Follow TV Tropes


Password Save

Go To

------ ------
— A Metroid password responsible for a lot of Wild Mass Guessing

A classic of oldie video games, this is the method of saving your progress in a game without being required to actually store it on the console or game cartridge: Encode it as a string of letters, numbers, or other symbols and have the player write it down on a nearby piece of paper. This was typically done because older consoles like the NES did not have internal storage and only saved data on individual game cartridges, but doing so required including battery backups that would increase the cost of production.

These have an advantage of being portable compared to traditional save files — you can take that slip of paper pretty much anywhere (like a friend's house), and input the password to resume the game more or less right where you left off. On the other hand, you have to make absolutely sure you wrote down the password correctly, because messing up a letter here or number there will probably render the entire thing (and whatever game progress it represents) unusable. Thankfully, the advent of digital cameras (especially on cellphones) and screenshots has made it trivial to keep track of passwords.

Back when computer games came on cassette tapes, "multi-load" games that were divided into two or three parts due to memory constraints used passwords in a slightly different way. The first part would give out a password at the end, but the second part then had to be loaded manually. Once the second part was loaded, the password would serve to unlock the full complement of Video-Game Lives.

Also present on some newer console games where the data to be saved was too small (like just a level number) to justify the cost of a battery-backed saving chip or an extra file block in the memory card.

Usually, there are two kinds of passwords:

  • "Level" passwords: The password records what level you're on, but that's about it — don't expect information such as your score, lives, stats or items to be stored. In other words, the password basically doubles as a level-select. Obviously, this is limited mostly to puzzle games, and games with linear level progression, where collecting secondary items isn't necessary for advancement. These passwords don't actually encode information, so they can be anything the developers want. They are often human-legible words or phrases, and may contain inside jokes from the developers.
  • "Game state" passwords: A lot more complicated than level passwords, these record essentially all the information that a Save Point would: What items you've acquired, your character stats, key event flags, and so on. Enter the password and you can pick up from (almost literally) the exact moment you left off, or at least some decent approximation. The length of the password will depend on how much information is being "saved", so a "game state" password that records a lot of things will require a longer password. Also, to discourage players from attempting to cheat the system by inventing their own passwords, the password may incorporate a "checksum", a small combination of symbols whose only function is to verify that the rest of the password is (or at least looks) legitimate. Not that this stopped anyone from cracking them, and just about every popular game from that era (Metroid, Metal Gear (NES), every Mega Man (Classic), etc) has had its password formula cracked: this even led to "impossible" passwords that you wouldn't be able to get in the game proper, like starting with all weapons or abilities but no game progress, starting with much more health or ammo than would ever be possible, or even game-specific things like starting Mega Man 7 with access to all 8 robot masters.note 
    Over the years this evolved into Export Save.

Many of the more complicated password systems are case-sensitive and also use numbers and symbols. The reason is that 26 lowercase letters, 26 uppercase letters, 10 numerals, and 2 other symbols add up to 64 (two to the sixth power), which means that 6 bits of raw data can be encoded in each symbol. Without lowercase, 32-symbol alphabets (consonants, digits, and a couple symbols) provided 5 bits per symbol. (Japanese games could also use the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, each of which provides 45 symbols.) Though this extra encoding can cause problems in and of itself - depending on the font used in the game, some characters could easily get mistaken for others (Like capital i 'I' vs lowercase L 'l' or the digit '1' or uppercase o 'O' vs the digit '0' - some games avoided this by simply removing characters that can be mistaken for others from the keyboard to prevent confusion), and some players might simply not have good handwriting, resulting in an otherwise accurately recorded password being incorrectly typed when the game is started up again several days later due to a misreading. As games went on it actually became mandatory to remove vowels to prevent kids from entering in vulgarities, as some of these vulgarities were valid passwords that would get shared around the schoolyard, like Metal Gear's infamous, hilariously on-the-nose, and hand-to-God genuinely coincidental FUCKME code that started you at the final boss of Metal Gear with no weapons or items. Compare the American and Japanese versions (left) and European versions (right) of Metal Gear's title screen.

Improvements to technology as of the early 2000s have made the use of passwords completely unnecessary. Consoles had fully transitioned to memory cards for universal storage by that point and would later switch to internal hard drives, while most Game Boy Advance games had the capacity to save game data without battery backups. If a modern game provides you with a password, it's almost certainly done as a throwback to a bygone era.

Examples of "level" passwords:

  • 1942 was another example, with its five-letter passwords such as "IGPOD".
  • Block Dude and Puzzle Frenzy on the TI-84 calculator both use this system — a three-character code will get you to a given level.
  • Modern games on the Net:
    • Moon Sweeper: to a specific moon. All are related to science or science fiction: Plasma, Photon, Xenomorph, etc.
    • Turbo Tanks: to a specific stage (level).
  • Asterix and Obelix on the SNES used images of the characters.
  • Pop Up for the Game Boy had passwords giving access to each level, although your total score, and items, still start over at 0 if you use them. (Which meant that on some levels, using the password access could make the level unwinnable.)
  • Various Capcom Licensed Games for the SNES had level passwords made up of more interesting things than letters and numbers:
  • The Return of Ishtar, one of the few arcade games to have these.
  • The level passwords of Ugh!, a cute, humorous game about cavemen, are song titles of the deathrock band Christian Death.
  • After every level in the SNES game The Adventures of Batman and Robin, the "password" was a 4×4 array of icons and blank spaces.
  • Apple ][ game Diamond Mine gives a password for every five stages, but not if you lost too many diamonds.
  • Astro Marine Corps was originally a double-load cassette-tape game, and therefore provided the player with a password to enter the second side after beating the eighth level. The Atari ST and Amiga versions generously expanded the password system to provide one for every other level. Most of these passwords are Shout Outs to famous Science Fiction Films.
  • Blue Sphere: In addition to the password system letting you save your progress through the "full" version of the game, beating the stage given by a non-Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic Classics 3 In 1
  • The old Amiga FPS, Breathless uses passwords as save points, consisting of randomized words, numbers, and is 18-digits long. You might want to grab a pen.
  • Bubble Bobble. Considering how little the passwords changed from level to level, it is thought that the 5-letter combination is just the level number times some constant converted to text.
  • The Taxan games Burai Fighter, Burai Fighter Deluxe and Low G Man all had four-letter passwords. The level codes in Burai Fighter (except in the European version) are ordinary words; those in Low G Man seem to be names of beta testers.
  • Chip's Challenge gives you a four-character password every level. Its Fan Sequels are built upon the game's engine, so they also use passwords (the official sequel doesn't, as it uses a traditional save feature instead).
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn for the Playstation had passwords for the start of each mission (and didn't allow saving mid-mission)
  • Daze Before Christmas allows you to save your progress using this system. There's also a Level Select Cheat Code, "BADLA".
  • Dragon's Lair on Super NES has password that has to be entered through a difficult minigame.
    • In the European version, you have to push balls with the correct letters in the correct holes one by one to form the password. Needless to say, it is long, tedious and it is possible to block a letter into a corner (making it Unintentionally Unwinnable) or even die.
    Joueur du Grenier: I just died in the password screen! Is that a joke?
    • The American version has a different minigame (where you have to hit the balls with your sword until the correct letter appears) which is thankfully nowhere near as tedious or frustrating.
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine used the same coloured beans that are used in the game.
  • And Ecco the Dolphin had them on the Sega Genesis.
    • The cursor in Ecco started on the letter N. Just hitting the key repeatedly, entering a password of all N's, sent you straight to the last non-boss level in the game.
  • 8 Eyes displays a 10-letter password at the top of the screen during each end-of-level cutscene.
  • Frenzy! awards a password after completing each stage, where in future playthroughs you can skip straight to the following stage by typing the password on the start screen.
  • The Game Boy port of Adventure Island III used passwords to keep track of how far you are in the game. Inputting a correct one would always result in starting with two of each item that can be held in inventory.
  • In Helter Skelter, a password is displayed for every tenth level completed.
  • The Incredible Machine, using a combination of password and optional score code.
  • Kolibri has level passwords, each consisting of eight consonants.
  • Lemmings. On the original Amiga version, passwords are strings of ten random-looking letters; some ports have passwords that form meaningful words.
  • Little Samson had level passwords that didn't save anything else.
  • The Lost Vikings had passwords that were actual words, with numbers replacing vowels they resembled. This meant you could plausibly skip ahead by guessing words that were likely to be used, like H0M3, or H4RD.
  • Machine Hunter saves each stage on a 10-digit password screen, accessible right at the title. Typing in ???HOST??? unlocks everything (infinite health and ammo, level select, One-Hit Kill, infinite time for Timed Missions, etc).
  • Master of Darkness featured a password system that used the Ouija board the main character consults in the opening cutscene.
  • Micro Machines V3 for the Game Boy Color had that.
  • Monster Hunter (PC) has its save-points depicted as passwords. Key in "draculasucks" allows you to fight Dracula on the spot, though with only three lives.
  • Password Time! My Little Pony: Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow for the Game Boy Advance always reminds its target audience of young girls to write down its simple 9-character passwords on a piece of paper before the start of each new chapter.
  • Nectaris makes level passwords easy by making them identical with the map names, each of which is six letters in length. The names/passwords for maps 17-32 were originally those of maps 1-16 spelled backwards, though the American TurboGrafx-16 release gave these completely different names (a few of which are Gratuitous Japanese, bizarrely enough).
  • Ninja Gaiden Trilogy had level passwords, though the NES versions had no save feature.
  • Pac-Attack
  • Pajama Sam's Lost and Found uses various simple words for each level, and some do other things, like skip to the ending cutscene, and even mess up the background.
  • Pipe Dream had passwords every few levels.
  • The first Populous.
    • Specifically: World names consist of three sections of one to four letters each, such as "IMMOCON" (IMM + O + CON), KILLINING (KILL + IN + ING) and NIMLOPHOLE (NIM + LOP + HOLE). Once you know the pre, mid and suffixes involved in the generation of a "world name" you can start brute-force guessing combinations, potentially ending up on world numbers up to roughly World 5,000. Worlds beyond this number exist, still using the same pre-mid-suffix combinations, but the password entry screen won't skip to them, it just says "[Name] was not found"; the only way to play them is to earn your way up to them starting from the highest one the passwords allow skipping to, meaning that once the console is powered off they're inaccessible until earned again and can't be gone back to otherwise.
  • The N64 port of The Powerpuff Girls Chemical X Traction is a rare console port example of this; unlike the Playstation 1 port, this port uses a six-slot picture password to save progress in Story Mode, due to cartridge limitations.
  • The first Prince of Persia, on platforms without disk saves.
  • Puggsy showed a 27-digit password after beating each level.
  • Repton:
    • In the first game, all level passwords are the name of an animal, usually a reptile. Since the levels have no titles, the passwords are often used in place of titles when referring to levels.
    • Repton 3 has passwords that are always a 7-letter dictionary word, seemingly chosen at random with no connection to the level's contents.
  • Both versions of Ristar have password systems. The Genesis version had the passwords uncovered depending on how many treasures you recovered from the bonus stages when you beat the game. These passwords revealed various cheat codes that could be used in the game, depending on the region. The Game Gear version had a more straightforward password system, which took you back to whatever world you were on, revealed after you lost all your lives and/or continues in that world.
  • Rocko's Modern Life had a licensed game that used level passwords.
  • Rolling Thunder - Each console game in the series has its own password system. The Famicom/NES version of the original game uses seven digit passcodes for each stage, while Rolling Thunder 2 for the Genesis/Mega Drive uses words that formed sentences (e.g. "A ROLLING PROGRAM SMASHED THE GENIUS"). Rolling Thunder 3 has randomized five-character passwords that keeps track of not only the player's last stage and difficulty setting, but also of which weapons he had had used.
  • Scooby-Doo! Classic Creep Capers used the various symbols seen in-game in various combinations. This is also in-universe as one code that Velma types in at the end of the first stage to get into the lab.
  • The Smurfs (1994): Level passwords are provided after each boss (every 4 levels) in all versions of the game, though in the Super NES and Mega Drive versions it takes the form of matching the correctly displayed Smurf characters. Using them was usually a bad idea, though, because playing from the start allowed to collect more Extra Lives for the very difficult endgame)
  • Solar Jetman, though it does store your score, extra lives, and a few other things.
  • The Japan-only SNES game Spider-Man: Lethal Foes used for passwords the surname of the boss defeated in the previous level, starting with JENKINS (Beetle) and ending with OCTAVIUS (Doctor Octopus). The exception was Alistair Smythe, who leads to his codename (Spider-)SLAYER.
  • Splatterhouse didn't have a save feature in the original game; Wanpaku Graffiti gave four-digit level passwords; Splatterhouse 2 had level passwords made of four cryptic three-letter words; and Splatterhouse 3 had six-letter passwords.
  • Multiple SpongeBob SquarePants games for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance use a password system consisting of letters and/or numbers, or pictures, which are revealed after completing a level and the player must write it down should they wish to continue.
  • Flight Of The Falcon, a Star Wars arcade game for the Game Boy Advance. Without the password, you started in A New Hope every time. With a password, you could start in either The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi.
  • Submachine 3: the Loop uses these as the only means of saving progress, in keeping with its overall minimalist design compared to other installments in the series.
  • Super Castlevania IV for the SNES makes use of a grid system onto which different symbols are placed. This only works as a stage select - scores, items, lives, etc. aren't recorded - but it is tied into the name you enter on the start screen. Enter your name differently from what you used when you generated the password, and it won't work.
  • Both the SNES and Genesis versions of Sparkster have these, but they're very different. The SNES version has twelve boxes, and the Genesis version has eight. In the SNES version, the password is shown on the continue screen, and in order to input the password, you play as Sparkster and hit the boxes with his sword. In the Genesis version, the password isn't shown on the continue screen until you choose not to continue the game, and in order to input the password, you have to select the correct cards and colors.
  • Sydney Hunter and the Caverns of Death: Each level has a password that you can enter to access it from the start of the game. The passwords are revealed at the intro screen of its corresponding level.
  • Tintin In Tibet by the same studio as The Smurfs, was even stingier on passwords: It was still several levels between passwords, with the first one only appearing after level 5.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures games:
    • Buster's Hidden Treasure for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive has a 20-letter password system, divided by five four-letter sections. However, the furthest the game can take you when you enter a password is the first act of the final world, so if you want to skip to the last level, you're gonna have to play through the first three acts of the last world first.
    • Buster Busts Loose for the SNES has a password system consisting of three spaces for pictures of faces of the characters from the show. Unfortunately, the only mode that uses these passwords is "Children".
    • Wacky Sports Challenge, also for the SNES, uses a similar password system, represented by Furrball, Shirley, and Fifi dressed as cheerleaders holding up signs.
    • Scary Dreams/Buster's Bad Dream for the Game Boy Advance uses an example similar to the two SNES games, but unlike Buster Busts Loose, the passwords work for all three modes of the game; "Easy", "Medium", and "Hard".
  • Total Carnage, another rare Arcade Game example, had level passwords that were four letters long.
  • Worms 2 implemented level passwords, which form a short story if you list all of them together.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors: You received a password every four levels, which allowed you to start over from that level with that number of surviving neighbors — passwords didn't include your weapons/ammo, so late-game passwords could make the game even harder.

Examples of "game state" passwords:

  • The NES Toxic Crusaders game.
  • War of the Dead on the PC Engine had passwords that were 54 characters long and mixed hiragana, katakana and romaji to get 7 bits out of each character. The developers apologized for this cumbersome password system.
  • The Addams Family (Ocean Software's Licensed Game for 16-bit consoles and computers) implements a 5 character password (letters, numbers & symbols). Due to a game bug, it doesn't accept passwords if either digit in the lives counter is '9'. The SNES version also allows someone simply entering a default password of "11111" to start the game with 100 lives.
  • Adventure Island IV
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, after every level, you receive a code consisting of 8 symbols, which happen to be the classic PlayStation symbols (and, since the publisher was previously acquired by Sony, they're present even on PC). These codes preserve information about the amount of lives and continues you have, and which level you reached.
  • Animorphs for the Game Boy Color was a Shoddy Knockoff Product of Pokémon, with a password system in place of a save function. It works about as well as you might expect.
  • The Battle of Olympus. Zeus's "words of wisdom" were very long and confusing.
  • Blaster Master: Enemy Below
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (outside of Japan; the Japanese version was on Famicom Disk System, and saved on the disk). Insidiously, one has about a one in one trillion chance of guessing a password with random input.
  • The first Crash Bandicoot (1996) has both types of passwords: Just beating the levels without collecting the gems earns you 8-character level passwords, but collecting a gem expands that to a 24-character Super password, which also keeps track of gems and keys, and which the game initially hides by only showing the first 8 character spaces before inputting a Super password. Unfortunately, these don't record lives, which can make later stages a pain.
  • FIFA International Soccer for the SNES used passwords for the state of tournaments/playoffs.
  • Faxanadu for the NES had a "Mantra" that you learned at a local temple. The password saved all your equipment, spells, and key items, but did not save your experience or money. Instead, you would get a "title" based on your experience points, and when you died or loaded from the password, you would be given a specific amount of money based on your title, and your experience points would reset to the minimum for the title as well. Titles had no other benefits, but you could abuse the system to buy something very expensive, get the password, reset and get quite a bit of money back.
  • In the Game Boy port of Milon's Secret Castle, The password feature was added.
  • Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the Super NES had a short password for levels, and a long password for returning to a current game with all your items (sorta like a save state).
  • The home computer versions of the first Ghostbusters game had a password system that allowed starting a new game with the money accumulated at the end of the previous one. However the password was generated based on the name you chose. If you didn't spell the name exactly the same it would not work!
  • G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor had 14-character passwords, but with each character positioned on its own 3-by-3 grid.
  • Golden Sun, for Old Save Bonus in the second game.
    • There's three types of passwords to use, depending on how much data you want to import into the game. Bronze passwords only import character levels, Djinn collected, and items that grant new moves like the Orb of Force. Silver passwords imports the above plus the actual character stats. Gold passwords import everything, including coins and items held, but the password is a whopping 260 characters long and the risk of making an error is quite high. If you have a second GBA and a link cable, then data transfer is easy. Thankfully, the Bronze password is the only one needed to complete the Djinn collection and enter the Bonus Dungeon; everything else is for 100% Completion.
  • The Goonies II
  • GT Advance
  • The Guardian Legend had 32-character passwords, again mixing uppercase letters, lowercase letters and numbers.
  • James Pond 3: Operation Starfish had a system where you had to input a 16-symbol password, made up of about 30 different types of symbol which could be in any of four colours. You spent almost as much time writing down "Red Fish, Blue Diamond, Blue Plane, ..." as actually playing the game.
  • Legacy of the Wizard had 32-character passwords that were alphanumeric in the English and hiragana in the Japanese version.
  • The long (20-char) passwords in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games are of two kinds: One encodes (at least) the player and baby's names, the other encodes the Ring of Power collection.
  • Live Powerful Pro Baseball has a password save for a character's stat, which can be used in a sequel to transfer the data between games. This include player's originally created and in-game secret characters. Each set of password is notoriously long (100+ characters), but it's proven robust enough it survives even in the most recent generation of gaming.
  • Lizard: The game uses passwords to save where you where, and what lizard you were wearing when you quit the game.
  • MasterGame, a Role-Playing Game created in Geometry Dash, uses password saving to get around the game's nature as an auto-scroller where you're always moving forward (which it keeps hidden). Save points give you a six-digit code you can enter at the start of the level to resume from them, and when you die or run out of time your most recent code is shown on-screen until you're forced to restart. A code given to you by a character is also used to open a path to the final boss.
  • The Mega Man (Classic) series, starting with Mega Man 2, had passwords for most of its cartridge-based games. As the level sequence in a Mega Man game can vary due to player preference, even the most basic of these can be considered "game state":
    • Mega Man 3 allowed for cheesing much of the game by allowing you to save E-Tanks with passwords. A well-known and much-beloved tactic was to enter Red A6 as a password which would start you off with 9 of them and allow you to tank difficult bosses like Needle Man and get Rush Jet first, who in turn broke the game. Unsurprisingly, later NES games didn't let you save E-Tanks.
    • Game Boy GaidenGames 1 and 3 saved level progress only. As did the Game Gear one...
    • Mega Man 2 and 3 and the second Game Boy game saved the number of energy tanks as well as level progress. The tank number even served as a checksum in 2, while there were 5 different code sets in the second Game Boy game, again based on energy tanks.
    • Mega Man 4-6 did not save tanks but did save side items and portions thereof. Mega Man 4 also had a checksum bit.
    • The last 2 Game Boy games, along with Mega Man 7 saved all sorts of tanks, the amount of P-chips/Bolts on hand, and, in the case of 7, Rush Adapters. But none of these saved the number of lives you had.
    • The first 3 Mega Man X games also used passwords, saving heart tanks, sub tanks, armor parts, and, in the case of 3, mech forms. But, again, not numbers of lives.
    • Mega Man based fan games, like RosenkreuzStilette and Rokko Chan, often use this as a nod to the older games. Interestingly, the fan translation group discovered that the password system was identical to Mega Man 4's, down to the exact code to get Lili as the Beat equivalent. With a few extra slots not taken up by the code, the translators added completion of the intro stage. The sequel follows suit, to the point that RKS members in one game can be beaten in the other with the same password!
  • Metal Gear: The NES version of the original game has a twenty-five character alphanumeric password system that keeps track of Snake's rank and inventory, as well all the bosses that had been defeated and all the hostages that were saved (or killed for that matter), plus any special events the player may had triggered. And similar to Metroid, there was at least one valid password with a Precision F-Strike - which would take you to the final battle with no items. The password characters were changed in later releases (mainly the European/Australian releases) to remove certain letters so that such profanities could not be recreated.
    • Snake's Revenge expanded the password to 30 characters, with the same game-state functions. It also included a single-exclamation point symbol and a double-exclamation point symbol, which could potentially be confusing.
  • In Metroid for the NES, the "Justin Bailey" password became famous for the amount of speculation over its supposed meaning. In the earlier versions, you could also use ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER, which crashes the game in newer ports. The original Japanese version of Metroid had on-disk saving, being a Famicom Disk System game. It also had one example of the other kind of password in NARPAS SWORD, which enters a type of debug mode (all items, invincibility, unlimited ammo) yet when decrypted in a password generator just gives piddling random item pickups. Kid Icarus (1986), also originally a Famicom Disk System game, used the same password system.
  • The NES adaptation of 1943 uses a password that contains the stage you've reached as well as the stats of your plane. The passwords are rather compact by the standards of this trope, using only five alphanumeric characters; this is achieved by having two stats tied to each of the three middle characters (your plane has six different parameters with six levels each), the starting level is used for the first, and the last character serves as a checksum that also prevents you from entering an early level with absurdly high parameters.
  • Rayman GBC had passwords that specified which level you were on, and the number of cages destroyed in each level. The Playstation version allowed choosing between memory card or passwords.
  • River City Ransom for the NES had 33-character passwords, mixing uppercase letters, lowercase letters and numbers to store stats, skills, money, inventory and bosses defeated. The Game Boy Advance remake made passwords unnecessary, though a bug would create a new save file instead of overwriting the previous one, making the game unplayably slow if you didn't erase them often.
  • Road Rash for the Sega Genesis saved your racing placements and your cash.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Tails Adventure uses a 4x4 grid password save system using letters and numbers.
    • Sonic 3D Blast provides an interesting example; while the retail version of the game didn't use passwords, the version used for the Sega Channel, an online service that let subscribers download games, needed it. Since the game was too big to fit into a single download at the time, it was split into two parts. After completing the first half of Part 1 by clearing Diamond Dust Zone Act 3, players were provided with a password that needed to be entered into Part 2 to continue playing the game from Volcano Valley Zone Act 1.
  • Spiritual Warfare also had a long password system.
  • Super Tennis uses 52-character (!) base-32 passwords.
  • Toe Jam And Earl: Panic on Funkotron has a 12-character system that is given after completing even-numbered levels through 14. This saves the level you're on, score, funk, coins, Super Jars, Panic Buttons, Funk-Vacs, lives and progress through the Hyper Funk Zone. All passwords can be used interchangeably between ToeJam, Earl or a co-op.
  • Tombs & Treasure. Finding out your password required the Ixmol Jewel.
  • Ultimate Flash Sonic saves things you've unlocked on 15-number passwords.
  • Since multiplayer games in Warcraft III can't be saved with any degree of reliability, custom map makers often include passcodes, usually generated on demand, to save relevant parts of the map's macrogame between games. The length and complexity of the codes vary depending on the thoroughness of what's being saved, as simple as eight case-insensitive letters or as complicated as thirty-six-plus characters that include upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols
    • Except that when a Map is "updated", previous version codes doesn't work at all, and most of the time, it doesn't work anyways.
  • Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap:
    • The original game used a 14-character password as its unique way of saving and continuing the game. The American boxart actually advertised "With password save!"
    • The 2017 remake uses the now-classic "three save files", but is also fully compatible with the old-school password system.note  You could start a game on the Switch version, continue it on a real Master System (albeit with zero Charm Stones), and finish it on the PC version.
      Fortune teller pig: I've been handing out those ancestral codes for decades now. Write them down carefully!
  • Ys I & II for the TurboGrafx-16uses battery-backed saves, but those can be converted into a password string to carry over to another system. The passwords were ridiculous, requiring sixty character strings of numbers, letters, and punctuation marks.