One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.
What is a Save Point, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?
What It Is: Save Point = A specific point at which the game will either automatically save the player’s progress, or prompt them to make a save file manually.
What It Means: Not all games manage saving in the same way. Some allow you to save at any time – excluding any cinematic cut-scenes (which can be several minutes long) – whilst others constantly save the player’s progress automatically every couple of seconds. By constant, some games only allow the player to save their progress when they have reached certain milestones of progress, and these are called Save Points. It is typical for a Save Point to occur after the end of each level, if a game is divided into levels, or after major events in the story. The placement of Save Points by game designers is a deciding factor in the difficulty level of a game, as if a player dies or fails, they will be “sent back” to their previous save point, losing all progress and rewards gathered since then. The further apart the save points, and their proximity to particularly difficult sections of gameplay, can have a strong positive or negative effect on player experience.
Why You Care: Understanding how a game structures it’s save points can save you a lot of arguments with the young people in your family. Sometimes, as a parent, you need to call your kids away from the game they are playing – to answer the door, to come and eat dinner, to do their blasted homework, etc! In some instances, the “just five more minutes!” excuse is just that, an excuse. But at other times, those additional five minutes actually will be needed, in order to get to the next Save Point. Failure to reach that save point could result in the loss of hours of progress! It would be like doing a craft project, turning away for two minutes, and finding at someone had unravelled all your stitches or unstuck all your papercraft! Imagine how frustrated you would be!
So remember, to avoid arguments:
- NEVER turn off a game which has been left on the pause screen. Always ask the player to return to the game to save it before switching it off.
- Understand that cinematic cut-scenes prevent the player saving the game, and often provide important plot information. Try not to hold a conversation with a player during a cut-scene if they are enjoying the story of the game. Wait a few minutes until the video ends so they can pause the game and give you their full attention.
- Be savvy. Some games will automatically save player progress every few seconds, at the end of missions or levels, or not at all. Look out in the Time section of GameHub entries for information about Save Points for each game.