About a month ago, while packing all my games for the first of my two back-to-back moves, one of my friends sent me a message saying they found a couple mahjong games and wanted to know if I had either of them in the collection already. Surprisingly, no, I had neither! So I rushed over to pick them up, and as soon as I had a little bit of downtime to try out プロになる麻雀DS I came across a startling piece of information about this particular game cartridge. Both save files had been used, totaling about 650 games and over 150 hours of play time. I couldn’t bring myself to erase such dedication to this game, but without doing so, I could never see what was so compelling about this game that someone would sink that kind of time into it. For the time being, I left it in the box, and eventually it would sit on the shelf at my new place until I came up with a game plan. Today was that day.
There was a lot of trial and error in getting my workflow setup, including finding out the hard way that the Nintendo DSi can only extract the save games from Nintendo DSi-specific games. Luckily I also had a DS Lite, and an R4 cartridge from my more shameful days. With those two, I was able to boot up nds-savegame-manager, a tool for extracting save data, as well as pushing save data back into the cartridge. I won’t document the whole process in-depth, but I created an isolated network with an open Wi-Fi connection so the DS Lite could connect to it, booted up nds-savegame-manager, and swapped in the cartridge I wanted to backup. The tool then connects to an FTP server running on the only other PC on the network and sends the save data over the wireless connection. Despite most save files only being 8 kB in side, the process takes about 5 minutes. Other games have 256 kB save files, but the process takes just as long.
That’s pretty much it. The files should work both on the original cartridges as well as with emulators, but since I don’t run emulators, I can’t provide any assistance with how to get that working.
So here’s the saves I have available right now. Apparently the tool can also extract GameBoy Advance saves as well, but since I don’t know off-hand which games actually have save data, that will probably come in another post.
This file contains two save slots labeled Data 1 and Data 2. Data 1 has 105 hours on the clock with 409 games played and mentions something about a “Pro Test”, which maybe means the pro test has been completed? I’d sure hope so after over a hundred hours. Data 2 has 51 hours played, 249 games played, and the same “Pro Test” status.
This game also has two save slots, but only one is in use, and happens to be my personal progress through the game. There are about 52 hours played and I’m level 7 in the ranked mode with a ton of the table backgrounds, tile colors, music, and sound effects unlocked. This save file has a lot of sentimental value because, when I was traveling for work pre-covid, I took this game everywhere I went. Mexico, London, Spain, Atlanta, Richmond, San Diego, everywhere I went, this game kept me company.
Gundam Mahjong +Z
So uh, you might have noticed I didn’t type out the game’s title in Japanese. What’s up with that? Well, the full title is 「きどうげきだんハロいちざガンダムまあじゃん ＋Z」 and I didn’t want to break the formatting of the post. As far as the save data, the game only supports a single profile. This one is at 27 hours with 65 games played. As far as the campaign progress, I can barely figure out how this game works, so I really couldn’t tell you.
Gotta be honest here, I have no idea what progress is made in this save. I think there’s some stuff unlocked?
This is the mahjong spinoff of Dynasty Warriors. I’ve never really played this game, which is apparent by my 0 hours, 0 minutes, and 0 seconds logged in my save file. The other save file has about 6 hours and was started back in 2008. Kind of wild to see a 13 year old save file.
There are two slots in this save game, mine at 21 hours and the previous owner, あっこ, with 107 hours. I had been pretty upset about my 14th place ranking, but considering the time difference, I feel a lot better now.