Masahiro Sakurai, best known as the creator of Kirby and the director of the 3DS's Kid Icarus: Uprising, is facing disaster.
The sordid details were laid out in the column he wrote this week for Japan's Famitsu magazine. What happened? "The hard disk on my PlayStation 3 has completely died," he said. "It's a full crash. The end. Goodbye, Planet Earth."
This is bad enough by itself, but Sakurai wasn't just using any PS3. His main console was one of the original 2006 models which featured hardware-based backwards compatibility with the PS1 and PS2. "Which means," he wrote, "that all of a sudden, I have lost all of my data for the PS1, PS2 and PS3. I'd like to say 'All you can do is laugh,' but I can't! The first PS came out in the end of 1994, so that means I've literally built up 18 years' worth of save data on the thing. This isn't just a matter of losing data I spent a few hundred hours on, or losing my character in some MMORPG. This, that, and the other thing; every single bit of it is gone."
Sakurai had already replaced the hard drive on that PS3 once, so he wasn't expecting the new one to die this early. He had already consulted with a data-recovery firm before writing the column, but the drive was apparently so beyond salvaging that there was simply nothing they could do for it.
"I had a lot of save data from games I spent dozens of hours on," he wrote. "Now I can't go back to those epic RPGs and take in all the famous scenes where I saved just before. The fighting games where I unlocked all the characters; the experience points I earned for being all those liquid metal slimes... I could take off of work for half a year and still not have enough time to get it all back."
Sakurai took the rest of his column to discuss the online-backup features of the PlayStation Plus service, as well as similar backup tools on the Xbox 360 and other systems. "Going through this, I wanted to take this column to nag at all of you a little," he closed. "If you don't want to come face-to-face with this depressing turn of events, then it's best if you back up your game save data as much as you can. Right now! Immediately!"