Friday, February 1, 2008

Hamtaro pwned by The Man; Ham-Hams fight back!

After I threw the creepy people out of the café, but before I tinkered with the il Pavoni to find out if it was still alive, I needed something soothing and safe to occupy my time. So I replayed Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! on the GBA.

Or tried to.

My game wouldn’t save. I’d be playing along, find Bijou at Acorn shrine, learn some hamchat and score a few acorns, and then I’d have to get back to my real life (curse MP and his dirty socks!). A few hours later, I’d flip the GBA on and… Nothing. Have to start of from scratch.

It was then that MP informed me of something so shocking that I rate it on par with finding out that pro-wrestling is fake: game cartridges contain small watch batteries that allow you to save your game. When those batteries die, usually in 5-7 years, you can no longer save your game.

I said, "Excuse me?”

“Your battery is dead. Change it.”

I flipped the cartridge over and saw a six-sided screw that looked like a flower. I didn’t have the tools for this.

“How am I supposed to open this?”

“You’re not. They don’t want you to.”

“But you said the battery was dead!”

“They don’t want you to open it. You’re supposed to buy a new game.”

“Let me get this straight: I bought this game for thirty bucks, but it turns out I was really only renting it for five years?”

MP thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, actually, that’s a good way of putting it.”

At which point I used a few “hamchat” words not found in an E rated game and went online to Google some search terms.

I have to admire these guys’ skillz and ingenuity even as I cringe at their grammar and non-politically correct similes (“risky like a cheap-a** hooker” is vulgar, but vivid). Racketboy was clear, detailed, and correct (although I did have a different battery type, as he was looking at SNES cartridges, while I had a GBA). I purchased a 3.8mm security bit, soldering iron, X-Acto knife, and duct tape, and in an hour was playing tack-Q bowling, trying to get the shogun wig for Cappy. Never underestimate the power of duct tape.

Somewhere in the middle of sliding a molten-hot X-Acto knife between the circuit board and tabs in an attempt to break the soldering joints on the battery, MP stopped by to see what I was up to. He stared at me for a minute or two, then said without a hint of sarcasm, “You are really sexy.”

So ladies, be proud of your soldering skills, because you just never know what makes a geek schmubby-wubby.

Of course by the time I bought all the stuff I needed, I'd spent as much as if I’d bought another copy of the game -- but that it entirely beside the point. I am posting Racketboy’s directions for how to change a cartridge battery because I think we must show the Man that we are blash-T about being taken advantage of, and we nopookie being treated like mindless idiots. We see through their scams and we will not chukchuk our rights as consumers, but will cramcram until we find ways to subvert their pooie design flaws. We can hamteam or hamspar – the choice is up to them.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go collect enough seeds to buy the bunny costume. Bye-Q!

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