Thursday, March 2, 2017

Game Mileage Varies By Age (part 4)

Another thing that I think should be part of every game developer's basic creed is to allow saving just about anywhere in the game. The old concept of “save points” was something done in 80's and 90's games to create challenge—if you couldn't get far enough to a save point and “died” along the way, you'd have to start back at the last save point. For a few types of games (such as arcade-style), I understand this, but for most games, mandating save points is almost a guarantee that most adults won't be able to enjoy or complete the game. I remember Final Fantasy VII, which I purchased along with a brand new Sony Playstation back in 1996. I also happened to be finishing up my Master's Degree at the time, and when I found myself staying up until 2am to just get to the next save point so I didn't have to do everything over again the next time I played, well...that was when I decided I had to quit the game, cold-turkey, so that I could keep my grades up and finish my degree. These days, when I consider buying an RPG, I'll scour the reviews to find out if it allows saving at any time. If it doesn't, but it's available for the PS Vita (the handheld Sony game machine), I'll buy it on that because it at least allows me to pause the system and put it in standby until the next time I want to play—allowing me to resume exactly where I left off, even if the game didn't allow me to save. Interestingly enough, the PS Vita is well-known as one of the best RPG game machines out there. I wonder if it's because of that feature?

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