Save it for an angry day
We asked, you answered. We've collected your horrifying and frustrating tales of game saves gone wrong. Corrupted saves. Lost saves. Autosaves at the worst possible times and mix-ups between quickload and quicksave keys. Years, even decades later, you still feel the sting and we share your pain.
These are your most tragic game save stories. A few have been lovingly edited for clarity.
I remember mine vividly, and it was about 25 years ago.
Playing the original Space Quest on my dad's Tandy 1000, I got the point where you're on the Desert Planet (that totally isn't Tatooine), and you have to buy a space ship, and there's a slot machine in the bar. Win on the slot machine, and you can afford to buy a nice spaceship to get off the planet and move on in the story. Get 3 Skulls however, and the machine kills you, game over.
Well, I saved right as I started spinning the slot machine, and on the first spin, out comes 3 skulls and zap I'm dead. Ok, reload and try again, and it loads mid-spin and has the same result, zap, no matter how many times I loaded, the spin would immediately kill me.
I had no other save file, and so had to start from the beginning.
Can't remember which, but it was either Championship Manager 03/04 or the first Football Manager. Had a game up to about 2020 or something, numerous trebles and quadruples over the years, pretty much the entire player roster comprised of generated players, etc. Then a power cut corrupted a save file and me being a dumbass, didn't have a backup newer than about 8 seasons into the game.
All evidence of that amazing team I'd built completely erased from history, I was absolutely wounded.
From General Chimichaga:
Fallout New Vegas: I'm at the Hidden Valley bunker at night when the sand storm is active. My health is dangerously low (one hit kill low), but not thinking too much about it I save my progress thinking I'll be right back the next day and buy some stimpaks.
I turn the fucker on the next day to two giant radscorpions inches from my character with my only line of defense being a shitty gun. One hit kill over and over and over, no matter how I tried to go about it. I couldn't run fast as I was crippled and there were bark scorpions near me too. Pretty much had to start the game over and redo all of that.
I was playing the part in the original Half-life where you have to jump between in the suspended crates, early in the game. Anyway, this section is notoriously finicky, requiring a lot of re-loads. I'd try, miss a jump, slam quickload, and try again. Rinse, repeat.
Anyway, after many a failed attempt, I jumped, missed, fell to my death and went for the quickload button before I could even hit the floor. But alas, I hit quicksave instead, just before I hit the ground and died. The game would then default-load my last save, which of course resumed with me suspended about a foot from the floor, prompting a infinite loop of me going *SPLAT* again and again.
There can be only one. But there really should be more.
From Sam Vimes:
Morrowind. Was deep into the game, high level, had already become *spoiler alert* The Nerevarine, and foolishly saving/overwriting a single save game every time because I liked being tidy and not having a string of saved game files. Of course, eventually my sole savegame file was corrupted and I lost everything. Oh naive 19 year old me! I have alternated save games between files "1" and "2" ever since. It's the kind of life lesson one will some day pass down to one's son....
From Alex Willis:
XCOM: Enemy Within. I'm a compulsive, neurotic save scum. But it means by the end of a game of XCOM I have HUNDREDS of saves, and some of them are pretty big in size. On my first Long War run—which took about a solid month to finish—I was at the final ship assault. My team was awesome (four cybersuits, the rest psionics and gene modded to heck), and I was very attached to them.
But my saves for that run were getting too big, so in order to clear up some space, I was clearing saves from my folder. I normally have everything organized by date/time in my folders, rather than by name or some other criteria. But this time, I accidentally had things sorted differently and... I deleted about 2 weeks worth of progress. I couldn't handle it—much swearing and throwing of objects ensued—so I started a new campaign.
I still haven't beaten it.
Xen and the art of save game management
The worst for me has been losing the saves from Half-Life right when I got to Xen. My HDD broke and the saves were gone. I did not play again until many years later, and I again lost my saves while changing PCs after I moved from Italy to Finland. Again, before I got to Xen.
Then I played Black mesa, and still the Xen levels are missing.
Basically, I almost completed Half-Life three times but I've never seen the end. Now I'm scared to try again because the saves will be surely lost again. :D
Dead man walking
Two years ago, played the first season of Telltale's Walking Dead. Hooked in the first game, ploughed through the second and third, then (because of exams) had to take a break. Finished the fourth episode just as the fifth released—only to find that when I tried to load my save, it had been corrupted.
Hours spent agonising over decisions, reloading QTEs dozens of times so that I got them right (especially that super quick one in the clock tower), and falling in love with MY characters and story, to find out I've either gotta do it all again or just take the story the game wants to give me for a "new game" episode 5. No thank you.
I've never finished the Walking Dead, and don't know if I'll ever be able to invest so much of myself into it to play through it again (which means I'll never see season 2).
From Jendryk Gaming:
The Arma 2 DayZ mod in the early days not too long after it had been released as an alpha. I kept a character alive through a brilliantly fought battle that lasted hours. Myself and two friends had managed to kill over 10 fully geared players in an epic shootout, not die, and get all the best and rarest loot you could possibly find in the game—including one squad's helicopter (this was very early in alpha, so there was only 1 heli spawn per server). Against all odds, and having to fight off subsequent waves of players trying to pick the spoils from the dead, we loaded all the gear we couldn't carry ourselves into the helicopter and were lifting off.
At that point, the server crashed. When we logged back on, our characters and progress hadn't been saved. The helicopter was gone along with the gear it contained, and all the loot we were carrying from the dead was gone. To salt the wound, our characters had additionally been wiped, so even the gear we had on us before the fight even happened was gone, so we all had to start off from scratch as complete naked noobs.
I ran a LAN centre and had a special adults/closed server [for Minecraft] people used to put hours and hours into. Literally months and months of late night 9pm to 3am sessions went into this. We had a massive town with Hollywood sign, a football stadium, Colosseum, and many other player-built, all legit, no creative mode. So, for a bit of fun the guys decided lets build a 64x64 TNT pyramid!
For weeks this pyramid stood tall untouched and marveled at. We all knew it would be the end of the world if this thing went off. Like a numpty the backup I kept was on a USB stick that corrupted so you can imagine the outcome...
One of the guys decided to let his girlfriend have a quick go as she was learning Minecraft. One right-click and that server never recovered. I loaded it up many times hoping it would recover, but the memory spike never subsided! Needless to say the other backups I found were very old. Even now if I load the server up you just spawn in blackness with explosions happening!