RocketNews 24 (by Preston Phro):
Umihara Kawase was released for the Super Famicom (Super NES in the west) in December, 1994, just over two decades ago. It was a popular game that has spawned a number of sequels for a variety of platforms and has won its fair share of fans, including many who loved the original cartridge game. Unfortunately, some cartridge games from the 90s featured a fatal flaw in their storage: the batteries keeping players’ saves alive eventually dies.
While most gamers finally give up and waved goodbye to their progress, lost to the ravages of time, one hardcore fan has refused to lose his save and has simply left his console plugged in and switched on for the last 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.”
Though it may be hard to believe now, with all our wonderful memory options for everything from computers to phones to handheld devices, back in the day, some game cartridges featured SRAM (Static RAM) coupled with lithium-ion batteries. As long as your battery stayed charged, the SRAM would hold your save data. Unfortunately, as soon as your battery ran out, your data would disappear as well. Of course, not all games used SRAM, but Umihara Kawase did, which means that if the battery in the cartridge were to die, @UMIHARAKawase would lose his replay data.
You, like many gamers from back in the day, are probably thinking it’s just not worth it, but this Twitter user obviously disagrees. However, it seems that he did unplug his system once—while moving house. Fortunately, he was able to get it set up before the battery died, so it’s not strictly true that the SNES has been on for 20 years, but we’re not sure we’d call that much of a break either.
We can’t help imagining blackouts being far more terrifying for the Twitter user than for most people. In fact, it appears the gamer got a number of questions about it, though he says there’s not been any outages at his home, as far as he can remember.
If you happen to have an old SNES game with SRAM and you’re worried about your battery dying, it is actually possible to replace it with a bit work. In fact, it seems that it’s possible to “hot-swap” the batteries, which might actually help @UMIHARAKawase, though we wouldn’t blame him if he’d rather not risk it. After twenty years, losing it all now would be downright devastating!