What's the craziest thing you've done to salvage a playthrough?

The Favourite Final Fantasy thread reminded me of something I did to salvage an FF7 playthrough on my old modded PSP-1000. I’m curious to see if anyone else has gone to genuinely absurd lengths to salvage a save file, playthrough, or favorite game. Here’s my story.

Sometime in the mid 2000’s, after the PSP came out and you could get custom firmware on it to play PS1 games, I decided to replay Final Fantasy 7. But this time, I wanted to do everything in the game. All the optional bosses. All the materia. Absolutely everything. Well, I got careless, and I missed my one opportunity to get the Ramuh summon materia. I didn’t realize until I was a couple hours past the area you get it, and had already overwritten all my saves prior to that point. So, I either had to abandon my goal of doing everything, or I had to start over. Neither of those options was acceptable to me at the time, so I chose a 3rd route: edit that materia into my inventory, or die trying.

Getting the save game off the PSP memory card was trivial. Unfortunately, there are no save game editors for the PS1 version of FF7. However, there is one for the PC version. I dug deeper, and discovered that while I couldn’t convert the .vmp file I got from the PSP into the .ff7 format used by the editor, I could convert the .vmp into a .mcr file (generic memory card format, used by PS1 emulators). I could then convert the .mcr file into a .ff7 file and load it into the editor. So, I go through the process, making copies of all these files, converting them, and finally loading up my save in the editor.

It works. I’m able to add the Ramuh materia to my inventory with a couple of clicks! Now, I just had to reverse the process, convert the modified .ff7 file back to the original .vmp format, and load it back onto my PSP. Right?

Not quite.

It turns out, the .vmp file format used by the PSP has a security measure to prevent this type of save game tampering. You can’t just write data to it; it acts as a sort of container, so you have to inject data into it. So, after some more research, I discovered a method that allows the data from a .mcr file to be injected into a .vmp file. I followed the instructions, and loaded up my save. I opened my inventory, and what did I find?

Not Ramuh.

I saw a second Titan materia, though I had definitely chosen Ramuh. It might have been a bug in the editor or a difference between the PC and console versions of the game, I’ll never know for sure. What I do know is that I had to redo the process. Luckily, choosing Titan in the save editor gave me the Ramuh materia instead.

This whole process took a few hours, but still less time overall than getting to that point in the game (I had spent a ton of time grinding early on that I didn’t want to lose).