First Video Game Where You Saved at Campfires?
October 23, 2013 6:25 PM   Subscribe

In TOMB RAIDER and DARK SOULS, you save your game at camp fires. My stepson claims that Tomb Raider took the idea from Dark Souls. This seems really unlikely, but I haven't played earlier Tomb Raider games, and I can't recall where you save in other games, so I can't back it up. What's the earliest game you've played where you save your game at campfires?
posted by Native in Exile to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
Red Dead Redemption had camp saves, and that was in 2010.
posted by Oktober at 6:29 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

In Ultima Online you could/can build a campfire to log out.
posted by ghharr at 6:48 PM on October 23, 2013

Final Fantasy II (or IV, depending) had campfire saves, and that came out in 1991.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:48 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]

Final Fantasy of ages past (3 through 6 roughly) had you save when you "camped", aka "use a tent".
posted by fiercekitten at 6:49 PM on October 23, 2013

Actually, FF1 had the "use a tent" framing as well, it just wasn't a literal campfire.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:52 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might find something helpful in the save point and justified save point TVTropes articles, which I didn't dare read all of for fear of getting sucked into TVTropes.
posted by NoraReed at 7:02 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh jeez, this goes back at least to the 80s and C64 days. In order to save game in the Gold Box SSI D&D games, you had to camp or find an inn.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:36 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Yep, came here to say that saving at a camp fire has been around since the very early D&D games, and has been a feature in most RPG's since.
posted by empath at 8:01 PM on October 23, 2013

Yeah, campfire saving has been around for 30 years. It's a standard trope.
posted by Justinian at 8:44 PM on October 23, 2013

The oldest I can remember, FWIW, is Wizardry in 1984.
posted by Justinian at 8:46 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd say no because
a) bonfires aren't campfires (Dark Souls bonfires are more about beacons in the surreal darkness than sleeping bags and baked beans),
b) save rooms, and saving at campfires in general, is old hat, and
c) Dark Souls' bonfires do different stuff and have more purpose.

On the other hand, if what your stepson really means is, "Aren't Dark Souls' save points kind of cool and innovative while Tomb Raider's are blah and derivative and you could say that about the whole game too?", then I'm on his side.

Also if you're going to be tracing the past, I don't think the aesthetic of the campfire is as important as the structure of the game and its save mechanism. In Dark Souls and Tomb Raider, the world is one big dungeon and the save points are save rooms that establish bases of exploration. This setup is a lot more like Super Metroid and Resident Evil. It's less like Final Fantasy's saving in a tent anywhere in the wilderness, or the save points in linear dungeons that are more like mission checkpoints (a la the original Tomb Raider as well). I think that's a better way of looking at it even if it probably does lead back to the same place, the, "Let's make a D&D computer game," days. Bard's Tale II is the first game I can think of that had a unified world-dungeon map with limited designated save rooms (inns) but I doubt it was first.
posted by bleep-blop at 10:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Using characters going to sleep as a save point must go back a long way (I'm sure posters with longer memories than mine will be able to think of hundreds of examples). I guess the reason for this is it's an obvious point to have a break without any suspention on disbelief.

The campfire thing seems like a reworking of this concept for games with more of a wilderness aesthetic, so yeah, that doesn't answer your question directly but you can see how parallel inspiration could have easily occured.
posted by Ned G at 7:01 AM on October 24, 2013

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