If there was a fire, I would do whatever was necessary to save the following:
and Hard Drives.
To someone who plays games, no item is more important than their save device. Disc gets broken? No big deal. Get a new one and it will be like nothing ever happened. Console dies? Again, no big deal. Get it fixed/get a new one and it will be like nothing ever happened. Saves get erased/corrupted? Well, then you're screwed. Barring a miraculous recovery of the files, all you can do is accept the fact you lost all your data and will have to start over on every game. The more you play games, the worse of a fate this is. Thankfully, I have never experienced loss on a large scale, and I hope I never do. I have had a few small instances occur though, some of which changed my game-playing habits forever.
The first time I ever experienced the loss of save files didn't even happen to me. It happened to one of my best friends at the time, James. Back in elementary school, I would occasionally head over to James's house to play games. On one of those days, James discovered that he had lost his Tomb Raider save files due to his third-party PlayStation memory card. It was one of those memory cards that boasted about having larger storage space than the official ones, even though they weren't as reliable.
I have never, ever, used a third-party memory card, and never will.
The second time I ever experienced the loss of save files was the first time it directly happened to me. Apparently, one day when I was out of my house for a while, my brother and Jeremiah (who I was not friends with at the time, but am now) decided to go into my room and play Cruis'n USA on the N64. Now, I have mentioned Cruis'n USA on here before, and about how I recently discovered that it received a lot of hate, but I LOVED that game. Dozens of hours were devoted to that game, often with friends, and I did absolutely everything a person can do in it. I basically 100 percented that game, and was very satisfied with myself. You can imagine how I felt when I discovered that my brother and Jeremiah somehow inexplicably erased all of my data. When I confronted my brother about it, he was very confused and didn't understand how they did it. I am grateful that it happened after I had completed it, as opposed to being in the middle of it, because I felt no desire to play the game again after that.
The lesson I learned from that? Be wary of who is using your stuff. Ever since that day, people have either had to be supervised, or straight up not allowed to play my games or consoles. After the Cruis'n USA incident, we moved. For a little period there, my brother would bring large groups of people in which he barely knew some of them, and I would hide my consoles. Some people would call me an asshole, but you know what? My shit was protected. Whenever my brother would say anything about it, I would say: "Cruis'n USA."
The third time I ever experienced the loss of save files was actually kind of my fault. For a long period, me, my brother, Jeremiah, and Jarvis were all heavily into The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind for the Xbox. Now, for anyone that knows anything about Morrowind, you know that game is huuuuuge, and therefore could get pretty long. Super-duper long, even. You might also know that the game had an auto-save feature. I am one of those people that likes to have as few save files as possible. I feel good when my save devices are clean and organized (every couple of weeks I like to scan through my 360's hard drive to see what I can delete). Because of this, I foolishly decided to have the auto-save as my only save, without thinking that next time someone played the game, everything I'd done would be erased. So, next time I loaded up Morrowind and went to load my game, I quickly became confused. Continuously scrolling through every save, wondering how my file could have been lost, I remembered that my brother was the only one who had played it since I last did. "First Cruis'n USA, and now this. My brother needs to be taught a lesson."
One button press away from erasing all of his data, my mind raced. I went through every scenario I could as to how this could have happened, and whether or not I should get my revenge. Eventually, I decided that erasing his saves in retaliation was the wrong thing to do (though I don't remember if this was before or after I realized it was my fault). But honestly, I restarted Morrowind so damn much anyways that losing the save file was something I quickly got over. The lesson I learned from this was to always have a separate save file from the auto-save. With the way today's consoles work and the use of individual profiles though, it isn't something I ever really have to worry about again.
The final time (hopefully) I ever experienced the loss of save files was also my fault. It also marked the last time I ever used codes in a game (there was also another incident that contributed to this, but that is for another post). After completing Grand Theft Auto III and still yearning for something to do, I decided to stack as many insane codes as I could. Codes that would transform normal pedestrians into crazy violent people full of hate. Some might remember that saving with some these codes could corrupt the data on your memory card. That is exactly what I did. Thankfully, all I lost was some Metal Gear Solid 2 stuff (mostly photos I had taken). Either way, it was a lesson learned that will save me worse grief in the future.
With traditional memory cards a thing of the past (at least for myself), the loss of data nowadays would be far more devastating. I could easily see myself going into a deep depression if I were to lose the 90 gigs worth of storage on my 360. The PlayStation 3 makes backing up data so easy that it isn't even a concern, and I play my Wii so little that it wouldn't be too big of a deal. The PSP works similar to the PS3, and as far as the DS goes, I would only be losing the data of one game, so it wouldn't be too bad unless I was deep into the latest Pokémon title or something. With cloud storage becoming more prominent, it seems like we'll have to worry less and less about data loss in the future.