Rewinding time: the best save point items

Wouldn’t it be good if save-points were a thing in real-life? Just imagine how beneficial they’d be: simply rewind time if you made a big mistake. Of course, this does open up some SOMA-type dilemmas but let’s forget about those for the moment.

Video games mimicked life back in the day in that they didn’t contain save-points. If your console was switched off while playing (usually as a result of your parents yelling ‘Turn that thing off this second!’), all your gameplay would be lost and you’d have to start over. It was therefore heaven when developers began introducing items that allowed you to save your progress. Forget about the standard autosave feature of today: the following objects caused us all to breathe a sigh of relief when we found them.

1996: typewriters in Resident Evil

Resident Evil, HD Remaster, Jill, woman, safe room, save, typewriterWe may all be using computers nowadays but it’s good to see typewriters making an appearance throughout the Resident Evil games. In the earlier releases their use was tied to Ink Ribbons which were in limited supply so the act of deciding to save was an important one; plus they took up a slot in your inventory so there was less space for weapons and ammunition. Still, you were always relieved when you found a typewriter as the safe room they were in gave you a respite from the zombies – for a few minutes, anyway.

1999: notebooks in Silent Hill

Silent Hill,  video game, Harry, man, save, notebook, notepadI like it when a save point item makes sense in terms of the game’s setting and the notebooks in Silent Hill are great. Protagonist Harry Mason is a writer so the object would obviously hold some importance for him; and what better way to let everyone know what you’ve been through by recording your progress on paper in preparation for an exclusive tell-all book later on? A few of these save points even serve the story of Silent Hill 3 as they take the form of memos left behind for Harry’s adopted daughter.

1999: churches in Grand Theft Auto 2

Grand Theft Auto 2, video game, church, JESUS SAVES, saveLook out for the ‘JESUS SAVES’ signs in Grand Theft Auto 2 (complete with flickering neon letters to highlight ‘U’ and ‘SAVE’) and you know you’ve reached somewhere safe. This may not be the most politically-correct save point but I do like how it’s so in-keeping with the series’ cheeky nature. You’re able to absolve your sins by entering the church and donating the hefty sum of $50,000 – that’s a small price to pay for saving your soul as well as your game.

2001: moogles in Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX, video game, Kupo, moogleInstead of an inanimate object like the other games on today’s list, Final Fantasy IX chose to use a non-player-character (NPC) so this is possibly the cutest save point. The moogles can be called with a flute to access the command on the world map and record your progress. If you use a tent at a save moogle, you’ll receive a cutscene showing your party sleeping in a structure with a pom-pom to simulate overnight resting; now that’s the kind of weekend break I think we all could look forward to.

2002: couches in ICO

ICO, video game, Ico, Yorda, boy, girl, stone couch, sit, rest, saaveI replayed ICO again recently and laughed when I saw the couches. During my first playthrough back in 2002 I didn’t even question them but now they look somewhat out of place in the rest of the game’s setting. First, there’s no other furniture within the castle so it’s strange they survived the dilapidation suffered by the rest of the building; and second, they just look so uncomfortable. Seeing Ico and Yorda sit down and fall asleep just makes me wonder how long it will be before they get numb bums.

2011: bonfires in Dark Souls

Dark Souls, video game, fire, bonfire, saveThe bonfires throughout Dark Souls were so core to the game’s design that they’ve become a signature of the series and are perhaps the most iconic save point in our list. While the flickering flames could be considered a welcome sight, it wasn’t all positive: resting there would replenish your health and Etstus but all nearby enemies would respawn. The mechanic resulted in a constant balancing act between risk and reward, one which has gained a legion of fans since the title’s release.

Have you come across any other interesting save points in video games? Let us know in the comments below!

The real ‘horrifying discovery’

On Sunday mornings, my other-half and I tend to sit in the kitchen with a cup of tea while looking through the news headlines. Yesterday our conversation centred around a story with the headline Boy, 11, makes horrifying discovery in the case of his pre-owned copy of GTA.

The article began: “A mum was left fuming after her 11-year old son found a bad of deadly methamphetamine in the case of his pre-owned copy of Grand Theft Auto V. Kayla McAllister discovered the white power inside a booklet in the copy of the game he bought at a GamesStop store in Tallahassee, Florida. A police report filed with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the bag contained .6 games of meth, Kotaku reports.”

Who’d have thought that we’d have another gaming controversy so soon after ITV News’ Fortnite scandal a couple of weeks ago? As usual though, this story isn’t as straightforward as it first seems there are a number of points The Sun needs to be called out on. So here we go again: let’s set the record straight and once more discuss the failings of both poor journalism and parenting.

First: this story is over a year old

Grand Theft Auto V, book, drugs, receipt

The Kotaku article referred to was originally published on 09 May 2017 so why on earth is The Sun bothering to highlight it now? Having a slow-news-day isn’t an excuse for unjustified reporting or giving your audience something to be ‘outraged’ about in order to attract views. True, the newspaper is never going to be the pinnacle of investigative journalism; but this is just lazy and smacks of incompetence.

Second: it was more than just the drug the kids were exposed to

According to the report, McAllister said she was ‘confused, nervous and scared’ that her son and three-year old daughter may have been exposed to the drug. What she failed to mention was that they were also potentially exposed to scenes of bloody violence, torture, addictive substances and sexual gratuity. I’m not hating on Grand Theft Auto here because we all know what kind of game it is; but I want to make its content clear before moving on to my next point.

Third: the real outrage isn’t totally about the drugs

Sure, GamesStop made a huge mistake and were rightly called to account for what had happened in this situation. A representative said in a statement to Kotaku: “Unfortunately, in this circumstance our thorough process fell short. We are extremely concerned that this incident occurred and are working with the local police department to support them in their investigation.”

However, there’s more than one avenue down which we should direct our anger. As McAllister herself pointed out in a Facebook post made on the day of the incident: “Today i took my son to gamestop in Tallahassee to trade in games and get some new ones. When he opened the booklet inside one of the pre owned games he ( MY ELEVEN YEAR OLD SON!!!!!!!) found this.”

Yes, Kayla: your 11-year old son. Forget the drugs a moment; why the hell did you allow him to trade for title rated as ‘Mature’ by the ESRB? There’s a reason for that ‘M’ icon being displayed on the game’s box and the Board defining it as being suitable for ages 17 and up (it’s rated as 18 here in Europe). Maybe it has something to do with the fact it contains ‘Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol’.

The Sun failed to pick up on the fact above in their news report last weekend but thankfully a number of commenters were available to point this out to them on both their website and Twitter feed. Not that I’m saying GamesStop were completely blameless in this case but as mentioned by mark clayton: “Wouldn’t have happened if the idiotic mother didn’t buy the 11 year old an 18 rated game.”

I’ve said it several times before and I’m sure I’ll say it again in the future: know what your children are playing. It’s up to you to understand the content of the video games they’re choosing and find out for yourself whether it’s suitable. As I wrote in my post about Fortnite earlier this month, don’t leave it to an age-rating on the packaging or some poorly-researched report on the evening news to do your parenting for you.

*sigh*

I’m guessing it won’t be long before we have another similar news article about video games being the downfall of our children thrust before us. So I guess I’ll see you again in a few weeks’ time for another similar post.

Creative Christmas: party playlist

It’s day four of the Creative Christmas collaboration, where a group of bloggers come together to tackle 12 video-game-related questions based around a loose festive storyline. Following on from yesterday’s answer about helping out in Santa’s workshop, the next question is:

It’s now Christmas Eve and you’re throwing a lively party for all your friends, family and favourite characters. Which video game soundtracks would be on your playlist?


My answer

I’m a huge fan of the eighties and love most things to do with the decade. I’d also love to throw the perfect party like those you see in the movies: ones with glitter, streamers and big puffball skirts, where everyone on the dancefloor knows the exact same moves. It’s therefore no surprise my Christmas gathering would be inspired by the decade and feature video game soundtracks to suit the mood.

To kick us off, I’d start with the music used throughout Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It’s so awesome that it even got its own official release. With classics such as Run To You and Waiting for a Girl Like You (not to mention the DJs), it’s perfect for dancing yourself silly and singing at the top of your voice until your throat hurts.

Next up we’d turn to chiptune and keep it old-school by visiting the original Outrun soundtrack. My brother had the title on his Game Gear when we were young and I used to steal it all the time so I could play it (much to his annoyance). My favourite track was Passing Breeze and it takes me back to being a kid when I hear it.

Keeping the vibe going but taking a modern turn, we’d move onto the soundtrack from Neon Drive. This isn’t a game I’ve played myself just yet but one I was turned onto after reading this review on Pardon The Gamer. I absolutely adore its bright visuals and eighties aesthetic, and the music suits them right down to the ground.

Hotline Miami isn’t a game you’d think about alongside Christmas due to its level of violence, and it’s actually not my cup-of-tea in terms of gameplay. But one area where it does strike all the right notes (pun intended) is with its music. This has got to be one of the best soundtracks within a video game and perfect for an eighties party.

To round the evening off, we’d go for the big finale: If It’s Not Alright Now, It Will Be Soon by Chris from OverThinker Y. This is a track this talented man wrote for me when I participated in his Musical Mayhem series earlier this year, and I absolutely love it.

Other answers

🎁   Thero159 from A Reluctant Hero
👪   Joey from AlunaRL
🎅   Athena from AmbiGaming
❤   ClanGeek
🦌   Morgan from Fistful of Glitter
🎄   Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog
🎮   LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release
🤞   NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
🎉   Dan and Jon from nowisgames.com
🎁   Chris from OverThinker Y
🎅   Retro Redress
🎶   Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie
❤   Brandon from That Green Dude
🦌   The Dragon’s Tea Party
🎄   The Gaming Diaries
🦃   Kevin from The Mental Attic
👗   The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

The Creative Christmas collaboration is open to everyone and further details can be found in this post if you’d like to join in! Tomorrow’s question: The party is still going strong and you find yourself conveniently positioned under the mistletoe. Which video game character would you call over for a cheeky kiss?

Your next career: the ‘best’ jobs in video games

In a recent trial at the University of Glasgow, it was found that playing video games could help improve your employability. Gaming was shown to help gain ‘graduate attributes’ such as communication skills, resourcefulness and adaptability, in a relatively short amount of time. Bonus!

So it turns out that our parents have been wrong all these years: the time spent with our controllers wasn’t a ‘waste’ and it has in fact been helping us secure the best and brightest jobs for our futures. So what careers do we have to look forward to?

Vacancy: Merchant

We’re looking for an experienced salesperson to join our team of qualified Merchants throughout the beautiful land of Hyrule. Your goal will be to maintain customer satisfaction to the highest level and ensure our clients are provided with only the finest goods that rupees can buy.

Your primary responsibility will be serving customers – well, customer – ok, that weird blond kid with the sword. Accounts will need to be balanced and hexagonal gemstones banked on a daily basis; and the handling of flammable goods such as bombs and lamp oils must be undertaken in line with all current health-and-safety legislation.

Requirements:

  • Experience of working in a customer services environment
  • Stock-management skills
  • Willingness to trade in an area constantly threatened by the reincarnation of evil
  • To register your interest, please apply to the Royal Family of Hyrule – by appointment only.


    Vacancy: Archaeologst

    A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has arisen for a gifted Archaeologist to join us on our upcoming expedition to an exotic island in the middle-of-nowhere. No experience is necessary and training will be provided on the job; however, you must be willing to provide your own equipment.

    The successful candidate will be expected scale tombs, ruins and associated risks in their search for ancient relics and buried treasures. Setting up camp will be a regular requirement of this position, as is the healing of stab wounds, gun shots and injuries from bear-traps.

    Requirements:

  • Flexibility to travel to countries across the world
  • Quick-thinking, with ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Able to adapt to unexpected reductions in team size
  • Please contact Winston Smith in writing at The Fridge, Croft Manor, Surrey, England.


    Vacancy: Mechanic

    Los Santos Customs is looking for a talented Mechanic to join our crew. You will be responsible for overseeing the repair of all vehicles deposited in the garage and delivering these to our clients at any location, although you may be ‘otherwise occupied’ at certain periods during your day.

    This role comes with serious risk but a steady salary will be provided to compensate. Please note that we are an equal-opportunities employer, willing to consider those under a wanted-level; however, we’re unable to accept applications from individuals with police associations at this time.

    Requirements:

  • Automotive Maintenance and Repair NVQ
  • Ability to quickly grasp new vehicle technologies
  • Prepared to accept risk and provide own bullet-proof vest
  • Please hand your CV and covering letter into the garage between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday.


    Vacancy: Plumber

    An experienced Plumber is required for a long-term contract in the Mushroom Kingdom. We’re looking for a new addition to our customer-focused team as we provide all aspects of support to residents throughout the land, keeping their pipes free of unwanted debris and dangerous vegetation.

    Hours are flexible although the person in this role will be expected to attend to call-outs in other dimensions where there is risk of hazardous reptilian infestation. Other duties as required will be assigned by line management; and a company van and uniform will be provided.

    Requirements:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing and Heating
  • Willingness to take on duties outside of normal role
  • Please note: candidates with an allergy to fungi should not apply for this position
  • Interested parties should speak to Princess Peach at another castle to arrange an interview.


    Vacancy: Dancer

    A well-known, busy nightclub in the centre of the Citadel is recruiting for full- or part-time Dancers. With a ‘lively’ atmosphere supported by music provided by only the ‘best’ DJs, we provide excellent working conditions on a good starting salary with plenty of tips.

    Successful applicants will be responsible for providing visual entertainment and charming our exclusive clientele in between their business meetings. Matters of a confidential nature in connection with national security are regularly discussed by our patrons and as such, a sense of discretion is of the utmost importance.

    Requirements:

  • Friendly, well-presented, with a love of working in public
  • Continuous sense of rhythm regardless of beat
  • Plenty of stamina – employees a required to move non-stop for a minimum of 10 hours
  • Auditions can be arranged by contacting either Doran or Rita at dance@fluxnightclub.me.