What does it mean to save scum, and should you employ it as a strategy? Let’s have a look at how save scumming works in games. The majority of gamers don’t give the save systems in video games much thought. But what if there’s more to saving and loading than simply storing your work and resuming up where you left off later?. If you’ve ever heard the term “save scumming,” you’ve probably wondered what it means. Let’s look at what save scumming is, the benefits and drawbacks, and whether it’s something you should do.
What Is Save Scumming and How Does It Work?
Save scumming is the practice of repeatedly saving your game and reloading it anytime you don’t like the current condition in video games. The actual reasons for save scumming and the regularity with which it occurs vary depending on the situation, as we’ll see below. Save scumming is especially useful in games like RPGs that allow you to save anywhere. It’s less typical in games with fixed save places or autosaves.
This is also true for games like the Legend of Zelda series, which don’t always return you to the same position when you load a saved game. The word was coined by roguelike gaming players. Reloading a save to avoid a mistake or reroll a random event is deemed “scummy” in roguelikes because they are based on permadeath.
Save Scumming’s Benefits
How is save scumming employed in different games now that you know what it is? Let’s have a look at some examples. It’s worth noting that we’re concentrating on saving scum utilizing a game’s built-in choices.
One of the disadvantages of using an emulator is that you can save scum everywhere because to the emulator’s built-in save states. While the same concepts apply, save states can also save the game in an unwinnable circumstance, so proceed with caution.
Save Scumming for a Better Outcome
Making a save and loading it again is a frequent way to improve a game’s randomness, often known as RNG. In Fallout 3, for example, your Speech skill level impacts your chances of employing optional speech lines to achieve a benefit, such as persuading someone to pay you more for a quest.
Even if you have a low Speech skill, save scumming allows you to keep reloading a save file and retry until you pass the speech check. Another example can be found in strategy games, where your characters have a % probability of hitting their target. If the game allows you to save at any moment, you can keep reloading a save until the hit connects, eliminating the risk of missing the hit.
Players can’t accomplish this because clever developers have devised ways to stop them. The random dice rolls in XCOM 2 are predetermined from the beginning and persist even if you reload a save. This implies you won’t be able to keep reloading until you achieve the desired outcome.
To Avoid Consequences, Save Scumming
Save scumming, on the other hand, is a tactic for promptly undoing everything negative that occurs in a game. Assume you’re playing a stealth game and your goal is to complete the game without waking up any adversaries. Scum will save before each encounter and then reload if they are discovered.
A similar scenario can occur in any game with a large number of options, such as immersive sims or sandbox games. If you’re unsure whether a particular decision or action is the best course of action, you can save it and undo it later if you don’t like the outcome.
This form of save scumming can help you improve your playtime, but it can also take the pleasure out of a game if done too often. When you play through your mistakes rather than instantly erasing them in order to try a perfect run, you create exciting and unforgettable moments.
The Divine Pulse feature in Fire Emblem:
Three Houses is another example of creators incorporating anti-save scumming into their games. You can undo a certain number of movements every level with this option. This reduces the need for frequent reloading while still allowing you to repair a few mistakes.
Save time by avoiding summing.
Another benefit of save scumming is that it allows players to avoid replaying parts of a game they’ve already completed. Unlike the last two examples, this does not necessarily result in the intended gameplay being broken. In the Ace Attorney series of visual novels, for example, you play as a lawyer who must present evidence in court to refute logical contradictions. You’ll lose the game if you make too many blunders.
However, because the penalty for failing to save before making a decision is having to restart the chapter and go over everything you’ve already solved, it’s more convenient to save before making a decision and reload after making an error. This approach can be used to avoid playing through monotonous sections of gameplay in almost any genre, however it isn’t always considered save scumming.
If you have to go through a 10-minute encounter with regular adversaries to reach a boss, for example, it’s appropriate to save after the mob because you’ve previously demonstrated you can beat it. Scumming is when you save during a boss fight every time you land a few hits without taking damage.
Is it Worth It to Save Scum?
As we’ve seen, there are various advantages and disadvantages to saving scum.
On the plus side, save scumming can save you time by preventing you from wasting time on boring parts of the game or bits that need trial and error. It can also be used to experiment with different solutions in a game without incurring any penalties for doing something “wrong.”
Save scumming, on the other hand, may swiftly transform a game from a pleasurable experience into one in which you squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of it. It’s tedious to go back and try again every time the tiniest problem arises, and when there’s no penalty for failing, your choices are meaningless. If you never allow yourself to make mistakes, you’ll never appreciate the sense of defying the odds or coming up with novel solutions to difficulties.
It’s difficult to achieve the correct balance when it comes to saving “just the right amount.” If you don’t save often, you’ll have to retry large sections of the game each time you die. However, having the ability to remedy all of your mistakes with two button pushes eliminates all of the game’s intensity.
Are you undecided about whether or not to save scum? Here’s what we recommend:
- Especially on your first game, don’t save and reload to acquire a flawless outcome from random events or rewind all your blunders. Allow the game to run its natural course and have fun playing along.
- Strike a balance between how often you save and how much you save. Don’t save every two minutes, but don’t go more than an hour without saving.
- There’s little damage in saving before trying something foolish in games like immersive sims that encourage experimenting with diverse approaches, especially if you don’t plan to retry the game with a different style.
- You’re fine if you’re saving to avoid having to replay parts of a game you’ve previously completed. You’re slime if you’re saving to make your run as near to perfect as possible.
While the method you play a game is entirely up to you, we believe that following these rules will ensure that you have the greatest enjoyment. Save scumming, on the other hand, only affects single-player games, therefore it doesn’t affect anyone else. Depending on the game, you might use a different method.
Save Scumming Shouldn’t Take the Fun Out of Games
You now understand what save scumming is, how it’s done, and whether you should do it. While repeatedly saving and reloading can let you skip the boring parts of games, it’s a strategy we recommend avoiding whenever feasible.
When finishing a challenge run of a game, scumming can be useful, but it rapidly converts the initial delight of discovery into forced perfectionism, which isn’t entertaining.
Meanwhile, cheesing or trivializing video games isn’t limited to save scumming.