The Day I Lost My Reliance on Save Points

Image from Flickr User: //svensson
Image from Flickr User: //svensson

After reading Mr. Hatm0nster’s post on the video game, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues, I was reminded of my experience with another game on the SNES, titled simply Jurassic Park.  For a decade and more I was plagued by this game.  You see, it was among several SNES games I own that have no save points whatsoever, and since I don’t usually have a long enough attention span for such games, it was quite a long time before I ever completed any of them.  And then, surely due to some inexplicable desire for pain, I decided to force myself to suffer through the entirety of Porky Pig’s Haunted Holiday, another game lacking in save points that had terrorized my existence for many years.  I spent an entire evening trudging through this festival of horrors, all while eating goldfish crackers and listening to my cat snore.  It was a long and trying affair, but I finally defeated the final boss and reigned victorious.  With my conquest complete, I decided to set my sights on the one other game that had plagued me since ducklinghood.  The SNES adaptation of Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park, while being an excellent movie, is not a good game, partly because it’s just…absurd.  Like I said, the lack of save points is just the start of my troubles.  This game also features several buildings that are practically labyrinths, along with the vaguest set of objectives known to humankind and water fowl alike.  I seriously had no idea what the heck I was supposed to be doing, which probably accounted for the majority of my troubles.  I would randomly wander about, get mauled by dinosaurs, die from said mauling, then, repeat the process until I ran out of lives.  And yet, after proving my superior to Porky Pig, I vowed I would not be made to look like a fool any longer.  I would tame this game, if it was the last thing I did.

The first order of business was finding out what my goal in this game even was.  I finally managed to locate the game’s list of objectives, which included such tasks as collecting all the raptor eggs and turning on a generator.  Some objectives had to be completed before you could attempt others, while some could be done in any order.  Once I had an idea of what was expected of me, I then started playing small bits of the game each day, an hour here and an hour there.  One day I’d explore this building, mapping out every room and hallway, then, I’d explore another section of the map, and so on.  This went on for weeks, and I slowly started to make my way further into the game than I ever had before.  I started forming plans; I started to learn the most logical order in which objectives should be completed, and my goal was not to beat the game, not yet, but merely to learn.

While this was quite a tedious process, I had never played a game like this before, and it was a rather unique experience.  It was mere trial and error, forming plans and perfecting others, hours of mapping and getting lost and erasing maps that had gone wrong to try all over again.  It was a scientific experiment.  It was not just a game, but a puzzle to be solved.  After weeks of preparation, I had finally formed my battle plan, and I put this plan into action.  And not only did it work; the entire plan just fell together so smoothly.  The effort was still there, creeping through jungles and abandoned buildings, always on guard for the predators who would do me harm.  There was still surprise, there were still trials, but I was no longer lost.  I knew what I was doing, I had something to work towards, and slowly, I made my way through one objective after another.  Even with my maps, there were times I got confused, but I had done it all before.  I knew it could be done.  And then it was over.  I had completed every objective and all that was left was to rush to the helicopter pad to escape this rotten island, and there are few times I had ever been happier.

I have played far better games than this one, but this might just have been one of my most satisfying accomplishments ever.  And now I ask you, fellow gamers, what was your most satisfying gaming achievement?  Have you ever beaten any of those frightening games with no save points?  How long did it take?

D. Rex

2 thoughts on “The Day I Lost My Reliance on Save Points”

  1. In the ancient past, I remember a couple games that I enjoyed that didn’t include save points…well, not really anyway. The first was Rogue: The Adventure Game. It was a dungeon crawler that used text-based characters to create rooms, and in each level, you have to move your little face around the screen to make the rooms appear. The rooms contained stuff from enemies to items. I don’t remember there being any save points, so each time you died, you had to start all the way over. Frankly, I don’t even remember how many levels were in the game, so I’ve no idea of I ever came close to beating it.

    The other game was the original Prince of Persia. The game had a dozen levels, and you couldn’t save until you got past level three. Ideally though, you were supposed to beat the game in one sitting. I think I managed that only once — it was a decently difficult game, especially for someone with bad timing such as myself.

    In more recent times, neither The Stanley Parable nor Gone Home contained save points, but they were relatively short games, and there really wouldn’t have been any reason to save. It follows that a short, engrossing game without save points is much better than a long, confusing game without them.

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    1. I always thought of games as long adventures, as most of mine were, so there was a dire need for save points. It seems I’ve been seeing a lot of games nowadays, however, that don’t require save points. I’ve been hearing about a lot of PC games lately that are popular, but they don’t need save points because they are shorter. Slender, for example. There’s no need to save in either the 8 Pages or the 9 Pages. You either last long enough to collect all the pages, or else you’ll probably get a game over within about ten minutes. Most likely a game over. I can never elude Slender Man for long, and honestly, if the game was long enough for save points, I don’t think I could tolerate the terror for that long.

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