Many modern FPS games allow players to save virtually anywhere. Of course, the save anywhere feature can be exploited, allowing players to save frequently during difficult portions of the game.
This increase in save points is what I want to focus on, because I think it reveals some important things about gaming in general. Most importantly, the average age of the gamer keeps increasing. During the 1980s, gamers were generally younger kids who had the time to sit down with a game for four or five hours after school. However, now that the average age of the hardcore gamer is in the upper thirties, games must cater to the lifestyles of adults. The typical thirty to forty year-old doesn't often have the time to engage in lengthy gaming marathons. There are more responsibilities to work around: working a full-time job, keeping the house clean, shopping, taking care of the kids, spending time with the spouse, and so on. The adult gamer will more likely spend twenty or thirty minutes between responsibilities to unwind. In order for this type of gamer to accomplish anything in a game, they must have the option to save more frequently. Sorry, new dad, no Final Fantasy VII for you.
Since older gamers will play games in shorter bursts, they will buy games that cater to this lifestyle. In order to cash in on this demographic, game developers will have to insert save points more frequently or switch to the save anywhere model.
My prediction: The trend over the past decade has been an increasing amount of save points in games. I bet future games will have even more save points, and the save anywhere feature will be far more common. Of course, this presents game designers with the problem of trying to design content that is challenging yet still offers frequent enough save points to make the game worthwhile to older gamers. However, money speaks, and if people are buying games they can play in shorter bursts, developers are going to make games that can be played in shorter bursts.
As I continue to age, I suppose I should be grateful for this. Gaming is adapting to the specific needs of an older me, and that's kind of cool. I just hope it doesn't completely negate the difficulty factor.
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*