN system brilliantly, and contrasts wonderfully with the GameCube's gray controller panel face. Do the math, for the price of the two MM59s I have already purchased, I was able to acquire one complete memory card that stores four times the amount of data as both of those put together.

I was fine with my Memory Card 59 until my library of games surpassed the half dozen-mark. Until then, I was able to justify my hatred of 3rd party memory solutions. However, I was finally able to overcome those strong feelings and Interact's Mega Memory 16x was the perfect salve. Finally, a memory card that offered me the size and functionality of the competing consoles, a card that will grow and conform with the needs of my ever-expanding GameCube software library. Memory cards always face the possibility of malfunctioning, but Interact's MM16x may just be a perfect 3rd party option.



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