Gaming’s Guilty Pleasures: Savegame archives

[Editor’s note: KamikazeTutor takes a look at a interesting look at game saving. I’ve done the same thing plenty of times myself. Sometimes, I just want to experience a particular section and nothing more from a game. Read on for Tutor’s Guilty Pleasure as part of the Monthly Musings. — CTZ] 

Took me a while to find a name for this article. It’s hard to designate something that plenty of us do, but rarely discuss between ourselves; it’s like some kind of dirty secret that everyone thinks it’s theirs and theirs alone.

I’m not talking about the basic need to save the game, but the urge to save it in a specific spot, just before a moment you feel like you’ll want to replay it times and times, endlessly.

Hell, you’ll probably be surprised as you start reading this text that you’re not the only one doing it. Much like the reaction I had when I saw that episode of Ren & Stimpy where they have the statue of Lincoln pick its nose and smear the previous nasal contents beneath its chair –- I thought I was the only kid that did that!

Err… Onward with the article… 

Let’s face it, the replayability of a game dims as it gets less recent in our hands. Sometimes before the retrogoggles kick in, you just remember “that part” of “that game” that you really enjoyed, and then you start digging through your files or memory cards.

Grabbing a save file and starting a game not from the beginning and not till the end is one big guilty pleasure of yours truly. I do it with almost all games I own, and I have the quantity of CDs and memory cards to prove it.

Lately I’ve been going back to the last battle of Half-Life 2 Episode Two as well as some crazy Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 boss battles. Especially when time is not abundant, ten amazing minutes can be as fun as three hours.

In a funny way it brings a new kind of gameplay to the table — the savegame management. Where you always think twice of which savegame will be overthrown. It’s a bitch when you have to decide which save to delete to make way for another great moment.

Some of us go to the extent of labeling their memory cards, renaming their save files, putting them in each separate folder, making sure that third Fallout run doesn’t get mixed up with the previous one. Making sure the next time something needs to be replayed, it will be quickly found.

This is also something with which not-so-great games shine. Many games, bad or not, have dull moments, which some players would gladly skip every time they replay them. To the player familiarized with the game, playing it by small sections of it doesn’t spoil the experience; it actually makes that “reasonable” game more enjoyable.

Using a two year old game as an example that I have recently replayed, Prey always felt lacking something, which is strange, as where the game adds new story and gameplay elements, it does it in such epic proportions. Yet, I never really wanted to play the whole game again after the first run. I did of course, saved the game on some particular parts and returned to them quite a few times. I pretend not to reveal important parts of the game so I will only say that the most ball dropping moments of it make the game worth your time.

It’s like you’re in post postproduction, cutting out what you think that isn’t necessary and stitching everything according to your taste. And it tastes just like awesome.

In conclusion, when time lacks but memories urge to be remembered, bringing out that savegame from your extensive archive is one great way to keep a game alive, even if it’s in little bits at a time. Ask Chad Concelmo, he knows exactly what I’m talking about.

So, which savegame you paid more attention to lately?

-CL

KamikazeTutor