Vita owners have it rough. You have no idea. It isn’t just the lack of games, respect and cheaply priced memory cards that troubles us. There’s another issue that’s far more traumatizing. It’s the inability to save layouts. Sure, it seems like a minor quibble, but trust me when I say that nobody understands the frustration that comes from swapping Vita memory cards. It’s a heartbreaking situation and one that I only just experienced.
See, I have two Vita memory cards. I started out with a 16GB card when I purchased my system. I outgrew it within the first six months, thanks to downloads of Persona 4 Golden and DJMax Technika Tune. Then I went out and bought a used 32GB memory card. I backed up everything from the 16GB card to my computer, popped in the 32GB card and relied on it.
Life was good until February 2013. Specifically, until Square Enix decided to discount all the PSOne Classic Final Fantasy games on the PlayStation Store. My 32GB Vita memory card was down to 1GB of space and I had a brilliant idea. I would make my 16GB card my PSOne and PSP repository and the 32GB card would be just for Vita games. I set about my work, first backing up all PSP and PSOne content from my 32GB card to my computer. I swapped the cards, turned the Vita on and started clearing away icons on my 16GB card. Transferring didn’t take as long as I thought and I felt smart for having thought of this solution.
Then, I decided to go back to my 32GB memory card so I could play some Ecolibrium. It was then that I saw everything I had worked for was ruined.
I had carefully organized everything on my Vita. I had wallpapers that sectioned games and apps off by type. It was beautiful. I had my most played games on the first screen so they’d always be right there when the Vita woke up. It was settled. And now, because I had switched memory cards, it was all gone.
There is no system in place in the Vita firmware to retain the memory of bubble locations if a memory card is removed. It won’t even remember the wallpapers you used, beyond the first few screens. The only icons that will remain in their positions are the ones representing games or programs that are present on both cards.
Of course, my initial shock couldn’t register this, so I removed the 32GB card again and replaced it with the 16GB card, which I had similarly organized after I set it up as my “classic” library. Again, my layout had disappeared. It was gone.
This all alludes to a greater problem, naturally. The Vita has been out since December 17, 2011 in Japan and February 22, 2012 in most other territories. This layout problem has been an issue since the beginning and while many people probably haven’t encountered it yet, it will be a problem as more downloads become available. I’m certain other people’s memory cards are also filling up and eventually 16GB and even 32GB cards won’t cut it. They’ll go buy more, grudgingly due to the price, and then experience the same shock when they find the icons won’t stay where you want them to if you dare do something like remove the card.
What makes the Vita layout issue even more painful is that it’s something that could be easily fixed. Do a little firmware tweaking, allow people to save their Vita layouts for each card in the System Settings, and then all someone would have to do is potentially visit settings and load a file to have their respective memory card’s layout restored. It could be user friendly and simple!
Alas, we don’t have that option and who knows when Sony will decide we should. I guess we just have to take screenshots of our layouts before swapping cards, so at least we’ll remember how to rearrange them when we go back. In the meantime, I’d really like to start Final Fantasy IX or beat Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I finally got the icons on my 32GB memory card just the way I like them and I’m not reorganizing them again!