Auto-Save

A feature in Video Games, where the game automatically saves data without the player's input, usually with a small notification. The game will save at certain points, such as when the player enters a new location or wins a certain battle. An Auto-Save will always overwrite the previous file in the system. The option to save manually may also be present.

Although autosaving is usually meant to be just a convenience for the player, developers sometimes use it to prevent Save Scumming, which some feel is a form of cheating. The feature is relatively uncommon in certain types of genres, such as Eastern RPGs, platform games and action games.

One downside to auto-saving is that the player might turn off their system or close the game in the middle of a save without knowing it (usually due to the "Now Saving..." indicator being easy to miss), potentially corrupting their save file in the process. However, many modern games with auto-save are on systems with User Operation Prohibit Flags, one of the few kinds of cases where such flags are seen as a good thing.

Compare and contrast Save Point and Save-Game Limits.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action 
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has this show up as a little green memory card at the beginning of the levels, so that if you die, you don't have to start from the last level.

    Action-Adventure Games 

    Audio Games 
  • The Gate has these scattered throughout its various levels. When a player encounters them, the game simply says, "Checkpoint."

    Eastern RPG 
  • Undertale makes use of this to screw with the player's head. While not telling the player that it's happening, the game automatically saves after the player makes moral choices, most notably sparing or killing the bosses. For instance, if the player kills the first boss, reloads the game and spares the boss, Flowey the Flower will call the player out on it.
  • The Dark Souls games and Bloodborne autosave almost constantly. While this is nice in that if the game gets unexpectedly shut off or crashes you'll only lose a couple of minutes of progress at most, it also means that everything that happens in the game will stick, whether it be killing a boss or an important friendly NPC. You cannot force a do-over by reloading an old save file: the consequences of your actions are permanent.
  • Dragon Quest IX only has autosave when calculating the odds of an alchemiracle, to prevent Save Scumming until you get the ultimate weapon/armor.
  • Final Fantasy XIII autosaves before every battle. If you die, you get the choice of Retry or Quit. Retry returns you to just before the battle, allowing you to fiddle with your strategy or just run away. Quit returns you to your last manual save.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 autosaves before key events like bosses.
  • A Knight's Quest for Milk autosaves every time you get a new objective or clear an old one.
  • In The Last Story, the game's autosave is referred to as a "Checkpoint Save", and it's made any time you're about to go into a battle. The game notes that it only keeps one Checkpoint Save at a time, though you can have as many save files (using the traditional Save Point) as you want.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, getting a new chip from the chip trader machine will cause the game to auto-save. This is to prevent Save Scumming for the desired chip.
  • The various Pokémon games do this... but only after you beat the Elite Four and champion (and Red in the second gen games)
  • Citizens of Earth has an auto-save slot which is automatically updated each time you go through a loading screen. It's convenient given the large amount of game breaking bugs, but if you happen to be doing a quest which takes place on a single large map and the game crashes you're out of luck unless you saved manually.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Borderlands and Borderlands 2 use autosave both when a player changes areas and when they enter the proximity of a New-U station.
  • Most Call of Duty games save between levels, and some save at checkpoints.
  • All games in the FEAR series autosave after reaching a certain place and sometimes before or after a especially hard fight. The first game also has an option to save manually.
  • Both Goldeneye 1997 and Goldeneye Wii use auto save.
  • FarCry used auto-save checkpoints. It was also possible to enable an option to make manual saves.
  • Done in Quake II. The game auto-saves into the first save slot whenever the player enters a new area, without notifying the player, but also allows the player to save in a different save slot manually whenever the player wishes.
  • Valve games such as Half-Life and Portal autosave in certain places or intervals. If you want to to back before an autosave, you can always load the previous save file.
  • Many Doom source ports, such as ZDoom, autosave whenever the player enters a new level, whilst also having the option of manual saves. In ZDoom at least, this differs from the Quake II example above, in that ZDoom has four autosave slots (new saves overwrite the oldest one) which are separate from the standard save slots.

    Platform Games 
  • The Jumper games automatically save progress at a moment that varies between games. Then again, being able to undo death-count wouldn't be rather fair.
  • Kirby games always save like this. The sole exception is "The Great Cave Offensive" game in Kirby Super Star, which has a Metroidvania-like design including Save Points.
  • Purple saves progress automatically when you beat a boss, but level high-scores and item collections are saved instantly when you complete a level.
  • The Ratchet & Clank games save in between levels.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon autosaves whenever you're entering a level or the hub.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Wario Land automatically saves when you beat a level or boss (in pretty much every game in the series).
    • Yoshi's Island saves after every level. As does its DS sequel.
    • Where previous 3D Mario games left it to you to save, or gave you the option after finding a Plot Coupon, Super Mario Galaxy 2 just does it for you. You can also save at any time on the Faceship.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns saves even if you leave a level, which is helpful if you just want to look for Diddy in the level, but KONG letter and puzzle pieces are programmed to only be counted when you reach the exit.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Angry Birds and all its sequels automatically save your progress every time you complete a level.

    Racing Games 
  • The Forza series has always featured only auto saves without allowing manual saves, and has always done so in a sensible manner. The fourth installment of the Motorsport series, however, took the amount of auto saving that occurs to new extremes. Apparently in order to prevent any form of cheating (because all the cars and upgrades you unlock in the career mode can be used in competitive online modes as well), the game saves after practically anything you do — even if you didn't actually do anything at all! Enter any in-game menu like a car dealer or a tuning shop, exit again right away, and another auto save is being made. What's really annoying, though, is that you can't do anything while the game saves. You're forced to wait the two seconds it takes for the auto save to be written to the Xbox's storage media before the game reacts to your input again, and having to wait two seconds every single time you do anything at all quickly exhausts one's patience.

    Rhythm Games 

    Simulation Game 
  • Publisher Dream, a downloadable game for the Nintendo 3DS, autosaves at the end of every work week.
  • The later games in the X-Universe series autosave when you dock at a space station. X Rebirth shipped without an autosave, making the plethora of Game Breaking Bugs at release that much more painful; the game now saves periodically and at every station.
  • Kerbal Space Program always autosaves whenever you exit to the main menu, and periodically does so in flight as well.

     Survival Horror 

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Castle Wolfenstein. In the original 1981 version the game saved your situation every time you entered a room or died. If you died you could prevent this by opening the disk drive's door, then re-booting. The game would start up again right where you entered the room.
  • The Assassin's Creed series autosaves whenever you change cities, finish a combat, collect a collectible, or otherwise make any progress worth saving.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising will autosave frequently during menus, particularly after accessing screens where you perform actions that alter your save file (e.g. buying weapons, doing Idol Toss, etc.). The game also automatically saves when you use the "Close Software" fucntion in the 3DS menu.

    Tower Defense 
  • Plants vs. Zombies saves your progress every time you complete an action - be it completing a level, buying something from the store, or watering your garden.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • The GBA Fire Emblem titles all have a continuous autosave.
  • Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun autosaves periodically, at intervals that can be set by the player (e.g. every 3 months in game time, 6 months, etc.). The player can also save manually at any point in the game.
  • Shadowrun Returns was criticized for only having autosaves (which were done whenever a new area loaded), as the engine didn't support manual saves until the release of Dragonfall.
  • Xcom Enemy Unknown has this as an option where it saves after a certain number of days and after every mission, but the hardest difficulty ramps this up - it will save after every decision made and every turn to prevent save scumming.

    Western RPG 
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution has autosaving, generally when moving between room sets and whenever significant conversations occur.
  • Diablo II and Diablo III. The second game seems to autosave after some time has passed, as well as when leaving the game. The third game autosaves when entering a certain place.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has the game autosave at certain predefined locations (often immediately before a battle) while Dragon Age II pretty much saves automatically each time the player enters a new area. Both have up to four autosave slots.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has this, but you can turn it off.
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The game automatically saves your progress each time you enter a new location, with a small "Autosaving" notification on the upper left of the screen.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim also has autosaves when you enter a new location, and has semi-regular autosaves when you open the menu every roughly 15 minutes. In the PC version, you can change the length of time after autosaves will trigger—and, of course, since the autosaves are triggered by opening the menu, you can still lose quite a bit of progress if you've been playing without entering a new location or opening the menu.
  • Mass Effect has autosaves roughly at the beginnings, midpoints, and ends of missions. However, Mass Effect's missions are long. You can easily lose an hour or more of progress if you die without using manual saves. Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 greatly increase the frequency of autosaves, making this less of a problem.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Dragon's Dogma has autosaving, though it doesn't seem to pop up often enough to be effective, especially considering the singular save file.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV, aside from the manual saving that is allowed at Save Points, autosaves after completing missions. The manual saving at Save Points allows several savegames, the autosave uses only one file that is replaced each time.
  • Saints Row 2 and Saints Row: The Third also have autosave.
  • Minecraft uses a single save state that overwrites itself persistently and upon quitting.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AutoSave