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Save States

by Tempest Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:23 am

What are your thoughts on using save states in modern game collections or mini consoles, like the SNES Mini and the Mega Drive Mini?

For me, there's two trains of thought when it comes to using save states or not, which I have broken down into two styles of play:

The Journey is More Important than Reaching the End
This is where you don't use save states and play the game as it was intended to be played: until you run out of lives and continues and have to start from the beginning again. Most games up until the end of the 16-bit era and into the beginning of the 32-bit era were designed so you would improve your skills on each play through. So, you might not make it to the end of a specific level on one play through, but that teaches you about how to play the game so that next time you are more likely to get past that place and progress using what you have learned. This is a progressive approach that allows you to appreciate the nuances of the game. Using save states robs you from experiencing that important part of the gameplay experience.

Reaching the End is All that's Important
This is where you save all the time in order to complete the game as quickly as possible, including save scumming. I understand most people are time poor today and don't have the amount of time needed to invest in the above way on playing the games, so save states make playing them and progressing to the end more convenient. But playing this way means you miss out on the learning curve and appreciating the game on a deeper level. This is a murky area for me. I have been using them until recently, especially in hard areas of games, but have found this robs the games of some of their appeal and inherent design.

In the end, it really comes down to whether you want to experience the game the way it was designed to be played or whether you just want to see the ending.

As an aside, I think it's a great feature for carts that wouldn't keep your high scores once you turned the console off. Once you beat your high score, create a save state, then load it up next time you play to try to beat it or prove to your friends that you actually did achieve it.
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Re: Save States

by emwearz Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:35 am

When I use systems with Save States my initial feeling is that you might as well be using god mode or watching a lets play, it's cheating to me because you are using a system that was not intended to be used by the developers.I have seen friends who use them to get over each little bit of a level, why bother.

It is a bit like recent Final Fantasy games having built in buffs, 9999 DMG and stuff, I don't see the point in using them because it removes any challenge, that being said, that is what I have to do to get enjoyment out of a game and a sense of achievement, I couldn't care less what other people do to enjoy their games.

Sometimes I will use a save state at the start of a level if the game has limited continues, purely to avoid having to waste my time playing levels I have finished, but I don't save mid level or anything, I am sure some people would feel that that removes any challenge, so who am I to talk.
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Re: Save States

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:45 am

I think in your two options you're overlooking an important middle ground. Just because someone is using save states doesn't meant they're using them at every given opportunity to finish the game ASAP.

At least speaking to my own experience, I largely use save states when I play games on mini consoles or on the Wii U VC to act as save points. It's ultimately about helping an older game respect my time (and patience) better. Granted I mostly play RPGs on these, but it helps a TON as far as fitting these games into my life better. I don't always have time to play perfectly between the original save points the game was designed with. It's really nice to just be able to pause a game mid battle or mid-sequence and come back to it when I'm done with work or something (and I don't need to just leave the console on during that whole time). Especially with some RPGs that really pad out their play times with hidden pathways or mazes they expect you to get lost in, saves states are a godsend in a similar way a strategy guide would've been back in the day *glares angrily at FF3* :lol:

For action games, I'll basically use them in place of an infinite lives cheat, saving at the start of a level and retrying if I die because playing through the entire game over again just for maybe another one or two tries at a final area is not a fun experience worth my time the same way it was when I was a kid.

I think save states are a fantastic feature to help people keep enjoying these older games long after games with more forgiving difficulty curves and save points have changed peoples' sensibilities. At the end of the day, save states are an optional accessibility feature that helps more people enjoy video games in the way that suits them best, and that's always a good thing in my book~ ^w^
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Re: Save States

by marurun Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:07 am

Save states are also a way to see the end of a game that may not otherwise be worth you time. For example, the game might be one you would not otherwise enjoy playing the way it was intended. Cheating is simply never an issue with a single player game unless high scores are at issue.
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Re: Save States

by opa Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:48 am

I could see using save states for those games that used 32-digit passwords to save your progress. It wouldn't impact the game at all if you used modern conveniences to save your data as opposed to wasting time entering a password.
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Re: Save States

by PresidentLeever Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:41 am

"Using save states robs you from experiencing that important part of the gameplay experience."

Agree to an extent but using them when there are limited lives or continues just allows you to practice a segment or level more times without replaying what you've done already. Since a lot of older games have balancing and trial & error issues there are often some points where you couldn't have been prepared enough just by being good at using the moves and tools available up until that point anyway. It's still cheating of course but how I usually prefer to play. If I like a game a lot I'll probably replay and use fewer saves next time, so it's good for practice too.

Related to this is the issue with very frequent to unlimited saving or checkpoints+unlimited lives being used as a crutch when the challenge is heavily memorization-based. So you keep progressing pretty smoothly but you're annoyed at the game most of the time. Super Meat Boy (and to a lesser extent VVVVVV) has this problem. - Mini-reviews, retro vgm tribute, rom hacks, chip music, mockups, misc. lists
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Re: Save States

by Dikdikvandik Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:33 pm

Save states make it REALLY hard for me to play on original hardware that doesn't have them.
The Everdrive has them though.....
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Re: Save States

by Gunstar Green Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:28 pm

Save states make it convenient to put down an old game without having to wait for a save point or type in a lengthy password if the game you're playing has either option to begin with. It's 2019 I don't have to leave my console on overnight anymore if I don't want to have to start over.
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Re: Save States

by IMJ Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:21 pm

Years and years ago when emulation became a "thing" I made a DVD with several Nintendo systems on it, and more ROMS than I can count. Trying to be clever, I made a label for the DVD that said "NES - Nintendo Emulation System" and that was my excuse to pour over all sort of games that I grew up with, and many that I never had a chance to touch - like anything from the Gameboy Advanced.

I've loved the ability to save states since then. It's been my experience that I love my retro gaming all the way up to the point where I realize that I don't want to dig in for hours on a 30 year old game anymore. Normally my need for nostalgia is satiated when I boot something up and enjoy it typically up until my first or second "death" on a given game. Saved states allows me to dig in a little deeper for the enjoyment, minus a lot of the frustration of a given level or area.

Saved states compliments the nostalgia factor incredibly well.
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Re: Save States

by pook99 Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:51 pm

Save states are great, I use them mostly to:

1) to replace passwords...any passwords. I'm way past the point in my life where I want to keep a notebook of passwords so save states are the perfect solution to that

2) to enjoy games that should have had a save feature to begin with. Super Mario 3 is the perfect example of this, sure I could use warp whistles and jump to the end but the fun for me comes from replaying every level in the game, and the reality is that game is way too long to finish in one sitting, so save states are perfect for games like this. Other examples of games that should have had a save feature include: Mario 1 and 2, bionic commando, rygar, blaster master, adv island 1-3 just to cite a few off the top of my head.

I think save states are necessary for games like that, but they also come in handy for shorter games where something suddenly comes up and you can get back to it later.

3) I will occasionally use them to cheat, as mentioned by others, I'm not really into replaying whole games if I die late in the game anymore so save states help with essentially giving me unlimited lives. If I enjoy a game I will try and beat it without save states, or if it is a game with a rep I will definitely try and beat it "legit" (like battletoads for example) but if it is a game I am playing for the first time I will create save points at the start of levels to make up the archaic system of of having to replay whole games.

4) I also use them to answer childhood questions. Like for example, I have beaten double dragon 1 on nes about a million times in my life but to this day always feel like I just get lucky on the wall with the extending bricks. So one day I got to the wall, save stated it, and just tried to figure out a pattern, I still don't know the pattern, but I will use save states to figure out stuff like that.
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