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Quicksaving

If I could enact a second game-related law, it would be this:

Every PC game must allow quicksaving.

I got Velvet Assassin awhile ago because I was craving stealth gameplay, and despite it having a lot of flaws, I thought it was a pretty fun game. I stopped playing after the first few missions though, because of the simple fact that it doesn’t allow you to quicksave.

If you die, you have to go back to the last checkpoint, and sometimes those checkpoints are sparse. I’d have to go through several rooms, evading the guards, slowly crouch-walking through and assassinating each one in the same way over and over again, because I couldn’t get past one room that was right before the next checkpoint.

Maybe I’m just not as patient as some of you über-gamers, but I think it’s fair for me to be frustrated by that.

I thought of this today as I was playing Half-Life. This game autosaves at preset checkpoints, but it also lets you quicksave. This is incredibly helpful, because like in Velvet Assassin, it’s very easy to die. I’ve been having a ton of fun with Half-Life, but if it didn’t have a quicksave feature, I probably would have stopped playing it awhile ago. I would never have gotten to experience the entirety of this awesome game.

I’m pretty sure most PC games that don’t have quicksaving lack it because the developers just forgot to include it when they ported it from the consoles, but I have a feeling that some games don’t let you quicksave because they’re afraid we’ll take too much advantage of it. I know this to be the case with Alpha Protocol, because it does let you save at any point, but its save feature only lets you “save the last checkpoint,” implying that they purposely stopped us from saving at the specific point we’re at in the game.

I can see why they wouldn’t want us to be able to quicksave during combat, because we could just keep hitting the quicksave button whenever we land a successful hit and win each battle without utilizing any actual skill. If that’s the case though, how about you only let us quicksave when we’re out of combat? That wouldn’t be hard to do, would it? And I see no reason why we should be forced to repeat the same five combat sequences over and over because we can’t win the sixth.

The bottom line is this: The reasons to include quicksaving far outweigh the reasons not to include it. It’s like including difficulty levels. Everybody should be able to complete the game, not just the obsessive freaks. And if the obsessive freaks want the challenge, then they can just choose not to quicksave.

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5 responses

  1. Kevin

    yea but quicksave is a strictly computer gaming feature. and as both a console gamer and a computer gamer i can atest to the anoyance of checkpoint saving but quick save tends to be a crutch for computer gamers. they get used to it and then when it is taken away they have a much harder time doing things they once thought simple. i know that you arent the “über-gamer” i am but i really try not to use quicksave, unless a last resort. and i hate using it because (eventough it is a part of the game) it feels like cheating. anyway thats my two cents for this one. keep up the good work JPH! this is a really cool thing that you do!

    February 13, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    • JPH

      Quicksaving isn’t just for computer games. Well, having the ability to press a button that instantly saves the game, yeah, that’s just for PC games. But I’ve played console games that let you save whenever you want.

      February 14, 2011 at 1:14 PM

  2. Galzzly

    Hmmm, after a long and decisive thought on what I shall be named, I have chosen the simple, yet regal, name of Galzzly, instead of Lord Swiftmicdoodlefuzzle the Fierce, Warrior from Xandufal.

    I can see why developers would not include quicksave options due to time constraint, but I completely agree that quicksaving is a great feature that can be added to the already existent checkpoint/save system found in a majority, if not all, games. With the exception of possible game code issues and just a little more of error checking and time constraint issues on the developers side, I see little to no harm.

    While I do believe that there are many times when quicksaves (and save states) are used to take away difficulty in a game by the players, Developers could easily find a way to make sure quicksaving don’t end up as a crutch or a “cheat” for the game, but rather a solution to frustration caused either by our own time constraint or the game’s own system. Instead of giving you the option to quicksave whenever you want, it could easily be added that you can’t quicksave during combat. However, I think it can go farther than just that. Instead of saying “no quicksaving in combat,” Developers could design a simple system of a limit either based on difficulty level you picked for the game or based off the time passed since your last quicksave. With other type of limits, you could even allow quicksave to easily become a strategic one-time-use in a boss fight or any other situation in combat or other situation deemed worthy instead of a tool used to go through the fight with perfection. I know in God of War, I appreciated all the checkpoints it gave me during the short 2 second intermission between a boss fight and I would have been far more frustrated with the game if it didn’t provide that checkpoint for me during the fight. However, there was also one boss in that series that I felt the checkpoint was misplaced and I would have gladly fought for just one more minute and then have the checkpoint.

    Also, a developer could take the approach of quicksaving like Square Enix and Nintendo did in various games, such as the remakes of the classic Final Fantasy games for the GBA and every Fire Emblem released outside of Japan. Instead of being more of a checkpoint system, these games used them as one-time saves for situations when you just had to leave the game.

    February 14, 2011 at 1:16 AM

  3. Pingback: Quicksaving: Part 2! « Ninja Game Den

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