Created By: ccoa on March 15, 2012 Last Edited By: ccoa on August 16, 2012
Troped

Save Token

Saving your game from an item in your inventory

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This is part of an effort to fill in the missing save game tropes.


Save Games are mandatory for most modern games, as they've become too long to complete in a single setting. Saving from an item allows the player to save their game, usually whenever and wherever they want to, but with the added restriction that they can only save by using a specific kind of item in their inventory.

When the item is consumable, how common this item is can lead to strategy (and frustration) about when and how often to save. In games where they are not available for the player to buy, they may overlap with Too Awesome to Use.

This trope frequently overlaps with other forms of saving, such as Save Point. Often related to Save Game Limits. May overlap with Justified Save Point.


[[foldercontrol]]

Examples of consumable items:

[[folder:Action Game]]
  • Broken Helix, a PS1 game by Konami, uses Save CDs items for saving. They're few and far between, scattered in the levels, and only one save is allowed per Save CD before it's consumed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Action-Adventure]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Eastern RP Gs]]
  • Wild ARMs 3 had Gimel Coins in addition to town-only Save Points. Gimel Coins allow you to save anywhere, but were not sold in shops. Whatever you found in chests or from the exceptionally rare drops were all you got for the entire game.
  • The original Final Fantasy had tents, cabins, and houses which, in addition to recovering your HP, also saved your game. The only other save option was to stay at an Inn.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has ultra rare save tokens.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Simulation Game]]
  • The X series of space sims have autosaving every time the player docks, but if they wish to save while in flight, they need to purchase single-use "salvage insurance" contracts, which allow the player to save the game while out in space.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Strategy RP Gs]]
  • In the 2nd Summon Night: Swordcraft Story the "Save Diary" item replaces the suspend save of the first game and allows saving at any point in the game (not just save points) and is used upon a single use. It is cheap and the player can save from fixed save points even without them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
  • Several games in the Resident Evil franchise have an interesting combination of Save Point and Save Item. You could only save the game at a typewriter, but you needed a consumable Ink Ribbon to do so. These ribbons were often few and far between.
  • The fourth Alone in the Dark game utilized one-time use Save Amulets.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Third Person Shooter]]
  • The PlayStation and PC version of Tomb Raider 3 had collectible save crystals that could be used at any time from the inventory.
[[/folder]]

Examples of nonconsumable items:

[[folder:Adventure Game]]
  • In the Myst games, you can create a save at any time by taking a photograph with the camera in your inventory. The picture is stored in your journal and you go to it by opening said journal and clicking on the image. This does mean that you save any time you take a photo for another reason, but there isn't a limit.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Simulation Game]]
  • In some Harvest Moon games you can save from a journal in your inventory.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stealth-Based Game]]
  • In the Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid games you saved by using your codec/radio/etc to call a "data analyst" and having them save your game for you.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • March 15, 2012
    TBeholder
    there's an existing term, "wand of save/load".
  • March 15, 2012
    Diask
    Related to Save Game Limits.
  • March 15, 2012
    captainsandwich
    If there is an existing term then we should rename it that. Also Dungeons And Dragons thought bottle, which for a simple 500xp you can restore your xp and levels should you loose them (500xp below what you had before the save). this is probably to help with things like Demonic Spiders, or the levels you loose when you die, but then get better. however it has resulted, naturally, in meta gamers using it for xp costing effects. Like casting a spell that costs xp. or crafting a magic item, which takes xp.
  • March 15, 2012
    ccoa
    I have honestly never heard that term, and I'm a gamer. How widespread is it?

    EDIT: According to a google search, it's an alternative name for Save Scumming, not this trope.

    The D&D example is stretching it a bit. I know Tropes Are Flexible, but still not really sure it fits.
  • March 15, 2012
    Prfnoff
    We have something similar to this as Justified Save Point, but the third paragraph of its description shows why that's not such a good title.
  • March 15, 2012
    ccoa
    Hmmm. Sort of similar. That's about a Save Point that is given an in-game justification to exist. This doesn't require a savepoint, and may not be justified. I think they can overlap, though.
  • March 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I was thinking about starting this one sometime myself. As titles go, we could also call it Save Token. (There's a Trope Namer in there somewhere, but I'll leave the finding to interested parties.)

  • March 16, 2012
    Koveras
  • March 16, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    • In Pokemon Colosseum, you save using a computer that is located in various areas. It's sequel however, did away with this and instead lets you save your game anytime by choosing the save option on the pause screen just like the handheld mainstream games.

    • In the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, you can either save by going to your bed, or by saving at a Kangaskahn Rock. In a dungeon, you can quicksave anytime, but this isn't the same as regular saving and the file gets deleted after it is loaded. If you lose in the dungeon after that or shut off the game without quicksaving again, you lose.

    • The Paper Mario series lets you save by hitting a Save Block.

    • Super Mario RPG also had you hit a Save Block, except that you jump on top of it instead.

    • In MOTHER 1 and Earth Bound, you save by speaking to your father on the telephone. There are also payphones in the game that cost 1 dollar. But, in MOTHER 3, you save by talking to a "save frog".

    (All I mentioned are Eastern RP Gs)
  • March 16, 2012
    ClockStopping
    • In some Harvest Moon games you can save from a journal in your inventory.

    This is a simulation game.
  • March 16, 2012
    ccoa
    ^^ None of those are items in your inventory. They are not this trope, but rather a variation of a Save Point.
  • March 16, 2012
    Bisected8
    Would this count;

    • In the Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid games you saved by using your codec/radio/etc to call a "data analyst" and having them save your game for you.
  • March 16, 2012
    Telcontar
    • In the Myst games, you can create a save at any time by taking a photograph with the camera in your inventory. The picture is stored in your journal and you go to it by opening said journal and clicking on the image. This does mean that you save any time you take a photo for another reason, but there isn't a limit.
  • March 16, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Nope, neither of those are actually examples. This is about using a consumable item to save your game, or more broadly speaking, where saving a game is not a free action.

    Which is one of the reasons I like "Save Token" as a title.
  • March 16, 2012
    ccoa
    Yeah, already seeing the misuse. Maybe Consumable Save Token would be even clearer.

    One of the proposed subtropes was Creative Saving, which many of these would fit, so hang on to those examples, folks.
  • March 20, 2012
    deuxhero
    In the 2nd Summon Night: Swordcraft Story the "Save Diary" item replaces the suspend save of the first game and allows saving at any point in the game (not just save points) and is used upon a single use. It is cheap and the player can save from fixed save points even without them.
  • March 20, 2012
    TBeholder
    it's not always consumable, so not a good idea unless you really want two separate tropes for variants of a much the same rare feature with trivial difference.
  • March 21, 2012
    ccoa
    Not really trivial - if it's not consumable, then you can save anywhere, anytime. That's a very different mechanic than something you have to ration out.

    We could try soft splitting inside the trope and see what happens, though.
  • March 21, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    • The Play Station version of Tomb Raider 3 had collectible save crystals that could be used at any time from the inventory.
  • March 21, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ And on that note, Tomb Raider 3 was the only one where those save crystals also existed in the PC version as well (they also healed you).
  • March 21, 2012
    KZN02
    The Donkey Kong Country series has save areas in every world. The first has Candy's Save Barrel, second Wrinkly Kong's College, and third Wrinkly Kong's cave. The second example requires payment of 2 Banana Coins to save after the first, which is free.
  • March 21, 2012
    ccoa
    ^ Not this trope.

    Okay, I thought the misuse was the name, now I'm not sure. Is the description bad?
  • March 21, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Psi Paula 4, this is not about specialized savepoints. It's about an item needed in order to save. DKC might be an example, since these coins are semi-rare.

    Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has ultra rare save tokens (among other annoying features, like a time limited game).
  • March 21, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^^ I think a big part of the misuse is all the bad examples in the comments. People read those and then come up with ideas based on them.
  • March 22, 2012
    morenohijazo
    About the Alone In The Dark example, I think only the fourth game used those amulets. Not sure about the fifth game since I haven't played it, but definitely in the first three saving was free.
  • March 22, 2012
    nman
    • The X series of space sims have autosaving every time the player docks, but if they wish to save while in flight, they need to purchase single-use "salvage insurance" contracts, which allow the player to save the game while out in space.
  • March 23, 2012
    shimaspawn
    • Broken Helix, a PS1 action game by Konami, uses Save CDs items for saving. They're few and far between, scattered in the levels, and only one save is allowed per Save CD before it's consumed.
  • March 28, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I'm not sure if this is an example, but in Gex, collect VCR tapes during a level to be shown a Password Save when you return to the world map. Of course, there aren't many levels with the tapes in them.
  • June 19, 2012
    ccoa
    Still need hats, here.
  • June 19, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    In the Wild AR Ms 3 example, the Relic Coin, won by defeating the Master Course at Gunner's Heaven is an example of the nonconsumable version.

    minor nitpick: Also, once you win the Relic Coin, Gimel Coins are sold in the Black Market.
  • August 15, 2012
    ccoa
    Just one more hat, please? Or objections to the name/description/definition, if not?
  • August 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ

    And I'll add another hat.
  • August 15, 2012
    McKathlin
    Consumable example:
  • August 15, 2012
    Someoneman
    I think that the description should specify that the item can only be used a limited number of times, and once this limit is reached the player cannot save until they find more of the item or another way of saving.
  • August 15, 2012
    ccoa
    That doesn't seem like a very common variation. Either they're consumable (one use) or they're not (infinite use). What games have them with a set number of uses?
  • August 15, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I don't think the Dungeons And Dragons thing is a stretch, saving your xp and level draining was probably incase you came across Demonic Spiders, or died or something (In Dungeons and Dragons, Dieing costs a level unless you are brought to life using the best resurrection spell or a different resurrection spell that has to be cast within one round of your death). It's just known for its comically obvious Loophole Abuse potential. It only saves your xp (not your loot), and the 500 xp cost is probably an Anti-Save Scumming mechanic and not utterly devaluing the cost of being brought back to life (aside from the material component costs). The Thought Bottle can be used as many times as you want, but if get stronger and you want to increase your the point you return to, its going to cost you another 500 xp.
  • August 15, 2012
    abk0100
    "Saving from an item allows the player to save their game, usually whenever and wherever they want to, but with the added restriction that they can only save by using a specific kind of item in their inventory."

    I gave you a fifth hat, but isn't that sentence worded strangely? Saving from an item has the added restriction that you have to save using an item?

    Also, I don't see anyone having mentioned that Save Game Limits has a Consumable Items section, with a few examples this doesn't have yet.
  • August 16, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think you mean a single sitting, not single setting.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=uipk8jbebz9kjtlfhbdc08qq&trope=SaveToken