Last night on GeekNights Rym and Scott brought up the subject of save games on video games. They covered the old days of password based games, battery saves, save locations and the current incarnation of quick-saves.

They also raised some interesting points about how the introduction of save games has influenced gaming and the effect is has had on their enjoyment of games.

I see great value in a game that offers a way to save your progress for several reasons:

    Reasons for save games
  • Bathroom break.
  • Avoiding playing an entire level just because you can't quite beat the boss.
  • Frustrated little kids.

    Some might counter that adding in the ability to save your game at any time lowers the peril factor involved in the game. Those people would be right, but only to a degree.

    Some games benefit from the "save early, save often" paradigm. In particular I found Pokemon Gale of Darkness far more fun than Pokemon Coleseum in part because I did not need to run back to a save point. In those two games it is important to catch all of the shadow pokemon and turn them back into regular pokemon. Too many times I ended up in a battle where I failed to capture a shadow pokemon due to no fault of my own. Being able to save before every battle benefited me (and avoided the headache of a whiny kid complaining about not being able to catch a certain pokemon).

    There are other games that are better because they do not offer a save point. Look at the original Super Mario Brothers from the NES (which had no save points) versus the Super Mario World game for the SNES (which had save points).

    In SMB it was a straight side-scrolling game where you only went forward. If you screwed up and failed to get enough extra lives in the early stages you were just stuck. In SMW it is far different as you can save the game all over the place and jump back into any level you have already beaten. Truth be told, you should never get a "game over" screen in SMW because it is so easy to get extra lives and save. That does not mean the game is easy to beat as you may go through thousands of lives while playing! It just means the game will be beaten, one day, as the odds are clearly in your favor.

      Reasons not to have save games
  • Increases difficulty.
  • Makes beating the game more of a memorable occasion.
  • Frustrated little kids.

    Yeah, the last one is the same. I guess I'm just mean like that!