Follow TV Tropes


Justified Save Point

Go To

Sometimes, because gamers these days expect higher amounts of realism, video game designers try to justify standard game mechanics. This is easier with some functions than others; game mechanics may be explained by story easily, but save points, not so much. Many times, this is an Acceptable Break From Reality, because, hey, you want to be able to save, no?

However, some games try to go a step further. Phrases like, "Why don't you record the progress of your journey?" and "If you gaze upon this mirror, it preserves your memories forever" tend to pop up a lot.

Doesn't count when a video game explains to you straight, and usually outside of the story in a tutorial, that you need to save your game or you'll lose all progress.

May overlap with the Save Token, an in-game inventory item that allows the player to save the game.

Related to Diegetic Interface. Compare Justified Extra Lives.


    open/close all folders 


    Action Adventure 
  • In Aquaria, save points are crystals that store Naija's memories, allowing an outsider (you, the player) to experience them.
  • In Axiom Verge, the save pods are revealed to double as cloning chambers, though they also do regular regeneration considering one of them fixed the Big Bad's initial injuries.
    • Axiom Verge 2 also justifies save points in that Indra's body (after her scripted death) is made entirely of nanomachines and can just reform at one of the points. Amashilama in Indra's body can do the same thing, and given there's a save point in the boss arena, this leads to the both of them stalemating.
  • Modern Castlevanias usually have their save points in front of a statue of an angel or the Virgin Mary. Justified since it'd have to be sanctified ground and thus repel the monsters away. What sanctified ground is doing in Dracula's castle, on the other hand, is anyone's guess (the usual theory is that the castle is too chaotic for anybody to really control how it manifests and/or Dracula secretly has a death wish and so gives any adventurers a fighting chance).
    • In Curse of Darkness, it's a Cool Chair because why not?
    • In Symphony of the Night, it's a coffin because Alucard is half-vampire.
      • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, you can clearly see Alucard's save coffin collapsed behind Soma's save Virgin Mary statue. It has a reason for being there, possibly because Genya Arikado is Alucard and is also traversing the castle or because Soma is the reincarnation of Dracula but hasn't given in, giving symbolism to the Virgin Mary being in place of the collapsed vampire coffin.
      • Before the coffin pops up, a floating, decorated, 3D polyhedron appears. In Harmony of Dissonance, Juste uses the polyhedron to save (given that he's the union of both the Belmont and Fernadez bloodlines, maybe he has Alucard's explicit permission).
  • The protagonist of Chulip uses bathrooms to save. In the areas beyond Long Life Town, the bathrooms are too dirty, and so you can't save until you've completed a subquest for a specific NPC (and kissed him, because this is that kind of game) to clean things up.
  • Grand Theft Auto 2 had save points in churches, but you had to pay 50000 dollars to save your game. The preacher would declare "HALLELUJAH! Another soul saved!" if you had the money, or "DAMNATION! No donation, no salvation!" if you didn't.
    • GTA III had a more sensible way: you walked the nameless characternote  into the hideout-crashpad where you could see a bed, a fridge and a microwave oven and the door closed behind him. You saved the game, and when he came out it was six hours later. In later games, you could buy more well-appointed property, so your save-points were more luxurious and more befitting a man who probably owned half the city.
    • GTAIV and GTAV also had hideouts that you could sleep in to save. Presumably, any time you restarted the game, anything you lost without saving was assumed to be just a dream.
  • Most The Legend of Zelda games that have save points don't attempt to justify them, but in Skyward Sword, when you save at a Bird Statue you're "offering your prayers to the Goddess."
  • Loopmancer sees you trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, so if you die, the loop resets allowing you to continue from your most recent checkpoint.
  • The Metal Gear series, having No Fourth Wall, gives control of saving the game to the Voice with an Internet Connection. Hilarity Ensues in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty if you piss off Rose enough—she doesn't allow you to save the game until you apologize to her.
  • In the Mega Man Legends games, you save by talking to Data, Mega Man's pet robot-monkey. He's also Mega Man's "peripheral memory storage device", and keeps a backup of Mega Man's original memories.
  • Metroid:
    • In Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Other M, where the game takes place on space stations that probably would have locations to perform specific functions, voice recordings in the latter game refer to the act of saving as "data recording and shield restoration sequence."
    • Metroid Dread: Some save rooms serve as communications rooms between Samus and ADAM, helping them stay connected while she's trying to return to her ship and he provides updates and warnings of what lies ahead.
  • In The Mummy Demastered, you play a faceless soldier. Upon reaching a save point, your boss records all the gear that you've found so that if you die, the next soldier can use all the same gear and map data you unlocked before death.
  • Parodied in No More Heroes where there's No Fourth Wall. Travis saves by going to toilet to drop a save.
  • Outcast has the Gaamsaav, a large diamond-shaped jewel that imprints your essence on the world, allowing it to be restored later. You have to stand still and hold it in your hand for several seconds whereupon it emits a lot of light and noise, so you have to be far enough from your enemies or it'll alert them.
  • In Soul Reaver 2, the player character Raziel can "preserve his soul" when he reaches particular shrines. However, the shrines are very far apart and it is often necessary to dedicate several hours to completing a phase of the story, because you cannot save until you return to one of these shrines.
  • Tail Concerto justifies its save feature as Waffle reporting back to Police HQ about his progress. He does this whenever he meets Panta (who is always carrying a large radio on his back), or whenever he interacts with his air shuttle or the phone line back home.

    Art Game 
  • Yume Nikki is titled after its save mechanic: it's Japanese for "dream diary," which the protagonist can wake up to record her adventures in.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The "memory stones" in Diluvian Ultra are ancient technology that records the progress of anyone who touches them.
  • Dread Templar has magic "Soul" portals as save points.
  • In Fire Warrior, your suit's telemetry sensors (read: cameras and motion-capture thingamabobs) record everything you do, and after about 15 minutes it has to upload the data to The Mothership. While doing so, it locks Kais in place and blacks out his armor's face camera, leaving Kais stuck in place and staring at an actual in-universe loading screen.
  • Marathon has "pattern buffers" into which you upload yourself.

  • Bladed Fury has Soul Savers, magic lanterns that stores your souls, as save-points.
  • Savepoints in Shade: Wrath of Angels are magic circles, which "records your soul's progress" and activates to save a portion of your soul to respawn should you die because the Angel of Faith made you The Chosen One.

    Interactive Fiction 

    Mecha Gams 
  • Brahma Force, a mecha-themed action game set in a space station, uses control panels for recording video logs as save points.

  • Clarence's Big Chance: Televisions store a copy of Clarence's soul whenever he walks by them, apparently.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: "Done. I'll start the story from here next time."
  • In the Wii version of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, the save points are drinking fountains, and drinking the water gives it a memory of the Prince. When he dies, he is shown being reformed from the water in the fountain.
  • Robot Wants: Robot encodes his robot pattern at every Transmatter Computron he walks by, where he'll be reassembled if he takes critical damage.
  • Tanzer: The savepoints are charging stations that allows you to remain in a dormant state until your next activation.
  • Indie title The Underside has big red spinning Spiral Notebooks for keeping notes of the main character's journey.
  • VVVVVV makes this a Defied Trope. Professor Vitellary draws attention to a Checkpoint and suggests that if it were brought back to the ship, he could figure out what it is and how it works. Captain Viridian, evidently fearing for the integrity of the fourth wall, awkwardly asks him to Just Ignore It.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine occurs in Henry's old workplace. It still has punch clocks around, usually with a sign next to them that reads: "DON'T FORGET TO PUNCH IN! IT COULD SAVE YOUR JOB."
  • One Shot has beds used as save points.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The .hack games give a rather obvious explanation: you're playing a person who is playing a video game. When you save the game and log off for a while, that's what the character is doing in-game as well.
  • In 5 Little Lights you can save your game at any computer in the big spooky house the main character wakes up in.
  • Anachronox has the frog-like creatures called "Time Minders". Touching one lets the player save the game, with the justification that the Time Minders experience the entire continuum of their lives simultaneously, and thus touching it makes you part of their entire life. Exactly how this relates to saving the game is left unclear, but touching one is supposed to bring good luck — that is to say, the person who touched it probably reloaded the game and tried again.
  • Because Brave Fencer Musashi only allows you to save your game at the castle, there are Memory Boxes in the more distant regions of the game world that serve as a temporary save point (more like a checkpoint; if you reset or power off the console, it's lost). The in-game explanation of these is that they preserve Musashi's memories.
  • The save points in Breath of Fire 3 are usually journals. One is a dragon statue that is said to be a local shrine, where you pray for safety.
    • That shrine is a callback to the first two games, where praying at a Dragon Shrine or St. Eva Church was the only way to save.
  • Costume Quest's DLC, Grubbins On Ice, has spots where you can speak into a speaker to alert the "Trowbog Historical Society" that history has been made. Your character will occasionally lampshade the saving by remarking "We just walked around some more. You'll probably want to write that down."
  • In Chrono Cross, the save points are "Records of Fate", and in one town, several NPCs can be seen using one. They are later revealed to be the objects that FATE uses to keep tabs on and control humanity. As Chrono Cross had the same core team as Xenogears, you can see they like this one.
  • In Dawn of Darkness: Legends you save by talking to one of the Watchers, who record events for posterity.
  • Throughout the Dragon Quest series, you save your game by having records made of your journey. The king served this purpose in the first three games, and in later games, this was done by the priests at churches of whomever the Supreme Deity Of The Week is. This even applies in spin-offs.
    • The original Japanese versions of the first two Dragon Quest games used password saves, dubbed as "Spells of Restoration", given to you by the king. Accepting the Dragon Lord's offer to rule alongside him at the end of the first Dragon Quest has him give you a unique Spell of Restoration that puts you back at level 1 with no equipment.
  • In Dragon View, a priest will heal you and record your journey, so if you fail the gods can return your lost soul.
  • You could save almost anywhere in the Mega Man Battle Network series, except in the area where you fought the Big Bad. Usually, some sort of justification would be given. In 2, a random program will tell you that the radiation levels will overwhelm your PET, and prevent you from saving.
  • Faxanadu for the original NES had save codes, presented in the game as "mantras"; you went into a temple to obtain the mantra for your particular save point.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Save points are also used as spying devices in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the save points don't seem to be justified at first, but when the school's under attack, you run across a student crouching next to one. She stands up and tells you, "Save point up and running, sir!".
    • In Final Fantasy IX, all of the save points (except the ones in the final dungeon) were moogles, who would chronicle your journey in a giant journal. The final dungeon, meanwhile, had a running theme of storing people's memories, thus handily explaining why the non-moogle save points existed there.
    • In Final Fantasy X the save points were recording spheres; theoretically someone recounted what happened since the last save. This even shows up in the main plot multiple times including the sphere where Seymour's father reveals his true nature.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, the Typelog database that functions as a save system is a key element of the setting; it's part of what allows immortal society to function properly.
  • Meritous: Save tiles:
    These tiles use their own supply of PSI to record your current state, allowing you to come back to the dome if you decide to leave for a while. They do this upon activation with the Enter key.
  • Mother:
    • In EarthBound (1994), you save by calling Ness's dad and telling him about your journey. This gets a bit awkward when you're not controlling Ness.
    • And in Mother 3, you have the Save Frogs, who describe themselves as recording your memories. Then they subvert it:
      "A story is a series of memories. Memories are remembered with other memories, and in turn become memories themselves. If you don't take care to preserve your memories, you'll forget them. So, please tell us frogs your memories of everything so far... That is what people refer to as "saving". Now, then... *hop* Save your game?"
  • Celestial mirrors (which serve as a symbolically important item for the protagonist, the goddess of the sun) in Ōkami. You also learn a spell that allows you to use the mirror as Warp Whistles.
  • Mirrors serve a similar purpose, with a similar justification, in Onimusha games.
  • In Phantasy Star II, you save your game by having your memories backed up in a computer. On the same token, dead party members are resurrected at a cloning facility.
  • Persona:
    • In the original Persona, the save points are the Agastya Trees which appear to be sentient and ask if the protagonist would like to record their journey so far on them. An earlier comment from an NPC encourages you to talk to the new tree she put in the school hospital, stating that it is good for you. Considering that there is an entire forest of them in Maki's Dream World, they're implied to be products of Maki's mind.
    • Persona 4 has the Blue Butterflies, which are representations of series-wide Greater-Scope Paragon Philemon, who was explicitly shown to have the power to pull a Cosmic Retcon in Persona 2: Innocent Sin.
    • In Persona 5, you use an activity log you're supposed to keep as part of your probation to save your current progress, meaning you can save anywhere it's safe enough to take it out and write down what you're doing. During in dungeons however, this means you can only save if you find one of a small number of safe rooms where enemies won't attack you.
  • Pokémon:
    • Every game in the main Pokémon series has progress saved by the protagonist writing down the details of their journey in a journal. This is even called 'Report' in the Japanese versions. Starting with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, most games show an animation of the protagonist writing in their journal while saving.
    • Pokémon Colosseum has the protagonist save their progress on PCs found around Orre, while the sequel used the journal method.
  • Soma Spirits: Heart and Soul are accompanied by Hickory and Dockery, a pair of clocks who write in journals as a way to record the party's progress.
  • Soma Union: Dockington serves the same purpose as Hickory and Dockery in saving the player's game by asking Zero about the events that transpired. Unlike his predecessors, he only appears in specific maps, meaning the player can't just save anywhere.
  • Undertale justifies its Save Points as Mental Time Travel on the part of the protagonist. What makes it really interesting is that some characters have Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, and will react to things you've undone. Flowey even tells you early on that he used to be able to do the same until the player came along. At the end of the neutral path, Flowey regains control of this power—not only does he take over the player's Save Point system, so that they can only load into the battle against him, he uses emulator-esque savestates to repeatedly reset your position and his attack to the beginning if he misses... And just like any careful player that has savestates, he also has the beginning of the battle ready to reload just in case he loses. Why you can do this is only fully explained in the True Pacifist route's extra segment. Humans in this setting are able to come back from the dead and reverse time through sheer force of will—thus why every Save Point is the sight of something that "fills you with determination". Flowey was the result of experiments to give determination to monsters, but the player's power was still stronger until he stole the SOULs of several humans. On a meta level, it's implied that the determination that allows the playable character to Save and Load is the player's determination to continue playing the game.
  • In Xenogears, the "Memory Cube" is largely handwaved, until you get to Solaris and find out that they're mind control devices.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has the understanding that saving and quitting is your character dismissing their current party, heading back to NLA, and taking leave of their BLADE duties for a while, and the loading and squad selection sequence when you return is punching on, regathering your group, and picking up where you left off. This falls apart during Story and Affinity Missions, but it's a nice effort.
  • In most World of Mana, saving is handled as a function of innkeepers, Neko the travelling salesman, or statues of the Mana Goddess; in Trials of Mana, these statues are made of gold and usually placed in the vicinity of Mana Stones to ward off outsiders. There are one or two statues in the final villain's lair, but they're made of stone and headless, placed there in direct mockery of the Goddess. They also don't refill your energy.
  • The Yo-kai Watch series explains saving as the protagonist writing in their diary.

  • Animal Crossing: In all Animal Crossing games, the player character is depicted as having been staying inside their house inbetween saves. That means if you don't Play Every Day and stop for periods of time, your player character is stuck in their house for that period. It gets noted by villagers and, starting with the Wii title, you'll even get Bedhead when you start up your file after at least a week of no activity. In certain games, the player can invoke a save by laying in a special bed at home and falling asleep, however in others it's off-screen.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • The Harvest Moon series has your character's diary as the save point. Some later games let you save anywhere, but keep the diary because "some people liked it", other later games add completely non-justified save points at convenient locations.
    • Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar does away with diaries OR Save Anywhere, only letting you save when you go to sleep. It also doesn't mention writing in your diary when you pick it - you just save your game and go to sleep, thus averting justification.
    • The spinoff Rune Factory 4 seems to attempt this trope: there is a very normally-placed diary next to your bed. It's when you find floating diaries outside dungeons that it starts to break down a bit.
  • The X-Universe series allows you to buy salvage insurance, whose Flavor Text says it "allows a recoverable programme to be put into operation that will enable the pilot to retrieve vital data and credits they have amassed so far." What this means is, you can save your game in flight at the cost of one unit of salvage insurance.

    Survival Horror 
  • Save Points in Dead Space are public computer terminals where characters update their status in the ship/colony's computer, logging their healthnote , their location, and what they have on them. The RIG characters use is called "Resource Intergration Gear" because it allows for making such status logs. Industrial areas often have notices reminding people to "remember to sync your RIG", which comes across as telling the player to save early and save often.
  • Richard uses phones in Echo Night to save the game. Begging the question who's on the other side of the line when he calls in...
  • Enemy Zero: Saving and loading are justified as Laura recording and playing back an audio log. The device consumes battery life with each use, leading to Save-Game Limits.
  • The Evil Within's Mirror Room, a strange and out-of-place pocket dimension, acts as a breather episode between waves of fighting obsessed undead from the pits of hell. You can save, talk to the receptionist, upgrade your abilities, the good stuff. The nurse who attends the room lampshades how such a merciful place exists in a world where everything and their mother wants to kill you, which alternate dimension is the 'real' one, and whether or not the save room will one day get infected/betray the residents and become just another hellhole in this alternate dimension... and yes, it eventually does. It makes a return in The Evil Within 2.
  • In Fatal Frame, the player utilizes a fixed camera to "record" the game.
  • Fiona from Haunting Ground can save the game through any of the grandfather clocks spread through Belli Castle.
  • In Kuon, Utsuki, Sakuya and Abe no Seimei can save the game within the confines of hallowed ground - which are always found by small streams of water - by setting afloat paper Vessels, as an Onmyōdō form of blessing. On a disturbing note, the player later finds rivers of blood running underground... and all the paper Vessels used to save the game are found drowned in it.
  • The kids from ObsCure have "Save Discs", which weirdly enough are integrated into the narrative without ever getting a proper explanation as to how exactly they're supposed to work.
  • Parasite Eve: Being a Police officer, Aya often calls into her superiors back at the station to report on what's happened. Who she's calling when the station is under attack and everyone's dead or unconscious, is left unexplained.
  • Tuurngait artifacts in Penumbra, which only vaguely hint themselves as save points when touched. I feel like I left a part of me inside. They also serve the purpose of spreading the Tuurngait infection in the game storyline.
  • Classic Resident Evil titles have typewriters that act as save points, requiring one ink ribbon per save. With Resident Evil 4, the token system went away, and in Resident Evil 5, so did save points in favor of auto-saving every time you enter a new map area. The classic typewriter system was brought back in Resident Evil 7 with tape decksnote .
  • The Bucket Knight of Rule of Rose is just one of many pieces of overt symbolism throughout the game. The whole game is essentially Jennifer recovering her lost memories, and she 'saves' her progress by telling him her tale so far.
  • Silent Hill: Most titles' save points are not quite justified, but the playable characters still do note that being near one does strange things to their heads.
    • Silent Hill justifies its save points as Harry's notes of the bizarre goings on around him, written in notepads. This gets a nice Continuity Nod in Silent Hill 3 when Heather comes across one of said notes, exactly where one such save point was in 1.
    • Silent Hill 4 has literally only one save point: a journal Henry keeps in his living room. Since gameplay requires going back to Henry's apartment very often, as long as there's a portal nearby, it's easy to pop in and make a save.
  • It's never stated outright, but since The Cat from The Witch's House is a powerful demon, working in favour of 'Viola', it makes sense he could return the player character from the grave.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Her Tears Were My Light, you play as the Moe Anthropomorphism of Time, which justifies your ability to "rewind" events, "warp" to memories you remember, and "reset" the timeline you're in. Which makes it all the more chilling when Nil takes away your ability to rewind.