Yeah, sure, the PS3 is pretty old now. But I’d rather like to think of it as a “mature” console. Not unlike myself, it is “aged”. This also makes it–and its games and accessories–a lot more affordable, which is a huge plus, in my book. It also has a long history, and has gone through 3 versions. I look back at my purchase history and feel good remembering those classic old games and how much I enjoyed playing them. All 800+ purchases. Many of them, in fact, are console versions of even older “classic” arcade games, which bring back even more memories of my past.
One of my all-time favorite games was one of the first games I purchased for the PS3–Joust. This was an arcade video game where you ride an ostrich and fly around jousting buzzards (and another ostrich if two people play it). If you fly into a buzzard or the other player and your sword is higher than theirs, you win the joust and kill your opponent. Kill all of the other players on the screen and you complete the level and advance to the next–harder–level.
I purchased this game in 2006–about 10 years ago, as a digital version. This means there’s no physical disc or cartridge, you just download the game to your console, install, and play it. It wasn’t until just recently that I became concerned about this method of game ownership. First of all, Joust is no longer offered in the Playstation Store for purchase, so I can’t look it up there and re-download it, like I thought I could. I imagine there are probably several classic games that I purchased back then that are no longer in the Playstation Store.
The reason for my concern is because I decided, earlier this week, to try to get back into playing some of my favorite games, just to relax a bit, and possibly play a little during my walks on my treadmill, but I quickly discovered that the hard drive on my PS3 (320GB) is completely full! I had cleaned it up some time ago, removing all videos, music and photos, in order to free up enough space to install GTA 5, another great game I play occasionally. When I say “play” referring to GTA 5, I mean just driving around freely throughout the city and county in the game, driving over people, destroying properly, jumping out and chasing down people to punch them out, and basically wreaking havoc until the police come and try to stop me. I don’t really play many missions, as you’re supposed to do in the game, I just goof around to see how much trouble I can get into. But I digress. Back to my full hard drive: As I said, I cleaned up the drive recently, removing nearly everything I could that wouldn’t effect gameplay, and after installing GTA 5, it’s pretty much full to capacity again.
The PS3 has a backup feature, allowing you to back up all of your data and transfer it to another PS3 (or the same PS3 if you’re doing something like replacing the hard drive). So I tried this, using a 64GB thumb drive I have. So I started this process, and after several minutes of thinking, the PS3 told me it needed about a drive with about 200GB more storage space! Agh! I don’t have a flash drive or external hard drive available with that much space free. I even tried one external drive that I store TV Shows on for use with my Plex media server, but that drive is formatted as NTFS, and the PS3 requires a FAT32-formatted drive in order to use it. I know, that’s all Greek to the non-geeks reading this, so let’s just say “that drive won’t work on the PS3”. My PS3 currently has a 300GB drive, which was pretty huge back in it’s time, but these days it’s hardly enough.
So there I was without a backup solution, and I had a brand new, 1.5TB drive (the largest hard drive the PS3 will allow) waiting to be installed in my PS3. The way I saw it, at that point I didn’t have much to lose moving forward and installing the new drive. I found out that I can access my entire purchase history and I can re-download everything I’ve purchased in the past, so I figured it would just require re-downloading everything I want to play. I would lose my old game saves from way back when, but that’s no biggie for me. Working through all of the levels in all the good ole games again just adds to the fun! I only had a 320GB drive before, so even if I install everything I had before, I should still have over 1 TB (1000 GB) of the new 1.5TB drive free when I’m done.
So I installed the drive, which was a pretty simple operation, and the PS3 simply prompted me for the latest PS3 update data, which I downloaded to a small flash drive and inserted, then it installed this and formatted the new drive. All went well, and then I installed a few old games without issue. They seem really tiny these days, especially on today’s huge-capacity drives! Over time I’ll be installing a lot more of my old purchases, as I get around to more and more of my old games, and now there’s tons of space for some new ones, if I want them. It’s nice to have some breathing room back, and it’s such a relief that Sony allows a simple method to re-download all of one’s old purchased content! They’re earned back a little more of my trust, having lost a lot of it with their support of Cinavia–a copy-protection method that detects copied commerical media and prevents the PS3 from playing or streaming copied DVDs, Blu-Rays, and streamed movies that aren’t originals. In today’s world, if you don’t keep a backup of something–especially something you purchased electronically, you’re always at risk of losing it due to everyday use, damage, or disaster, so backup copies are critical. And Ciavia prevents users from being able to use those backups–basically resulting in the PS3 user being assumed to be a pirate! This also results in the PS3 being rather crippled as a media center, in my opinion. Whether Cinavia is still built into the PS3 these days, I’m not sure, but I think it’s still there. I’ll find out soon, as I just installed the Plex app and will be connecting it to my Plex server soon. Plex is a media server I use to stream all of our movies, tv shows and music to all of our devices. If Cinavia effects Plex playback, I’ll have to uninstall it and just stick with using it through our Roku boxes as we always have. That would be sad though, as using it through the PS3 controller or the PS3 Remote looks like it would be fun.
I also discovered, after accepting to two-week free trial of Playstation Plus, that they now offer online storage to Plus users for storing all of their game-save data! I’m pretty sure that gives me a window of two weeks where I can swap back to my old, full drive, save all my game-save data to my online storage, and then swap back to the new drive and still access all of my game-save data (and hopefully save it back to my new drive easily) so I don’t have to keep paying for Playstation Plus after my two-week trial. We’ll see how this goes.
Lastly, I’m really liking the fact that all of the PS3 games, accessories, and online content is, by far, a lot cheaper than just about everything for the PS4 and X-Box One! And since I haven’t been involved with it for a few years, everything I’m seeing is new to me, even though all this stuff is probably old to everyone else.