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Although it has different meanings depending on the type of technology, this is mainly about the video game version, which is to restart just the game without having to reboot the system. This is mostly to save power (especially in handhelds) and time (especially in disc systems, which have long boot-ups).
This can take two forms:
- Choosing to return to the title screen from one of the game menus. This is so common, it doesn't really need examples (save for any game that plays with it).
- Pressing a button combination that returns to either the title screen or just before.
A Soft Reset can have the effect of leaving the randomization values the same as they were before the restart, whereas a game or system with hardcoded starting values will return to the first string of values on hard reset.
- The Game Boy may have been the Trope Maker for the second form. Since the startup process took up extra energy, this was likely a way to save battery life. The combination is Start, Select, A and B all at once. The Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance had this as well.
- The GBA port of Tales of Phantasia was a rare game that didn't have this option.
- The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening also didn't have the function. Instead, that combination was used to bring up the save game screen. A lot of people were confused, probably because they thought it would reset the game if they tried it.
- Nintendo DS games instead have the combination of Start, Select, L and R, almost certainly because Start and Select got moved to the other side of the system.
- A few SNES games by Squaresoft had that combination.
- PlayStation games by Square Enix had Start, Select, L1, L2, R1 and R2.
- Some (but not all) Konami games on Playstation 1 have the Start / Select / L1 / L2 / R1 / R2 input too. This include, among others, Mitsumete Knight, Tokimeki Memorial Private Collection, and Tokimeki Memorial Taisen Puzzle Dama.
- The Dreamcast and Saturn both had requirements set by Sega where pressing Start+A+B+C (Saturn) or Start+A+B+X+Y (Dreamcast) would cause the game to return to the title screen, or, if already at the title screen, the system boot menu.
- The button combination that quits out of a mode in Super Smash Bros and sequels is L+R+A+Start.
- Unless you were using the Wii Remote and/or the Nunchuk in Brawl. The remote alone was A+B+1/2+"+", and plus the Nunchuk was Z+B+1+"+".
- The PSP has a Home button that lets you go straight to the PSP main menu.
- The first twoTenchu games had start + select.
- Shadow Hearts: From the New World claims to have one in the manual. However, the combination listed doesn't actually work.
- The TurboGrafx-16 had a soft reset activated with select + run.
- On the iPad, the only button is a soft reset button.
- Perhaps recognizing the need for Save Scumming in Way of the Samurai, both the second and third game possesses soft reset methods. The second game requires all four shoulder buttons pressed along Select and Start. The third game reduces it to Select and Start only.
- Monster Rancher 2 has a Soft Reset by pressing start and select for about 10/20 seconds (to avoid accidental pressings). Since MR2 is a very cruel game and some things may depend soley on luck, you'll use this buttons to Save Scumming many, many, maaaaany times.
- People grinding raid reputations in World of Warcraft usually use a soft reset found under the raid leader's "Reset instances" button that has a fundamentally similair effect. This would reset all the trash before a boss, letting you kill them multiple times, doesn't work when the boss dies however, because that turns off the respawn timer until the hard resets, when the bosses come back too.