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Save Scumming
aka: Save Scum

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"I'll get you during my next save game."

Old, old method of playing games. Basically, you save the game whenever you get a result you like (or before you face a risk), and restore the saved game whenever you get a result you don't like. It could be because the game demands Trial-and-Error Gameplay, or perhaps you have a limited number of tries to get the Random Number God to get a favorable result. Or maybe you just suck, but you don't call this cheating (it's kind of YMMV). Although sometimes, it might be the only way to even win a Luck-Based Mission, no matter how good you are, or it could be the only way to get a very rare item. And woe betide you if you save the game after a seemingly minor error that ends up making the game Unwinnable, or makes you miss some Permanently Missable Content. Seasoned savescummers will make multiple saves throughout the game so they can go back to the part that they messed up on. Hardcore savescummers will go as far as committing their savegame files to a Version Control System that allows the user to create a sophisticated tree of rollbacks and what-ifs.


In a somewhat less depressing way, this might still be practiced if a game has Multiple Endings with identifiable branching points. Not all games with several endings have New Game+ as an option, and even if they do, sometimes you just don't want to run through the entire game for the sake of another ending. Saving before the branching point(s) lets you go back through from where it twisted at your convenience.

Some games modify this by giving you limited numbers of saves (similar to Video-Game Lives but perhaps allowing some strategy), bonuses for low numbers of saves, or immediately erasing/saving a game whenever you die or do something important (Iron Man mode). Another method of circumventing this is to set the RNGs for various events at the start of a new file with nothing else but said events affecting them, resulting in outcomes that are random but cannot be changed by reloading. Some games kick it Up to Eleven by actually detecting whether you cheated by Save-Swapping, trying to obfuscate the game which deletes a saved game by manually putting back a copy of said save file right after deletion by the game into its save folder. Even worse, wiser games will even call you out for actually trying to feed it an invalid saved file or rewrite the game program into autosave mode which disabled loading from savefile.note 


The term "Save Scumming" comes from the roguelike community, which has long frowned on the practice (most roguelike games prevent this by erasing a save file as soon as you load it; however, this puts the player's entire game at risk in the event of a crash) and thus categorized save/reload as one of the many forms of "scummy" behavior honorable players eschew. This is not to be confused with LucasArts' SCUMM game engine, when LucasArts' games are generally much more forgiving than their Sierra counterparts.

Other games, however, especially Japanese-made games designed with the "maniacs" in mind, not only validate it as a tactic, but make it utterly mandatory for 100% Completion. The Infinity +1 Sword is not only dropped only by the ultra-difficult Bonus Boss, but it only has a 1% chance of dropping it, and there is only one of that boss in the game. Beating the boss once after a theoretically infinite number of save scummings may just be a fluke, but beating a difficult boss 50 to 500 times in a row shows not only mastery of the game, but also superhuman patience. Likewise, the Trophy system for the PS3 and PS4 and the Achievements system for the Xbox brand consoles starting with Xbox 360 require multiple playthroughs unless you utilize this.

Much easier (and more tempting) to do with emulators, which often have save state features that allow the player to instantly backtrack anywhere, anytime, making the lives system pointless. This and other emulator features are used to put together or practice for "perfect" runs of pattern-based video games, especially 2D shooters. Platform Hell games are made with this in mind (with horrifying results), and Speed Run players use this to get the exact sequence of events required to make absolute fastest time. These are called "tool-assisted speedruns", and the divide between savescummed and classic speedruns is vast. The gamers on both sides defend their position vehemently. In addition, emulator save states have one major downfall: the ability to save yourself into a corner. Without limits on when you can save, it becomes possible to save the game in situations that make the game Unwinnable, such as saving at the Game Over screen. Smarter players will use multiple saves in case this happens by accident, but a newcomer to the art of save state scumming can easily find himself trapped.

Sometimes known as "Saveweaseling," using "Wand of Save/Load," or "The Mystical Quicksave/load Key." Amusingly enough, some (dubiously metaphysical) interpretations of quantum mechanics suggest that a similar phenomenon may occur in real life, through a process known as "quantum immortality."

A Sub-Trope of Not the Intended Use, See also: Save-Game Limits, which attempt to curtail this, and Trial-and-Error Gameplay. If this explicitly involves Time Travel rather than reloading the game, see Reset Button. Compare Brain Uploading. Autosave may be implemented to prevent this. Has nothing to do with collecting slime or saving 'scum'.

In-Universe Examples Only

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    Action Adventure 
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis action game fully expects and requires you to do this. The manual mentions that the roulette tables in Monte Carlo are rigged, and hints that you need to do something to "beat the system". The solution is that for some reason the tables always go for the same numbers. Save, try betting at a table, reload, and then bet on whatever number came up on that previous attempt.
    • A similar (optional) puzzle requires the player to save and reload when playing as Sophia in order to emulate her psychic powers: guess the answer, be told the correct one and then load.
  • Katana ZERO at one point uses a save-maker and rewinder at a casino to gather enough tokens at the roulette table to proceed into the backroom. This also comes with The Reveal of Zero and others were injected with a distillation time drug called "Chronos", that makes them go back to a point when they are killed, to evade their obstacles to survive.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask contains an in-universe example. By playing the Song of Time, Link can rewind time to the start of the game's three-day cycle. As a player, this means you can go back knowing information that you normally wouldn't be able to learn until later, such as the code for the Bomber's Hideout and the winning numbers for the Lottery Shop.
  • Iron Danger practically makes this tendency into a gameplay mechanic - the player is liberally able to rewind time up to five seconds ago to freely try out their options and possibilities in its real-time-with-pause combat.

    Adventure Game 
  • Sierra's classic adventure games seem to have been designed with this practice in mind. Their manuals actually encouraged this behavior by telling players up front, "Save early, save often, and don't overwrite your saves.":
    • Wandering opponents, monsters, zombies, etc. could appear in two or three set unique locations in King's Quest I (but not in any other Sierra game), requiring the player to evade them using the same keyboard controls used for normal exploration. This is trivial if you keep to the edge of the screen. On the other hand, Quest for Glory has actual wandering monsters, but allows the player to fight back.
    • In Codename: ICEMAN, attempting to reload a save during an entirely Luck-Based Mission of a dice game will cause the person you're playing against to accuse you of cheating and refuse to play with you.
    • This is basically the standard approach to the blackjack game in Leisure Suit Larry, which is necessary to accumulate sufficient finances but is a Luck-Based Mission. Same with the slots-o-death machine in Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter
    • Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge assumes you're already doing this. If you use a lighter in one of the bathrooms and cause an explosion, the message will end with "Since you're dead you'd best get to restoring."
  • Life Is Strange is an in-universe example of this. Max can rewind time, which enables you to choose different outcomes and is even needed for some puzzles.
  • Parodied in The Secret of Monkey Island. There's a bit where if you walk too close to a cliff you fall, and a Sierra-style save/load screen appears. The main character then rebounds back onto the cliff with two words of explanation: "Rubber tree."
  • Lampshaded in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: 8-Bit Is Enough. If Strong Bad is attacked by the scorpion monster in the Peasant's Quest realm, the game presents a Sierra-style game over screen, while Strong Bad simply picks himself up off the ground and remarks about how he "never reads those things".
  • This was deliberately parodied in Infocom's Planetfall; whenever you saved the game with your robot sidekick Floyd around, he would ask "Oh boy! Are we going to try something dangerous now?"
  • Zork required this as the two fights in-game (the thief and the troll) were Luck Based Missions, and a revive made the game unwinnable. There is a case of Good Bad Bugs where careful use of save scum and a "do it again" shortcut can make the thief fight far easier then it should be, and it is necessary for a speed run.
  • In Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok, stealing a certain item (Andvari's ring) will curse you so that everybody hates you and avoids talking with you. If you try to get out of this by restoring your game... it doesn't work! The item is a Clingy McGuffin; there is a way to get rid of it, but until you do, if you restore or restart your game, you still have it.
  • A few of the bad endings in Riven: A Sequel to MYST requires having knowledge you can only have by learning it then reloading a save.
    • Catherine's journal gives you the code to the Star Fissure, but if you reload you can open it right after linking to Riven. Unlike all the other endings, Atrus doesn't even bother coming if you destroy the age right after he sent you there.
    • Rescuing Catherine requires you to capture Gehn so you can learn the code to her cell. However, if you learn the code, then reload a save before you capture him, you can free Catherine and initiate the Golden Ending cutscene, only for Atrus and Catherine's reunion to be cut short by Gehn and his henchmen killing them and you.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Tron 2.0 actually encourages this practice just before a Race Against the Clock section. A character says: "Quick! Save yourself!" and "I auto save every 30 seconds. I suggest you do the same."

    Four X 
  • The Civilization II manual actually recommends save scumming before entering the villages that provide random bonuses (and sometimes unleash barbarian hordes).
  • Eador builds this into the story and mechanics: your character can reverse time, returning to the previous turn or undoing his entire attempt to conquer the current shard, for minor penalties. Interestingly, the game autosaves, so it's impossible to save scum normally without copying and pasting save folders from outside the game.
  • Lampshaded in the instruction manual of Rome: Total War, which mentions returning to an earlier save when something goes wrong, "not that you'd ever do that, of course". Incidentally, it comes with a form of the aforementioned RNG saving, with the interesting twist that occasionally, you actually end up getting worse results when you reload.

  • In Little Big Planet 3, the creator popit powerup allows you to pause and rewind your game progress, each savepoint is created when you close your popit. Although you cannot save your game this way, it's more than enough to wrap reality and undo failures before you take damage.
  • In Mario Must Die 3, Mario's use of savestates rips a hole in space-time that can only be fixed by playing the whole trilogy without savestates.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Hack 'N' Slash actually encourages this. It's justified in-game by the protagonist being given a magical amulet that enables her to travel through time, though it doesn't really need much justification given the theme of the game. In addition to being able to load old saves (which are automatically created every time a new area is entered or re-entered) the interface even keeps track of which saves came from which, enabling the player to view the branching "timelines". After experimenting a lot, this interface can quickly become cluttered.
  • Sutte Hakkun encourages quick-saving, where it's featured as an option on the pause menu. However, you've got only one slot, and every save jacks 20 points from your score, meaning that, if you want a high score on the stage, you're better off not using them in general.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • While save scumming does help tremendously with Paradox Games' recent historical simulations, Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis, you're practically barred from doing so if you want to win any achievements.
  • Lampshaded in the ending of Perimeter, when The Infernals inform the player that their Evil Plan required the participation of an extra-dimensional being with the ability to travel back in time at will in order to correct his or her past mistakes.
  • In Warcraft, Nozdormu is the leader of the Bronze Dragonflight, responsible for overseeing time. Fighting him is a bit futile, since if even if you win against the titanic superpowerful dragon he'll just rewind time and fight you again, this time knowing exactly what you're going to do.
  • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm you get to use the same tactic against his Evil Twin Murozond in a dungeon. You get an hourglass with 5 charges, that reset everyone and everything's status in the fight... except the damage done so far to Murozond.

  • The sole control scheme for Save Scummer, a game that is essentially about playing a roguelike. The only moves are backwards in time and forwards in time, with the RNG resetting to let the player influence the choice that the randomly rolled character randomly makes at each moment in time. Beat it, and the player character gets berated for save scumming on the in-game internet.
  • If you exit the game in Slay the Spire and reload, you'll start over at the start of the fight. However, it still uses the same seed, so if you try the exact same actions as before, it'll have the same outcome. However, you can still manipulate the seed by changing the order of card draw or killing monsters and such.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In the sequel, Shadows of Amn, most of the characters were too high-level to be rolling HP for much longer, and non-player-generated characters had predetermined results for when they did roll.
    • Spoofed in Baldur's Gate: Throne of Bhaal: a party of "noobs" assaults your group while flinging insults, resulting in their complete extermination. After a fake "reload" screen, the same party of adventurers encounters you again, greets you nicely and walks away.
    • The Baldur's Gate engine does at least warn you — one of the hints on the ever-present loading screens is, "Hit Q to quicksave the game. Do this often."
  • BioWare is generally friendly towards this strategy:
    • The only reason no one calls out the NPCs that blatantly cheat at pazaak in Knights of the Old Republic is the fact most players are save scumming when they lose a game.
    • In Jade Empire, there is an NPC that you can gamble with. If you reload too many times to win against him, he will eventually explode into bloody chunks.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cole has the ability to "make someone forget", and he uses it to get a second try at a conversation if he messes up or makes someone upset.
    • Even their MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic has a form of this. In the middle of a conversation, hitting ESC aborts it and allows you to do it over again. This is useful for testing companion responses or if the dialogue's printed option doesn't match what the character actually says (a neutral-appearing response option generating an unexpectedly rude response, for example).
  • Possible for most Souls games by backing up your save file to the cloud or a different folder, even though the game's constant auto-saving (and the community) obviously discourages it. This is the simplest way to see all the endings in Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice without committing to multiple full playthroughs.
    • In-universe, the bonfires are a subversion. No matter how many times the Undead protagonist dies, they always wake up at the nearest bonfire-shrine, and all the mooks respawn as if nothing happened. However, all their actions prior to death (especially murder) are permanent, and if they don't find a way to return to the spot where they died without getting killed again, they lose all their precious experience points. For Undead in particular, the resurrection is lossy.
  • In Disgaea, you can steal items and weapons from enemies using hand items. Most items come in three rarity types, Common, Rare and Legendary. The rarity of the enemy items is randomized, so players save-scum to get Legendary items, especially the Rank 40 Weapons from Item Gods
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the in-universe concept of "CHIM", essentially an ascended state where one becomes aware of the nature of Anu's Dream but exists as one with it and maintains a sense of individuality. Dunmeri Tribunal deity Vivec claims to have achieved this state, and (cryptically and metaphorically) explains in his Morrowind dialogue and his 36 Lessons series what this means - essentially, his "godhood" comes from realizing that he is in a video game and uses that knowledge to edit the situation around him. He makes vague references to things like the Player Character ("The ruling king who only he can address as an equal"), pausing the game, console commands, and the Construction Set Level Editor. His explanation on what happens if he should "die" also sounds, in line with this trope, a lot like reloading a saved game:
    Vivec: "When I die in the world of time, then I'm completely asleep. I'm very much aware that all I have to do is choose to wake. And I'm alive again. Many times I have very deliberately tried to wait patiently, a very long, long time before choosing to wake up. And no matter how long it feels like I wait, it always appears, when I wake up, that no time has passed at all."
  • The Eye of the Beholder games can easily be abused through save scumming, beyond just resetting an encounter that went badly.
    • First, since it is a game based on Dungeons & Dragons, gaining a level bring a random amount of Hit Points. By keeping a close eye on the characters' experience score, you can save right before a fight that will bring enough XP to level up; if the HP "roll" is not high enough, you can reload and retry until getting the maximum.
    • This can also be used to identify unknown magic items. You can taste a potion or fire a charge from a wand to see what it does, and then (especially if a potion proves to be Poison) reload the game, thus not having wasted a dose or wand charge.
  • Fallout 2 has the above quote, and the description of the player's ear bitten off by The Masticator adds, "If you're reading this, you're probably reloading your last save."
    • Also, in one secret encounter, the log displays the player character thinking "…I should save my game in a brand new slot."
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, save scumming is possible to win big at the casino games, but there are two catches. Firstly, each casino has a limit on how much you can win before they either ban you from gambling or straight up kick you out. Secondly, reloading a save from within a casino starts a countdown on all gambling games (slots, blackjack, and roulette). You can't gamble until one minute after loading the save. Obviously, Obsidian was one step ahead of us.
  • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. When you beat the final boss, he will try to go to another reality to defeat you, but gets trapped in a stable time loop. He's stuck Save Scumming the rest of his life! Fridge Horror: YIKES.
  • In Lost Dimension, while the game saves automatically when proceeding to Judgement or if using Deep Vision, this can be used as a strategy to always select the traitor (one of the game's primary mechanics) if you save a backup using PlayStation Plus or if you use a USB device.
  • In Nightmare Of Druaga, the save file is marked "Do Not Copy." And if you close the game by any means other than a save and quit, it subjects you to a rant about mucking with the flow of time, and if you answer even ONE question the wrong way, it inflicts you with the death penalty. and the rant gets longer each time, with new questions. Heaven help you if the power goes out while playing.
  • Octopath Traveler: As an homage to classic RP Gs, the Rogue abilities and their percentage-based success rates can be overcome if the player is willing to invest enough time and resets until they succeed.
  • Pokémon:
    • There are incredibly rare alternate color palettes of all or most Pokémon called shinies. Some people use Save Scumming on the starter Pokémon or legendary Pokémon to get shiny versions of them. This is one of the most time consuming save scumming schemes out there because it may take thousands of tries to get a shiny. Legendary Pokémon cannot be shiny hunted in any other way, but starter Pokémon can be bred just (like most other non-legendary Pokémon) for a much higher chance that it's shiny while also getting better stats if you use the right techniquenote .
    • Most people save in front of legendary Pokémon so they can try again if they KO it accidentally or if they run out of Pokéballs.
    • If you save in front of a difficult battle (Gym Leader or Pokémon League), you can save scum to prevent losing money.
    • Notably defied in Pokémon Sword and Shield with regards to using a Wishing Piece to create a Max Raid and going treasure hunting with the Digging Duo; both of these require you to save the game before they start, forcing you to accept the outcome you got. However, for the former, there's an easy way to negate this measure: Just set your game text speed to slow, save in front of the Den you wish to activate, then put in the Wishing Piece, Due to the beam showing before the game is saved, there is a fraction of time in which you can see whether the beam will be rare (purple) or common (red). If it is not the color you want, you can simply close out and reopen the game to try again.
  • Shadow Hearts series:
    • The lottery minigame, where you can spend tickets to obtain rare items by hitting the jackpot. As there is a limited number of lottery tickets per game, players would save the game before interacting with a member, and reset the game if they fail to get the desired prize.
    • From the New World has the Pagoda Battles, a sidequest where Mao uses Cat Coins (obtained by defeating enemies with her "Cat Touch" Skill) to pay an actor to fight her. Losing the battle against said actor means that you have to collect more coins to challenge him again, so players just save before the fight, reset and try again if they lose.
  • In Undertale, Photoshop Flowey pulls this on the player. Using the Six Human Souls, He carries out a save state just before unleashing an attack, then will load the state should the player successfully avoid it to provide another chance at getting struck. Then at the end of the fight, he pretends to have a Villainous Breakdown before rewinding all the way to the beginning of the fight, but with a troll face.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles series:
    • The first game practically doesn't even give you a choice when it comes to getting the Advanced Art Books needed to fully level up your characters' skills. They can only be obtained from boss-level monsters that are all level seventy or higher, and some of them have very difficult spawn conditions. And just to add insult to injury, some of these Art Books have a drop rate of less than one percent. So your choices for getting these books are to either go through the pains to repeatedly respawn these boss-level enemies, then fight them and beat them, and then rinse and repeat until you get the item, or just spawn and beat them once, save, and then open the chest that they drop. Since the contents of the chest aren't determined until after you open them, you can just keep reloading your save until you get the item you want.
    • The first game has side quests with multiple outcomes. Not only are there different rewards depending on the outcome, the outcome will have some effect on NPCs' relationships on the Affinity Chart. The general rule is the better the outcome, the better the reward. However, some of the outcomes are collectible item-based and if you already have all the needed collectibles for the bad option, the game immediately locks you on the path for it without really giving you a choice. Save scumming is necessary if you're already set for the bad outcome, as you'll know which items to dump from your inventory to prevent a damaged relationship before trying again. A notable example of this happening is the side quest "Ingredients for a Brew", where the ingredients for the bad option are an incredibly common item from an early game area in comparison to the ingredients for the good option.note 
    • In Xenoblade Chronicles X, the player is only given one save file per account. Like the first game, a good number of the side quests have multiple outcomes depending on your choices (and some of them affect connected future side quests). The rewards stay the same regardless of outcome this time, but unless you know ahead of time, you're not going to get the favorable outcome on the first attempt every time. If the "bad choice" doesn't lead to damaged NPC relationships, it usually leads to one or more friendly NPCs getting killed.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 also only has one save file per account. However, this is averted with awakening Blades. With the exception of the first Core Crystal given to you, the game auto-saves every time you awaken a Blade. This is to prevent players from unlocking all the Rare Blades without using up many Core Crystals, as Rare Blades have a slight chance of being awakened even from Common Core Crystals.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Animal Crossing, you can reset the game to get back any items you lost or reset anything bad that happened or to get more items, however, this will prompt a mole named Mr. Resetti to angrily scold you the next time you load. The more times you do this, the longer his rants get.
  • Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games, like the other Hamtaro licensed games, has no manual save function and autosaves when moving between from one area to another. In case you still try Save Scumming your way to victory by restarting in the middle of an event, the game starts up immediately after the event and declares you the loser, regardless of how you were actually doing in the event itself.
  • The Harvest Moon team has been aware of this for some time, though. As early as Back to Nature, one of the sins you could confess to the local priest was "I reset the game to win at a festival."
  • Many Kairosoft games allow you to do this to a certain extent. You're typically only allowed one save a game, but your manual saves are never overwritten automatically. This is particularly useful in Pocket Stables, where you can just reload your last save to change your horse's position or raise them differently from the start of the day to change your odds in winning a race.
  • The Makin' Magic expansion pack for the The Sims would save your game after casting a spell that would turn a child into an adult, or a pet into a Sim. A savvy player could backup the save file manually however if they wanted to avert this.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Every Hitman game has save points to some degree. Hitman: Blood Money lets you have up to seven slots, while Hitman: Absolution is checkpoint-based (meaning save scumming is actually enforced). Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 use identical save systems, and allows you to save in eight separate slots, and combines this with an auto-save, which itself also has eight separate slots.

    Third-Person Shooter 

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • This style of play is seen as an inherent part of the Fire Emblem series. Until Mystery of the Emblem introduced "Casual Mode"note , every installment had players dealing with Final Death at every difficulty level. Any character that falls in battle is unable to be used again and is even removed from the game entirely depending on their plot importance. As a result, most players quickly restart whenever someone is killed to prevent their death.
  • Phantom Doctrine: During missions the save/load menu gains the option "Restart", and loadable games include autosaves of the last three turns.
  • Abused as a highly-popular strategy among seasoned veterans of the XCOM series. Because a single, sometimes seemingly insignificant unit placement mistake or missed shot can cause someone to have their face melted off with alien plasma weapons at best or a ruined campaign state at worst, it would be wise to make and keep many, many saves as the player progresses through the missions in case something goes wrong.
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has the ironically named "Save Scum" option in the Second Wave difficulty modifiers, which resets the random number seed every time you load a game so your actions play out differently and save scumming no longer becomes a viable strategy. However while this was optional in Enemy Unknown/Within, XCOM 2 has this by default and it can't be disabled (though loading a save for the start of the battle and an entirely clean slate is still possible).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories: Since a single loss will trigger a game over, it behooves players to save after each victory and restart the game whenever defeat is certain.

    Visual Novel 
  • Angels With Scaly Wings features this in an especially unusual in-universe sense: each new game after the first one ends is you jumping into a new Alternate Universe timeline, since the way to stop a double The End of the World as We Know It—i.e., to get the Golden Ending—can only be obtained through clues gotten in multiple endings, and your foreknowledge from previous attempts allows you to change and prevent certain things. Actively defied at one point, though, where the save system refuses to let you reload if you screw up.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has this when the player suffers a "Bad Ending" at the game's climax. Then the game pops a normal "Save Screen" in which the player must select the "Don't Save" option. The save screen flashes many times, and the player has to press "Save" once more to turn the game over screen into a Continue Your Mission, Dammit! message. It is revealed to be a code to continue the last trial, and control switches to K1-B0.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! encourages the use of this, with Monika giving a fourth-wall-breaking tip on "saving and loading at important decisions". However, this begins to fall apart when the game starts corrupting and erasing the player's save data, with a few instances having the save/load function outright fail to work. However, the Golden Ending is awarded to players who save scum enough to unlock all the CGs while the function is still intact.
  • In Fate/stay night, the Tiger Dojo exists to Lampshade and excuse it with a wink.
  • In Her Tears Were My Light, the player character Time can "warp" to any moment she has already experienced (either the start of the game or a save point) while retaining her memories. The player is required to do this repeatedly to make progress.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has this in universe. The player's ability to restart after obtaining a bad ending, while retaining information obtained in said ending, is an early indicator that young Akane (the true player character) is doing this with Junpei.
    • Its sequel, Virtue's Last Reward takes this up a notch, with information from different routes eventually becoming vital to progress down others. The player loading from different points in the story is illustrated as Sigma traveling to different timelines, taking some already known information with him. And he's not the only one who can do that.
    • As per series tradition, Zero Time Dilemma mandates this, using perceived "bad ends" to unlock continuations past certain plot endings in other routes. Some minigames are randomized, forcing the player to retry until they get the outcome needed to proceed. Just like in Virtue's Last Reward, the act of reloading is the cast utilizing their ability to Shift, swapping their selves to another timeline and carrying the knowledge with them.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Punished in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey with the Orchalcum merchant. If you buy a random item, then try to reload an earlier save, the Orchalcum is deleted from your inventory in the earlier save and the item you received is deleted from your inventory in the latest save. Naturally, the game doesn't warn you that this will happen beforehand.
  • Grand Theft Auto Online accidentally facilitates this thanks to Rockstar's periodic cloud saves, making this a rare instance of Save Scumming on an online game. It's possible for a player to roll back their progress up to a few minutes by forcing the game to close abruptly or forcing a disconnection, which is most notoriously used by griefers to "refund" Orbital Cannon payments (which are at least GTA$500,000 apiece).
  • AI Dungeon 2 allows the player to reverse any decision on-the-fly with the /revert command. This trope is more prevalent in the offline version of the game, which allows players to save at any time.
  • Kerbal Space Program allows you to revert flights to the Vehicle Assembly Building or SpacePlane Hangar (Depending on where you launched it). Averted in Hardcore Career Mode (which doesn’t allow reverting flights, by the way).

Non-Video Game Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma Kamijou uses a form of this in NT Vol 9. Othinus can't afford for him to die, but wants to break his will, so she kills him and brings him back over and over again. After over 10,000 sessions, she is shocked to find that not only is he not insane or traumatized, he has memorized her attack patterns and can now effortlessly evade her attacks despite remaining physically inferior to her in every way.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and Dragon Ball Super: Whis can do this by reversing time by up to three minutes, although considering he is effectively the strongest character in the setting, it's more often done to correct the mistakes of others rather than his own. Its only drawback is that he can't do it twice in a row, so there is only one chance to correct the mistake.
  • Juni Taisen: Zodiac War: Rat's special ability allows him to experience 100 outcomes at once, selecting one that becomes reality while erasing the others. In most cases, the differences are so minute that it doesn't matter and some outcomes are unavoidable no matter what he tries. This includes him failing to ask a girl out 100 different ways, and being unable to avoid participating in the Juni Taisen no matter what he tried. Because it requires him to experience all 100 realities before selecting one, his power takes an enormous physical and mental toll on him. The 99 realities he rejects leave behind echoes that cause other people to wonder Have We Met?.
  • In Naruto, Izanagi effectively works this way (at the cost of eye-sight). When an undesired result occurred, reality resets back to before that result so the person initiating Izanagi can change the course of events and have things go how they want.
  • Gaku starts doing this in Chapter 11 of Murasakiiro no Qualia. By using her phone to link up with herself in other quantum realities, she can find out any possible outcome of any choice, and ultimately pick the best one. Even better(?), when one of her alternate lives ends, she gets all of its memories, meaning that as a 15 year old girl who has never lifted a gun, she is an expert marksman, and has multiple college degrees.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura can use her time manipulation powers to this effect. Specifically, she's been using them in hopes of finding the "perfect sequence" that will keep Madoka from making the Deal with the Devil to turn her into a Magical Girl, with all the horrible things that implies in this world, per her request. Since Gen Urobuchi, the series's script writer got his start making Visual Novels, this is probably a subtle nod to the practice. Not to mention that slowing and stopping time is a favorite trick of Tool-Assisted Speedrunners, with the same weaknesses inherent in the ability. Too bad Homura only has one save state...
  • The Reprise of the Spear Hero: Motoyasu Kitamura, the Spear Hero, learns that his spear has the power to return him to the beginning of The Rising of the Shield Hero when the heroes were summoned whenever he, the Sword Hero, Bow Hero, or Shield Hero die. He tries to use this to correct his past mistakes and make an ending where they all live happy.
  • Natsuki Subaru from Re:Zero has the ability that he calls "Return by Death" which allows him to go back in time to a "save point", with only himself remembering what happened. However, he has no control over when a "save point" occurs, and can only return to it by dying, so it's not an ability he uses lightly.
  • Skeleton Soldier Couldn't Protect the Dungeon: The skeleton soldier doesn't just resurrect on death, he goes back in time with all his memories and experience intact. This lets him grind for experience a bit on the mercenaries who ordinarily would have been far outside his ability to defeat.
  • In UQ Holder!, this is Kirie's form of immortality: she can set a "save point", and if she dies, she returns to that point in time. She can use this to dodge the attacks of far more powerful opponents by repeatedly dying to them and learning how they fight.
  • Date A Live: Kurumi uses this to protect Shidou from the attacks of DEM, using Mental Time Travel. This has a gruelling effect on her psyche. The enemies she's fighting against, who don't have Ripple Effect-Proof Memory but still figure out what she's doing from her unexpected successes, decide to simply let her continue until she breaks.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics:
    • Tends to pop out in Paperinik New Adventures: time travelers can use their chronosails to travel back in time after getting a result they don't like (they tend to do it only on small scale due them being Genre Savvy about the Butterfly Effect). Specific instances are:
      • in "The Wind of Time" the Raider, after getting his ass kicked by Paperinik, travels in time and has Paperinik's ambush sprung by Angus and the police, forcing him to run and let him steal what he wanted. Upon learning of this, Paperinik complains that the Raider is practically undefeatable, and he's arrested by the Time Police only after he's lured in the one moment he can't time travel his way out of trouble;
      • in a short story Trip, the son of the Raider, pulls this to perform the decisive save in an hockey match. Then he decides to do it again with his eyes closed, only for the Raider (who was watching the match) to alter probability and have him lose, teaching him to not cheat at sports;
      • in "Nothing Personal" Odin Eidolon performs a variant: to prevent the Bad Future that happened after the Raider's death and Trip becoming the Griffin and causing the Bad Future, he kidnapped Trip from slightly before the mission in which the Raider's died, causing the Raider to abort the mission and learn what would happen. After returning to the future with Trip, the Raider implies having performed another save scum to still perform the mission without Paperinik getting involved or him dying.
    • One Mickey Mouse story had the Phantom Blot invent a device that literally allows him to save the timeline at a point and then reload from there, with the guy owning the device remembering everything—allowing himto commit thefts by just walking in at the right moment the police were distracted from his target by something else and snatching it and run circles around Mickey and the police. However, the device allows for a single save point at any one time, deleting the previous ones as it generates the newest one, so once Goofy (who was doing the same with an actual video game) figured out what he was doing, it was just a matter of jumping him right after he saved, because at that point no matter how many times he reloaded he'd still get jumped.
  • The Avengers: Subverted with Kang the Conqueror. He admits he can easily go back in time and replay his losses to achieve victory. He also acknowledges he can just go back and stop the Avengers from ever being born. However, Kang finds the Avengers far too worthy foes to take such an easy victory. He wants the satisfaction of beating them in their primes and on their own terms. To simply replay his losses to make them wins would be cheating and Kang knows that undermines any victory he could boast.
  • Jonathan Hickman's X-Men reveals that Moira MacTaggert has a mutant power that works like this. When she dies, her consciousness returns to the moment of her birth and she restarts her life with full knowledge of the ones that came before. She's spent nine lives trying to find a harmonious solution to the problem of human/mutant relations; the series (and by extension all her previous appearances) show her tenth and possibly final attempt.
  • Attempted in Scott Pilgrim: as part of the extreme use of video games tropes, at one point Scott spots a save point and tries to reach it, but he's prevented from doing so just long enough it disappears.

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Munchkins, Harry's Chosen One status manifests as him being the only empowered protagonist alive, meaning he has Mental Time Travel abilities. He can load anytime, anywhere, but owls are his justified save points. He spends months and years worth of virtual time on getting certain things 'just right.'
  • Romilda Vane utilizes her Mental Time Travel powers this way in A Question of When, spending countless lifetimes trying to figure out the best way to convince Harry Potter that they would be perfect together.
  • Can happen in RPG-Mechanics Verse-based works, where the characters are aware that this is an option. Often provided by a Sudden Game Interface.
  • In Rise From Ash, Loki discovers that the timeless Void Space he fell into at the end of the first movie makes an inadvertent Save Point. This comes in handy when the universe is destroyed shortly after, and he makes use of save scumming as he tries to find a sequence of events to avert the apocalypse.
  • In Tabula Avatar, the hero of Baldur's Gate unknowingly describes what it feels like to be loaded from a previous save.
    Sorkatani: Sometimes I dream of dying. Those dreams make no sense at the time but later I will find myself in a situation that I recognize. I make sure that I do not do what I did in the dream, and I live. It scared me at first but now those prophetic dreams are almost a comfort.
  • The Infinite Loops plays with this on a multiversal scale. With all of reality damaged, each major universe uses a specific time frame to stabilize itself, with "Anchors" from those points retaining all the memories of each loop. Typically, the starting point of these loops are when the Anchor's adventures first began, and ends either at the end point of their final adventure, or at the most currently revealed portion, and the Anchor is allowed to fiddle with whatever they wish as long as it doesn't result in any further cosmic damage. Although most of the time the loops follow their "baseline" events, time to time a "variation" pops up with an alternate history or other changes, but they all start at the same general "save point".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Doctor Strange features the Eye of Agamotto as an artifact of powerful time-related magic. Under most circumstances, it can shift the user through time in the dimension it's in. The good doctor defeats Dormammu by casting a spell that brings a limited amount of time to the Dark Dimension (which had been repeatedly referred to as an ominous "realm outside of time") to ensure that his death will instead reset him to the beginning of their confrontation. From Strange's point of view, all he has to do is walk forward and make a deal: Dormammu leaves the Material Plane forever and he'll undo his spell. However, Dormammu and the rest of the Dark Dimension are not subject to the same resetting timestream, and so he is subject to sorcerer after sorcerer stepping forward with the same demand, each one replacing the previous one. Eventually, Dormammu tires of killing Strange over and over and accepts.
  • The primary premise of Edge of Tomorrow. William Cage hijacks the Mimic's ability to start a day over, which means every time he dies he ends up at the beginning of the loop. With a little prompting from another character who went through the same thing, he uses this ability to gain months or years worth of combat experience in seemingly no time at all. At the end of the film, Cage hijacks the aliens a second time by killing the Omega Mimic, which results in all the aliens dying before the human counter-attack even happens.
  • A rare dark (almost as dark as it gets) example is in Funny Games: just when it seemed that the heroes managed to turn the tables on the sadist killers, the latter (with a wink to the audience) literally rewinded the film and made necessary changes. Alhough used only once, this move instils crushing sense of helplessness on the audience.
  • Groundhog Day is based on this premise — the protagonist can do whatever he likes, because everything is back to normal each morning in his endlessly-repeating February 2nd.
  • It seems like Men in Black 3 has Agent J use this, but a close eye or repeated watchings will show you that the pattern changed between attempts. You have to remember, Boris got to time jump too.
  • The movie Next essentially featured a character capable of doing this in real life. Being able to see two minutes into your future has its perks...
  • The short film One-Minute Time Machine is all about a guy repeatedly skipping back in time to have another try at chatting up a girl.
  • In the film Source Code, the protagonist experiences (via simulation) the last 8 minutes in the life of a schoolteacher who is doomed to die in an explosion on a commuter train. However, when he dies, he gets restarted at the start of those 8 minutes. So, basically, his mission is to savescum to find out who blew up the train. Notably, he does not have an infinite number of retries, as time advances normally outside the simulation.
  • The Time Machine (2002) uses this as a focal point of the plot. The Protagonist invents a time machine specifically to try to prevent a past tragedy. We see him failing to prevent that event every time he travels back in time. It is implied he has tried many more times than the audience has seen.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, this is essentially how the X-Men in the Bad Future stay ahead of the Sentinels for so long; every time they are about to be wiped out, Kitty sends one of them (usually Bishop) a few days into the past to alert them and avoid the situation that led to them being trapped in the first place.

  • The light novel All You Need is Kill (and, by extension, the film Edge of Tomorrow) play off as real-life save scumming in the form of a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • In the Discworld book Thief of Time, Yetis have learned to do this via a limited control of time. They can and will periodically save their lives before doing a dangerous task so that if they get killed, they'll go back in time and not be such a fool next time. It's mentioned that the species has gone extinct on three separate occasions. The Old Master time monk Lu-Tze later uses this trick himself to delay the Big Bad without needing to pull a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager Novel The Escape, Torres, Kim, and Neelix are searching a seemingly deserted planet when they accidentally activate a Time Travel device, violating the laws of the aliens who inhabit the various timelines on the planet. All attempts to escape by the trio are thwarted by the seemingly omniscient aliens, who are really just rewinding the timeline to before the team makes their attempts, sometimes requiring several iterations before the aliens found a favorable outcome.
  • In You, Simon designed the WAFFLE game engine to make this impossible. The game saves automatically when you quit, and you can't load up a previous save in-game. The idea was to make player choice more meaningful, but it was a divisive feature that apparently turned off a lot of would-be consumers.
  • Two examples from Worm and its sequel Ward:
    • Coil can do something like this. His power allows him to split his perception between two nearly perfect simulations of the near future, separated a decision point that he controls. Having observed two possible futures, he selects one and acts it out, which allows him to try out a pair of strategies while remaining safe and then choose the optimal one. He uses this to great effect in manipulating economics and taking over the city. It should be noted that per Word of God Coil doesn't fully understand his power and thinks he is actually creating two alternate realities and then deleting one of them every time he uses his ability.
    • Imp's power causes others to completely fail to notice her with any of their senses, and forget having ever perceived her or anything she's done that they've observed. It's on by default, but she can suppress it to allow others to notice her. She uses it to "replay" conversations and interactions with others until she gets the result she wants, by causing people to forget anything she has done and trying again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Andromeda has Trance Gemini doing this (from her perspective) during an encounter with a marauding alien intruder. Her repeated attempts are depicted as pruning a bonsai tree, interspersed with the "real world" events in each attempt, as she tries to find the most favorable outcome.
  • In an episode of Being Erica, Erica is given the power to manipulate time within a single day and uses it to repeatedly hit the reset button on events that don't go her way, including a huge fight with her boyfriend: unfortunately, the boyfriend realizes what she's up to and is horrified at what he sees as a violation of his free will.
  • The Charmed episode "Déjà Vu All Over Again" features a "Groundhog Day" Loop. The antagonist is the only one who retains his memory, so his performance against the heroes improves each time. Eventually, Phoebe's power of premonition allows her to retain the memory of the loop, allowing them to defeat the villain for good and break the loop.
  • In DayBreak2006, Detective Brett Hopper is framed for murder and has to unravel the conspiracy while experiencing a "Groundhog Day" Loop. While this means he has to do a lot of things over and over again, he finds he can effectively save his progress if he gets certain peripheral things right, eg. once he manages to convince his police partner's ex-boyfriend to go to rehab, he finds that the guy reaches that decision on his own every subsequent day.
  • The plot of Kamen Rider Ryuki effectively centers on this. The Big Bad Shiro Kanzaki instigated the Rider Wars as part of a plan to prevent his Ill Girl sister Yui's death; every time he failed to do so, he would use his Dragon Kamen Rider Odin's TimeVent powers to reset back to an earlier point in time and try again. Eventually, Yui is able to convince her brother that she wouldn't want to live if it meant sacrificing other peoples' lives, and he makes peace with her passing, RetConning the events of the series out of existence.
  • In Misfits, Curtis's power to rewind time is frequently used this way.
  • When part of the crew gets stuck in turn-based time in season 2 of Raumschiff GameStar, Captain Langer, instead of coming up with a clever way to get the out, just suggests reloading an older save-game—and thwarted immediately by Darth Mopp deleting all of their saved games. After beating him back, the Captain turns to a hex editor instead.
  • Star Trek:
    • Played relatively straight, albeit in a quite intricate manner in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect", when the Enterprise and her crew are trapped in a timeloop with the ship's destruction marking the loop's "reset point". Over the course of the episode the crew become aware of their fate and develop a way in which they can send information necessary to prevent the chain of event's catastrophic outcome to their (from an outside point of view) future selves.
    • On the Star Trek: Discovery episode "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad", Harry Mudd is revealed to have technology that creates a 30 minute time loop which allows him to seize control of the Discovery by progressing further and further every loop using what he's learned from the previous one. It's not stated how many times it happens, but Harry hates Lorca, having been shown taking great delight in finding new ways to kill him, but at the end is so tired of killing him he's willing to let him live.
  • The Twilight Zone (2002): "Rewind" features Jonah Beach, who gains a magic device that can rewind time up to five minutes. He uses it to make it big at the casino by correcting his mistakes when he plays poker. Unfortunately, he gets greedy and doesn't quit while he is ahead. The casino figures out what is going on (as the owner has a device as well) and confiscates his device, causing him to lose everything.
  • The Twilight Zone (2019): "Replay" features a black woman named Nina, who along with her son Dorian runs afoul of a racist cop who ends up killing Dorian. Nina discovers her camcorder can rewind time and uses it to replay the scenario over and over, repeatedly trying to stop the cop or avoid him. In the end, she succeeds in stopping him. In an epilogue several years later, where Nina is a grandmother, Dorian's daughter accidentally breaks the camcorder, leaving them with no way out as Dorian apparently runs into racist cops again.

  • The Adventure Zone: During "The 11th Hour" arc, Our Heroes are trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where a doomed town relives the same hour of time over and over again. If the die the time resets. This comes in handy toward the end of the arc where they must traverse a trap- and monster-laden abandoned mine. Although it causes the Eldritch Abomination controlling the Loop no end of minor annoyance...

  • Anyone used to working on memory-heavy programs, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, will soon develop the nervous tic of using the "save" keyboard shortcut every couple of minutes, or face the possibility of losing a huge amount of work the next time Flash or Premiere crashes. And more to the point, will equally find their fingers hovering constantly over the "undo" shortcut keys. Bonus points if this becomes so internalized you find yourself twitching to "undo" real, non-computer errors.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Through a series of exploits, in Dungeons & Dragons's 3.5 edition, it was possible to cast a series of spells on a psicrystal which would allow you to use it as a "save crystal" of sorts; you would cast a spell that would let you roll back to the start of the round, then a second spell that suspended the crystal in time for a day. If you didn't cancel the spell when it came back, it would then reset time to the start of the round prior to putting the crystal into suspension, resulting in you "reverting" to your last save state.

    Web Animation 
  • Wyoming does something like this in Red vs. Blue by rewinding time every time he dies so he can carry out his evil scheme properly. Unfortunately for him, Tucker is aware of these resets and uses his knowledge of what will happen to defeat Wyoming.

    Web Comics 
  • In Bob and George, Mega Man X goes berserk and starts assimilating the mind of every robot in the lab. George and Bass decide the only viable option is to wipe out his memory, but this might also wipe out the memory of the others, too. When George goes back, he tells him he's now linked into the lab's computer system, and heard their conversation, then he asks George if he's willing to risk wiping out everybody's minds. George's response: "Can I save my game before I decide?"
  • Specifically noted as one of the Gamemaster's powers in Captain SNES: The Game Masta, as unlike the normal characters, he remembers stuff after a reload, rather than getting intuition and deja vu from it. Also noted as having limitations- he can only reload if he's still in the same world where he saved.
  • In City of Reality, a character gets a device from an enemy he was fighting that allows him to rewind time a few seconds, allowing him to take advantage of this trope. He then uses this to get the high score in a videogame...
  • In the commentary of this El Goonish Shive strip, Dan credits the ability to do this in Fallout 3 as the inspiration for Sarah's simulated time stop spell.
  • In Grrl Power In one instance while scouting out a possible Bad Guy Hangout, Krona, the reality hacker, sets a 'Checkpoint' program on Sydney in case anything happens. Unfortunately, Krona learns that she can only affect local time, so that although the save scum triggers and resets everyone nearby to their previous position, the Bad Guy is alerted when time rewrites itself. It's revealed that time outside the local area continued normally, and Krona ended up shelving the program out of fear of breaking time and/or reality.
  • In Homestuck this is the function of a "Hero of Time" player, which every session has at least one of. Their job is to preserve the Alpha timeline and basically go back and reset things if something goes wrong.
  • One Nodwick comic, Nodwick accidentally touched a mystic artifact that allowed him to return to the point in time when he touched it at will. In order to get the crew to correctly stop the End of the World, he has to come back so many times that he becomes a master fighter, wizard, and cleric in the process. After stopping the threat, Yeagar, Artax, and Piffany erase his memory so they don't have to deal with having a henchman who's more of a badass than they are.
  • Parodied (with some bonus Nightmare Fuel) in a Persona 4 fan comic.
  • Schlock Mercenary uses it as a metaphor for using time travel to change history.
  • Qin Xu of Last Res0rt can rewind time short distances, represented by a row of panels to the side of the comic displaying whatever he just averted.
  • Jonah Yu of Skin Horse got this power while in the headquarters of Anasigma, with a fixed savepoint that he couldn't update, the reason being rather unclear at the time, as is how long it would keep working.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman: In "Seconds", the Villain of the Week, Francis Gray, has the power to rewind time, but only by a few seconds. He still manages to defeat Batman with it simply by rewinding every time he loses and avoiding whatever had gotten him the last time (and on one occasion, to undo a lame Bond One-Liner and use a better one instead). In the end, he triggers a massive gas leak that kills hundreds, including Batman and his own son. His ensuing trauma and guilt somehow supercharges his power and sends him back several years, before he ever went to prison and acquired his power. This time, he chooses not to become a criminal, and becomes a happy repairman with his still-alive son as his apprentice.
  • The Snake Miraculous in Miraculous Ladybug has the power of "Second Chance", which allows the user to mark down a specific point in time and then return to that point at will, retaining their memories. This can be done an unlimited number of times, but can only be used to travel back a maximum of five minutes.
  • Rick and Morty: In "The Vat of Acid Episode", Morty asks Rick to make a remote to utilize reloading any moment he saves at. With it, Morty uses to commit various actions and crimes free as he pleases, he also makes a new girlfriend, that is until Jerry resets their relationship entirely. Unfortunately as Morty found out, Rick reveals that Morty was actually traveling to parallel realities each time he did a "reset", and by doing so, he sacrificed a Morty from that reality who melted in agony before being replaced.

Alternative Title(s): Save Scum


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