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Sometimes, because gamers these days expect higher amounts of realism, video game designers try to justify standard game mechanics. This is easier with some functions than others; game mechanics may be explained by story easily, but save points, not so much. Many times, this is an Acceptable Break From Reality, because hey, you have to be able to save, yes?
However, some games try to a step further. Phrases like, "Why don't you record the progress of your journey?" and "If you gaze upon this mirror, it preserves your memories forever" tend to pop up a lot.
Doesn't count when a video game explains to you straight, and usually outside of the story in a tutorial, that you need to save your game or you'll lose all progress.
- You could save almost anywhere in the Mega Man Battle Network series, except in the area where you fought the Big Bad. Usually, some sort of justification would be given. In 2, a random program will tell you that the radiation levels will overwhelm your PET, and prevent you from saving.
- Celestial mirrors in Okami.
- Mirrors serve a similar purpose, with a similar justification, in Onimusha.
- In Earthbound, you save by calling Ness's dad and telling him about your journey.
- The Metroid series generally doesn't even attempt to explain away its save points, but Metroid Prime 3: Corruption did, by several times having various NPCs tell you to "perform suit maintenance and data backup" before heading off on important objectives. Also in Metroid: Other M the announcer refers to using a Healing Checkpoint as a "Data recording and sheild restoration sequence".
- In Dragon View, a priest will heal you and record your journey, so if you fail the gods can return your lost soul.
- In Xenogears, the "Memory Cube" is largely handwaved, until you get to Solaris and find out that they're mind control devices
- In Chrono Cross, the save points are "Records of Fate", and in one town, several NPCs can be seen using one. They are later revealed to be the objects that FATE uses to tabs on and control humanity. As Chrono Cross had the same core team as Xenogears, you can see they like this one.
- And then again in Final Fantasy IV the After Years.
- Although they aren't save points, the revival checkpoints in Bioshock are similarly justified. They're even a plot point: they work for you and not the Splicers because they're coded to Andrew Ryan's DNA, and you play as his son. Also note that when you kill Ryan, the Vita-Chamber in his office is deactivated.
- Silent Hill 1 justifies its save points as Harry's notes of the bizarre goings on around him (said save points are even designed as note pads). This gets a nice Continuity Nod in Silent Hill 3 when Heather comes across one of said notes. (The other games' save points are less justified, but the playable characters still do note that being near one does strange things to their heads.)
- Silent Hill 4 has the best example, in that there is literally only one save point, a journal Henry keeps in his living room. You have to go back there every time you want to save.
- The Metal Gear series, having No Fourth Wall, gives control of saving the game to the Voice with an Internet Connection. Hilarity Ensues in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty if you piss off Rose enough--she doesn't allow you to save the game until you apologize to her.
- Resident Evil had typewriters. It also had (exhaustible) ink ribbons, because it was just that mean of a game. With Resident Evil 4, the ribbons went away. And the Fandom Rejoiced.
- The save points in Breath of Fire 3 are usually journals. One is a dragon statue that is said to be a local shrine, where you pray for safety.
- That shrine is a callback to the first two games, where praying at a Dragon Shrine or St. Eva Church was the only way to save.
- In Phantasy Star 2, you save your game by having your memories backed up in a computer. On the same token, dead party members are resurrected at a cloning facility.
- Throughout the Dragon Quest series, you save your game by having records made of your journey. The king served this purpose in the first three games, and in later games, this was done by the priests at churches of whomever the Supreme Deity Of The Week is. This even applies in spin-offs.
- Outcast has the 'Gaamsaav', a large diamond-shaped jewel that imprints your essence on the world, allowing it to be restored later. You have to stand still and hold it in your hand for several seconds whereupon it emits a lot of light and noise, so you have to be far enough from your enemies or it'll alert them.
- Because Brave Fencer Musashi only allows you to save your game at the castle, there are Memory Boxes in the more distant regions of the game world that serve as a temporary save point (more like a checkpoint; if you reset or power off the console, it's lost). The in-game explanation of these is that they preserve Musashi's memories.
- Indie title The Underside has big red spinning Spiral Notebooks for keeping notes of the main character's journey.
- In Soul Reaver 2, the player character Raziel can 'preserve his soul' when he reaches particular shrines. However, the shrines are very far apart and it is often necessary to dedicate several hours to completing a phase of the story, because you cannot save until you return to one of these shrines.
- Parasite Eve: Being a Police officer, Aya often calls into her superiors back at the station to report on what's happened. Who she's calling when the station is under attack and everyone's dead or unconscious, is left unexplained.
- Oddly, one of the most used save points is in the station itself, right outside her boss's door.
- The Harvest Moon series has your character's diary as the save point. Some later games let you save anywhere, but keep the diary because "some people liked it", other later games add completely non-justified save points at convenient locations.
- The latest DS title, Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar does away with diaries OR Save Anywhere, only letting you save when you go to sleep. It also doesn't mention writing in your diary when you pick it - it's just 'Save your game and go to sleep' thus averting justification.
- Grand Theft Auto II had save points in churches, but you had to pay 50000 dollars to save your game. The preacher would declare "HALLELUJAH! Another soul saved!" if you had the money, or "DAMNATION! No donation, no salvation!" if you didn't.
- GTA 3 had a more sensible way: you walked the nameless character into the hideout-crashpad where you could see a bed, a fridge and a microwave oven and the door closed behind him. You saved the game, and when he came out it was six hours later. In later games, you could buy more well-appointed property, so your save-points were more luxurious and more befitting a man who probably owned half the city.
- In the Interactive Fiction game Slouching Towards Bedlam, the player character is infected by some sort of metaphysical virus which is naturally capable of manipulating reality to the extent of "saving" and "loading".
- Tuurngait artifacts in Penumbra, which only vaguely hint themselves as save points when touched. I feel like I left a part of me inside. They also serve the purpose of spreading the Tuurngait infection in the game storyline.
- Modern Castlevanias usually have their save points in front of a statue of an angel or the Virgin Mary. Justified since it'd have to be sanctified ground and thus repel the monsters away. What sanctified ground is doing in Dracula's castle, on the other hand, is anyone's guess.
- Costume Quest's DLC, Grubbins On Ice, has spots where you can speak into a speaker to alert the "Trowbog Historical Society" that history has been made. Your character will occasionally lampshade the saving by remarking "We just walked around some more. You'll probably want to write that down."
- Pokémon Colosseum has the protagonist save their progress on PCs found around Orre.
- Meanwhile, in the main series, progress is saved by the protagonist writing down their journey in a journal. This is even called 'Report' in the Japanese versions.
- In Final Fantasy X the save points were recording spheres; theoretically someone recounted what happened since the last save.