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Rewinding time: the best save point items

Wouldn’t it be good if save-points were a thing in real-life? Just imagine how beneficial they’d be. Before that job interview, important presentation or first date, you’d be able to make a copy of your years up until that point – and rewind time if you made a big mistake. Of course, this does open up some SOMA-type dilemmas but let’s forget about those for the moment.

Video games mimicked life back in the day in that they didn’t contain save-points. If your console was switched off while playing (usually as a result of your parents yelling ‘Turn that thing off this second!’), all your gameplay would be lost and you’d have to start over. It was therefore heaven when developers began introducing items that allowed you to save your progress. Forget about the standard autosave feature of today: the following objects caused us all to breathe a sigh of relief when we found them.

Resident Evil, HD Remaster, Jill, woman, safe room, save, typewriter

1996: typewriters in Resident Evil

We may all be using computers nowadays but it’s good to see typewriters making an appearance throughout the Resident Evil games. In the earlier releases their use was tied to Ink Ribbons which were in limited supply so the act of deciding to save was an important one; plus they took up a slot in your inventory so there was less space for weapons and ammunition. Still, you were always relieved when you found a typewriter as the safe room they were in gave you a respite from the zombies – for a few minutes, anyway.

Silent Hill,  video game, Harry, man, save, notebook, notepad

1999: notebooks in Silent Hill

I like it when a save point item makes sense in terms of the game’s setting and the notebooks in Silent Hill are great. Protagonist Harry Mason is a writer so the object would obviously hold some importance for him; and what better way to let everyone know what you’ve been through by recording your progress on paper in preparation for an exclusive tell-all book later on? A few of these save points even serve the story of Silent Hill 3 as they take the form of memos left behind for Harry’s adopted daughter.

Grand Theft Auto 2, video game, church, JESUS SAVES, save

1999: churches in Grand Theft Auto 2

Look out for the ‘JESUS SAVES’ signs in Grand Theft Auto 2 (complete with flickering neon letters to highlight ‘U’ and ‘SAVE’) and you know you’ve reached somewhere safe. This may not be the most politically-correct save point but I do like how it’s so in-keeping with the series’ cheeky nature. You’re able to absolve your sins by entering the church and donating the hefty sum of $50,000 – that’s a small price to pay for saving your soul as well as your game.

Final Fantasy IX, video game, Kupo, moogle

2001: moogles in Final Fantasy IX

Instead of an inanimate object like the other games on today’s list, Final Fantasy IX chose to use a non-player-character (NPC) so this is possibly the cutest save point. The moogles can be called with a flute to access the command on the world map and record your progress. If you use a tent at a save moogle, you’ll receive a cutscene showing your party sleeping in a structure with a pom-pom to simulate overnight resting; now that’s the kind of weekend break I think we all could look forward to.

ICO, video game, Ico, Yorda, boy, girl, stone couch, sit, rest, saave

2002: couches in ICO

I replayed ICO again recently and laughed when I saw the couches. During my first playthrough back in 2002 I didn’t even question them but now they look somewhat out of place in the rest of the game’s setting. First, there’s no other furniture within the castle so it’s strange they survived the dilapidation suffered by the rest of the building; and second, they just look so uncomfortable. Seeing Ico and Yorda sit down and fall asleep just makes me wonder how long it will be before they get numb bums.

Dark Souls, video game, fire, bonfire, save

2011: bonfires in Dark Souls

The bonfires throughout Dark Souls were so core to the game’s design that they’ve become a signature of the series and are perhaps the most iconic save point in our list. While the flickering flames could be considered a welcome sight, it wasn’t all positive: resting there would replenish your health and Etstus but all nearby enemies would respawn. The mechanic resulted in a constant balancing act between risk and reward, one which has gained a legion of fans since the title’s release.

Have you come across any other interesting save points in video games? Let us know in the comments below!

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

27 thoughts on “Rewinding time: the best save point items Leave a comment

  1. One of my favorite save stations is in No More Heroes where the main character actually uses the bathroom as the save station. It fits in really well with the game not being serious at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This one came up a lot while I was doing research for this post, but I haven’t played it so I left it out of the list. The bathroom is obviously popular though! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Another save system that I find really nice thematically is the Undertale save points. They are the normal style points you stand on to save, but each one has a nice flavor text about something by the save point that fills you with determination.

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        • This is a great choice. I really like how each Undertale save point is different, with all the lines reminds you to take positivity from the simple things in life.

          “Playfully crinkling through the leaves fills you with determination.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • Just for a game that has a very high meme ceiling, I love the balance that certain things like that bring you back down. It fills me with determination (Ba Dum Tiss) to try and challenge myself to bring that same energy to my stories.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. The other great thing about the Moogles in FFIX is how they “write” your progress into a huge book, like they’re recording the story for future generations. (though id like to say that there’s only one Moogle on the world map, the others are in set locations within towns and cities). I love Mognet too and how it helps flesh out the story, so the save points become characters themselves

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For some reason, I always liked the New-U stations in “Borderlands”. They are not really saving items, but more like checkpoints. These are a pretty standard gameplay mechanic, but they make death a part of the world by “saving your DNA profile” and literally respawning you, instead of nullifying your deaths and basically saying “no, no, whatever happened after saving did not count if you died.” I also like how casual Claptrap mentions the possibility of a gruesome death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t played much of Borderlands so I wasn’t aware of this… I like it. Most games make no acknowledgement of the fact a character died, so this is pretty clever. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

    • One of my favorite things about this system is that it creates a lot of plot holes. So if I remember correctly, officially, they aren’t canon.

      I’ve seen other explanations be that, since it’s being told as a story by Marcus, respawning is him messing up and taking it back a couple steps.

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      • What plot holes do they create? The only things I can think of are the missing bodies and respawning enemies, but I’d see those as gameplay issues. As far as I remember, you get to keep the loot you have when you died, so it can’t really be just Marcus backpaddling. At least it would not make more sense than New-U-Stations.
        Also, I have only played BL 1 and 2, but in those games, I don’t remember any clue of the New-U-Stations being retconned. What I do remember is that Claptrap purposefully introduces them to you and explains how they work in-universe.
        So, if you have any detail that I do not know, please tell me (preferably without spoilers for the next games)

        Liked by 1 person

        • The main example that comes to mind is for BL2. Hyperion owns the New-U-Stations, which means that if Handsome Jack wanted you dead, he could just take your DNA out of the system and you couldn’t come back, you’d just be dead for ever. That’s part of the reason why Roland’s fate also doesn’t make sense because he also makes use of the New-U-Stations in the first game.

          I can’t do it too much justice and there are many arguments for them being canon as well. However, if you have the time and want to see more, VinylicaPumaGaming has a video that discusses it and I believe mentions where the story writers themselves say it isn’t canon.

          Since I’m not sure about sharing links being okay, the name of the video is:
          Let’s Discuss Borderlands 2’s Story and Explain some Plot Holes by VinylicaPumaGaming.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, yeah, that makes sense! Hmmm, just for the sake of discussing that (and I am only speaking from about 2 year old memory here): Hyperion is a space-wide company. Who knows where else they have New-U-Stations and how many million people are connected to them. Handsome Jack may be the boss, but even as boss, he can’t just make people who work for him do whatever he pleases. But let’s say he can, because who knows about space law? Certainly not me?
            So let’s just spin a little theory: Jack wants the Vault Hunters from the first game to open the vault, so he very well wants them not to die. So they may stay on the system. 5 years later, he takes over Pandora, and does not like Vault Hunter any longer. So, he takes them off the system. That’s why Roland can die. In the 5 years between the two games, more and more VHs come to Pandora (as indicated by Marcus). At that point it becomes impossible to track down VHs, so he just shuts down the entire New-U-system. Since it is shut down, nobody works on it, and the whole staff gets fired. All the VHs that come to Pandora get killed and dumped on the starting glacier. With no New-Us, they just die. When you arrive at the glacier and receive your Echo-Device with New-U-access, you find the first New-U-station. Through some oversight in the programming, the device restarts the New-U-station. That’s why those stations (that are fast-travel points as well), have to be activated first. And because everyone working on the New-U-system got fired, nobody notices it at first. ONly later, Jack notices, but apparently it’s not that easy just shutting everything down (I don’t know, video game logic has created stranger things already). He has to be aware that the system is online because there is a quest where you get a reward if you kill yourself. If Jack thought that you would really die, then he would not have actually given you a reward, would he?
            Like I said, it’s just a small theory I just crafted, but I think retconning the whole system would leave even more of a mess than leaving them in.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I think the logic there is pretty sound and it’s honestly just a fun discussion to have. I’ve been writing about and doing research on this game for awhile, so I enjoy looking at everything from different perspectives.

              With the mention of the New-U-Stations also being Fast Travel stations, I think they still have to be maintained. At one point you have to create a new fast travel station in BL2 and Angel helps you do it by forcing the engineers to move your request through the red tape of Hyperion. In addition to that, Hyperion makes a ton of money off of you, and presumably countless other people, by reviving them.

              What we learn through the series is that Jack is absolutely ruthless and will use all his possible resources to come out on top. He has killed countless people to get to the top and has a massive corporation behind him, thus why he has the resources to find the vault, bombard sanctuary, have tons of gadgets, and all sorts of other things.

              But at the end of the day, if it is a genuine part of the story, then there are definitely questions to be thought about. If it isn’t part of that though, I think it can be boiled down to a thematically interesting respawn game mechanic.

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              • Hmmm. We could also say that the original VHs at one point just lost their Echo-devices with New-U-function, and that it is not so easy to just shut down the system or kick off specific targets. But that wouldn’t explain why the dead VHs at the glacier are…well, dead. Maybe they had the things only in their pockets before they died, so their DNA profile never got saved? I mean, it’s all veeery convenient, but then again, much more convenient stuff has happened for the sake of continuity 🙂

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  4. When thinking of save points, I don’t think it gets any more iconic or nowadays, outdated than the typewriters in Resident Evil games. Saving your game by sitting on a toilet in the No More Heroes games was pretty…um…memorable too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard for me to choose a favourite between three typewriters in Resident Evil, and the sofas in ICO. I’m not sure which seem most out of place! ha ha

      Liked by 2 people

    • If you ever get a chance, give it a try! It’s such a lovely game. And if you liked Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian, you’re in for a treat.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I always liked the abstract… thing that was the save point in Final Fantasy VII. It was distinctive and immediately recognisable, and it brought so much relief when you saw it ahead of you. Assuming you could make it there, of course!

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    • That’s the beauty of the save point: they’re a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I’ll never forget the huge relief I felt whenever I found a typewriter and had an ink ribbon available while playing Resident Evil for the first time!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for another fun post! I love games that use a unique object for the save instead of a clearly-just-here-for-the-save-but-lets-make-it-look-vaguely-magical type save points. I wouldn’t say it’s iconic, but I enjoy the consistency of the journal savepoint in Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games.

    Like

    • Journals seem to be pretty popular when it comes to choosing an item to represent a save point! It makes complete sense though: what better way to go back in time than to read one of your previous diary entries.

      Liked by 1 person

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