How does save data loss affect your enjoyment of a game?



Ever since the invention of save games, losing your progress has always been a major issue. Way back then, it wasn’t as much of a problem, simply because it was inevitable — the battery in your cartridge is dead. Easy fix: replace the battery.

A lot of games back then weren’t comprehensive or long enough — and if the gameplay loop was good, I would imagine losing a non-RPG save wasn’t that much of a detrimental loss. Of course, we can’t forget brothers, sisters, or cousins that would delete saves and claim it was an accident (I lost my entire nine-year save file on Super Smash Bros. Melee to a cousin). It’s a widespread issue which plagues all generations of video game players.

With most games getting longer and longer these days (Xenoblade Chronicles XandMetal Gear Solid Vbeing solid examples, weighing in at 40-60 hours to complete the story), it’s very easy to pour your entire essence of being into a video game save file. That’s a lot of time that could have been spent being a productive member of society and submitting to consumerism.

Digging through other people’s RPG saves is a hobby of mine because you can tell a lot about a person by their in-game choices. Their character name and appearance, quests completed, allies, weapons, the contents of their inventory — there’s so much to something so mundane. In a way it’s rather beautiful.

I’ve put seven hours intoFallout 4, and I don’t think I’m ever going to return to it. I’ve lost progress on that game, twice, because Windows 10 thought that making my “Documents” folder read-only was a pretty good idea. It’s frustrating, and in the year 2015 I almost feel guilty for expecting better. Steam Cloud sync couldn’t even save me simply because the file never existed in the first place.

The next week my apartment’s power went out, blasting my hard drive to hell and back. Since, I’ve pretty much lost all hope. Remaking a character twice almost makes you second-guess your own identity, in a way. Trudging back to the point you were previously at is a long and laborious process, and I catch myself wondering if I’m even using my time wisely. Is it worth it? Maybe I should just watch the ending on YouTube and let the disc gather dust, never to be touched by lasers again.

What’s your story? Are you still mad at your mother for starting a new game on your copy ofPokémon Silverwith the name “MOM” as a joke, and then saving? How did you feel when you accidentally deleted yourFinal Fantasy XIIprogress, ran to the console to turn it off, and ended up breaking a bunch of glass? Did you regret spilling root beer on your Super Nintendo and losing your high score onTetris Attack?

I’d love to hear your stories while I go replayUndertalefor the fifth time.