The ability to save one's game instead of having to beat it in a single go was an industry revolution paving the way for larger, more complex games - but at what unforeseen cost?
Few people would argue that the introduction of games that let you save your progress was detrimental to the industry - though some might gripe that it makes games easier - since it meant that no longer would developers have to make games intended to be consumed in one sitting. Yet with this advancement came another, insidious threat: data corruption. As Peter Parrish writes in Issue 230 of The Escapist, how many times have gamers spent dozens if not hundreds of hours in a game, only to have it wiped out in the blink of an eye?
That's the theory, anyway. But innovation often comes at a price, and in this instance it's the possibility that hours, days or even months of hard gaming can evaporate in a moment of madness. Sure, we can point our fingers at the devil-may-care attitude of those players who save their games to a single slot and say they deserve to endure the indignities of file corruption. But who among us has not suffered a similar fate? A combination of carelessness and poor interface design can draw our cursors to the "delete all" button when we only mean to clear a slot or two for a new save. And let's not forget the potential for a passing scoundrel to wave magnets near our hard-drive, or for an inept younger sibling with no hand-eye coordination to somehow figure out how to erase data.
To read more about the horrors (and surprising ramifications) of trusting our memories to little files that can be corrupted as easily as any other data, read "Save Our Souls" in Issue 230 of The Escapist.