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Checkpoints in Action/Adventure Games

The Autosave Checkpoint

In action games, autosave checkpoints are points where a game will automatically save your progress and restart the player upon death. As such, the player does not need to restart the entire level over again. This reduces the frustration and tedium that is potentially felt without such a design.

The save checkpoint

The save checkpoint is similar as the autosave one except the fact we have to activate it manually and often gives access to the save menu to make a save of our progress, it's sometimes represented by a terminal, a totem or glowing zone.

Some games, like GTA 2, make the save a paying system that needs money or any sort of resources to be able to save at this checkpoint, making the saves almost limited.

Checkpoint Death Trap

Sometimes checkpoints work against you instead of for you when a checkpoint appears moments before your virtual death. This is more common within the F5 checkpoint system where an untimely F5 can thrust the player into an infinite loop of death and rage. After potential multiple attempts this problem is remedied through loading up an earlier F5 checkpoint.

While the autosave checkpoint seldom has this issue, when it does occur the impending irritation is reasonably higher. This is because the respective checkpoints are further apart and so more progress is lost through loading and earlier save. Rather, more motivation is provided to fight through the situation creating a more lethal cycle than previously mentioned. This is known as the Rambo Loop Conundrum where the player tirelessly uses brute force tactics to push himself out of the situation.

Checkpoints in Racing Games

In racing genre, checkpoints will add time to a countdown clock and provides your relative position in terms of your race time in comparison to your opponents. This goes back to the more arcade style gameplay of the racing genre, such as Outrun. The intention of this gameplay concept is to provide tension and urgency to the situation forcing players to drive faster beyond their natural desire for competition.

The Green Diamond

Many recent games such as Enslaved, Borderlands, and especially Ghost Recon have used a green diamond as their waypoint or checkpoint symbol, perhaps creating a standardization along the lines of the universally recognized power-on/standby symbol.

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