PSX memory card operations

Introduction

The PSX to USB adapter offers functionality to read and write memory cards through a multitap. This means that the following is possible:

The purpose of this page is to provide some guidance and tips on how to perform the above.

Backing up memory cards

The raphnet adapter manager has a button to read the complete contents of a memory card and save it to a file. The file format is .MC or .MCR (both are equivalent and exactly 131072 bytes in size). There exist other formats (such as .GME) but these are not currently supported.

To backup a memory card:
  1. Connect a multitap to your adapter
  2. Install the memory card in port A
  3. In the adapter manager, press the 'Read PSX memory card' button. The adapter manager will read the memory card completely into memory. This takes less than one minute. Upon success, you will be asked where to save the file.

Now to perform the contrary operation, that is to write a backup to a memory card:
  1. Connect a multitap to your adapter
  2. Install the memory card in port A
  3. Click on the 'Write PSX memory card' button. The adapter manager will ask that you select the source file, then it will ask that you confirm before writing to the memory card and replacing its contents completely.
Picture Gallery:
picture0
The read button
picture1
The write button

Copying saves from the NET to a real memory card

Interesting saves are available from sites such as gamefaqs. For instance, saves that load the game in a debug room, or saves where you have all weapons and maximum level right at the beginning, or rare items are a fun way to extend the life of a game!

Such saves for the PSX appear to be more often than not distributed in .GME format which is not supported by the adapter manager at the time. But .GME files can be converted to the .MC/.MCR format easily with different tools. Here we will show how to use a program named PSX Memory Card Manager that runs unoder Linux and Windows.

  1. Download the save that interests you. For this example, I downloaded a FF7 save by XSolaris where the game characters have a high level from this page: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197341-final-fantasy-vii/saves. The downloaded file in this example is final-fantasy-vii.2338.gme.
  2. Start the PSX Memory Card Manager and open the .gme file. In the screenshot below, you can see several other saves in the memory card image but with the title between parentheses and a lighter icon. Ignore those, they are merely saves that were deleted. The one of interest is at the top. (FF7/SAVE01/81:46)
  3. From the file menu, choose 'Save Image' to save everything in .MC or .MCR format.
  4. Now using the adapter manager, overwrite your physical memory card using the file you just saved as a source. This is as described above when restoring a back-up.
  5. Enjoy!
Now what if you want to keep your existing individual saves and only add this one savegame downloaded from the internet to your card? You can, but there are more steps involved, since writing/replacing individual blocks in a memory card is not yet supported. Here is how you can add a single savegame to a physical memory card without erasing what's already there:
  1. Open the downloaded file in PSX Memory Card Manager. Select the save, then from the file menu click on 'Save Single Game Save'. This will allow you to save a file in the .MCS format. This is a copy of the contents of a single save, not of a whole memory card.
  2. Make a backup copy of your physical memory card (i.e. Read your card using the adapter manager, saving a .MCR file).
  3. Open your card's .MCR image in PSX Memory Card Manager. The use the 'Load Single Game Save' to insert the previously saved .MCS file. PSX Memory Card Manager will find a free block and place it there.
  4. Save the combined result in a new .MCR file.
  5. Use the adapter manager's 'Write PSX memory card' button to write the new image to your memory card.
  6. Enjoy!
Picture Gallery:
picture0
Opening the .GME file
picture1
.GME file loaded

Moving saves between an emulator and a memory card

Want to continue playing a game you began on an actual PSX console, but using an emulator this time? Or the opposite? It is possible, depending on the emulator.

We will use mednafen under Linux as an example. Mednafen uses the .MCR format to store virtual memory card images. For each game, a pair of file is created (one for each slot). Under Linux, those files appear in the $HOME/.mednafen/sav directory. (See screenshot below)

The first part of the .MCR file names correspond to the name of the .TOC/.CUE file you use to load the game. This is how you identify which file is used for which game.
Note: The .0 or .1 are there to differentiate between the first slot (0) and the second slot (1).

To transfer your saves from a memory card to mednafen:
  1. Using the adapter manager, read your memory card and save it over the file corresponding to the game you will use it with. (Figuring out which file to overwrite as described above.)
You can also use the PSX Memory Card Manager to open the .MCR file in mednafen's sav directory directly, and then insert individual saves using 'Load Single Game Save'. See previous section for more information.

To transfer your saves from mednafen to a physical memory card:
  1. Using the adapter manager, click 'Write PSX memory card' and select the correct .MCR file from the mednafen sav directory. (Make a backup first if you have important data on your memory card!)
Picture Gallery:
picture0
Mednafen's save directory

Conclusion

Hopefully this page clearly demonstrates typical use for the memory card read/write functionality offered by our PSX to USB adapter.

Feel free to contact us if there are other emulators or particular use cases that are unclear or not supported yet.

Thanks!