Where Save Games Go to Die

If I had but world enough and time... I still probably wouldn't finish these playthroughs.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/3kq85j/where-save-games-go-to-die

I don’t think I’ve finished a STALKER game. I have, several times, started all three of them and enjoyed my time with them. But actually made my way to the core and concluded the game? Never.

Also, Spec Ops: The Line. Just never quite got round to it. I know what happens, I’ve taken away from the discussion of the game everything about it. I’ve just not quite made the time to play through the later parts of the game myself.

Save games truly go to die on Nintendo consoles, because you can’t protect them from hardware failure in any reasonable way. My wife is still salty our original Wii broke before she finished the final boss of Donkey Kong Country Returns.

For me it is right before the final area where you enter/fight Sin in Final Fantasy X. I was in grad school and had packed all of that stuff up when moving back to my hometown, so that save is circa summer 2004 just sitting there in that wide open grassy area where I was grinding to prepare for the last bit. I got my PS2 out a couple years back when the X/X-2 remasters came out, played for a bit, and then turned it off.

I started playing Alien: Isolation about a year ago, and have kept on returning to it every several months to binge-play it for like 8 hours. I think I’m just about due for another return to it, and this time around I might actually beat the game.

A weirder one is Dragon’s Dogma, where I abandoned a save file with 58 hours of playtime, but I can kind of find solace in the fact that my pawn is presumably still helping other people out. So, I guess that save file isn’t actually dead? Now that I think about it, it’s basically a Toy Story 3 situation. Keep up the fight Gristle, maybe I’ll come back one day.

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Dead Space.
Look, I still have the save game file sitting there. Shaming me. Almost 6 years ago exactly.

I think part of the challenge of going back to finish old saves is the hurdle of simply remembering how to play the game. I’m halfway through Dead Space, the tutorial bits are hours behind my save point, but will I remember how all the mechanics work, how the enemy AI works, what the narrative is? That’s the roadblock that prevents me from picking up these old unfinished games. If I’m going to have to start over, I might as well play something new, right?

I should… I should probably finish Dead Space, shouldn’t I?


I have tried, on two separate occasions, to finish Bloodborne. I get it. It’s the best of the Souls-likes. So I’ve been told. But I’ve had no problem getting through Dark Souls 1-3. I really don’t know why Bloodborne and I haven’t clicked.

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I still have a Playstation memory card with my unfinished save games from a half a dozen JRPGs that I swore I’d one day go back to. I had a nasty habit back in the day of playing most of the way through an RPG, and then while either grinding my way up to being ready to finish, or completing as much side content as possible, I’d fall off to play something else. I know for sure I have late-to-end game saves of FF8, Xenogears, Legend of Dragoon, Star Ocean 2, Jade Cocoon, Lunar, Suikoden 2, and a possibly unbeatable save of Valkyrie Profile because I played the game sub-optimally. I couldn’t tell you where I left off in most those games with the same accuracy as Rob did, though I know my FF8 save is on the islands closest to heaven or hell, where I was grinding for levels and magic draws.

Once I moved on to PS2, 360, and now PS4 I’ve been better about finishing games that I start, but those Playstation save games still haunt me. My memory cards full of saves have traveled with me for decades now, waiting to be finished, though some of those discs have been lost to time.

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I have a save in Ocarina of Time 3D where I know I’m supposed to be at the Shadow Temple, but when I opened the file I was in the first village somehow, and I’m too lazy to make the trek back to the dungeon.

Also I’m right at the final boss in Final Fantasy The 4 Heroes of Light, except I get owned every single time I try to battle it.

I was so excited to beat Retro Game Challenge, until the disembodied head revealed the final challenge was that I had to beat all the games. Nah.

I’m really hoping the crew chooses Spec Ops: The Line for the next Waypoint 101 so I can finally play through it.


I completely understand this feeling, the sensation that you started something and it feels like a failure that it was not completed. And then the hesitation of resuming the pursuit because it is a long way to the end, you are not enthused as you were with the game or a feeling of the experience is not “pure” because you have forgotten parts of the story or mechanics. Almost every game on my PS2 is a failed half start and the backlog grows every year on a multitude of systems.

I had to struggle mentally with resuming games after abandoning saves for a long time. I resumed Witcher 3 after a year and a half in limbo. It turned out to be one of my favorite games ever. I was hesitant to resume Justice For All of the Phoenix Wright Trilogy because I thought I had forgotten too much of the story. Nope. It was just as easy to resume after a year and a half than it was to start over again.

I encourage everyone to simply just resume saves when time allows for it. Completing games is much more satisfying than replaying sequences that you have already experienced. And once you’ve finished something, you’ll shed some of the mental baggage that you’re holding and you’ll feel much more prepared to take on all the new games you want to play.

One of this attempts, I’ll actually finish Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines. My latest playthrough petered out at the mere thought of going through that sewer section again.

Also on this list:

  • Baldur’s Gate
  • Jade Empire
  • KotOR II (last boss fight)
  • Two different Fire Emblem games – I burned out on the third route of Fates, and my playthrough of Shadows of Valentia, a game I like a lot more than the previous two entries in the series, appears to have stalled out in the final stretch – that tower dungeon is not fucking around x_x

I’ve been trying to work through my backlog of these lately (finally finished The Witcher 1!), but there’s one I don’t think I’ll ever actually finish - Cave Story+. My save is sitting right before the final two boss fights, and I just got so frustrated with them and the lack of a save point between the two that I gave up.

I originally abandoned my Kingdoms of Amalur save for over a year, and it was a bit weird getting back into it, but I’m glad I did since I ended up enjoying the whole thing quite a bit. I think I also went back and rescued my Space Pirates and Zombies save after well over a year, and played it to completion.

My old Final Fantasy 12 save has me trapped in some blue tower, that I can’t remember why I’m in, with enemies I’m not able to beat. At least twice I’ve tried to play since I got stuck many years ago, but I also forget how to play the game, and also suspect I’m a tad underleveled.

I do want the re-release, because the game is great, but I’m in no mood to play it without a fastforward function.

To his Coy Mistress!? The poem I can only ever hear being read in the voice of Andrew Dice Clay?

First off Rob, I’m the same way with Thief. I think I got one level further because fuck those zombies, but in the next level I was in a fantastically ugly cave system knocking out dinosaur heads on legs. I bailed on Thief 2 at some point as well. Having already finished Deadly Shadows and enjoyed it, going back to the “better” games just didn’t do it for me.

The times I can remember pushing through, it didn’t pay off. I very much enjoyed Devil May Cry 1, 3, 4, and Reboot. But I bounced off Ninja Gaiden: Black and Bayonetta multiple times. I eventually forced myself to finish them, but the things I didn’t enjoy about them didn’t go away. By getting to the end, I felt like I’d done as much as I could, but I should have trusted my gut.

Ultimately we have relationships with games. They build up credit, both on their own merits and by reputation. So you’re willing to suffer through some amount of bad stuff. It can be hard to judge exactly when the negatives overtake the positives, and it can be hard to get out guilt free. Games with definitive ends are more like summer relationships, so when the credits roll you can feel good or bad about the time you had and move on. But just because it’s finite doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

I mean, Austin basically stayed with Mass Effect: Andromeda for spite, right?

Most of my characters are standing stationary on the critical path minutes into the tutorial. My pile of shame is upsettingly large. In Skyrim I decided to never quick travel until I realised just how dull that world is moment to moment and from there I never went back to it. The same in fallout 3 and 4.

Final Fantasy 8 is my favourite Final Fantasy. I have never finished it. Every single time I’ve played it, I’ve loved it and then decided to take a break to play other games at the end of the third disc and I’ve never picked it up again.


Just joined to say how weirded out I was by Rob’s Dying Light save story. This is the same mission, and the same failed jump on which I stopped playing and didn’t return.

Great game up to then though.

For me, it’s pretty much any open world game that I’ve ever attempted with the exception of Fallout 3 and I believe I finished that just because my PC was dead at the time and I only had a few 360 games. I don’t think those saves really haunt me though. Finishing fallout3 was actually a huge let down since the ending did nothing for me and made me feel as though everything I thought I was doing in the game didn’t amount to much.

There are two that I do think about often: Planescape: Torment and Bioshock. I came very late to PS:T and it was one that I looked forward to trying for years but I hit a wall with my magical abilities and kept losing all my party members over and over again before abandoning it. Bioshock I have started and enjoyed on 3 or 4 different systems at this point and though I loved the opening, I never stayed with it past the few hour mark.

That Ocarina of Time save IS getting completed though. I swear. Someday…

Commenting as Waypoint surfaced this article on social media today and it was relevant to me. Last night I tried to get back into Dishonored 2, but I don’t think it’s going to happen for me.

With the first Dishonored, I initially stalled out after a handful of hours after getting bogged down in pursuit of stealthy perfection, but ended up really enjoying it when I returned to the game months later with a greater tolerance for error. After experiencing a similar roadblock with Dishonored 2 last year, I thought now was the time to make a similar leap. Unfortunately, after spending 3-4 hours with it over the last couple of days, finally completing the Clockwork Mansion that I’d been stuck on, I don’t see myself ever finishing this game.

The problem is that I should not have purchased this game on PS4. The load times are just too painful. I’ve certainly experienced worse load times in a PS4 game, but it’s still close to a full minute, and in this sort of game, where I may want to try 3 or 4 different methods of getting from Point A to Point B in a given scenario, that slowdown is crippling. I suspect if I’d been playing this on PC, where a keypress could allow me to retry in a matter of seconds, I’d be seeing this through to the end. But the painful loading times on PS4 have dampened my enthusiasm for seeing this through, and I can’t imagine starting this over on PC either. Maybe I’ll find a Let’s Play to watch, and/or will check out Death of the Outsider on PC.