Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy, female, warrior, fire, flames, campfire, save

Weird gaming habits: part two

In my last post I shared the answers of some of my blogger friends when I asked them to reveal their weird gaming habits. While talking about this subject with these awesome people, we noticed a strange trend: the majority of us save our video games multiple times in row. It’s not a case of having several save files for one title so we can go back to different points in the gameplay; I’m talking about saving over the same file a number of times in quick succession. Why is this?

I did a quick bit of research on Google expecting to find a number of articles on this behaviour but managed to come across only one – and even that was only a thread on a forum about Pokémon rather than an investigation into or explanation for the habit. So if nobody else is going to don their lab-coat and clipboard for this this subject, I’m going to take it as an opportunity to step into the role of researcher.

Once bitten, twice shy

In a closely-monitored and controlled environment (also known as Twitter), I posed the question: ‘Do you save video games multiple times in a row and if so, why?’ The majority of people who responded gave two main reasons for their behaviour, the first being a heart-breaking experience as described by Ian from Adventure Rules: “I lost a lot of progress once because I only saved one time and it didn’t register, so now I save multiple times to make sure it sticks.”

As pointed out by Imtiaz from Power Bomb Attack: “Games are super long and I don’t have a lot of time to play. Lost progress hurts…” This was supported by Anthony from Videogame Crosstalk: “With how long games are these days and how little time I have, I can’t risk replaying any progress. Besides, it only takes a few seconds.” If it was hard enough getting through a particular section of a game the first time, it’ll be twice as painful having to repeat it.

Distrusting and easily distracted

The next most popular reason given by my willing participants was closely related to the first: they’re not sure whether the game actually saved, either through a distrust of the autosave feature or because they’ve been distracted by something else. Matt from The Album told me: “I refuse to believe autosave is auto-saving everything haha. I think it’s more a ‘just in case’ thing.”

Our very own Ben (he’s still around!) said: “More than once when I’ve saved, I’ve been distracted by something then looked back at the screen to see the ‘save game’ page. Then I save again.” His reason was echoed by several others including Alex from Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews and William from Ludophile Lab – it seems as though we’re all easily distracted or have our minds on several things at once.

Doing it for the protagonist

Chris from OverThinker Y gave a split reason when it came to explaining why he does multiple saves. The first part picks up on the points raised above while the second is rather insightful: “I save a lot, as lots of others apparently do too, partly because I’m worried one of them just won’t account for no reason and partly because I figure whoever I’m playing as will be grateful for my diligence.”

I love this reason. Not only is it honest, it also shows that video games are more to us than just moving pixels on a screen; they transport us to amazing worlds, tell fantastical stories and open our eyes to new experiences. Whoever says that games are just for entertainment needs to get themselves a copy of Horizon Zero Dawn as soon as possible… and then save. Multiple times.

Forgets to do it… but should do it

There’s always someone who goes against the grain and that tends to be Nathan from Hurricane thought process (one of the reasons why we love him). Unlike the rest of us, who find ourselves saving several times in a row just to make sure it’s done properly, he told me this is something he never does. Is it because he’s brave, crazy or simply trusts the autosave feature?

It’s actually none of the above: he admitted it’s because he forgets! He also revealed: “I should do it though, as I always end up six hours previous in my games.” Maybe we’ve managed to convince him to join us in our uncertainty and repeatedly save his progress to pull all necessary data into that little save file.

In conclusion

So my not-so-scientific research has shown we’re all busy, paranoid, distrusting and easily-distracted… hardly the most flattering image of a gamer ever put forward. But as rightly pointed out by Chris from OverThinker Y when I chatted with him: “I also do the saving thing! Seems like it’s not that weird at all.”

In today’s world of technology, the more data we accumulate the more data we’re likely to lose. However, video games are different from lost text messages, missing records or corrupted electronic documents; they’re a record of where we’ve been in a digital world, the people we’ve met and the adventures we’ve had there. And the older we get and the more our adult responsibilities increase, the less free time we have to play.

Our save files are therefore previous to us and it can be absolutely heart-breaking when we lose our progress within a title. We press the save button several times in a row because it’s in our nature to keep moving forward and succeeding, rather than repeating what we’ve already done. When the worst happens, positive souls would say it’s an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to make different decisions; but the rest of us?

We’ll keep on saving. And saving again, just to be sure.

15 thoughts on “Weird gaming habits: part two

  1. I remember once starting a new game of Final Fantasy X, just to play around with the sphere grid, when I accidentally saved over my game which had around 50 hours of play time. It was soul destroying. Since then I always duplicate my saves.

    Like

    1. Ouch… I feel your pain. 😦

      My stepson was messing around with my other-half’s laptop recently and somehow managed to delete his save file for Fallout 4, containing around 150 hours’ worth of play. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fallout 4. The rage when I started playing that, because the auto save hadn’t kicked in for TEN minutes. Before long I was hitting quick save between killing single enemies.

    Horizon Zero Dawn. This is also a painful game to lose even a few minutes progress, even if all you’ve done is a bit of inventory management. It has me seeking out campfires to quick save as a priority over most things haha.

    It’s like saving a Word document though, you don’t just save it once, you hit Ctrl + S at least three times. That’s obviously how this stuff works…

    How many of these people, I wonder, have their save games stored in the cloud, PlayStation Plus etc… I mean, I don’t have PlayStation Plus, so all my saves are on my PS4, what happens if my console is fried? I’m going to lose it all. I’ve become reliant on Steam Cloud to save my PC game saves, but not all games support that, I just *assume* they do… dangerous!

    Like

    1. I’m so with you on the Horizon Zero Dawn thing! I learnt my lesson after spending ages sorting out my inventory (I can be a bit of a hoarder) then immediately died at the claws of a Glinthawk… needless to say, campfires were made a priority after that.

      I do the same thing with Steam too, in that I just assume everything is saving and will be there for me when I return. I have no doubt there’s going to come a day when this screws me over…

      Like

      1. For me it was those stupid turkey like things, they are absolutely vicious!! I approached one thinking “No problem” and it completely murdered me. It’s such a great game though.

        Like

        1. Oh yeah, those bloody Longlegs! They’re not too bad if you can use a bit of stealth but the second you’re noticed, you’ve got the whole herd on your tail.

          Like

  3. Yeah, I’m an obsessive saver when I became a gamer a few years ago. I think for me, it’s because I’m paranoid and I want to make sure I don’t lose my progress at any point. I think it’s not such a strange habit. Maybe very innate and natural to us gamers!

    Like

    1. All it takes is for one save file to go missing and you’re a duplicate-saver for the rest of your gaming life. For me, it’s definitely got something to do with how little time I have to play video games as an adult and not wanting to waste those hours having to redo a section of a title!

      Like

  4. I’ve recently been bitten by this. I must not have saved FFV because when I came back I was about 30-45 minutes of progress from where I should’ve been. I’ll often check Facebook or something while I’m saving, so distraction is definitely a factor for me.

    Like

    1. I guess that’s a side-effect of being an adult! We get busier as we get older and then try to cram as much as possible into the limited free hours we do have – which often means forgetting whether we’ve actually saved or not. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hiya all, I blame my kids. Any game me and the kids play now has about 4 or 5 saves. Minecraft oddly being where it started… a world I’d put hours, days, weeks, months, maybe even years (may be a bit of an exaggeration) got swapped from survival to creative by my youngest. That just killed it for me. I’m a lil bit obsessive. I couldn’t look at Vaintopia (cause I’m just a lil Vain too) the same way. It was no longer my survival masterpiece and had become tainted by the creative pink wool houses built by my daughter. So from that point onwards at least two saves were made. One for me, generally saved as Daddy’s save, touch and no Pocket Money or some variation and family save. It just spiralled from there…

    Like

    1. My stepson recently saved over my other-half’s Fallout 4 save recently… which contained over 150-hours of gameplay… needless to say, there were tears in my other-half’s eyes! So I can’t blame anyone for having multiple save files. 😂

      Like

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s