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Sirlin: Don't Use Save Games For Evil

In his new design article for Gamasutra, Street Fighter II HD Remix designer David Sirlin has been urging creators not to use the save game as a barrier to
In his new design article for Gamasutra, Street Fighter II HD Remix designer David Sirlin has been urging creators not to use the save game as a barrier to fun, suggesting: "We can allow the player to stop playing without excessive penalty and make a challenging game." Sirlin, who also recently designed competitive CCG title Kongai for web game site Kongregate.com, explains in the intro to his in-depth Gamasutra article: "Games are not for game designers and their ivory-tower ideals -- games are for players. Players have lives outside of our games and we should respect those lives and design our games accordingly, rather than expect our players to design their lives around us. Players should be able to save anytime they want, or more precisely, they should be able to stop playing your game anytime without losing their meaningful progress. This is an old argument where one side talks about the convenience of saving anytime and the other talks about the need to make games challenging, but this is a false dichotomy. We can allow the player to stop playing without excessive penalty and make a challenging game. It's just a matter of defining what "saving" actually means." Sirlin continues by way of explanation, citing a title that deals with this issue particularly well: "As an example, Mario 64 doesn't literally allow the player to save anywhere they want, but it still meets this requirement in spirit. The point of the game is to collect all 120 stars, and every time you collect a star, you "save and continue." You cannot save your exact position in a level, but such a feature isn't needed anyway. The geography of the game is designed such that a player can reach the entrance to any level in just a few seconds by navigating Mario's castle and getting back to any specific goal in a level doesn't take long either. This preserves the game's difficulty (players can't save and load to get the stars more easily) and it also means the player can turn the game off at any time, knowing that the only important progress (collecting stars) has been saved." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including lots more on save games, citing titles from Gears Of War through Dead Rising and beyond.

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