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Save Token

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"If I had an Ink Ribbon, I could save my progress."
Chris Redfield/Jill Valentine, Resident Evil

Save Games are mandatory for most modern games, as they've become too long to complete in a single setting. A save token allows the player to save their game, usually whenever and wherever they want to, but with the added restriction that they can only save by using a specific kind of item in their inventory.

When the item is consumable, how common this item is can lead to strategy (and frustration) about when and how often to save. In games where they are not available for the player to buy, they may overlap with Too Awesome to Use.

This trope frequently overlaps with other forms of saving, such as Save Point. Often a type of Save Game Limit. May overlap with Justified Save Point.

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Examples of consumable items:

    Action Game 
  • Broken Helix uses Save CDs for saving. They're few and far between, scattered in the levels, and only one save is allowed per Save CD before it's consumed.

    Adventure Game 
  • Omikron: The Nomad Soul had special rings you had to find. You could use them either to save or to get a suggestion.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • The Wild ARMs series has Gimel Coins. They were introduced in Wild Arms 2, and work as a chance to continue if you get wiped out, but in Wild Arms 3 you can also use them to save your progress in dungeons; whatever you find in chests or from the exceptionally rare drops is all you can get.
  • The original Final Fantasy had tents, cabins, and houses which, in addition to recovering your HP, also saved your game. The only other save option was to stay at an Inn.
  • Final Fantasy VII mostly uses a Save Point system instead, but there is a consumable save token in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon that creates a save point anywhere the player wants.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has ultra rare save tokens, although there was fortunately Suspend Saves available if you really needed to quit.
  • Tales of Symphonia has some of its save points locked until activated by a special consumable item which, thankfully, is always dropped by one of the enemies in the area. Said items are also interchangeable between different unactive save points.
  • In the Dragon Quest Monsters games, you can typically only save in town. Some stores sell a Bookmark that lets you save anywhere and is consumed on use.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, saving is typically done by visiting a Goddess Statue. However, if you complete a sidequest for Alex the artist, he’ll give you a handheld goddess statuette that lets you save anywhere, but shatters after a single use. You can also wager it at the battle arena for a chance to win an upgraded version that never breaks, truly giving you the ability to save whenever you want.
  • Lie of Caelum: The E-Terminal item can be consumed to access the save menu, even without a proper save point.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth allows the player to stock up to three Lacrima Crystals, which can be consumed in order to save anywhere. These can be restocked at any giant blue crystal on the field.
  • Phantasy Star II has a hidden item called the Visiphone, which allows you to contact Data Memory and save your game from anywhere an infinite number of times. If protagonist Rolf uses Ryuka, his Warp Whistle technique that transports the party to the last city you saved in, after saving with the Visiphone, the location defaults to his home back in Paseo.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Saving in Daikatana could be done at any time provided that you had a Save Gem in your inventory which, upon saving, was used up. You could only carry three at any given time however, which, when you consider that they were often in secret areas and became increasingly difficult to find the further you progressed (they were practically nonexistent in the last few stages), made things even harder than they had any right to be. Mercifully, a patch was soon released that made this rule optional.
  • Viscerafest uses consumable Save Beacons, often encountered normally, usually in places a less brave player would use up as soon as they collect them while a ballsier player could save these up for later.

    Puzzle Games 
  • NYET 3: Revenge of the Mutant Stones, a Tetris variant. You start with one free save, but additional saves cost 100 coins (or 250 for a 3-pack), which may be used between the 108 levels. Coins are otherwise spent on other helpful items.

  • Chocobo's Dungeon 2 has items called Memory Tags, which serve as these while you're in the middle of dungeon-exploring. In the overworld, you have Save Points.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has Progress Devices, which act as an infinite-use Suspend Save as long as you're near where you used it. Progress Devices + even prevent the usual inventory loss upon losing/giving up in a dungeon.
  • One Way Heroics: You can purchase Save Crystals; using up one allows you to save your game. But if you've gone 5 in-game days without saving, the game will permit you to use the Emergency Save feature.

    Simulation Game 
  • The X-Universe series of space sims have autosaving every time the player docks at a space station, but if they wish to save while in flight, they need to purchase single-use "Salvage Insurance" contracts, which allow the player to save the game while out in space. X: Rebirth does away with the system and allows players to save anywhere at any time.

    Strategy RPGs 
  • In the 2nd Summon Night: Swordcraft Story the "Save Diary" item replaces the suspend save of the first game and allows saving at any point in the game (not just save points) and is used upon a single use. It is cheap and the player can save from fixed save points even without them.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare utilized one-time use Save Amulets.
  • Cry of Fear uses tape decks as save points, in reference to Resident Evil, with Nightmare difficulty adding on the need to actually have tapes on-hand to save with.
  • Kuon requires a Vessel for saving. It's not as bad as other example though, as enemies frequently drop them.
  • My Friendly Neighborhood has coin-operated save stations that require a nickel for each save. Save stations tend to be placed near healing stations that also cost a nickel to heal Gordon to max.
  • ObsCure allowed you to save anywhere, provided you had a CD.
  • The early games in the Resident Evil franchise have an interesting combination of Save Point and save token. You can only save the game at a typewriter, and use up an Ink Ribbon to do so. Resident Evil 4 keeps the typewriters but does away with the ink ribbons, and Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 lack save points completely — they just save automatically as you go through the games. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard makes a return to the classic save system with cassette decks as save points, which in normal modes are free to use, but require blank tapes in Madhouse difficulty.
  • Skinwalker Hunt: Totems serve this purpose in the game. Placing them somewhere allows them to detect the Skinwalker within a 200-mile radius as well. Once placed, though, they cannot be picked up.
  • Tormented Souls is inspired by Resident Evil: you can only save on a tape recorder, using a consumable tape reel. The rooms with the tape recorders also have a very similar soundtrack to the save rooms in Resident Evil 1.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Tomb Raider III had collectible blue crystals which saved your game on use in the PS1 version. (The PC version allowed saving at any point from the menu.)

    Western RPGs 
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance has "Savior Schnapps", an alcoholic drink that lets you save your game wherever as opposed to sleeping in a bed. However, there are penalties for abusing alcohol in the game.

Examples of nonconsumable items:

    Adventure Game 
  • In Myst V: End of Ages, you can create a save at any time by taking a photograph with the camera in your inventory. The picture is stored in your journal and you go to it by opening said journal and clicking on the image. This does mean that you save any time you take a photo for another reason, but there isn't a limit.
  • The Ixmol Jewel from Tombs & Treasure gives you your current password any time it's examined.
  • Outcast gives you the "Gaamsaav" crystal, which saves an imprint of your character's essence into the world, allowing it to be recalled later. Although you can use it as much as you want, it takes time to save (so no quick-saving in the midst of combat) and it also makes a lot of light and noise while doing it (so Save Scumming a stealth section is much more difficult).
  • Early in Mansion of Hidden Souls you're led by the voice of your sister into a living room, where you find a diary on a chair. Using it records your current progress.

  • Final Fantasy IX has the Moogle's Flute item, which summons a moogle on the world map to save your game. This fits, of course, with other moogles throughout the game serving as save points in dungeons.
  • Taking a level 10 Shir to the Central Tower of Paseo in Phantasy Star II might convince her to steal a Visiphone, which you use to contact Data Memory from anywhere. The only downside to this is that it also makes Rolf's Ryuka technique teleport the party to his home, which can be a hassle if you're exploring Dezoris.

    Simulation Game 
  • In some Harvest Moon games you can save from a journal in your inventory.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • In the Metal Gear games you saved by using your codec/radio/etc to call a "data analyst" and having them save your game for you.