Gimme Five! Worst Save Systems

Saving may be the best addition to games as a whole since the first caveman thought “man, I can’t wait until someone invents videogames”. It’s nice to think that you can walk away from a game and get back to it on your time. Now saving is easy and straightforward, but that was not always the case. Here are some examples of ways to save that did not quite work out as intended.

5. Passwords

This one was more by necessity, as some game developers didn’t discover the battery and computer memory until the first Legend of Zelda, apparently. This actually worked okay for a while until games became more complicated and game developers discovered that people would just pass these easy passwords around to jump right to the end. That moment was when number, consonant and symbol hell broke loose. Passwords became cryptic keys a mile long, full of weird fonts and alien writing undecipherable by even the most brilliant main character of a Dan Brown novel. Hours of game time are lost because somehow, in this font, an N looks like an 8 and vice versa, so your entire code is wrong.

4. Earning Saves In-Game

Hitman 2 has this system, and this is a ridiculous idea. Hey, want to save your game? Sure! You just have to play the game some more to unlock the save! Next, the game unlocks a gun that puts bullets back together and knives that fix cuts.

3. Losing Lives When You Quit

Really, Gish? Really? Ending your game takes a life from me, and I start with 5? Well no worries, I won’t lose any more lives from you ever again.

2. Checkpointing

This one is actually pretty good for the most part! It gives you a goal to get to, and lets you know where you will appear again if you quit before the next one. I’ve played through many games that worked like this and never had any problems…except for that one save. You know the one. You’re running from a group of enemies and right as the sniper trains on your head and fires…checkpoint, headshot. You’re left to watch in horror as the game reloads the moment you get shot over and over like some kind of digital Sisyphus. Or you’re cruising away at high-speeds in a Warthog and then…rocket fired, checkpoint, explosion. In those moments, a good save system becomes the worst system ever created, especially as you reload an older one and go through that section of the game again.

1. Leaving the Game System On While You Do Whatever

Back in the NES days, this was the preferred way to keep a good Mario 3 game going without redoing the whole game. You pause, leave the game on, and just walk away. It seemed like a good notion at first, until the real consequences kick in. You come back to a forgotten system, burning with the heat of a thousand suns. The game has welded itself to the system. Your dad chews you out for the power bill that has doubled. On top of all that, you have to turn the game off anyways because your friend wants to play something else by the time you can get to it! Not that that stopped you from doing it again, World 5 is totally hard.

What bad save stories do you have? Post them in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Gimme Five! Worst Save Systems”

  1. Bad save systems? Off-name brand PlayStation cards. I had about 20 games saved on 1 most of them like final fantasy and Legend of Dragoon. One time I bumped it the wrong way corrupted many of my saves… Nice write up Toast!

    1. Hell, sometimes official memory cards were no better, due most likely to shoddy save code. I spent hours and hours building my unlocks in Soul Caliber on the Dreamcast, only to start it up again and get the dreaded “SAVE FILE CORRUPT” message. That was when I stopped playing Soul Caliber.

    1. That would be… THE BEST IDEA EVER. If someone could come up with a new NES/SNES (perhaps both in one!?) that uses basically a memory card and an improved cartridge slot to cut down on blowing, then I would totally buy one even though I have a working NES and SNES both.

      1. There actually is a device on the SNES called a Game Saver Plus that is basically a Save State device (found it in a discount bin at Walmart years ago). The only downsides are that it takes like ten double A batteries to retain the state unless you leave it plugged into the SNES, and that it can cause the game to play the wrong bgm. Interestingly, it also acts as an import device due to no region lock tabs…

  2. Bad save systems, eh? Well, I nominate the internal RAM save system of the SEGA Saturn. It’s wonderful, pelenty of room for all of your saves. Until the internal battery runs out. *rage*

    You can replace the little battery of course (it’s a watch battery or button cell), but it’s only going to be a matter of time before, herp-a-derp, it’s run out and deleted all of your hard work again >__>

    Thankfully the Saturn supports an external RAM cartridge, if you can find one. Mine still has saves from 1997, untouched and pristine. ^____^

  3. Well my Blue Version stopped saving probably having to do with the internal battery dying on me. And after I was able to play it (while keeping my Gameboy Color) on I had gone back to play it once again and my Gameboy Color had died and stopped working completely…R.I.P Pokemon Blue Version The first video game I ever owned.

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