Which actually affords me a pretty nice segue:
When you gamin' folk have to reluctantly put down the controllers or get up from your ergonomic computer chairs to hunker down in front of a register or a stove or even another, more boring PC, how do you like to do it? I don't mean where in-game or at what point, but how, physically, do you like to save your gameplay?
All the hullabaloo about hard-drive space and mandatory installs on our next-gen platforms has got me reminiscing about all the many ways we've stored our saves over the years. For a gamer like myself whose been playing since the ripe(r) ages of my youth, I've been afforded a myriad of options across each generation.
Arcade games demanded that you pay up to continue playing should you lose your progress. Can't say I miss that. The oldest console games either had never heard of saving or used a complex, tedious password system (that could easily be manipulated), before graduating to in-cartridge batteries that could hold your save data without any external peripherals. However, as many have seen in recent years, those batteries are prone to die after a while, and thus your save—and the ability to do so—can disappear.
Then came perhaps my favorite method of saving game data: the memory card. It may seem somewhat archaic by today's standards, but the simple convenience of pulling out a plastic, hefty memory card and bringing it over to a friend's house (or even an arcade!) to share your unlockables or custom player data was a godsend in the pre-online multiplayer age. The idea that your personal data could be persistent and portable was a novelty that very quickly became an industry standard. Today's fighting games and racers still suffer from a hassle-free way to accomplish this.
Of course, this longstanding method did have its downsides. The proprietary nature of the product rendered such accessories mandatory and costly. While popping an SD card into your 3DS or a USB thumbstick into your 360 may do the trick these days, if you bought a PlayStation, Sony cards were all you could use. They weren't cheap, either, and space was finite. 8 MBs? I hope you don't like Blockbuster, or you're gonna be doing some cleaning on the reg, yo. (Somehow, Sony still thinks this is a good idea.)
Sadly, all of these negative points just makes the innovative way Sega put their VMU to work on the doomed Dreamcast even more bittersweet. How many memory cards let you pull the damn thing out and play a mini-game on it?
Nevertheless, today's consoles have certainly upped their memory game to accommodate for the modern gamer's more luxurious demands. Detachable (and internal) hard-drives make purchasing a new console relatively painless—just grab a box and a game and you're good to go!—but save files are becoming less and less portable. Cloud saving is slowly transforming that by allowing, say, Xbox Live users to log in on a friend's console and maintain their preferences and Marketplace data. But, that requires a subscription. My little plastic CONTROLLER PAK was a one-time purchase.
Meanwhile, PC gamers have had internal hard-drives and cloud saves all along. Touché.
So, back to my question. How do you prefer to save your games? Password? In-cartridge? Hard-drive? Never? Let everyone know in the comments below!