This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
A saved game (also called a game save, savegame, savefile, save point, or simply save) is a piece of digitally stored information about the progress of a player in a video game.
From the earliest games in the 1970s onward, game platform hardware and memory improved, which led to bigger and more complex computer games, which, in turn, tended to take more and more time to play them from start to finish. This naturally led to the need to store in some way the progress, and how to handle the case where the player received a "game over". More modern games with a heavier emphasis on storytelling are designed to allow the player many choices that impact the story in a profound way later on, and some game designers do not want to allow more than one save game so that the experience will always be "fresh".
Game designers allow players to prevent the loss of progress in the game (as might happen after a game over). Games designed this way encourage players to 'try things out', and on regretting a choice, continue from an earlier point on.
Although the feature of save games often allows for gameplay to resume after a game over, a notable exception is in games where save games are deleted when it is game over. Several names are used to describe this feature, including "permadeath", "iron man", and "hardcore", and the feature has developed over the years from being the only kind of save system per game to the more modern 'suspend game' feature among regular save points. For online games, the game's progress is maintained on the remote server. In some games, upon resuming the game from a save game, the software locks or marks the save game. Early examples include Moria and Diablo II 's "hardcore" mode where the character save game is managed by the server. The use of saved games is very common in modern video games, particularly in role-playing video games, which are usually much too long to finish in a single session.
In early video games, there was no need for saving games, since these games usually had no actual plot to develop and were generally very short in length.
Classic arcade video games from the golden age of arcade video games did not save the player's progress towards completing the game, but rather high scores, custom settings, and other features. The first game to save the player's score was Taito's seminal 1978 shoot 'em up title Space Invaders .
The relative complexity and inconvenience of storing game state information on early home computers (and the fact that early video game consoles had no non-volatile data storage) meant that initially game saves were represented as "passwords" (often strings of characters that encoded the game state) that players could write down and later input into the game when resuming.
BYTE magazine stated in 1981, regarding the computer text adventure Zork I 's save game feature, that "While some cowards use it to retain their hard-earned position in the game before making some dangerous move", it was intended to let players play over many weeks. InfoWorld disagreed that year, stating that save games "allow users to experiment with different approaches to the same situation". Home computers in the early 1980s had the advantage of using external media for saving, with compact cassettes and floppy disks, before finally using internal hard drives.
For later cartridge-based console games, such as The Legend of Zelda and Kirby's Adventure , saved games were stored in battery-backed RAM on the game cartridge itself. The Legend of Zelda was the first ever game to allow saving on console.
The first game cartridge to use battery backup saves was Mirai Shinwa Jarvas (未来神話ジャーヴァス, Future Legend Jarvas), a role-playing video game released for the Famicom in June 1987. It was followed by the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) version of The Legend of Zelda, released in August 1987.
In recent consoles, which use disc-based media for storing games, saved games are stored in other ways, such as by use of memory cards or internal hard drives on the game machine itself.
Depending on the game, a player will have the ability to save the game either at any arbitrary point (usually when the game has been paused), after a specific task has been completed (such as at the end of a level), or at designated areas within the game known as save points.
The available ways to save a game affect gameplay, and can represent a practice of players or an explicit decision by designers to give the game a particular feel or alter its difficulty.
A video game may allow the user to save at any point of the game at any time. There are also modified versions of this. For example, in the GameCube game Eternal Darkness , the player can save at almost any time, but only if no enemies are in the room. To make gaming more engaging, some video games may impose a limit on the number of times a player saves the game. For instance, IGI 2 allows only a handful of saves in each mission; Max Payne 2 imposes this restriction on the highest level of difficulty.
Some video games only allow the game to be saved at predetermined points in the game, called save points. (Not to be confused with "checkpoints".) Save points are employed either because the game is too complex to allow saving at any given point or to attempt to make the game more engaging by forcing the player to rely on skills instead of on the ability to retry indefinitely. Save points are also far easier to program, so when a game developer has to rush a game, save points are attractive to develop.
Some games use a hybrid system where both save anywhere and save points are used. For example, Final Fantasy VII permits saving anywhere when the player is traveling on the world map, but once the player enters a location (e.g. town, cavern or forest), saving is only possible at save points. Additionally, there is one location (called the Northern Crater) in which the player is allowed to deploy one save point in a spot of their choice.
Overusing saved games is seen by some as cheating and in such a context referred to as savescumming. Savescumming makes losing a game impossible because whenever the player loses or is about to lose, a savegame is loaded, effectively turning back time to the situation before the loss. In a video game, this could for example be done when a battle is lost, the player didn't win a race, forgot to grab a parachute before jumping out of a plane or lost a bet. For example, in a game that features a casino, the player could save the game and then bet all their in-game money on black at the roulette table. If the outcome is black, their money is doubled and the player saves the game again. If the outcome is red (or green), the player disregards this outcome by reloading their last savegame. This allows for an indefinite winning streak.
Game saving does not need to be manual. Some video games save the game in progress automatically, such as at the start of each level, after the pass of a fixed amount of time (if saving anywhere is allowed), at certain predetermined points in the game (an extension to save point concept), or when the player leaves (the game saves when you stop playing).
Some games only permit suspend saves in which the game is automatically saved upon exiting and reloaded upon restarting. The aim of a suspend save is only to allow the gameplay to be temporarily interrupted; as such, suspend saves are erased when the player resumes the game. The act of copying and reusing suspend save files is a form of cheating.
Checkpoints are locations in a video game where a player character respawns after death. Characters generally respawn at the last checkpoint that they have reached. A respawn is most often due to the death of the in-game character, but it can also be caused by the failure to meet an objective required to advance in the game. Checkpoints might be temporary, as they stop working when the character loses all of its lives. Most modern games, however, save the game to memory at these points, known as auto-saving.
Checkpoints might be visible or invisible to the player. Visible checkpoints might give a player a sense of security when activated, but in turn sacrifice some immersion, as checkpoints are intrinsically "gamey" and might even need an explanation of how they work. Invisible checkpoints do not break immersion but make players unsure of where they will respawn. Usually, if a player does get a game over, then their progress will be lost, and the player would lose all of their checkpoints.
Quick saving and quick loading allow the player to save or load the game with a single keystroke. These terms are used to differentiate between the traditional saving mechanism where the player is required to invoke a menu or dialog box, issue save the order, specify a title for the game being saved and, if applicable, confirm whether an old saved game file with the same title should be overwritten. The term "quick save" may be used in video games that lack the traditional saving mechanism altogether.
The advantage of quick saving is its low burden: The player only has to press a button and, if applicable, wait a few seconds. The disadvantage is the automatic loss of the previous quick-saved game. Games that only offer quick saving may be impossible to play by two different players (or more) unless there is a mechanism to distinguish players, such as user accounts. Leaving the decision of when to save up to the player increases the likelihood that a save will be made during a less than favourable game state. A quicksave shortly before an event which kills the player creates what is known as a death loop.
Passwords are a form of saved game not stored on non-volatile memory. Instead, everything needed to reconstruct the game state is encoded in a string of text (the password) and displayed to the player, who can then record or memorize it. The player may later resume play from that point by entering the same password. Passwords are only feasible when the amount of data being saved is only a few bytes.
A save state is a form of a saved game in emulators. A save state is generated when the emulator stores the contents of random-access memory of an emulated program to disk. Save states enable players to save their games even when the emulated game or system does not support the feature. For instance, save states may be used to circumvent saving restrictions or to abuse RNG. An associated concept is save state hacking, the practice of altering the save states to alter gameplay conditions, usually in favor of the player. Save states are comparable to snapshots of a computer system's state or hibernation in computing, with save states being a limited form of snapshots.
Save states have started to receive mainstream usage in the early 2010s with Nintendo's Virtual Console. Some Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console titles allow players to save a restore point, which is like a quick save but has no restrictions on reloading.Although likely derived from quick saves, restore points are functionally identical to save states, and can be used for many of the same purposes.
Game designers often attempt to integrate the save points into the style of the game using skeuomorphism. Resident Evil represents save points with old fashioned typewriters (which require an ink ribbon item for each save), the Grand Theft Auto series used representations appropriate to the era of the setting: cassette tapes for the mid-1980s ( Grand Theft Auto: Vice City ), 3½-inch disks for the early-1990s ( Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas ), and compact discs for the late-1990s ( Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories ).
Although save points are typically seen as boons, some games have traps which use this tendency to fool the player. In Chrono Trigger , attempting to use a fake save point in Magus's castle can actually bring the party into battle.
Some games employ limits to saving in order to prevent players from using them as a primary means of succeeding in the game. In Tomb Raider save points are consumed upon use, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest charges two banana coins to use a save point more than once, and in Resident Evil the player must find and expend an ink ribbon for each save.
Another way saved games interact with each other is through passing along data to sequels. A famous example of this is the first three installments of the Wizardry series. To play the second and third installments, players needed to import the characters they'd used in the previous installment, which retained all experience and equipment gained in that installment. Later versions of the games made this feature optional, as do franchises such as the Fire Emblem , Shenmue and .hack series. Video games may also take the saved games of other video games into account; for example, the character Rosalina becomes available on Mario Kart Wii if there is a Super Mario Galaxy save on the console. The save game of Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition can be imported to the Remix version of the game.
For many years, sharing game saves among friends has been very common. From trading passwords to swapping memory cards, gamers have always been able to help each other out to unlock features in a game. With the growing popularity of the Internet, many people upload their game saves to help out their online friends. However, with the inclusion of a progress meter or "gamerscore" that tracks player progress in games for the Xbox 360, many players are beginning to view those who load other people's files onto their systems as "cheaters".Some games such as Grand Theft Auto IV prevent the use of saved games made by other users. The Legend of Zelda: Oracles actually encourages this with a password swapping side quest that is available after finishing the main story.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2011)
Saved games have generally been rare at arcades, but have found some use, notably in the Konami e-Amusement system, or by the use of PlayStation cards, as in Dance Dance Revolution. These generally use either a magnetic card to store the data, or network (internet) connection, or some combination thereof. Similarly, passwords have generally been rare at arcades, with occasional exceptions, such as Gauntlet Legends.
The Legend of Zelda is a high fantasy action-adventure video game franchise created by Japanese game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. It is primarily developed and published by Nintendo, although some portable installments and re-releases have been outsourced to Capcom, Vanpool, and Grezzo. The gameplay incorporates action-adventure and elements of action RPG games.
The Family Computer Disk System, commonly shortened to the Famicom Disk System, or just Disk System, is a peripheral for Nintendo's Family Computer home video game console, released only in Japan on February 21, 1986. It uses proprietary floppy disks called "Disk Cards" for cheaper data storage and it adds a new high-fidelity sound channel for supporting Disk System games.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is an action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was released in Japan and North America in November 1998, and in PAL regions the following month. Ocarina of Time is the fifth game in The Legend of Zelda series, and the first with 3D graphics.
The Legend of Zelda, originally released in Japan as The Hyrule Fantasy: Zelda no Densetsu, is a 1986 action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo and designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Set in the fantasy land of Hyrule, the plot centers on an elf-like boy named Link, who aims to collect the eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom in order to rescue Princess Zelda from the antagonist, Ganon. During the course of the game, the player controls Link from a top-down perspective and navigates throughout the overworld and dungeons, collecting weapons, defeating enemies and uncovering secrets along the way.
River City Ransom, later released as Street Gangs in the PAL regions, is an open world action role-playing beat 'em up video game originally for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was developed by Technōs Japan and originally released in Japan on April 25, 1989. It is the third game in Technos' Kunio-kun series released for the console, preceded by Renegade and Super Dodge Ball. Like its predecessors, River City Ransom underwent great changes in its storyline and graphical presentation during its localization in order to make the game more palatable in the Western market. It was one of the first console games published by North American subsidiary American Technos.
A console game is a form of video game, consisting of manipulable images generated by a video game console and displayed on a television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to the console, called a controller. The controller generally contains a number of buttons and directional controls such as analogue joysticks, each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling the images on the screen. The display, speakers, console, and controls of a console can also be incorporated into one small object known as a handheld game.
The iQue Player is a home video game console that was manufactured by iQue, a joint venture between Nintendo and Chinese-American scientist Wei Yen after China had made claims of banning video games. The system's Chinese name was Shén Yóu Ji (神游机), literally "Divine Gaming Machine". Shényóu (神游) serves a double entendre because the term also means "to make a mental journey". Although the console was never released in any English-speaking countries, the name "iQue Player" appears in the console's instruction manual. The console itself takes the form of the controller and plugs directly into the television. A box accessory is available that allows multiplayer gaming. It was only marketed in mainland China, as the console's unusual game distribution method is an attempt to curb game piracy in that region.
"Game over" is a message in video games which signals to the player that the game has ended. It is usually received negatively in a situation where continued play is disallowed, such as losing all of one's lives or failing a critical objective. However, it sometimes also appears after the successful completion of a game, usually ones designed for arcades. The phrase has since been turned into quasi-slang, usually describing an event that will cause significant harm, injury, bad luck, or even death to a person.
In many video games of the 1980s and 1990s, after a level is beaten and/or when all continues are used, the game displays a password that when entered allows the player to either restart from the last level reached or restore the game to the state when the password was received. Overlapping in many ways with cheat codes, players distinguish passwords from codes by having received them from the game outright rather than finding them hidden within the game code. Using them is not considered cheating. They are rarely used today, having been largely supplanted by saved games.
Neutopia is an overhead action-adventure video game developed by Hudson Soft. It was released by Hudson for the PC Engine in Japan on November 17, 1989. It was then released by NEC for the TurboGrafx-16 in North America in 1990. It was re-released for the Virtual Console service worldwide for the Wii in 2007 and in Japan for the Wii U on April 16, 2014; it was re-released for the PlayStation Network in Japan in 2010 and in North America in 2011. The game takes place in the land of Neutopia, where the evil demon Dirth has captured Princess Aurora and has stolen the eight ancient medallions which contain the wisdom and power necessary to maintain peace and prosperity throughout the land. It is up to the protagonist Jazeta to retrieve the eight medallions, defeat Dirth, rescue Princess Aurora, and save the land and its people.
Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the sixth main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the eleventh instalment overall. Set within the fictional Liberty City, based on New York City, the single-player story follows Eastern European war veteran Niko Bellic and his attempts to escape his past while under pressure from high-profile criminals. The open world design lets players freely roam Liberty City, consisting of three main islands, and the neighbouring state of Alderney, based on New Jersey.
Virtual Console, also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U home video game consoles and the Nintendo 3DS family handheld game console.
Autosave is a saving function in many computer applications and video games which automatically saves the current changes or progress in the program or game, helping to reduce the risk or impact of data loss in case of a crash, freeze or user error. Autosaving is typically done either in predetermined intervals or before, during, and after a complex editing task is begun.
Cheating in video games involves a video game player using various methods to create an advantage beyond normal gameplay, in order to make the game easier. Cheats may be activated from within the game itself, or created by third-party software or hardware. They can also be realized by exploiting software bugs; this may or may not be considered cheating based on whether the bug is considered common knowledge.
An overworld is, in a broad sense, commonly an area within a video game that interconnects all its levels or locations. They are mostly common in role-playing games, though this does not exclude other video game genres, such as some platformers and strategy games.
A variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games. The predominance of individual techniques have evolved over time, primarily due to hardware advances and restrictions such as the processing power of central or graphics processing units.
Grand Theft Auto V is a 2013 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the seventh main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV, and the fifteenth instalment overall. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, the single-player story follows three protagonists—retired bank robber Michael De Santa, street gangster Franklin Clinton, and drug dealer and gunrunner Trevor Philips—and their attempts to commit heists while under pressure from a corrupt government agency and powerful criminals. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas' open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles.
In video games, a silent protagonist is a player character who lacks any dialogue for the entire duration of a game, with the possible exception of occasional interjections or short phrases. In some games, especially visual novels, this may extend to protagonists who have dialogue, but no voice acting like all other non-player characters. A silent protagonist may be employed to lend a sense of mystery or uncertainty of identity to the gameplay, or to help the player identify better with them. Silent protagonists may also be anonymous. Not all silent protagonists are necessarily mute or do not speak to other characters; they may simply not produce any dialogue audible to the player.
This list includes terms used in video games and the video game industry, as well as slang used by players.
In video games, a life is a play-turn that a player-character has, defined as the period between start and end of play. Lives refer to a finite number of tries before the game ends with a game over. It is sometimes called a chance or a try, particularly in all-ages games, to avoid the morbid insinuation of losing one's "life". Generally, if the player loses all their health points, they lose a life. Losing all lives usually grants the player-character "game over", forcing them to either restart or stop playing.