Save points are locations within a game world at which a player can decide to save his or her progress. Save points differ from checkpoints in that the player must actively choose to save and may do so at any time at any save point. In some games, such as the later games in the Castlevania series, saving fully restores health and mana and removes status ailments, allowing the player characters to always be in peak condition when play is resumed.
Save points are often placed in areas considered "safe," where enemy encounters are few to nonexistent, allowing players a moment of reprieve before continuing. So long as the player remains standing within the save point or in the save point's room, the player will not be attacked. However, this is not always the case.
Chrono Trigger deliberately subverts the nature of save points twice. The first is in a sewer that is home to monsters that attack when a sound is triggered. To avoid battle, the player just step carefully to avoid contact with various objects that litter the ground, such as a tin can, that will make noise when touched. The final object in this gauntlet is a save point. Because an audible chime plays whenever a save point in Chrono Trigger is touched, attempting to use this save point will trigger an enemy encounter.
The second example occurs in Magus's castle. There comes a point where the player may fall through a trap door into a chamber that contains what appear to be four save points. One of them is genuine, and one is actually a teleporter that transports the player's party out of the trap room. The remaining two, however, will trigger enemy encounters.
Save Point Variations
Limited Save Points
Some games feature save points that only allow the game to be saved a limited number of times. For example, in the Resident Evil games that predated Resident Evil 4, players were required to collect ink ribbons to expend at typewriters that served as the game's save points. If the player does not have an ink ribbon available to use, then the game cannot be saved. This limitation was done away within Resident Evil 4, which, though it still used typewriters as save points, no longer required the collection and use of ribbons.
Some games feature save points that only create "suspend" save data rather than hard saves. In using these save points, the player may quit the game and resume later, but when the game is resumed, the suspension data will be cleared. In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the actual save points, which take the form of owl statues, function in this basic manner. The player can save and quit at an owl statue, and then resume later as a standard save point allows, but the save written at that particular owl statue is then erased. If the player character dies or the player turns off the game at that point, then the progress recorded at that owl statue is lost. To create a proper, permanent save, the player can play the Song of Time whenever desired, but in doing so, the game world's time loop is also reset.
Especially notable in the Metal Gear Solid series, saving is done via the Codec system, which involves calling a specific frequency to save -- one that will be saved in the player's contact list. The MGS save frequency, however, will actually be monitored by a character, whom the player will be able to converse with upon saving. This can then potentially inspire unnecessary saves if only to listen to the conversations, as they would otherwise be inaccessible.
During certain narrative events, the player may even be recommended to save by the character itself, or may at least warn the player that they will not be able to save during this particular instance.