10 Video Games That Messed With Your Saves

Some nice saves you got there. Be a shame if something happened to them.

Eternal darkness

God bless the save file.

Before the hardware geniuses at Nintendo popularized battery-powered cartridges, if you wanted to see the ending of a video game it meant either plowing through the whole thing in one sitting, or writing down passwords on a piece of paper that would inevitably end up in the family waste bin. (Farewell, my Zero Tolerance saves...)

Allowing players to save their progress meant developers could focus on creating bigger, more complex worlds without the worry of increasingly complicated passwords (can you imagine the size of password needed to replicate the exact conditions of your last Skyrim save?), and were a necessary evolution in the history of video games.

Of course, evolution doesn't always run in a straight line, and there have been a few... interesting offshoots in the genealogy of the humble save file.

This article will take a look at some of the games that played around with their save files, to both the delight and detriment of the player (mostly the latter). From a simple fourth wall break to actual, real-world consequences, each game on this list memorably manipulated a function most gamers take for granted, teaching you that saves are a privilege, not a right.

10. Deleting Your Progress Fake-Out - Eternal Darkness

Eternal darkness

For a family-friendly console, the GameCube did quite well for itself when it came to horror.

As well as being the console of choice for the excellent Resident Evil remake, and the series' legendary fourth entry, Nintendo's purple box played host to the macabre delights of Eternal Darkness - a time-hopping survival-horror adventure filled with madness, death, and more elder gods than you could shake a tentacle at.

It's the foremost theme - madness - that Eternal Darkness is most remembered for. Alongside the traditional health and magic meters, players are also tasked with maintaining a third status - sanity. Let the green sanity bar hit rock bottom, and the game itself will start to break down around you.

The most infamous example is the game's notorious memory card wipe. Try to save with a low sanity meter, and the game will ask "Are you sure you want to delete all of your Saved Games?" No matter what you choose, the game assumes you chose "yes" before proceeding to delete your saves one by one.

Fortunately, it all turns out to be a trick. Simply boot up the save screen again and your saves will have been restored to pristine condition. Your heart rate, however, may take a bit longer to go back to normal.


Hello! My name's Iain Tayor. I write about video games, wrestling and comic books, and I apparently can't figure out how to set my profile picture correctly.