Rage: On the Dependence of Autosaving

No, this has nothing to do with the FPS game from ID software, or the controversial 1977 novel from Stephen King.

This is about my emotions regarding the rare occurrence of my video game crashing. It doesn’t happen very often, but it has happened recently in a game which does not include an Autosave feature.

The game was a lovely little JRPG called Atelier Rorona Plus, on the PS Vita. I was happily exploring the world map, slaying enemies with my party of misfits and collecting ingredients for my alchemy workshop. This is pretty much the extent of the game, but it’s more about character interactions than varied gameplay. I didn’t mind, I was having a good time.

Let's not dwell on the fact that I failed to make friends in the game. I have to deal with that enough IRL!

Let’s not dwell on the fact that I failed to make friends in the game. I have to deal with that enough IRL!

Now, it must be said that because of my tendency to play smaller indie games, I’m used to Autosaving, which at most inconveniences me with a tiny icon in the corner that politely tells me: don’t turn off this machine right now or you’re a massive idiot.

I always complied.

But, that meant I never thought about saving my game manually. I had taken that feature for granted.

Now, cut back to the present day. Atelier Rorona Plus doesn’t have Autosave at all, but rather it allows you to manually save when you’re back in the Workshop (or out in the world map, as I learned a little too late). The game is split up into 12 assignments, so in my careless yet obsessive compulsive manner, I saved my progress only after I finished each one.

Allow me to vent for a bit, via dissecting my stupidity into key events:

Stupid event number 1: I was merrily playing for about an hour, having a great time pressing X to slay hundreds of non-threatening enemies. Wondering how long I’d been playing, I then quit the game to check the time, pressing to PS button on the Vita. This takes you to a “home page” outside the game. Out of habit, since I usually press the PS button to close the game, I swiped down to close the window before I knew what I was doing. Rookie error. Bye-bye to 1 hour’s worth of progress! I swore to be more careful.

Stupid event number 2: Apparently not learning from the first event, even though it was my own fault and not a crash of any kind, I should have learned to save more often. After playing for 2 hours, and finishing an assignment, I was about to save but had to go through some dialogue events. The dialogue suddenly sped up for some reason, the game glitched, and shut down suddenly. I then commence raging and looking for puppies to kick and tables to flip. I swore to be even more careful.

Don't give me that look. You know the process after game crashes. Turn around.

Don’t give me that look. You know the process after game crashes. Turn around.

The rage intensifies when you realise you need to retrace your steps, and try to remember what you did right and what you could improve. It will be quicker, sure, skipping through the dialogue, but all those completed objectives need to be done again. There is nothing worse for me than to repeat what I’ve already done. Life should be always about new experiences. I will never read the same book twice, and watching the same movie twice seems pointless, unless it’s with someone else to see their reaction. Sitting through a game you control, knowing you’ve done it before, seems so much worse.

… Stupid events number 3, 4, and 5: Oh, you thought I had learned my lesson? Oh no no. This happened three more times. The game was known to crash at a certain point, and although I saved a little more frequently, I didn’t save at every point I could have. I would be met with a random crash (fix yo game, developers!) and mentally calculate the effort I had wasted after the last save. Defeating hard bosses was the most frustrating when you realise you need to repeat the process. I yet again swore to be more careful.

So what have I learned? Every time I’m back at home base; save, save, and save again. Even though game crashes aren’t my fault, my lack of cautiousness is.

Pro tip: save often. Don’t end up like Dudley Don’t-save here.

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4 thoughts on “Rage: On the Dependence of Autosaving

  1. p2d2 says:

    Yeah…MGSV got my into a mass paranoia about backing my save data up. (For Quiet reasons of course!) Now, we get so comfortable with autosaves. I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty nonchalant about it with many games. But since MGSV, I’ve been very paranoid about save data corruption.

  2. YvoCaro says:

    I learned the hard way too, save often, save until you drop. Well, not literally of course!
    Btw, I’m enjoying the Atelier games a lot too! Soothing gameplay!

    • Eric says:

      Yes, I’m now certainly a changed man with respect to save frequency. The Atelier games seem to be great! I’m looking forward to more of them. Great to relax with, but there’s also some really surprising depth to the gameplay!

      • YvoCaro says:

        True! I started with Rorona too, but have played Atelier Ayesha recently. In my opinion even better. And that’s saying something, because Rorona was my game of the Month last year!

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