Owen Leskovar Save Points are for Pussies

Even if you're not a gamer, you have to admit: video games used to be way more hardcore. In the beginning, some games had password systems or used shitty "save- point" methods, but for the majority, if you turned off your system, you were back to square one. It was painful, tough, and merciless.

But so is life sometimes; at least video games prepared us from a young age. Nowadays kids are coddled from every angle. Playgrounds are reupholstered with special particle earth to prevent any possible scratches of scrapes. Some schools have banned tag, because they don't like the exclusionary environment created by labeling a child "it."

So the question is this: Did save points turn us into pussies? Truthfully, I think a more accurate word would be "idiots."" They gave us license to be reckless without consequence and to waste resources indiscriminately just because it seemed cool. Save points made us greedy, risk-driven consumers. Wicked.

Save points waste our time and make us neurotic

Before save points, games increased play time through artificial difficulty. The levels were hard as hell, so you had to play them dozens of times to succeed, meaning that even a simple 10-level game could take you weeks to complete. Whenever your hours of memorization payed off though, you felt like a fucking champion.

Nowadays, players can save at critical moments, meaning that they never have to start over from the beginning. And games are fucking pricey. To get your money's worth on a $60 game, you want some serious play time, but modern save features remove a lot of the artificial difficulty. So developers make them longer. Needlessly. And this wastes our lives.

Take Pokemon for example. If I just play through Pokemon, it would probably take me 30-40 hours, which is quite decent. But if I want to "catch em all" or build a wicked team for battling, I'm looking at several hundred. That totals over a week of my life that I'll never get back because I was trying to perfectly train my Adament Charizard. It's mindless grinding, and it doesn't give me the same sense of accomplishment that comes from quick reflexes and Rain Man-level memorization.

Everyone knows that kid who has a "perfect file" in some game. Maybe they mastered every material in FF7, or perhaps they maxed every character's stats in NBA Street. Those kids were insane.

They also lost their shit when they would lose their files. Some people (myself included) had "save ocd" after getting a file corrupted. From then on, I saved all of my games on two different memory cards "just in case."

Save points made us pussies

Pop quiz: would you rather be at work or at Disney World? What would you rather do, finish homework or play Super Mario? Video games, like vacations, are an escape. They distract us from the stressors of 'real' life and provide comfort and entertainment whenever we need it. They're like an extraordinarily fun dog that you never have to walk or feed.

They become analogous to our wants: you never want to feed the fish or do the dishes, but you definitely want the Master Sword, and you definitely want to beat your friends on Rainbow Road. (Alternatively you could all just smoke a joint and play Rainbow Road, a game where EVERYONE wins.)

But in the virtual world, when you want something, you have infinite time and resources to get it.

Now no one is claiming that video games put us "out of touch with reality."" Sure there's the occasional psycho who goes on a real-life kill spree because he assumes that his wife and kids will respawn, or who jumps off his roof with a cape on thinking he can fly, but that's just simple psychopathy. No, we all know the difference between games and real life: it's just that games are better, easier, and less frightening. In real life, there is no reset button, no save feature, and everyone knows it.

So what do we do? We bitch out. If you strike out with that hot chick from Aldo, you don't get to try again, so instead you sulk and brood and creepily plan the "perfect attack." The only problem is that while you've been calculating, she's already started banging her Turkish manager who smells like Axe and isn't afraid that his actions have consequences.

Embrace Reality

In real life you can't always grind. You don't get to restart when you fuck up. If you don't have a potion, you probably shouldn't waste your new spell on some shitty guard just to see how awesome it looks. But the same is true for everyone else. In real life, there are far less spike pits, zombies, and evil sorcerers, but there are still tons of cute girls, dreamy men, cool jobs, and bitchin' side quests.

So embrace failure. Embrace risk. Embrace reality.

But please don't stop gaming. Pokemon Black and White just came out, and Diablo 3 is on its way. That shit doesn't deserve to be missed.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.