545 Death-GameOver-SavePoint

I was watching a streamer play the new Star Ocean game today, and noticed that, as it is a classically designed JRPG, it still utilizes the common Death-GameOver-SavePoint system that was invented over 30 years ago.

While I won’t do hours of research to determine whether this is accurate, it’s my assumption that The Legend of Zelda on the NES was likely one of the first games to implement this type of system. If a game didn’t use Death-GameOver-SavePoint, then it probably used Death-GameOver-Restart. There are a few others… SecretCode-Death-GameOver-SecretCode… Checkpoint-Death-Checkpoint… and so on.

(The theme here is death and rebirth. If there’s any theme that has pervaded video games since the beginning most, it’s probably death {or guns/shooting} {or jumping}.)

So why are we still using these systems? Well, we aren’t really. A lot of contemporary games, and many indie offerings, attempt a great number of other solutions to get around the Death-GameOver-SavePoint system. And for that we applaud them greatly! JRPGs like Star Ocean rely on this system because it’s comfortable and familiar. It gives the player some control over how they mark progress in their game, and it introduces a consequence loop that motivates player decisions (if my character dies right now, I’ll have to start back at the SavePoint! O no!). But I’m not convinced that these same advantages can’t be achieved some other way.

I don’t have a solution necessarily, because it’s a pretty big question. But it’s definitely on my mind why these systems persist through the decades of gaming evolution.

[ Today I Was Playing: Borderlands 2 ]

June 28, 2016

#game-mechanic-system, #game-opinion