Remember the good old days of the sixth generation of consoles? The Dreamcast, GameCube, Xbox, and PS2? Those were the days. The glory days of couch co-op, insane peripherals, out-of-the-box gameplay, and the sweet, sweet save file screens. Remember those? Remember memory cards?
Back in those days (unless you had an Xbox) you had to have a separate accessory in order to save your game. If you wanted to delete a save file, copy a save file, or whatever other excuse you had for it, you'd go the menu of your console, to the memory card page, and BAM. You'd see all of your save files represented by different characters, symbols, vehicles, or damn near any other cool thing you'd see in that game!
Image above: Dreamcast save file screen
Each console had its own unique version of this cornucopia of cool icons.
The Dreamcast and its VMUs portrayed small squares over the rippling water and endless clouds that consumed the background of the console menu. Each icon is a simple square, but with a small portrait of something from the game that the save file is from.
The GameCube had floating cubes that bobbed in place over the black grid void. Each cube was adorned with some neat icon, figure, or something from your recently played games that made it easy to find the save file for the game that you were looking for.
Image above: GameCube save file screen
The PlayStation 2 had a 5x4 grid of 3D models or blocks portraying different games. Oftentimes you'd just have a disembodied head of the main character of the game. Dragon Quest 8 had the iconic slime, Sonic games almost always had a 3D model of the blue rodent himself, God of War had a model of one of the Blades of Chaos, and so much more. Behind those was a plain gray screen. But that's completely made up for with how detailed those little models were.
Image above: PS2 save file screen
The Xbox was absolutely crazy. What was that menu even supposed to be? With all of the alien-like sounds, translucent green menu items, and circular green honeycomb-shaped grid in the background? Madness. The save file screen had round icons showing your different game saves and had small wires connecting pieces of the menu to other pieces. The original Xbox was what I hope alien technology is like. Not to mention that nearly unlimited hard drive space!
Image above: Xbox save file screen
There's a lot that I loved about the 6th generation of home consoles. But the different save file screens was one of my favorite things ever. Nowadays we just have the cover art for the game that the save is for, and that's fine. Gaming has come a very long way since the early 2000's. But sometimes I wish we still had these small treasures buried inside of our memory cards or devices. Sometimes I'd keep a save file for a game that I no longer owned because the icon for it was rad!
I miss you, 6th generation! XOXO, Aaron