Rotating Header Image

Editorial and Articles

Adding a Hard Drive to My PS2

I always kind of debate on whether project posts like this should go here or on Blogging Intensifies. On one hand, it’s a Video Game related post and project. On the other hand, It’s also kind of an electronics and technology-based project. This one, ended up here.

One of my “on the list” projects has been to upgrade some of my old consoles. Two specifically, at least initially, are the PS2, and the Wii. The Playstation 2 was always a favorite of mine, though considering how much it sold it was probably a lot of people’s favorite. I played mine the most during my time at college. I always liked to joke about how I had put 100+ hours each mastering Grand Theft Auto 3, Final Fantasy X, and Metal Gear Solid 2, then upgraded all of those for another 100+ hours each mastering GTA Vice City, Final Fantasy X-2, and Metal Gear Solid 3.

I have, somehow, ended up with several Wiis. Though my original Wii had the CD drive go out on it. Funny enough, I also have several fat PS2s, though I have only have ever really used my original one. Having spares means screw-ups are more acceptable.

Anyway, the first of these upgrade projects I have decided to do is my PS2. The plan for the PS2 was to add a Hard Drive to it and load games that way. A hard drive has the benefit of, being less prone to failure (see also, the Wii’s CD drive) and being faster for loading games. I did some research on this and came across this video:

Which I decided to go with. A friend of mine suggested a slightly altered route, modding an official PS2 drive adapter to take a SATA drive, but I decided to just go with a 3rd party one built for a SATA drive. The main difference is the 3rd party ones, don’t have a network adapter. I really have, no real interest in putting my PS2 online. If I change my mind, I can always swap it out later. These devices are pretty cheap. I expected to pay a lot because the only comparable I have is when I have priced out Dreamcast network adaptors, which are super hard to find and and always go for a LOT.

Too bad there isn’t a cheap 3rd party option there.

There are some drive compatibility lists, but I have a bunch of old smaller drives floating around, so I decided to just wing it and hope for the best on that front. So the upfront cost was just the 3rd party SATA hook-up and the memory card with the loader on it.

I will probably also eventually pick up another larger memory card later, for save games.

Buying the stuff was the easy part.

Getting it working was a bit trickier. There aren’t really any instructions for any of this included, so a lot of it comes down to looking for guides online, which are often inconsistent with each other, sometimes old and outdated, sometimes referencing different overall techniques, which are not always cross-compatible. The first step was making sure the drive would work. I decided to use one of the spare PS2s and not my original, for a few reasons. One, my original is model 30001, and both of the others are model 50001. The Amazon page for the drive adaptor I used, implied the included memory card loader would not work for a 30001 model (it was wrong, more later). I also figure if I break something, it may as well be one of the spares.

Now, a little history on these spares. A while back, I tried to set up a way to play PS2 games on a PS2 and maybe do some streaming. I didn’t manage to accomplish this because each of the three gave me different trouble, though I forget exactly what that trouble was. One I believe doesn’t power on at all, I want to say one didn’t output video. The PS2 I chose to do my testing, it turns out, the front panel doesn’t work. It didn’t recognize the memory card or the controller. So that PS2 was not going to work for this.

These two spare PS2s, I bought them something like 15 years ago from a garage sale, I want to say $10 for the pair. I remember the seller said her son had had them when he was deployed over in Iraq or Afghanistan or something. One of them, on the top, has “Don’t touch or die” written on it. I could always paint this up or get a decal or something, but for now, I didn’t want to use that one, so I just used my OG 30001 model PS2.

Also, the other spare is still slightly buried in a tote, and I didn’t want to dig it out.

Fortunately, the Amazon listing was wrong, the loader worked fine. I poked around in the menu and managed to format the drive.

Now it was time to load some games.

Which ended up being the hard part.

There are several options for loading games, I don’t entirely get the difference beyond, “PS2 uses a screwy Hard Drive Format.”. I decided to start with Winhiip, which was the first one I came across as a suggestion, even though it is apparently considered “out of date”. All of these processes are basically “out of date”, and presumably worked at some point for someone. My thoughts were, this is a 20-year-old console, how out of date could it be, and this one lets me bulk load ISOs. I loaded a subset, of games, then hooked everything up to make sure it was working. A few short minutes later, I was in a game, running off the hard drive, everything was working fine.

I pulled the drive back out to finish loading everything else. The loading was a little slow because I was loading the ISO files from one PC, off of a network share on another PC.

With everything loaded, I went through the process of getting artwork for everything and loading it to a USB drive, then hooked everything back up.

Except, now it was not working. The drive did not even show up at all. I returned it to my PC and it didn’t show up there at all either. A lot of these drives I have lying around are old and second-hand, and generally too small to be really useful. They are slightly prone to failure. After some frustration, I gave up and started over with a fresh drive. This time I used HDL Dump instead of Winhiip, because it’s supposed to be more reliable. I noticed it adds a bit more data to each entry as well. The downside is, It only works, one ISO at a time. I found a bulk loader someone had made, but for some reason, the drive doesn’t show in the bulk loader scan.

I also connected my USB SATA adapter to the remote PC directly to avoid the slowness added by the network transfer. It also had a lot more free hard drive space to dump a pile of ISO files into. After several days of running one game at a time, I finally had everything loaded… Again…

This time, it loads up just fine in the PS2, except for one oversight on my part. HDL Dump had this box where you could fill in a name. Sometimes it automatically filled in, others it did not. I mostly just, ignored it. Which means many of the games have meaningless names now on the PS2. There is a mechanism to edit and update it natively, thankfully, but I don’t know which game is what without actually loading it up. Which means loading the game, waiting through several opening bumpers, making a note, resetting the PS2, then entering the name with a tedious on-screen keyboard. I strongly recommend filling int he name box on the PC as the games are loaded.

Very strongly.

I also have all these art assets downloaded to add but it’s not clear where they go because the system seems to have several different launchers and I can’t decipher which one uses them. Frankly, a list of names works just fine for now, I’m not even sure just how much I’m going to use this whole set up in the long term. I do want to explore options again for doing video capture again, I think part of my issue before is that I was using some really old capture devices and composite video. I really need to just invest in something that takes Component and/or HDMI input.

Benn Venn Game Boy Cart Dumper

Another device I’ve been wanting to get for a while was a Game Boy Card ripper. There are a few varieties of these, but I went with the Benn Venn Joey Jr. The key feature here, is the ability to copy off Saved files. I can get ROMs anywhere, what I really want is to preserve my old Save Files. This device does Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced titles.

The most important title worked right off the bat. My original Pokemon Blue is not preserved forever with my original Charizard. There are ways to get these OG Gen 1 Pokemon into modern games I really want to look into next.

Despite that so far I have had hit and miss luck getting things to work, I already wish I had one for the SNES, though those seem to be considerably more expensive. N64 would be nice as well, I’m less worried about my NES carts, most of them don’t really use battery based saves, and I can beat Zelda 1 again in a few hours.

The Benn Venn device is pretty slick. You insert the cartridge, then plug it into a USB Port, and it just shows up like it’s a flash drive. The results have been weirdly hit and miss. Maybe half of my games copied off and the save files loaded no problems. The other half either didn’t get a working save or didn’t even get a working ROM. Two I really care about that did not work that I want to troubleshoot through are Final Fantasy Legend 1, and Zelda Oracle of Ages. The weird thing is, Oracle of Seasons worked just fine.

I even tried some other ROMs of the same game with the save files and no luck yet.

Once the copies are done though, the device still has some fun uses. For one, it lets me dump photos off of my Game Boy Camera. I always have been looking a bit into ways to “hack” the GB Camera with lenses and such, but getting the files off is one important key need. I also want to see if I can write a program that will upscale the files cleanly as they are very tiny images.

I also want to try out what happens when I try to copy TO a cart. It may go immediately nowhere. I don’t have a blank ROM cart, which I will probably get eventually, but I want to try copying to a cart. I have two carts to test. One, I own an extra Pokemon Blue. Maybe I can hack a full Pokedex into the cart. I also have a bootleg Pokemon Emerald, which feels maybe more likely to work.

Either way, something I want to look into is hacking these save files a bit. I want to get my Charizard into my copy of Ultra Moon. I want to add in all the missing Pokemon from Blue. Though maybe not straight add them, try to transplant from a Red save to a Blue save maybe. Maybe these ideas will go nowhere but trying to make it work is like half the fun.

Anime Central 2002

And now for your reading pleasure, the Lameazoid three part Anime Central EXTRAVAGANZA!!

Anyway, was back in December a guy I know asked if I wanted to go with him to Anime Central in Chicago in April. For the uneducated, Anime Central is an Anime convention. So I agreed and here we are today.


After a long boring car ride, and a conversation on just what we each mean when we say “Chicago”. He (Jason) seems to think Chicago is just some small bit of buildings near Lake Michigan. I prefer to think that the entire northeastern quadrant of Illinois is “Chicago”. But hey, considering he lives in Chicago (according to my definition) what would he know about what to call it?

So after arriving at the hotel and finding one of Jason’s friends who were already there, we parked the car and went to Registration. Somehow we managed to arrive at a great time, since the registration line was very short. The next few days, especially Saturday, it would end up lining the hall into the lobby of the hotel.

After Registration we ended up in the Dealer’s Room for the first time. Unfortunately there weren’t quite as many bargain prices as I had hopped. I did end up getting a couple of Robotech DVDs for only $10 a piece and a cheap Veritech fighter that actually transforms this trip. After a few games of some Macross shooter in the Video Game Room we decided to go ahead and bring in our bags.

Unfortunately we learned that magnetic card room keys are unreliable and we were locked out of the room. The worst part was the guy who had actually rented the room (Andy I believe) was nowhere to be found after about an hour of searching. So we decided to screw him and go eat anyway.

The local Denny’s was not very excited to see us come in I don’t think. They already had a huge group from the convention in there and the lady working the counter just seemed to assume we were with them. It took a bit of effort to convince her we were eating on our own and we had no relation to the other group already eating.

After returning to the hotel we finally found Andy in the room and brought in our belongings. We then got room keys for everyone (at least one of which ended up not working either), and the other three went off to watch Anime Hell or some such. I went to watch shows in the Video Rooms.

For the most part it was just Jin-Ro on Friday night . I stepped out a few times and watched a bit of anime hell, and finally ended up in there for the rest of the night. Anime Hell despite it’s name is not really anime it seems. For the most part it was just a bunch of silly shorts. Everyone went crazy over some really lame German singer named Heino. The highlights included a “Dig Dug The Movie” trailer and some Charlie Brown short where Charlie Brown goes berserk and kills everyone.

There was also a live action Devilman clip where Devilman grew to massive proportions to fight a huge monster in this city. Then instead of saving the city he started throwing the buildings at the monster. Just before that they showed a Live Action Spiderman clip where the guy Spiderman was fighting grew really big forcing Spiderman to call forth his uh, spaceship. Why Spiderman had a space ship I don’t know.

Next was something called Midnight Madness. They showed a pretty funny short called “Eva:ReDeath” and a “Otakumentary”, which were both sort of redubbed edits of Evangelion and a show I did not recognize. Well, the majority of Otakumentary was the one show, it had clips from several series in it. Finally we all headed back to the room to sleep.


Saturday morning gave way to an overpriced breakfast I did not purchase. It was kind of a let down, not only had I been told there would be free breakfast, but for the price of the room there really should have been one. I mean the Motel 6 with it’s 30 bucks a night usually gives free coffee and donuts, what’s with this 12 dollars for breakfast shit? Heck 12 dollars is almost too much to pay for dinner much less breakfast.

Everyone else went on to the main room to watch anime Music Videos. I went back to watch more shows in the Video Rooms. Specifically one called Tenamonya Voyagers. Then Stopped off at the Music Videos room for a bit since there was a huge line to get into the dealer’s room. After a short break in the dealer’s room (Alphonse Special Ingram Model (5 dollars), and a pile of mini Robotech PVCs ($2 each)),I ended up watching Macross Saga in one of the video rooms. Actually I left and came back to Macross repeatedly throughout the afternoon between activities, including…


A Slayers Panel – Wow, what the heck are these people talking about? How do they get such outlandish out of the way questions? Actually I was mostly in this to get a decent seat for the next panel…

An Evangelion Panel – The only one I was at with Jason and his friend. The most exciting part I suppose was sitting a few seats from Tiffany Grant, who plays Asuka in the Dubbed version of Eva. It was kind of weird when she said anything because, well, she sounds like Asuka. She even spouted one of her lines at one point. Unlike the Slayer’s panel, I knew what these people were walking about for the most part, though they were pretty much the same standard questions you’d associate with the series.

Also there was a short tape of clips from the Japanese Director’s cut, which was accompanied by a short explanation as to who DIDN’T kill “you know who”. Then there was a free raffle of like 50 items, which I didn’t win any of. Jason and his friend both won things though.

I had been planning to at least step in for part of the Megatokyo panel but the line was massive and I left before the second panel on Sunday.

Back to the room after the Eva panel to decide what to do for supper. I ended up eating the other half of a sub sandwich I had brought so I would have enough time to see Metropolis. After about 15 minutes of Akira afterwards, it was time to sleep. It was still early but I didn’t want to fall asleep during the drive the next day.


Sunday was pretty uneventful. In an ironic twist, Jason wanted to leave early so he could make it to his softball game that evening. Originally I had been saying I wanted to get back early, but now I was more than ready to stay longer. So after a final trip to the dealer’s room (Transformers PVCs, Duke Togo Action Figure), and an episode of Haunted Junction in the Video Rooms, we left for home.

After some horrible rain, I am here typing this up.

Mini Reviews


I’ll admit I didn’t watch all of this. Frankly it was just TOO BORING to sit through. I mean for a series with such huge bad assed super soldiers, it’s really fucking slow. This movie is an overly melodramatic retelling of Little Red Riding hood, if Red Riding hood was set in a super soldier filled Nazi Germany, where instead of Germans you have Japanese people.

The animation style was nice and fairly original I suppose. I don’t know if this story wanted to be a love story or a violent kill fest though. I’m leaning towards love story since there definitely wasn’t enough gory gunshot wounds.

Tenamonya Voyagers 

I only saw more or less one episode of this series. After the tail end of one episode where a group of girls were blasting into space on a robot or a space ship or a whatever, the preview for the next episode consisted of a series of slides of the cast wearing various items with the name of that item spoken aloud by one of the characters. These items being used as clothes (as in the only thing being worn) were things like “flashlight” and “ping pong paddle”.

And well, the episode I did see all of (title: “Women in Hell”, did indeed have the cast wearing these various items. Apparently their ship had broken down, and the ship had become extremely hot. They wandered around a it randomly doing a “sound off” for pretty much no reason at all, till they found some other girl locked in a cabinet. After repairing the ship, they found they were plummeting into a nearby sun and after being betrayed by uh, someone, I couldn’t really tell which one it was, the escape pods were accidentally launched leaving half the cast stranded.

Using a moderately hokey solution of one of the characters “pitching” (as in baseball) the ship through the sun, they managed to save themselves and the episode ended. In general, the show did have some moderately funny slapstick going on, but the plot was extremely incoherent and random, and unless this was supposed to be some sort of parody, It was pretty lame really.

Macross Saga 

Just a quick thing to point out. Many people complain about Robotech because it “butchered” the original source footage it was taken from. Now granted I only watched through the first dozen or so episodes off and on, but I just feel the need to point out, Robotech is pretty faithful to the way Macross is supposed to be, and if you think Robotech is bad then I guess I’m going to have to say, Macross Saga is just really that bad.


After hearing so many people mention this movie on RAAM (rec.arts.anime.misc), I decided since I could now see it for “free” I may as well. Initially I figured it was going to be a huge blade runner rip off plot wise. Instead it was just a rip off of pretty much every other Robot vs. Human anime ever created.

You see, in the future, People hate the robots for taking their jobs, so they have an underground revolution against the government, then crazy evil government based things happen to the heroine robot. Now how many shows can we relate that plot summary to?

On the flip side, this movie has VERY nice visuals. A neat original looking style that reminds me of anime like Astroboy in character design but not quite. The setting is the future city called Metropolis (I think that was the city’s name, it’s not that important), and it’s sort of the future if the 1920s United States had become the future. The only problem I have with this setting it makes for a few instances of “Why would they make the robot/machine/design/whatever do something in that manner? It’s pretty inefficient, I mean this is supposed to be the future!”.

Bottom line, nice nice visuals, mediocre rip off plot. Though the subtitled version was shown, I would suggest watching the dub if you can. You don’t want having to read the subtitles to distract from the images above them.

Haunted Junction 

Unlike Tenamonya Voyagers, I’m quite sure this was a parody of some sort. I came in halfway through this show, so bear with me here. Basically it seems some Manga Artist (Manga-KA for those trying to impress people with their feeble grasp of Japanese) had somehow turned all his creations into real monsters. The hero, whom I know only as being referred to as “President”, probably for class President, was combating these evil Manga characters.

The best part was though, he fought them by throwing his seven badges in the air and summoning the school council or some shit. Most of the time he ended up with this pair of guys who would do their all powerful “Cossack Dance” which caused them to loose every time.

On to the enemies. There was the Sailor XO group, a blatant rip off of Sailor Moon, right down to falling for Council Member Red Mantle (a Red Tuxedo Mask); There was the obligatory group of robots, who were defeated by Council Member Mirror Girl, who was a girl in a mirror; Then finally, the uh, well I’m not sure who exactly, I think basically they were historical figures, they had to be defeated by having the Smart Girl Council Member outwit them.

The whole thing, like Tenamonya Voyagers seemed decent in a parody light. It was a bit off the wall in general though.

Cosplay Notes  I only ended up with one cosplay picture, I guess I’ll post it here when it’s developed. The best one (read: LOL worst) was the huge bearded Sailor Moon guy. There was a pretty decent FFX group going around of Rikku, Yuna, and Auron. Also I came a cross a decent FF8 group as well. I wish I had gotten pictures of them both.

On an unrelated note, all of the Squall and Duo Maxwell (I think that’s his name) cosplayers I saw were girls. I’m not really sure why other than Duo has long hair, so it’s easier for a girl to do it and Squall is kind of girly looking I guess.

Free Shit 

  • 1 Large Evangelion Series from ADV/Suncoast
  • 1 Large Sproggan Poster from ADV/Suncoast
  • 1 Medium Steel Angel Kurumi Poster from ADV
  • 1 Medium Devil Hunter Yokho Poster from ADV/Suncoast
  • 1 Medium Astroboy Poster from Manga Entertainment
  • 1 Medium End of Evangelion Poster from Manga Entertainment
  • 1 Medium Evangelion: Death and Rebirth Poster from Manga Entertainment
  • 1 2001 Guide to Anime CDROM from Bandai Entertainment
  • 1 ADV Catalogue
  • 1 Entrance Badge with Love Hina on it