Dread courses coldly through your body. Your mouth slowly becomes agape. Your voice reaches an unusually high pitch, as your utter a word or phrase that confirms the event. It’s a terrifying reality….You just died, and forgot to save your game.
OK it’s not that serious, but for those 7-12 seconds when you find yourself reaching the “Acceptance” part of Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief, it certainly feels that way. All of the progress made, the loot you collected, the ridiculous 2 stage boss you finally conquered, the rare drop weapon that the monster in the center of the woods finally relinquished after roughly 45 minutes of walking back and forth in place while destroying whomever crossed your path.
Lost in an instant.
I mean you will eventually return to that point of progress, but it still sucks. No one ENJOYS the feeling of losing work that you put a specific amount of time or effort to.
As a 20+ year veteran of gaming, I am no stranger to the pain of loss. I have encountered a variety of “data deaths” in my time, and the imaginary scars they created can be felt to this day. Let’s go over some of the scenarios together, and how we can face them with dignity (and intact controllers).
The Forgetful Scenario
You take that chance on your fave JRPG. “I have one (insert resurrection item here) left, but if I use it, the behemoth will probably kill my healer anyway. You use your most powerful attack in hopes that the battle will end, and you can tend to the wounds of your fallen comrades. CRITICAL HIT! …. Still alive?! Retaliating strike. Game over. “Damn it! I’ll just have to reload and try ag-…..”. Reload in a town that you were in roughly 2 hours ago.
Depending upon the game, you may have an auto-save feature. Just keep it on this time and keep a back-up file, in case it saves over something you may have wanted to return to, but missed. Either way, you should be covered in case you forget again.
The Second Party Scenario
Most consoles today are also media players. You can play music, videos, watch movies, some browse the web. You may have a child, or a person who is not tech savvy, come by and want to use the console for another reason entirely. Well, not every console suspends the game in progress as you switch to a different function. So you come back to your 4 year old watching that episode of My Little Pony that you downloaded for them, and you didn’t save the game.
You can’t get mad, my friend. Even if there is an alternative to the console you have, there is a risk that if you are away for too long that the console will be commandeered for innocent purposes. Follow the “Forgetful” resolution, and just close out your session if you will be away for a little while.
The Thunder Rolled Scenario
Another game goes cold, on a sleepless night. If you are gaming without a battery backup during a storm, you run the risk of losing your progress in a power outage.
I seriously just typed a detailed suggestion, and realized that my readers are not without common sense or conventional wisdom. Only think I’ll offer in addition, is to save at every possible moment.
The Reboot Scenario
It’s a sad state of affairs, but a part of gaming now. With more sophistication of digital distribution, games are starting to hit the market before being 100%. This is nothing new to PC gamers, but the frequency of this with Triple-A titles has seemed more apparent in recent memory. So in some cases games crash, freeze, have a game killing glitch, or the save itself becomes corrupted.
Make multiple save files if you hear of any reports of bugs or issues. You might end up encountering a situation that causes such an issue that you can report on, and help the developers. Make sure you are keeping up with the latest news for updates, and apply them if functional. Do internet searches for news like “new Borderlands 2 update issues” to make sure the new update doesn’t have a compatibility issue with your console or operating system (if a PC gamer). If it’s not a game that you just HAVE to have as it comes out, wait a good 2-3 months before buying it. Usually the kinks are worked out by then.
The Revenge Scenario
Hardcore gamers value their progress in games. Some work hard to complete certain objectives, or build certain characters. Well, some individuals may be fully aware of this, and may use this to exact vengeance upon you. You forgot your girl/boyfriend’s birthday. No card, no present, no phone call, nothing. You finish up a session of your favorite game, and step away for a moment. You come back later to find that your save state is now gone…..”What could have caused this?! I never had this problem before!”.
Suddenly a new possibility creeps up your spine…as you look over and see your S.O. staring at you with a piercing gaze.
If breaking up with them, or murder are not feasible options, then explore this. If you have the option to back up data on a flash drive, or console specific memory storage devices, then do so and place the device in a secure location as back up. Yes it is an extreme measure, but if you live with someone that is prone to vindication, then it’s a feasible option.
The Reckless Scenario
You’re in the zone. You have a good run of the level you are on. No man, woman, nor creature are your equal. You suddenly come to a save point next to what looks like a giant room or platform. You decide “Pshh, I got this. Probably just another group of monsters, or a new part of the level”. You encounter Satan incarnate and fall. Should have hit up that save point, amigo.
But this isn’t always the case. Some games can be saved at anytime, or are saved automatically, OR the save point was just placed further back in the level. Same outcome, you thought you would be fine, and now you have to start back to who knows when.
Game designers are usually good about giving you a heads-up about impending doom. But sometimes if a save point is not obvious, or just happen in such frequency that you ignore it, there are a few tips you can use. Is the next room unusually large? Is the path leading into an expanse or opening of some sort? Is there less of a frequency of enemies? Some of these are telltale signs of a boss fight. You might want to backtrack and save if possible, in case you haven’t done so a time before.
I hope this serves you well, as I have seen too many of my files fall into obscurity. Damaged cartridges, broken memory cards, corruption errors, the gaming world can be a treacherous place.
Don’t be a victim … be a victor.
© 2012-2013 Brett Wooley. All rights reserved. This article can be shared, as long as credit to the author is given. You cannot re-publish this article as your own.