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