The Gaming Mistake I Didn’t Know I’d Made…Until After I’d Made It

image of corruption

To begin this story, you’ll have to keep in mind that I chewed my gaming teeth on arcades, the Atari 2600 (but only at friends’ houses), and my very own NES. I played some games on cassette via a friend’s work computer. Never had digital pinball been so cool.

So when I got the PS3 in January of 2010, it was a brave new world. I had only recently bought a PS2 (yes, in 2009), so all that crazy technology was new to me. I tried to roll with the punches, but I apparently missed one that got me in the gut.

claptrap viva la robolution

The first game on the PS3 that I put mad hours into was Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition. The first character I spent a ton of time leveling was Lilith. I wasn’t crazy about her action skill (basically running and hiding…and I’d prefer a video game character to have better skills than I currently possess), and my partner and I decided to start anew and play the game with different characters from the ground up. That’s when I found my groove playing as Mordecai. I loved Bloodwing, and my partner playing as Brick was just perfect.

The level cap in the first Borderlands was 69 (I know, I know), and both my partner and I had reached that on our respective characters. Our weapon levels were high. Life was good.

So we started in on the Claptrap DLC, and it was literally all fun and games until.


Something very bad happened.

I suppose I should have preempted that prior to this, every once in a while the game would totally seize up and we would have to hard power down the PS3. Not ideal, but it didn’t happen often enough to really worry.

Back to my crappy story.

claptrap interplanetary ninja assassin

So we were out in this huge area of the Claptrap DLC. Everything was fine and then the game just stopped. The screen froze. It was frustrating, but not the end of the world.

Turns out it was for my Mordecai data file.

When I hard powered down and restarted, the system went through the admonition of my not turning it off properly. I dutifully clicked through the notifications and we went to restart the game. Which worked.

Sort of.

When I went to load my character, it wasn’t there. My partner’s save file was, but mine wasn’t.

No biggie. I went into the save data to see where it was.

And there it was all right. A sad grey box with a jagged line through it and a note next to it that said “corrupted data.”

Words can not express the denial I was in. I was video game devastated that all that time and effort was lost. I Googled, I searched, and I wrote to Gearbox for help.

They wrote me back and asked me a revolutionary question: had I backed up my game save?

Backed up my game save?

At that time, I didn’t have PlayStation Plus, so the cloud save option wasn’t available to me. I had no idea you could back up your game saves on a USB drive.

I immediately felt both annoyed and sheepish.

I hate that combination.

I went right out, bought a USB drive, and started another Mordecai character. And you know what? I leveled him up all over again.

At the time, I was so frustrated. But this taught me an invaluable lesson: back up your saves early and often.

So thank you Gearbox for making a buggy game which caused me to lose my save file, and thank you again for offering your sage advice to back up my future saves. Turns out, that was a good idea.

This is also why I compulsively save during huge games and why I waited out the save issue for the Witcher 3 until it was patched. I don’t like losing data.

Rebekah Lang: evermore diligent in the fight against data loss.

14 replies »

  1. That’s horrible that you lost you’re save data,I always like to have more then one save file especially in RPGS.


  2. I need to be so much better at that. I haven’t really lost anything yet (thankfully) but I know it can happen. My struggle is playing through a whole bunch of content and forgetting to save for several hours… and then dying…


    • oh gosh, please back up your saves! all it takes is one (big or small, doesn’t matter) to drive the point home in a huge bummer way. and if you have ps+, you can just cloud save if you don’t have a usb nearby. solved!


      • I do have all of my saves backed up to the cloud, PS+ is great for that! My bad habit is not actually saving often enough. I can play for hours, forgetting to save, and when my character dies I’m left with choosing between the game’s autosave right before a bad situation or my last manual save several hours earlier.


        • oh, i misunderstood. i’m so glad (most) games now are good about autosaving so often. i know in the witcher 3 i have been compulsive about saving often, even WITH the autosaves. i am a saving fool.

          and as much as i love the ps+ cloud save option, i wish the capacity on ps4 were far larger, as mine filled up quite a while back. i now have to delete them off before i can upload new ones. so it’s sort of not convenient at all. oh well. i still use my usb drive to back up saves, so at least i have some form of safety net.


      • Definitely! The available cloud storage for PS3 saves has been plenty adequate for me but as you know, the save files for the new console generation have increased in size. Available cloud storage for PS4 saves should absolutely be increased! And you make a great point, it would hardly be an inconvenience to make an additional backup of my saves to a flash drive. I will follow your recommendation on that ASAP. Thanks!


        • i’m right there with you, my ps3 cloud saves are still going strong, but the ps4 cloud could use some beefing up.

          thank goodness for usb drives! they make a lot of things so much easier in this weird back-up-necessary world.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a scary thought! I’m sorry that you lost an important save like that. However, as you said, it appears to have been a good lesson to learn since you now should hopefully be able to avoid any more lost data.

    I was really good about backing my saves up during the previous gen, but lately I have gotten a little lazy about it. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll start using that cloud feature more often. :)


    • ha! me too. at the time i was ridiculously upset. one might say unreasonably upset. i mean, it was data. sure, it was representative of dozens and dozens of hours, so that is time gone away, but i still was just stupidly upset.

      i do believe the lesson was worth it, as who knows how long i would have gone one without thinking that backing data up was even possible? probably too long.

      backing up current gen saves is weird. on the ps4, they are all lumped together, which i’m not used to. i actually went and backed mine up yesterday!


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