RetroVision – Retro Is Where The Heart Is

We all have many extremely fond memories of our gaming experiences. This is especially true when it comes to the nostalgia filled trips back to the days of 8 and 16-bit gaming. I personally still have many memory cards and old cartridges that continue to hold their original save files intact, all of which hold precious memories I wouldn’t want to forget.

However, it turns out that some are more dedicated than others when it comes to the pursuit of preserving these cherished memories forever. That person in the Japanese gamer known as Wanikun, and according to his Twitter, he has now left his Super Nintendo plugged in and powered on for the last 20 years, and counting. Not only that, but he’s also never even changed the cartridge in all that time.

Save Data Twitter
Wanikun back in September taking to Twitter to show off his Super Famicom which has been powered on nearly non-stop for 20 years.

Incidentally, I’m pretty sure my first generation Umihara Kawase, which has been on in the SNES for over 20 years, has been in operation for over 180,000 hours. If the power is tuned off, I’ll lose all my replay data. Probably. – (Translation of the above Twitter comment).

Yes you really read that right. More importantly though, what game was it that this particular gamer felt so compelled to save the data and his memories, that he has rarely turned it off in 20 years? Well let me introduce to you the 1995 Super Famicom platformer Umihara Kawase (海腹川背). This Japanese only release, stars a nineteen-year-old Japanese school girl who gets lost in a mutated salt-water filled world, one that is home to a wealth of water creatures. Not your average 16-bit storyline, but certainly not the oddest.

Umihara Kawase Box
Original box art for Umihara Kawase.

Now aside from this, we all know that the cartridge based games with save files have the ability to maintain this save data. I mean it’d hardly be a save file without this feature. However, this wasn’t enough for Wanikun, and given the lack of cloud based save data or memory cards, he took drastic action.

You see, some games made saving possible via the use of a battery save system, and eventually with time, these can run out and need to be replaced. Umihara Kawase is one of those games, and Wanikun’s battery has long since ran out. So, fearing the loss of not only his precious save data, but his memories of the game, he took the decision to keep his Super Famicom on to keep the battery charged. That was well over 180,000 hours ago.

SFC Box
Original box art for the Super Famicom. A console first released in 1990, and one that still holds some of the most loved gaming experiences of all time.

In fact, the last time Wanikun unplugged the console was as part of a nervy house move. Luckily though, he was able to get the console plugged in and powered on in his new home before losing the save file. Not only is that dedication, but it also shows the capabilities and high build quality that lies within the 16-bit Super Famicom.  Clearly evidenced here, given that the machine is still running after 20 years of non-stop use.

Gaming truly is a powerful media, something especially true of retro gaming. These are experiences we hold onto for our entire lives. Whether it’s memories of playing some of the classics from years gone by, returning to these games today, or jumping in for the very first time, our experiences with games are events that can last forever. So, whilst this tale is somewhat extreme, it’s always nice to see the dedication that lies within the heart of a gamer.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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