Two weeks ago, I saw that Ghostbusters: The Video Game — the 2009 adaptation by Terminal Reality for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 — was among the nearly 300 titles of the Xbox backward compatibility sale. I nearly peed on myself. First of all, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was a good movie adaptation, especially for a franchise so old. Second, I was amazed its license was still in effect. This is now eight years after launch, and the studio that made it went bust in 2013.
But there it was, for 75 percent off, and I went and fetched it and smothered myself in ectoplasm. Part of my fondness comes from the happy memories of where I played it: Living with my grandfather for four months, getting to know him better, trying to explain the business I covered and why it made billions of dollars. "It all seems like a great waste of time," he told me, and that was mainly because he thought "visual games," as he called them, were still rooted in the design of the 1980s.
Ghostbusters was the breakthrough. So was The Godfather II: The Game, which was awful but it fascinated him nonetheless. "It's like making movies," I told him as we played cribbage after dinner. "Someone has an idea, a studio gets a deal to make it. They do it and both make money. That's all."
When Ghostbusters: The Video Game went back on sale on Xbox One I downloaded it and played it a little and remembered my romp through the fun times. The showdown in the museum, with Winston's uh-not-cool-man dialogue about the Confederate soldier ghosts, still busted me up. Ghostbusters: The Video Game was better as a multiplayer title but the campaign was still delightful. That jaunty piano theme always takes me back. I know I am not the only one who feels a very vivid sense of place when a piece of video game music comes up.
Today I went down to my Xbox 360 and was shocked to discover an old save file for Ghostbusters: The Video Game, on my Xbox 360. I hadn't played that console in ... months? And I gave my physical disc to Adam Barenblat when I passed through Colorado on my journey back west from my grandfather's home in 2009.
That was a pretty sensitive time for us both. Lots of uncertainty. But for July 4 we went to the home of one of his wild-ass friends somewhere out around Niwot and I put Ghostbusters on the Xbox 360 and everybody laughed and played along.
Good times, long gone
I haven't had the game in my possession since 2009, but somehow that Ghostbusters save survived three hard-drive transfers: the original unit, the Xbox 360 slim I bought after it in 2010 and the slim I bought after that one's optical disc drive failed in 2012 (there could be no worse engineered console than the Xbox 360. Ever.)
The only piece of data I can conceive of being more valuable and unreplaceable is the demo for NBA Elite 11, with the infamous Andrew Bynum "Jesus" glitch that put that series on a four-year hiatus from which it has never recovered. If my house was on fire and I was naked, clutching my bed comforter and panicking for an escape, I would still race downstairs to yank the cords out of my Xbox 360. I don’t have children, so I could probably do this without loss of life.
Years ago on another site, we asked readers the longest they had left a game on pause. This answer absolutely floored me: A PS1, game unspecified, disc in the tray still spinning. Plugged in for ten (10) years. "It was burnt out. It could have been a power surge at some point, but it won't turn on any more, and the disc has a big black spot," the reader said.
Modern consoles, with suspended states and cloud uploads, may moot the possibility of such a thing happening, or needing to happen, again. But it always made me smile to think of a video game living for a decade, instantly ready, there to play if only someone would pick up the controller.
So anyway, what's the oldest game save file you have? Why do you keep it? Why is it special?
Will you play it again?