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Save-Game Limits

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"Want to save your game? Then learn to save your money first."

"There are people who say that preventing saves adds to the "tension" of the game. Sure, in the sense that the fact that your 360 could catch on fire at any moment also adds to the tension."

Please do not switch off the system or remove your memory card while Describing Save Point Here.

Video Games often place rules on when, how and where the player can save their progress in-game. Some of these were originally due to technical limitations of the hardware the games ran on, but with modern consoles having vast reserves of memory and storage space, these limitations are more because of tradition than anything else.

On the flipside, an unrestricted ability to save one's game literally anywhere can (as players using save states on emulators can attest to) leave the player stranded in an Unwinnable condition should they choose to save at the wrong time (...unless you have more than one savefile) and placing limits on the player's ability to save can prevent this, making it a double-edged sword. Properly spaced Save Points can also serve as useful hints about when the player should save.


There's also Export Save, for when the game lets the player make a backup save, presumably outside of its regular save mechanics, and transfer them from device to device at need.

There are a wide variety of ways these can occur. Variations include:

  • Autosave: Dynamically saves the game session every few minutes/seconds in order to prevent progress loss in the case of shutdowns and crashes.
  • Password Save: When, instead of saving a game's session, the player is given a password for completing a level. This is used in games without an inventory to keep track about.
  • Save Point: A.K.A. Checkpoint-based saving, restricts when/where the player is allowed to save their session, such as in between stages/missions, on the world map or the Hub Level, or at a Trauma Inn.
  • Save Token: An item (usually consumable) that allows the player to save their game session, thus limiting how often the player can save.
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  • Suspend Save: A "quick-save" or "suspend" option that saves and quits, then deletes the quick-save data after it has been reloaded (which helps prevent Save Scumming, though industrious players may still find a way to cheat the system). When this is in place, you can save & quit whenever you want, but death will still take you back to the last Checkpoint. In some games, such as Roguelikes, this may be the only save system present: Quitting the game saves your progress, and winding up in any Unwinnable situation means the save file is effectively unusable and the player must restart the game from scratch.
  • Saving the game state only in Broad Strokes — e.g., recording the player's status (e.g., Experience Points, Plot Coupons, general story chapter), but not their actual position and/or progress within a given level or mission. Thus, while the player may be able to save their data at any time, they always start from a designated location (e.g., see above point) when reloading it.
  • Only allowing a limited number of save files (especially if its Only One Save File). Or, alternatively, requiring that subsequent saves always overwrite the same file, thus preventing the player from keeping multiple active saves. In games where a player's decision early in the game can have later repercussions (including unwinnability), this can become a challenge for the player. In most games, however, the effective result of this is just that only a finite number of players can track their progress on a single installation at one time.

Compare Checkpoint Starvation, for when a level (or entire game) has very few, if any, Check Points or Save Points.


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    Other Resource Cost to Save 
  • In the American Sega CD version of Lunar: Eternal Blue, Working Designs added a constraint to the save system. Whenever you save, it costs a certain amount of Skill Points, with the amount scaling every time you save. These are the same points that you use to, well, learn new skills so you can defeat many of the very difficult bosses and such. This became especially troublesome if you didn't have the sort of time or skill to go without saving for large stretches of time. It also wasn't uncommon to end up short on Skill Points, especially since the cost becomes prohibitively high over the course of the game.
  • Cadaver requires you to spend money for saving, with the amount going up each time. There's not a lot of other things you can do with your money, but the game's Guide Dang It! nature means you probably want to save more often than you feasibly can.
  • Some versions of Colossal Cave deducted points for saving.
  • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, you have to purchase your saves with Banana Coins after the first usage of any save point. This was thrown out for the third game and the second game's GBA remake. Fortunately, banana coins are very easy to find, and the player can always go back and get some from a previously completed level.
  • X: Beyond the Frontier, unlike the later games in the X series, only allows you to save while docked. You also have to pay a save fee of 10 credits.
  • Bet On Soldier had terminals that could be used as Save Points, but not for free.
  • Enemy Zero has the player save and load their game using a handheld recorder which starts with 64 charges on its battery. Saving uses up three charges, while loading uses one, meaning that too much saving or loading could force you to start over.
  • Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Warriors Orochi, etc. all autosave between levels, and restrict in-level saves based on the difficulty setting.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest requires the player to spend a point of energy to create a save point. The energy points are also used for Area of Effect attacks and throwable projectiles.
  • In One Way Heroics, the game may offer to save your progress randomly or if you use a Save Crystal, at the cost of reducing your level by 5.
  • Resident Evil has saving limited by the use of ink ribbons the player have to find; said ribbons are also of limited use, though some games have an infinite version of the item when played on easy mode. The ink ribbons can only be used at a typewriter, thus you need the ink ribbons and have to know where the save points are. Resident Evil 4 lets the player save at a typewriter without needing an ink ribbon and future games would go with the traditional checkpoints and auto saving.
  • Valfaris requires you to spend a Resurrection Idol to activate a checkpoint; your game only auto-saves at the end of a level or when you pass an activated checkpoint. Resurrection Idols are also used to acquire upgrade materials at the end of each level, and holding them in your inventory gives you a passive bonus to your health and energy. However, you also have a hard cap on how many you can hold which only increases on defeating a boss (any you collect in excess of the cap are converted into health and energy refills but are otherwise wasted).

    Multiple campaigns / characters at once, but One Save File Per Campaign/Character 
  • The Rune Factory series was getting infamous because of this, Rune Factory, Rune Factory 2 and Rune Factory Frontier not only give you a small number of save files (two on the first two, three in Frontier) but they also required that every subsequent save always overwrote your file with no way to keep multiple active saves for a single campaign. This was an particularly big problem for Frontier, since it basically forced you to complete the game more than 10 times from the very beginning (around 50 hours each, at least) if you wanted 100% completion. The latter games thankfully averted this, Rune Factory 3 reverted back to 2 save files but you could overwrite both at any time, and Rune Factory Tides of destiny not only discarded the restriction but also gives you around a dozen of save files to use.
  • Darkest Dungeon only has a single save file per campaign that constantly saves whenever you do anything in the game. You'll probably be feeling this, but for most difficulties there's no actual lose state (Continuing is Painful though).
  • In Dragon's Dogma:
    • There is only one save file allowed, so you can only have one character and its pawn active at a time, though you can back up the save to other media as a means to swap characters.
    • Within the game, it autosaves when entering a new area or completing a quest, overwriting the previous save.
    • The game also allows you to overwrite the Autosave save any time you are not in combat, and you will restart exactly at that spot, making Save Scumming possible provided you don't do anything to make the game autosave in the meantime. The size and danger level of the game's overworld makes manual saves pretty important, since the player can go a long time between changing areas and prompting an autosave.
    • Just to make sure the game doesn't stick you in a bad spot with a dodgy autosave and make the game unwinnable, it keeps a separate save for the last time you rested at the inn or accessed a Rift Stone. That way, when you manage to just barely survive a dragon's ambush ("Now Saving...") and keep getting murdered immediately after by a chimera, you have a nice, safe, save file to fall back on.
  • Multiple character roguelikes, Diablo and Borderlands) this can be beaten by simply making a copy of the save file when outside the game (though this is generally frowned upon amongst the fan community).
    • Diablo II does not allow you to save in any way except by quitting the game. Doing so respawns all monsters and teleports you to the town of the act you're in.
  • Hellgate: London goes one further and saves at regular intervals, and after doing something you'd rather undo, like spending 75k on an equipment augment and getting + ranks in a skill you can't even use. One save slot per character.
  • Torchlight I and II save files are mostly on the Diablo model, but a little more permissive of Save Scumming. They allow you to save at any time and continue playing.
  • Almost every entry in the The Legend of Zelda series until Breath of the Wild has a limit of three save files. Rough times if the game is shared by a large family or in a dorm. Save files can be copied from the file select screen. note  Breath of the Wild, on the other hand, has one permanent save per account, and a few extra slots reserved for autosaves that get automatically overwritten. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (only in non-Japanese versions of the N64 release), The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks lower the save file limit from three to two.
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, the game only allows you to make a single save per character while playing, and does not allow loading a save unless you're in the main menu. While in the main menu, you do have an option to go to an earlier save, but the game can only store 10 of them for one character at a time; if the point you wanted to go back to happened to be placed earlier than the earliest save available, then you're out of luck.
  • Princess Remedy In A Heap Of Trouble: Three save slots. Mainly saving by Auto-Save. Only in-game quitting method is Save and Quit. Saves don't mark specific location of save, but latest sub-location entered / exited.

    Save Only at Hub 
  • Etrian Odyssey games only let you save at the inn or at geomagnetic poles, the latter of which appears only once per stratum after the first one, (Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan also has one per Land after the first). Getting a Game Over only lets you save your map and nothing else. In all other cases, you can only perform a Suspend Save.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy, the only way to save outside of a town is to use a Tent, Cottage, or House, which can only be used in the overworld map. This makes for a particularly frustrating experience in the later dungeons, where you must traverse them for lengthy periods of time and then face a very difficult boss. Even more frustratingly, it saved before the item restores your health and spell charges, meaning you have to use two to keep the restoration if you die. And, like most NES games, there was only one save slot, so only one person could be playing through the game at a time.
    • The portable remake of Final Fantasy III retains the Early Installment Weirdness of the original's inability to save inside any cave, town, or dungeon; just the overworld (at least it’s better than saving only at Inns, Cottages, and Houses in the first game). Fortunately, it did bring in a quicksave system, but this is of little use when you die to the Final Boss and have to redo an hour or two's worth of dungeoneering.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics only allows saving on the World Map, which isn't all that great if you're in the middle of a long battle and the power goes out.
  • Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos, having shifted to more of a Wide-Open Sandbox, imposes save limits by only letting you save at Lucrecia's Base.
  • Mega Man:
    • The first game has no saves. Subsequent games give you a password after every level, except these passwords don't record progress through the endgame stages. After Capcom started overusing the fake-new-Big-Bad story starting with 4, these endgame levels grew to be half the game.
    • The later games in the Mega Man X series let you save between end-game levels (the first games in the series, much like the original series didn't save between end-game levels), though they never grew to the absurd lengths the original series' did.
    • While Mega Man 9 uses saves instead of passwords, it has the same artificial limit as all original series games, throwing you back to the first endgame stage if you dare to save and quit during them.
    • Fan games keep the lack of saving while taking the end stages to their most gleeful extents.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, you can save freely on the overworld, but must use a save point anywhere else. Furthermore, about half the save points not in towns are not activated; you need to use up a "Memory Gem" to activate it, which is a drop from an enemy in the area. Mercifully, they stay activated forever and for unlimited uses, the Gems are interchangeable between all areas, they will always drop from the same specific enemy the first time you beat them, and on a New Game+ for a trivial amount of GRADE you can have it so any previously activated spots remain activated on the new playthrough.
  • In early Might and Magic games, to save one had to visit an inn and sign in there. This also allowed you to swap in and out party members.
  • NieR: Automata:
    • The game only allows saving within range of an activated Access Point. This is fairly generous (these are found in the field and activated to reveal the map too), but as the game repeatedly hammers into you, it will not autosave. While Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, a shocking amount of the game's Multiple Endings are triggered by a single action, and those will dump you back at the main menu with no chance to update one's save file. These save game restrictions also mean you have to clear the entirety of the prologue (which includes an Unexpected Shmup Level, a miniboss, an entire stage, and a prolonged multi-stage boss fight) without dying once.
    • After the destruction of the Bunker (where 2B and 9S' backup data is kept), Death Is a Slap on the Wrist no longer applies, and dying will end the game right then and there instead of allowing you to carry your experience and money into your next life and retrieve your chips from your dead body. Saving frequently thus becomes more important than ever.
  • No More Heroes: The games use restrooms as save points. The problem? In rank missions, these are only found right before their concluding boss battles, so you'll have to survive until then. In the first game, outside the missions, the only place to save (and thus the only default resuming point in your playthrough) is the bathroom located within Travis' motel room; with the massive city Santa Destroy is, it can be tedious to navigate through it to access the assassination jobs, part-time sidequests, and the many collectible items scattered, and then make your way back to the motel to save all your progress (even when you're using your motorbike to drive). The game also resumes from the latest save file used (for this same reason, it forces Automatic New Game when it's booted for the first time), so you have to manually switch to another file after resuming the current one). This is alleviated in the sequels: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle eliminates the need to traverse the city, giving you access to all activities from a menu; because No More Heroes III brings back the explorable overworld, it adds multiple restrooms that, upon being repaired, serve as helpful Save Points. And in these sequels, the inconvenience over file resuming is eliminated by giving you the option to choose which file to load from the title screen's menu (and there are more of them as well: ten in the second and twenty in the third, compared to the first's mere four).
  • Gravity Rush: The game autosaves frequently, but you can only make hard saves at Kat's home base. Your first mission is to build it.
  • VGA Miner: You can only save or restore the game when you're in town, not underground.
  • The Starry Midnight We Make: Can only access the save menu on the Point-and-Click Map. Only 3 save slots.
  • Castlevania: This is usually how it works for the Game Boy Advance and DS games, due to very constrained memory from being a cartridge. Select a save file that used for one version of the character, which might be able to be copied to another slot:
    • In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, a game for the Game Boy Advance, save points are particularly far away from each other, and you have no way of quicksaving, making the game very un-portable.
    • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance attempted to correct this with a "Quick Save" feature, but all that did was save any changes since you last used a savepoint, so you still have to restart from a savepoint. This is both borderline useless for it's intended purpose of letting people take breaks, and highly abusable as a way to escape danger or quickly get back from one of the game's many dead ends.
    • Aria of Sorrow finally gets this right; its quick save feature "suspends" your game and restarts you at the room you were in when you load up your file again.

    Broad Strokes Save 
  • Nightmare of Druaga. You can only save your character's stats and items, not your dungeon progress (every time you go into a dungeon, you have to start from scratch). What's more, each save can only be loaded once - if you reset the console and reload, the game will assume that you're trying to get around its (very harsh) penalty for dying in a dungeon, and treat you as if that had in fact happened, stripping your character of most or all of his equipment (and items lost this way are indeed lost for good). Even if what actually happened was, say, a power outage suddenly switching off the PS2.
  • The Fable series:
    • Fable has a twist: you can save at any time, but if you do it during a quest, your progress as a hero (items, spells, experience points and the like) is saved, but your progress in the world (current quest status(es)) is not, meaning you have to start over. This is particularly irritating in the Bargate Prison quest, which is not really difficult, but very long, containing several cutscenes, some of them un-skippable. This double saving system was also notable in that you could abuse the hell out of it.
      • For example, two temples allowed you to make your hero a few years younger - but only once each. By doing this during a quest, "hero" saving, then reloading the game, you'd be able to repeat the process however many times you desired. Likewise, the hidden silver keys required to open special chests could be duped infinitely via a similar method. And perhaps most abusive: there are potions found on paths of certain quests that raise your XP. it is very easy to find one, drink, save hero data, restart, find, drink, save, etc.
      • Other examples: infinite silver keys (but don't go above 30...I heard that too many will cause a glitch) and doing the Arena multiple times.
      • However, Bargate Prison has Rescue the Archeologist quest in Fable, which has pretty a lot of potions that give XP, more precisely 1000 * multiplier. Guess what happens if you save at last area and fail to rescue the guy? Yep, you go through the mission again with all the exp you had at save moment, but potions respawn. Rinse, repeat.
    • Fable II chose to go with having only one possible save. Which is really annoying if you're the kind of person who likes to try out various quest endings or such, because you can't, for example, finish the game and then reload specific points.
      • The game actually forces you to save automatically. The creator was alarmed at some of the save scumming taking place, such as players reloading to avoid a scar or an unintended bad result. It's even worse if you run into some of the game's glitches, sometimes resulting in an unwinnable situation if the game forces you to automatically save shortly after glitching, and your only hope is to get the game to glitch back to a playable state. An example is that at some point, your child is kidnapped. During the mission to rescue the child, the child can become a normal NPC through a random glitch. If the game autosaves, you're stuck with the normal NPC version of your child, who doesn't trigger the rescue cutscene. The only solutions are to abandon your child, if the game is willing to let you, or kill every single thing in the entire dungeon and then hope that your child respawns as the quest NPC.
      • You can actually use hero save to your advantage if you have a second controller. This is probably well known already, but what you do is start up a multiplayer game with your sufficiently advanced character, press start on the second controller and create a new character save with the menu, have the high level character drink an experience potion, then have the second character collect all of it. Proceed to save the new character with massive experience that they should not be able to get so quickly and simply quit without saving the first character (or load it again to repeat this whole process) so your items are not gone. You can now start the game up with your super powered rookie, who knows more than your grizzled veteran!
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Whenever you save in The Legend of Zelda or Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, you begin at the starting point, though you keep all your progress in every other way. In the first game, this is outside the cave you receive the Level 1 sword. In Adventure of Link, this is the North Castle. Also, saving adds a death to your death count. Since you can already save whenever you die, the save function (which you need a second controller to use) is essentially a suicide code. Adventure of Link has one exception in the final dungeon, the Great Palace, likely due to its distance from the start and the fact that it's also behind a stretch of some of the most Nintendo Hard terrain there is, filled with invisible Demonic Spiders hovering over pits of death and so forth. So if you die in the last dungeon, you'll restart at its entrance.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a little more merciful: You have three possible starting points in the Light World and one in the Dark World, though saving and quitting still increases your death count too (except on the GBA). You also resume the game with only three hearts in the SNES version. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening averts this altogether by sparing the death count and having Link restart at the last entrance crossed.
    • Oddly enough, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time brought back the limitation of the player having to start from the same point (your house as a child; the Temple of Time as an adult) whenever you resume a game, the exception being dungeons (if you last saved inside a dungeon, you go back to the entrance). Unlike the portable remakes of A Link to the Past and Majora's Mask, Ocarina of Time 3D keeps this limitation.
    • From The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker onwards, in most games the resumed playthrough puts Link at the entrance of the latest location he was, dungeon or not, thus alleviating the limitations seen with previous entries in this regard. As usual, saving inside a dungeon usually sends you back to the dungeon's entrance on restarting the game. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has Oocoo and her son (a pair of M. C. Escher-looking bird thing and head-with-wings respectively) who can be found in nearly every dungeon and allow you to teleport to the entrance and then return to the room you were in. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword adds save points in dungeon rooms (The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds doesn't, but the dungeons are usually brief and have warp portals as a shortcut). The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild mostly averts this, by retaining Link's exact position when saving anywhere in the overworld. However, reloading a save inside any Shrine or Devine Beast will always bring you back to the entrance.
  • River City Ransom EX has a weird save system, in that your character's stats are preserved, but his progress through the game isn't. That mirrors how the passwords worked in the original, and it isn't that terrible, as the game isn't very long.
  • The flash game Guild Dungeons, instead of having a save system, records your experience. When you quit, you lose everything you had, but your experience is used to determine how many resources you'll start with next time.
    This can be used to your advantage, since you can only have one of each stone-producing buildings, but if you get enough experience, quit, and then start again, you'll begin with thousands of stones, which is almost necessary if you want to buy a Keep (which costs 5000 stone and lumber) and unlock the highest-level units.
  • Super Mario Bros.: The first few 3D titles (64, Sunshine, Galaxy) save only the number of Plot Coupons gathered and associated records for each one (such as coins collected or race times), along with whether you've used them to unlock new areas. Mario himself has his Video-Game Lives reset and is placed back at the starting point in the Hub Level whenever play is resumed (Sunshine makes an exception with the lives, whose current count are saved). Super Mario Galaxy 2 goes on to save where on the Point-and-Click Map the Faceship is parked, so you don't have to start at World 1 every time. And from Super Mario 3D Land onwards, the games save the number of lives you've collected as well as your exact location in the map (or, in the case of Odyssey, your latest checkpoint in the current level).
  • Distorted Travesty 3 allows you to save at (almost) any time in (almost) any room. However, doing so only saves which entrance you used or which checkpoint you've reached, and your condition when entering the room/reaching it; it doesn't save what you've done since then, or your current position in the room (with the exception that items & secrets collected in the current room will also be saved).
  • The PS2 era Ratchet & Clank games do this. The game saves your inventory and on which planet you are, but upon reloading you're always treated with Ratchet and Clank flying to the given planet and thusly appearing next to the landing pod.

    Other / Multiple / Not Yet Sorted 
  • Hitman series.
    • Hitman: Codename 47 has no in-mission saves whatsoever. Bad in a shooter, absolutely inexcusable in a stealth game. Later games allow for saving, but they are limited and there's often a catch (the fourth game, for example, allows saves but they are deleted when you quit as they are intended to be on demand checkpoints rather than actual saves). One of the biggest differences between the difficulty levels in the later games is the number of saves allowed — which, at the highest difficulty, is zero (as in Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money), or one save in a single run (as is with Hitman (2016) and its sequels).
    • To add to the dilemma in the first game. If you did happen to get yourself killed, you had two extra "lives" in which you were respawned away from the action. However this doesn't reset the enemies awareness, thus the moment you stick your head out, everyone starts shooting at you again and defeats the entire purpose of having the safety net in the first place.
    • Absolution continues the series' trend, limiting saves to a single checkpoint midway through larger levels - and those available only at lower difficulty levels. The saves are erased if the player exits the level, and seems to keep track solely of the player's position and inventory - any enemies the player has already engaged will respawn when the save is reloaded. Oh, and if you're lucky, the save point might not be in an insanely out-of-the-way location.
    • The World of Assassination Trilogy games let you save anywhere on the lower difficulties, so long as you're not in combat, and autosaves are frequent and get triggered on a regular basis, or if you do certain scripted events. The highest difficulty levels only allow for one save per run and Escalation contracts forbid them entirely, so you best know what you're doing!
  • The first Alien vs. Predator game had no saves either. A patch enabled saving, but only with a limited amount of available saves. This was a deliberate design choice, of course, to preserve the pants-wetting terror of the Marine campaign.
  • The first Independence War did not allow for mid-mission saves, something that Defiance partially rectified.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto 2, you could only save by walking into a church (there's only one in each level). This would cost $50000 (which could be hard to come by at the beginning of the game), and it wasn't possible to save during a mission. In GTA III and its sequels, you could save at specific "safe houses" for free instead.
    • Although saving was free in terms of money and can be done at any time in the Grand Theft Auto III era games, it would also advance the time by about six hours, both decreasing your Bragging Rights for completion time and making it trickier to save right before time-based quests. Mostly fixed in Grand Theft Auto IV: it transparently saves your progress automatically after every mission, without advancing time. Manual saving, however, still advances time, and you still can't save during missions.
    • The original Grand Theft Auto was even worse - you could only save between levels. This wouldn't be so bad, but the "easy" first level took about an hour to complete. The last level took about six.
  • Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja only lets you save at the inn, and once a player saves, the game quits automatically, returning to the title screen, possibly as an Anti Poop-Socking measure. If the player turns the game off mid-play, the next time is game is continued, it treats the player as if having wiping out in a dungeon and all inventory and money that hasn't been stored away is lost (Ouch!). Which is still much, much more benevolent than most Roguelike games.
  • In the NES game Magician you have exactly 15 saves for the whole game. As in, you can only save 15 times without starting the whole thing over. Thankfully, you have four slots to choose from (allowing at least some degree of Save Scumming) and the game only has nine levels, so it is not as restrictive as it could have been.
  • The Tomb Raider series use of saves changes a lot between games and even versions; all of the PC versions of the original Core Design games let you save anywhere you want (and in Tomb Raider 3's case even kept the former save crystals and made them give a health boost instead). On the console versions:
    • Tomb Raider 1 had a type of checkpoint system with stationary crystals that could be used whenever you want, but only once.
    • Tomb Raider II got rid of this and used a save anywhere system.
    • Due to complaints of the Tomb Raider II system being "too easy" from various people (perhaps in a rare proof of Viewers Are Morons). Tomb Raider III took the save system of the first game and expanded it by letting you carry the crystals and save them up for use at any time. This backfired, as the "checkpoint" feel of the original game's was gone, leaving many players wondering when to use them, resulting in a case of Too Awesome to Use, combined with the fact that the game was much harder than the first game and that the save crystals were very rare (with there only being around sixty in the whole game, with a lot of them being hidden in secret areas).
    • The later games wisely went back to the save anywhere approach. After the Crystal Dynamics Continuity Reboot the series now uses a checkpoint system, with them being regular enough that it amounts to saving after every room... Most of the time
  • Dead Rising:
    • One save per profile per storage device; you can only save in the security room or a washroom. This can be particularly frustrating at certain parts of the game, notably when you're escorting survivors through another god-awful infestation of zombies and cultists, and you "accidentally" crush the head of one of your protectees with a sledgehammer because he just wouldn't get out of the way. Cue the reload...again. Veterans of the game know to save at every opportunity. This is still a small problem compared to Infinity Mode which has no saves at all.
    • Try getting the '7 Day Survivor' achievement which basically means you have to play on Infinity Mode for 14 real life hours without saving or stopping, pausing is allowed but very much not recommended as you're already risking your Xbox overheating as it is. This is made worse by the fact that your life is constantly draining so you can't even leave the game running. You have to be there the whole time using the malls limited supply of food to stop yourself from dying.
    • Saving requires the most strategy of anything in the game. If you go too long without saving, you'll have a lot of progress to make up. But if you save too often, you could end up leaving yourself with too little time to complete a case. Saving at the wrong time can leave you stuck past a point of no return in an unfavorable condition. According to interviews with the developers, this was their intention from the start.
  • The first Donkey Kong Land for the Game Boy had one of the worst save systems in history - every time you want to save the game, you must collect the four hidden K-O-N-G letters in a level. This would be bad enough on a console game; on a portable system, where a player may have to abandon the game at a moment's notice (or the batteries might run out), it's inexcusable.
  • In Pokémon Colosseum, you could only save at computers that you'd usually find in Pokemon Centers, though there was at least one in every dungeon. Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness removed this concept and let you save anywhere. Before saving the game, both Colosseum and XD will check to make sure it's overwriting the same file, meaning you can't copy your data or farm plot-specific items or pokemon to transfer to other games.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has a quicksave option to save anywhere in a dungeon, but once you resume the game, it gets deleted, and counts as a loss if you turn it off before quicksaving again.
  • EarthBound lets you save by calling the lead character's father. Free phones are usually found in hotels (though the cheapskate city of Summers has a pay phone), although for some reason he can call you anywhere to remind you to take a break. Quite annoying in the pyramid. Your cell phone is explicitly designed only to receive calls, which is just fine and dandy (unless you're, say, in the pyramid, when you might start really wishing that asshole fruit kid who invented it gave it buttons to dial with). Incidentally, Summers isn't the only city with a payphone. It's just the only one without a free one (the game even cautions you that green phones cost money, so be careful about using them so you don't fritter away all your money).
  • In The Elder Scrolls: Arena, you can save anywhere except for temples, equipment stores, and taverns. The latter is perhaps the most absurd example of this rule, as taverns are the only locations in the entire game where the player can rest without ever worrying about enemies spawning and trying to kill them, and they'll need to leave the warmth and safety of a perfectly good tavern just to save their game (so it's best to do it wait until daytime before saving). While it is likely that this was done to stop players from Save Scumming when they failed to steal items from the store or sneak into tavern bedrooms without paying, it clearly didn't stick, since the later games in the series do away with Save-Game Limits altogether and allow the player to save whenever and wherever they want. Strangely, Arena has no qualms with allowing the player to save inside Mages Guild buildings or inside palaces (though only during daytime, since you'll be forbidden from entering at night, and you'll be kicked out if you're still inside after dusk).
  • Metroid:
    • The series has designated rooms to save in, along with Samus's ship, and in certain, albeit rare, occasions you don't get a save point for a long time with a difficult segment or boss in between. In the Metroid Prime Trilogy, these rooms double as Recharge rooms as well and will restore health. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption averts this by respawning you right at the last major cutscene you experienced. This is sometimes slightly annoying, as you respawn with the same amount of HP and ammo you had at the moment. But the most annoying part is when this happens in the final battle: you have to start back at Dark Samus even if you were in AU313's final stage. However, those are only checkpoints; if you reload the game you still end up at the last save room (or Samus's ship, which also serves as one).
    • Navigation Rooms in Other M serve as Save Stations as well, and are the only way, besides Samus' ship, to fully replenish her energy reserves. You can also restore all life and missiles with the Concentrate feature, but the life-restoration bit is only usable when you are about one hit away from death though.
    • Saving in Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission advances the clock by 7 seconds, which can become significant for speedrunners. The latter game also has both regular save points in the main game (the portion that remakes the original 1986 Metroid) that simply allow saving, and ones that are combined with recharge stations to replenish your health and ammo in the Extended Gameplay.
  • In La-Mulana, you can only save in the village where you start the game. In addition, you have to buy your first save slot (save slots 2-5 can be found much, much later in the game). This might not be so bad, except that there are several "mess up and you'll never get that fancy whip upgrade!" puzzles. However, this problem is alleviated when you acquire a teleportation item that allows you to flip back to the starting village anytime, effectively creating on-demand saving (which is in fact much better than in most games). The remake relaxes this by allowing you to save at any Grail point and providing multiple save slots from the start, but your health and coin pots are no longer restored upon reloading. Fortunately, the remake adds a Healing Spring two screens away from the grail point in the village, allowing for convenient healing if you happen to be near a grail tablet.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask game allows Suspend Saves at owl statues, but the resulting save disappears once restored. Permanent saves only occur when returning to the Dawn of the First Day, losing all disposable items, un-deposited Rupees, and unfinished quests, plus taking Link back to South Clock Town. The game taxes the Nintendo 64 to its limit, even with the included RAM expansion. Thankfully, the game's "Groundhog Day" Loop mechanic doubled as a way to take some pressure off the console by simplifying the save system — only Link's weapons, Plot Coupons, and banked Rupees need to be saved; where Link can go in the game world is determined entirely by what he is carrying, not by the status of the world itself. The Suspend Save was added as an Western-only Anti-Frustration Feature, but further taxes the console as a trade-off and drops the amount of save files from three to two, with the save RAM presumably being allocated in a manner that makes room for the additional owl save data — indeed, the Suspend Save feature was absent from the Japanese release, which did have 3 save files. The 3DS remake changes this yet again: this time you can only make permanent saves at the owl statues (you no longer need a sword to activate them), and reversing time no longer gives you the option. The remake also bumps the number of save slots back up to three because of the system's better hardware. However, this can get annoying to players used to the original's save system, who may lose their data because they didn't know that reversing time doesn't save your progress anymore.
  • Eternal Darkness allows saving anywhere...but only if the room has been cleared of enemies. If a room can't be cleared because enemies respawn, you can't save. You also can't save during the vampire pursuit, because of its timed objectives.
  • Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land: The player isn't allowed to save at all when playing as Meta Knight, being forced to go through the whole game in one go.
  • The last FPS to use the Doom engine, Strife, had only one save slot. You could save as often as you wanted, but good luck if you saved next to a boss while being low on health or ammo and with no suitable powerups in sight. Even the producers found this to be too harsh, and removed the limit in a later patch.
  • Crash Bandicoot (1996): The only way to save your game (or collect a password) is to go from the overworld map into a level, collect a series of hidden bonus tokens and beat the ensuing bonus level, or collecting a gem by beating a level without dying while breaking all the crates in the area. And when you restore the game, you snap back to just three lives. Fortunately, the sequels made it easy to save your progress in-between levels and keep your lives, and the remake in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy allows you to save whenever on the world map, abandoning the password system.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has the annoying limit that generally there are only two to three "save books" on a level, and none throughout the extremely difficult, tedious, and easy-to-die endless-pit jumping puzzle. Also, save books can only be used once. They never reappear. This isn't normally a problem since you can't return to previous levels, but the last save point in the game is a few feet in front of a treasure chest containing a few chocolate frogs (the game's healing items). Every single time you die at the hands of the final boss, you have to open the treasure chest again (which takes about 5 seconds of animation, plus actually collecting the chocolate frogs, which move around randomly). And unless you go for debug mode, you also have to watch the cutscene before fighting the boss again, which takes 30-40 seconds. The two subsequent Harry Potter games replenished the save books after a short while, and they auto-saved your progress before most battles.
  • Super Mario Bros. games:
    • Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2: The original NES versions lack any form of save function. The Super Mario All-Stars remakes add this function, but upon a resumed playthrough you restart from the first level of the current world.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Without Warp Whistles, the game takes the average player several hours to complete. In theory, SMB3 tells you the location of one of the warp whistles so you can skip almost half of the game with it next time. In practice, it doesn't, as the whistle is said to be at "the end of the third world". It's actually the end of the third level of the first world, and even knowing that, outside information is needed to know how to get to it. The Super Mario All-Stars remake isn't much better. Aside from saving the current world, the only completed levels saved are fortresses, so only some levels can be skipped (via shortcuts opened after completing said fortresses) after restarting after a game over. This limitation is averted in the GBA version.
    • Super Mario World:
      • This SNES cart is the first Mario game with a save system, but one can only save after beating specific levels (namely Switch Palaces, Ghost Houses, Fortresses, Castles, the special Ghost Ship level found between Chocolate Island and Valley of Bowser, and the even-numbered levels in Special Zone). A switch palace, castle, fortress or Special Zone level has a save point when first clearing it, but not when replaying it. A ghost house is better; one can replay a ghost house to save again. Many players walk the long way back to Donut Ghost House, the easiest save point (and the one closest to the Top Secret Area, where you can restock on power-ups and extra lives indefinitely). This save system is a form of Fake Difficulty, because there is no technical limitation for why the other levels are not save points.
      • The game does not save extra lives. You say you have 99 lives on that file? Say goodbye to 94 of them if you save and quit! Of course, you can always just go get more, but still!
      • This is averted in the GBA port, which allows saving anywhere, and does save extra lives.
    • New Super Mario Bros. has an infamous save system. You can save only after beating a boss or mini-boss, or collecting and spending 5 star coins to open a bonus area. The game's supply of star coins and bonus areas is finite. There's no temporary save system. It being a Nintendo DS game, you can suspend this game by simply closing the DS to put the game in Sleep Mode, and plugging the DS into an AC adapter.)Your "reward" for finishing the game is the ability to save after every level, proving that this save system was not a technical limitation (it was, in fact, done deliberately as a throwback to older Mario games).

      Its successors, starting with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, added a Suspend Save system, so players can make a temporary save after any level. The limits on permanent saves, and the reward for finishing the game, are the same as in the DS game. The Wii game has no bonus areas where one can save, but the 3DS game has them again.
    • Paper Mario has only save points, which means you have to continue from the last place where you saved. You better save frequently, as not only is this game long, it also has many side-missions that could require you to battle lots of enemies, and seeing as Mario's stats stay very small (Maximum 50 HP) for the whole game, it's easy to get a Game Over. Luckily, there is a save point just before all "dungeons", just before all rooms where a boss is fought (optional bosses not included), and in all towns.

      The sequels also have save points. Paper Mario: Sticker Star has a better save system because it saves automatically after every level.
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and its two following sequels also need you to save on save points. The fourth game in the series, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team finally adds a save-whenever-you-want feature, but keeps the save blocks as a reminder, specially before boss rooms.
  • Ace Attorney has an interesting aversion, in that the game seems to pretend that it's just a suspend save- you have to quit to save, and it calls it "suspending play", but it's really just a save (and you can abuse it by continually re-loading if you make mistakes).
  • In Silent Hill games, you can only save at notepads (first game), red "squares" (second game), red symbols (third game), and Henry's diary/journal (fourth game). Unless you're playing the PC versions, which allow you to save at any point.
  • In Cadaver, you have to pay the gods to save your game, requiring an exponentially larger sacrifice each time. Thus, save too often and you won't be able to save on the last level.
  • Viewtiful Joe. Besides being able to save in-between each chapter, you can only do so once in the middle of each one, even if there are more checkpoints. So, those endless swarms of ultra-strong enemies? Those bosses that you can't seem to get any good hits in? Those time-consuming puzzles? And god forbid, the dreaded boss rush near the end of the game? Yeah, you'll be seeing them again in the same levels. A lot.
  • Dragon Quest games will only let you get saved at church (or a king in the first three games), and make you read through long repetitive dialogues when you do so.
    • The portable remakes of Dragon Quest III and Dragon Quest IV offer a suspend save you can use outside of dungeons, but III's erases itself when you reload. IV's DS remake (possibly due to a Good Bad Bug) does not, and the remake of Dragon Quest V on the same system works the same way with its quick-save feature. (On the other hand, Dragon Quest IX has the typical one-time quick-save feature.) On the plus side, if your party gets wiped out, you go back to the last save point with half your gold and all your exp and items, making this less annoying than FF III.
    • Dragon Quest II had a 'Dragon Potion' which allowed you to save anywhere... but only once. However, a player can replay this game for years and possibly NEVER get one, with the item being a rare drop from a specific kind of Babble. In fact, one would only know of their existence if they read about it form a guide.
    • Dragon Quest Monsters lets you save any time you are in town (although it auto-saves when you breed a monster, something which was thankfully removed from the sequel). In order to keep the feel and tension of other DWs, saving is mostly disabled in dungeons however. Luckily, there are certain randomly generated rooms you can save in that may spawn every 3 floors, and in longer dungeons you will definitely run into them at least once. Additionally there is an single-use item called a 'Bookmark' that allows saving in the middle of a dungeon, you can buy as many of them as needed once you get about halfway through the main game.
      • Dragon Warrior Monsters: Joker pointlessly changed the dungeon system, and only allows you to save at checkpoints on the island. Fortunately these are usually fairly easy to reach. Dragon Warrior Monsters: Joker 2 then turns around and allows you to save at almost any location in the game.
    • The Android / iOS port of Dragon Quest VIII mercifully adds a quick-save system that allows you to save anywhere in dungeons and the overworld.
    • Dragon Quest IX has only one main save slot, however, making separate adventuring files impossible.
  • Turok 2 features long maze-like worlds that can take hours to finish. Which wouldn't be entirely horrible if there were more than 3 save points in the entire level! Nothing like being ready to quit but either having to backtrack 15 minutes to the last save point first or forcing yourself to press on for another half hour instead. The PC version (at least the remastered version) averts this, as you can save normally as well.
  • Kuon had a stipulation that you could only save at certain points near a river, and even then only by collecting 'vessels'; every save consumed one of these vessels.
  • The World Ends with You has a long Checkpoint Starvation at the beginning, but allows you to save any time outside of battle and cutscenes...except for a prolonged duration at the end where you have to go through three boss fights and multiple cutscenes. It's an Obvious Rule Patch against an Unwinnable situation, since you can't leave the area and there are no baddies to Level Grind against; if you go back after beating the game, you will be able to save there since beating the game unlocks what's essentially a level select.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver had an interesting savegame system: You could save anywhere in the world and the game would store the entire game world as it is when you do, but restoring the game throws you back into the starting room, requiring players to use the many teleport gates spread across Nosgoth to get back to where they were.
  • Far Cry:
    • Far Cry uses a checkpoint system of saving, with check points scattered around the levels... and, rather infamously, offers no other save options whatsoever. However, since the levels are fairly big and can't account for every path taken, it's quite possible to miss checkpoints, or go stumbling around an area trying to find the arbitrary threshold that enables the checkpoint. Furthermore, some checkpoints are spaced far enough apart that you have to go through several tough fights before reaching the next checkpoint, making these sequences examples of Trial-and-Error Gameplay. Quicksaving is only available through usage of the console or editing a configuration file to actually bind the function to a key.
    • Far Cry 2, on consoles, only allowed you to save at safe houses or after fast-traveling via bus station. Averted in the PC version, where you can save (and quicksave) whenever, wherever, and as many times as you want.
    • Far Cry 3 and on have a variation, where you can save wherever you want so long as you're not in the middle of a mission, but loading the save will place you at the nearest safe area rather than leaving you exactly where you were. The games also have limited numbers of save files, 3 and Blood Dragon limited to three... and Far Cry 4 limited to just one.
  • Persona 3 allows you to save at Tartarus' foyer, which you can access at any time (provided you find the teleporter back to the first floor). Sensible enough. However, outside Tartarus, you can only save at the dorm; exiting the dorm and reentering it immediately (even in daylight) will make it nighttime immediately. This forces you to play a whole day of choices, Social Links, and shopping, without saving. In extreme cases (such as weekdays) making a bad choice during an afternoon quest will force the player to replay the entire schoolday, plus the previous night - or worse, if it's an exam week (which runs uninterrupted from Monday to Saturday), the entire week. The PSP version mitigates this somewhat by adding a save point in the classroom, providing a more convenient opportunity to save during the day. Persona 4 learned from this and made things significantly less painful. There are two save points during the day (one in your classroom, which you're literally standing next to once classes are over, and one on the main shopping drag in town), one save point at night (the calendar in the Dojima house, which, again, you literally start the night standing by), and one inside the TV (in the hub area). In the original game, there would also be a save point right before the boss room in each dungeon, but these were removed for some reason in Golden.
  • Time Crisis, Pick one. Any one. While in the arcade it makes sense not to allow saving all of the home versions also have ridiculous saving systems. You can save after each section, but that only allows you to play that section. You have to play the entire game through in one if you want to unlock every stage.
  • Disgaea and Makai Kingdom has a fairly reasonable save limit in that you can as many times as you like in as many slots as you like (so long as you have the system memory to do so), but only outside of battle. The only place where this gets tricky are the Item Worlds where you have to make your way through at least 10 battles in a row (Assuming you don't use your Mr. Gency's Exit item to exit early, which also saved your progress in the item). No continues, so you quickly learn to save often and before every battle. And then the Item World concept goes from tricky to plain horrific when you're aspiring after the Hyprdrive item which in the remakes of the game can only be obtained after clearing 100 floors (without quitting once!) and destroying an overpowered boss on top of that, all with no chance to save. Granted the game's mechanics, if you are actually trying to get said item you're either Too Dumb to Live or can complete most of the floors without major problems, unless you get some unfortunate set of "Enemy Boost x 6" or "Ally Damage 80%" Geo Panels, but it's still very time-consuming.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy: While this notoriously hard Platform Hell game has four difficulty modes, the gameplay doesn't actually change at all between the modes. The only thing that does change is how many save points you'll come across. Harder difficulty modes have fewer points, which just means that you'll have to traverse through more areas without dying in order to be able to save your progress and avoid having to redo the areas that you've just finished. Culminates in the "Impossible" difficulty mode, in which there are no save points at all and you are therefore expected to beat the whole game in one life. In a game where you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder and Everything's Trying To Kill You. Have fun with that. And the one save point in Hard Mode, right before the final boss, actually attacks you.
  • Aversion: All games on the Wii's Virtual Console (with the exception of N64 and Neo Geo games) have a built-in quicksave—just quit the game through the Home menu. On the other hand, the Virtual Consoles on the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U allow permanent (unless overwritten with a new one, at least) save files called restore points to be made at any time in addition to borrowing the Wii's quicksave feature, which makes Save Scumming quite easy even for games that didn't originally have a save feature. For the 3DS ones, if you got the twenty games from the Ambassador Program, the restore points are absent. Some of the NES games were given a proper release for the Virtual Console, and Ambassadors upgrading to that version (no extra cost) would get the restore points. Sadly, this upgrade will only apply to the NES games; the GBA games were stated to be Ambassador exclusive, and haven't been updated to provide restore points (or indeed, any of the standard Virtual Console functionality).note 
  • Gran Turismo 4 has Endurance races, including one that runs for 24 hours. If you screw up on the last lap and get passed, tough luck, it'll take another day to beat the race and win the awesome F1 car. The Japanese version was released without B-Spec mode. 24 hour races, you damn well raced them.
  • Beyond Dark Castle only lets you save from the "Computer Room", where you can record up to five save states by pulling levers hooked up to a mainframe with a tape drive.
  • Bungie's Marathon has reusable "pattern buffer" save terminals scattered about, usually one or two (but occasionally none) per level. One or two particularly evil levels require you to reroute power from one system to another, inadvertently disabling the level's only save terminal in the process.
  • SimCity for the SNES limited you to two savefiles; if you really liked two of your cities and wanted to start another, tough luck!
  • First Encounter Assault Recon:
    • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin - With respect to the PC versions, the original F.E.A.R. game and its two non-canon expansions allowed the player to save (and quicksave) at any time. However, the sequel irritatingly only allows for automatic saves at set checkpoints. The game is broken up into several missions which can be selected at will, but if the player wants to see a specific game event or explore an certain area, they have to play through the entire mission to get to that point.
    • The console version of the first game only allows autosaves, and you don't get to keep multiple saves, so if you wind up in an Unwinnable situation, you have to restart the game, which is easier to do than its sounds because the game can be Nintendo Hard and be very averse to giving you nice big caches of health kits and supplies before difficult segments.
    • FEAR 3 doesn't let you save manually at all, no matter if you're playing PC or console, as part of its push towards more action, which includes more distinctly-separate levels.
  • Not so much in the later Wing Commander games, but there were only a limited number of save slots. In Wing Commander IV and Prophecy, however, there were two-stage missions, and you weren't allowed to save between the stages, resulting in an annoyingly long stretch of gameplay if you were pressed for time.
  • The original Makai Toshi SaGa (The Final Fantasy Legend to us American folk) allows you to save anywhere. You get exactly one save slot, however, and God (er, the Creator) help you if you wind up saving in an Unwinnable situation. Death in that game was anything but a slap on the wrist.
  • Soldier of Fortune gives you a limited number of manual saves per level depending on the difficulty. On the first game's Unfair difficulty, you cannot manually save at all, and on Soldier of Fortune difficulty in the second game, you can only save once per level.
  • MegaMan BattleChip Challenge. While the game is pretty simple and you can set the game to run "Automatically" with slight chance of failure (once you get the hang of it), the 100-battle arena at the near end of the game (granting the optional super navi of doom that wasn't so super anyway), where if you mess up once or find someone that trumps your strategy you have to start all over again makes things a pain, since you can't save, and even automated, the battles take a bit. Time to run through: over 10 hours. For a GBA GAME.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has a quicksave function that let's you save mid-dungeon. However, if you try Save Scumming, the game treats it as a defeat - even if the gamecard was removed, or the game crashed - In other words, if it was an accident that you shut the game off after a quicksave restart, The game still treats it as a loss. Worse still, the game Took all your items away,(Except for your Bow - Which, considering the thing can never be obtained more then once is a small merit on their part) Making the quick save feature a risk if you were taking the DS anywhere where the card might be knocked out - Which, for some people, is ANYWHERE. Thanks a lot for that. All your unlocked moves, your level and stats, as well as your IQ are saved still.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, you can't save in the middle of a stage, mostly because the game saves just about any time you do anything. Including turning off the game. This means that if you die for the first time and immediately turn the game off in an attempt to save scum and avoid a painful continue, when you get back to the menu, the first thing you see is the achievement for dying! So the trope is inverted — instead of you being unable to save when you want, the game saves when you don't want it to, leading to anger on your part.
  • The Fire Emblem series is a mixed gab of different forms of this.
    • Geneaology of the Holy War lets you permanently save at the beginning of your turn... until you make one of your units do something. Then you must wait until next turn to save. While it lets you Save Scum, considering the complex and grandiose scale of the game, that's not such a bad thing.
    • In the GBA games, the game autosaves EVERYWHERE in a chapter, at every significant action. If say, a character is killed or any otherwise unpleasant scenario occurs, turning the game off does nothing, because resuming that file will instantly put you in the same battle, with the same result (even if the attack had low accuracy), though you can make a permanent save before every chapter and choose to restart the chapter from there. Sacred Stones includes two optional multi-level dungeons with NO chance to save between levels.
    • Path of Radiance removed the constant auto saving (understandable considering it's a console release that relies on memory cards), meaning that you could ONLY save at the beginning of the chapter, though you could suspend data in the middle. This can become frustrating as the chapters increase in length, as one bad move could force you to restart an hour of gameplay. In addition, the fight against The Black Knight took place after a long chapter, and if you failed that fight you had to restart the chapter all over again.
    • Radiant Dawn gave you the option to save whenever you pleased during your turn, which invited Save Scumming, but also made the chapters a lot less frustrating as you could continue from wherever you last saved. If you hope to scrape your way through Hard mode though, you don't get that luxury (only PoR's options).
    • Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem introduced permanent save spots in most of the chapters, where any character could save your progress for that chapter by stepping on them, but the spots disappeared once used.
  • Both Max Payne games limited the number of saves you were allowed per level on the hardest level, "Dead on Arrival".
  • One of the worst examples of this trope comes from the 2000 action-adventure game, The New Adventures Of The Time Machine. Saving your game cost you half of an in-game magic point- magic which was essential to progress and which could only be restored by incredibly rare items. Oh, and did I mention that you only had six points at the beginning of the game?
  • The original Red Faction had the ability to save anywhere; this was replaced by autosaves starting with the second game.
  • Maximo: Ghosts to Glory, while already Nintendo Hard in some areas, requires you to pay 100 coins every time you use a Save Point. Of course, you can always go back and do the first level of the first world a few times in a row, which isn't really that hard and nets you a sizable amount of coin each time, but it does get tedious.
  • Steel Battalion handles saving like a Roguelike. One file per pilot, automatically saved when you do ANYTHING. Lose a VT in combat? The supply points spent on it are lost forever (albeit easily replaced). Run out of supply points? Prepare to start from the very beginning. Also expect to start a new game if your pilot dies by not ejecting in time when the VT is about to explode or is sinking in deep water while the cockpit floods.
  • Etrian Odyssey, taking its inspiration from 8-bit RPGs, only allows for saving in the town. The third installment adds a suspend save feature.
  • Wario: Master of Disguise autosaves whenever you exit a level. If you needed to take a break while in a level, you'd either have to find a Save Point or use a suspend-save from the pause menu. However, if you have a suspend in play, you can't play a different save slot without losing it.
  • Hydorah puts a limit of saving only up to three times during a playthrough, unless you start from scratch. This game is not supposed to be merciful anyway, but at least you can get extra saves by beating certain levels.
  • Operation Flashpoint limits the player to one save per mission. Some missions can be more than an hour long, and all the missions are Nintendo Hard, which makes the game brutal. Fortunately, there is a cheat code that saves the game, overwriting any previous save. This cheat is almost required for especially long and/or difficult missions.
  • Resonance of Fate has a Save Point-based normal saving system and a separate "suspend" save that's available at any time except during battle, that quits the game when you use it and deletes the save after loading it.
  • The early Ultima games only allow you to save on the world map. One of the upgrades of Ultima V is the ability to save in towns, dungeons, etc. Ultima III saves automatically when you return to the overworld from a towne, castle or dungeon - or, more devastatingly, when any character's status changes (when anyone gets poisonned, dead, or turned to ash). Fortunately, you can always disband the current party and form a new one from your ranks of backups - or even just reselect your current party - and start again outside Lord British's castle.
  • Dead Space 2 introduces 'Hardcore Mode' which, while being about as difficult as the 'Veteran' setting, only allows three saves. There's one 'gimme' save that triggers when swapping discs about halfway through, and it doesn't count towards your three allotted. This wouldn't be too bad, if Hardcore Mode didn't also completely remove checkpoints. If you die against That One Boss? Prepare to lose those three or four hours since you last saved!
  • Inazuma Eleven lets you save everywhere except in the middle of a training center course, likely because of their nature as Randomly Generated Levels where you have to win multiple battles in a row without losing a single one. Also, from the second game onward, there's only one save slot. The EU version of the first game also reduces the default 3 save slots into one.
  • Powerful Pro Baseball Advance series's save system in the success mode is a pain. There's only one save slot each, the file will erase itself when you either clear the story or get a game over, and those games themselves heavily rely on luck, making some of the games' bad ends possible in every corner. Also, every time you load a data, you lose some of your stats.
  • O.D.T.: Or Die Trying, an obscure Nintendo Hard PS1 game, had a particularly brutal save system: you could only save your progress at specific saving spots, which are not only rare and often located in secret areas, but also only allowed you one single save per saving spot.
  • The Mitsumete Knight games have a save system needing only 1 block (2 for the RPG game), but allowing you only three saves per Memory Card.
  • The PSP versions of Project Diva is limited to 3 save files. Not that it's much of a hassle with this kind of game.
  • In Glider, you can save anywhere but resumed games are ineligible for high scores.
  • Epic Mickey deliberately invoked this—the player is never allowed to choose when to save the game; the game saves itself automatically after the player completes major decisions. The developers said that they set it up this way to force the player to deal with the implications of their actions.
  • The Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade computer game features a particularly fourth-wall-breaking example. Throughout most of the game, you can save whenever you want, but once you get to the final area, the save function is disabled for no discernible reason. This means that if you fail any of the challenges in the cave after that point (one of which is a Pixel Hunt and another of which is a Luck-Based Mission if you happened to miss a vital clue earlier in the game), you have to start the whole thing over again. There's even a sign right outside that tells you you can't save.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has an interesting variant, in that you can't COPY the save files. You can save three of them, continue at any time, save after any mission and delete them, but for whatever reason the copy functionality doesn't exist.
  • D not only has no saving, but no pausing, and a two-hour time limit. Fortunately, that last part means that the game is relatively short.
  • Escape Velocity series combines One Save File Per Campaign (pilot in this case) with only having auto-save — every time you leave a planet or station, the pilot-file updates to take into account any changes that have occurred since the last time you left a planet/station. This renders Save Scumming (which you might want to do, since all the games have at least two mutually exclusive storylines, which can only be begun once you've got some experience) possible only by manually backing up a pilot-file.
  • This is the difference between Unrest's two difficulty settings. "Myth" allow the player to maintain multiple save files of that playthrough, while "Mortal" is an in-game Iron Man Mode. A "Mortal" playthrough means you only have one save file, and have to live with the consequences of your decisions.
  • There is no save feature on the Animorphs Game Boy Color game. To understand why this is so insane, you have to realize the game itself is a Shoddy Knockoff Product of Pokémon, with the same basic menu screen and gameplay mechanics. Instead, you are given a password (either by hitting "select" or reaching a checkpoint) that when entered at the title screen will return you to something approaching your current "party" (i.e. group of morphs) and location next time you start the game. Imagine playing Pokemon with the save function replaced by a password that returns you to the last Pokemon Center you visited with the last group of Pokemon you healed there (and only six Pokemon allowed at a time, with no PC), and you'll quickly realize how this flaw (among others) makes the game virtually unplayable.
  • Goldeneye 1997 only saves your progress after completing a mission and doesn't have any form of checkpoints, so if you screw up at the last leg of the mission, it's back to the very start of the level for you. The remake adds checkpoints.
  • The Maid of Fairewell Heights: Can save basically anywhen, even in the middle of conversations, and there are 15 save slots.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: You save at Save Points located all over the world and there are 4 save slots to put your saves in.
  • Born Under the Rain: Save anywhere out of battle. 16 save slots.
  • Oracle of Askigaga: Save anywhere out of battle. 16 save slots.
  • Okiku, Star Apprentice: Save anywhere out of battle. 16 save slots.
  • Playing LISA in Pain mode causes save points to destroy themselves after one use. However, due to limitations with the game engine, merely interacting with the save point counts as using it, regardless of whether you actually saved the game or not.
  • LiEat: First game: Save anywhere out of battle. 20 save slots in 5 pages of 4 slots."
  • Helen's Mysterious Castle: Save anywhere out of battle and cutscenes. 15 slots.
  • Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden: 3 slots, save anywhere outside of cutscenes.
  • The Heart Pumps Clay: Save anywhere out of battle and cutscenes. 16 slots.
  • This Starry Midnight We Make: Save menu accessed from the map screen. 3 save slots.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: Up to Eleven - once save per installation. It's literally only possible to have one save. This means when you start the game, you play that game until you win, die, or restart and overwrite the save - you can't, for example, have multiple campaigns with different ships saved at the same time.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • The manga Gamerz Heaven has a Fictional Video Game of the same name in which the number of times you can save your game is limited to 3 due to it being a Beta Release. Unfortunately, the game automatically saves every time you exit, and it can only be played by transferring your physical body to Cyberspace. This means if you start up the game more than 3 times, you can't get home, and you're stuck. Ironically, the characters, after inadvertently saving twice, decide to conserve their last save until they really, really need it. That ends up never happening (or at least to our current knowledge) as they fail epically and lose for good before using it.
  • The story "Gotta Catch His Son" on Not Always Right shows the negative consequences of the strict one-save-per-cartridge limit in Pokémon games.
  • Gloomhaven has a campaign structured much like a video game, including scenarios to complete and scenarios unlocked upon completion of earlier scenarios, unlockable character classes, and upgrades for characters and the setting. Much of what is done in-game is recorded in some way such as by marking or applying stickers to the board or removing seals from boxes, so there isn't any practical way to restore the game to an earlier state.
  • In "Worst Case Scenario" from Star Trek: Voyager, in order for Paris to play from the start, Torres has to "reset" the Insurrection Alpha program. Apparently the holoprograms in the 24th century don't have a way for multiple players of scenario to save different states (the general workaround shown is to make a copy of the holoprogram, but the editing restrictions on Insurrection Alpha kept that from being used there).