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Memor32, Redux

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:59 pm

A while back I talked about purchasing a Memor32 memory card for our PlayStation2 that allows us to run user-created .ELF files (an .elf is to the PlayStation2 as .exe is to Windows) on the PS2 to allow some seriously cool things like watching XVID or MPEG video files, playing game disc backups instead of the original games, copying the game saves to the computer so they can’t get lost or corrupted, etc. I really like the Memor32 card, even if it did cost $70. It does pretty much everything you’d wish Sony had allowed on the PS2, but didn’t so they could retain their control over the device.

But the “kids” out there, those young programmers who “hack” in the best sense of the words, have taken this all a step farther…now any memory card can do many of the things the Memor32 can!

It starts with a replacement for the Memento software, called ESR. This non-commercial application is actually more compatible with backups than the Memento software specifically designed to work with the Memor32 card. This can be placed in the Memor32 card and run using uLaunchELF as one of the DEV boots (there are four .ELF files on the memory card one can boot through the Memento interface by holding down a shoulder-button). That seems a little confusing, but I haven’t been able to get ESR to boot directly through the DEV system, so I use R1 to launch uLaunchELF, then use it to launch ESR placed in a folder named “AAA” so it’s at the top of the list (I’m lazy). The backups still need to be patched (they depend on an exploit where the PS2 believes the backup game disc to be a video DVD), but that’s easily enough to accomplish with the Memento software.

But there’s even more - someone else has written a boot launcher, FreeMCBoot, similar to Memento itself that runs on any Sony-compatable memory card! My old card is a 16M (Sony only officially “blessed” 8M cards, don’t ask me why), and it works perfectly; just like on the Memor32, I’ve installed FreeMCBoot, uLaunchElf, SMS, and ESR…and using FreeMCBoot, ESR can be installed as one of the BOOT elfs, so booting a backup disc is as easy as holding down R1 when the PS2 is turned on!

Now Katie can boot a copy of Sitting Ducks instead of the original, simply by holding down a button…and I’ve just discovered with one minor change I can make it automatically boot! (I’ll be testing this out as soon as I’ve finished posting this blog entry, youbet’cha!) And remember, this is with a normal PlayStation2 memory card you can pick up at your local Wal-Mart or Target, not an expensive USB-based card you need to order from a foreign country (although for truth-in-advertising, it should be noted that the only way to install the software onto a “normal” memory card requires the Memor32 or some other exploit - it’s a piece of cake using the Memor32, however, so that’s how I performed the install).

I’m not going to go into a detailed howto now, since I’m pretty sure the last few paragraphs have made most of my readers’ eyes glaze over. But if anyone is really interested in learning more, drop a note in the comments and I’ll expand a bit more on how to turn a normal memory card into a super-booter.

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