Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Yugi

How come Sonic 1 and 2 didn't have a save feature?

Recommended Posts

Does anyone know why Sonic 1 & 2 didn't have save features? It seems weird to me that they didn't since games with save files became way more common in the 1990's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sonic 1 and 2 are short games that can easily be beaten in a single sitting by an experienced player. For inexperienced players, forcing them to start the game from the beginning every time they got a game over was a simple way to increase how long the game would last for them. There's also the matter of money; adding a battery save to the cartridges would increase production costs, and cut into profits for Sega.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Save files were not common in the early 90's, out of the few dozen I played back then Micro Machines 96 is the only other one I played with a battery save and the games I've played on collections since then have been similarly lacking.

Passwords were reasonably common back then but still not implemented in everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sonic 1 and 2 were made when the arcades were still popular, Sega and many other gaming companies focused on shorter experiences but difficult enough to make them seem longer than they are. Having a save was still a bit of a novelty however was growing in popularity, at the time platformers outside of Super Mario World wasn't common to have a save function. Level Select was a thing, mainly for the developers to test a level but often kept in the final game. Passwords could have been used and were more common but I don't think Sega used them as much compared to other companies usually Western developers. Even on Sega's other consoles at the time such as the Master System and Game Gear, any form of save was rare. Sonic 1 on those consoles didn't even have a level select.

A save feature would have added the cost of the cartridge especially in the early 1990s, they were pretty much reserved for RPGs on the Mega Drive and were more expensive to purchase until later in the system's life where it expanded to other genres and even then the ones who usually offered the saves wasn't Sega but EA and Codemasters who made their own cartridges for their own games. When it came to cartridge manufacturing Sega were cheaper and wanted more profits so for a while 2MB was their max, Nintendo by comparison was offering more space and more likely to use battery/ROM save but imagined that they would have been a bit more expensive to make, it would have cost more for the publisher and for the people buying the game since SNES games were more expensive than Mega Drive games. Also Sega tend to have more than one country that was making the cartridges, for Sonic 1 and 2 they had ones from Japan, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia, the latter for the Ozisoft release in that country. The demand was so great at one point that parts were sent over to the UK and assembled the cartridges. The back of the box and/or the cartridges says the country of origin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like others said, memory cards or data save functions were not as common in the early 90s and more of a rarity. I think it was more with games that came out in the mid-late 90s where it became more popular. (I actually did not experience this era first hand when it was going on as I was born in the mid-late 90s, but I am speaking as a historian and someone who has played some of these games as a child. Please correct me if I am wrong)

Additionally this was touched on but it is worth emphasizing. A lot of games back then were much shorter. The general idea was that games were made more challenging to artificially extend the playtime longer and the idea is you would build your skill. Someone can beat the first Zelda game or whatnot in a short period of time. But the average gamer would have trouble until they learn the game mechanics to finally get a grip on things for beating it. So for Sonic that would mean, if you get a game over, you would just restart the game but gradually get better at it and learn from your mistakes. If you become skilled at Sonic, you don't need a save file and can beat the game in hours, but for most gamers, they might have to learn the bosses over and over which adds replay value. Other games like Final Fantasy artificially made the games longer by making the earlier entries require grinding. These days a lot of gamers want challenge in their video games, but do not like forced grinding or difficulty that serves to bloat game length.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few reasons.

  1. While it's true that saving was starting to become more common, games that supported save files were still few and far between. It wouldn't become standard until the mid to late 90s.
  2. Games back then were super short (or at least by today's standards) so they didn't really need save files. Sonic 1 and 2 can be beaten in one sitting if you're good enough.
  3. Even if you couldn't beat Sonic 1 and 2 in one sitting, being forced to start over after getting a game over would encourage you to keep trying until you can, therefore increasing replay value, therefore spending enough time playing the game to justify buying it in the first place.
  4. Including a save battery would make cartridges more expensive to produce and would result in less profits. There were other ways to implement saving, such as level select menus (which were included in both games) and passwords, but for the reasons above they weren't really necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it's just cause I was a Nintendo fan growing up but I'm pretty sure that save features were common by the 1990's. Super Mario World had save files, Zelda A Link to the Past had a save feature, and GameBoy games like Super Mario Land 2 the Six Golden Coins had save files too.

Even Nes games like the first two Zelda's, and Kirby's Adventure had save files, so it should have been clear to Sega that save files were the future of gaming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Rogue said:

Maybe it's just cause I was a Nintendo fan growing up but I'm pretty sure that save features were common by the 1990's. Super Mario World had save files, Zelda A Link to the Past had a save feature, and GameBoy games like Super Mario Land 2 the Six Golden Coins had save files too.

Even Nes games like the first two Zelda's, and Kirby's Adventure had save files, so it should have been clear to Sega that save files were the future of gaming.

Typically speaking, saves were a privilege rather than a given in the late 80s and early 90s. Adding saves to your games required shelling out extra money for battery packs in order to hold the save files.

From a certain point on, it was made fairly standard by Nintendo for their titles following Legend of Zelda, but other companies took longer to jump on the bandwagon, and it took longer still for saves to be made a given. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The likes of Mario World and Zelda can easily be seen as games that kind of needed a save feature. Even on a good run of Mario World, it'll still usually take me more than one sitting to finish it. And that's before considering going for all 96 exits, and the permanent reward for beating Special World.

In comparison, Sonic the Hedgehog is barely 45 minutes long. Sonic 2 isn't much longer. There's no permanent rewards for finishing it in the vein of Mario World's graphical overhaul or anything; it would've been a totally pointless expense. I've actually played arcade games that last longer than S1 and S2, bizarrely. 

Sonic 3 on the other hand, is considerably longer with 3 & Knuckles taken into account; and since they were originally supposed to be one game, it made sense to give 3 the save feature, that &K could then inherit via Lock-On. 

In terms of a game that could actually use a save feature but didn't originally have it, we can actually look to Nintendo; because the NES version with Mario 3 lacking any kind of save feature is baffling to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking into it briefly roughly 10% of each systems library used battery saves Ninteno probably feels more prominant due to them being on more of the systems notable games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/2/2021 at 1:43 PM, Tracker_TD said:

The likes of Mario World and Zelda can easily be seen as games that kind of needed a save feature. Even on a good run of Mario World, it'll still usually take me more than one sitting to finish it. And that's before considering going for all 96 exits, and the permanent reward for beating Special World.

In comparison, Sonic the Hedgehog is barely 45 minutes long. Sonic 2 isn't much longer. There's no permanent rewards for finishing it in the vein of Mario World's graphical overhaul or anything; it would've been a totally pointless expense. I've actually played arcade games that last longer than S1 and S2, bizarrely. 

Sonic 3 on the other hand, is considerably longer with 3 & Knuckles taken into account; and since they were originally supposed to be one game, it made sense to give 3 the save feature, that &K could then inherit via Lock-On. 

In terms of a game that could actually use a save feature but didn't originally have it, we can actually look to Nintendo; because the NES version with Mario 3 lacking any kind of save feature is baffling to me. 

I only played the GBA port of Mario 3... I just assumed that the NES version had a save feature too. Damn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.