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  3. Why do you suppose you can only save one game on the nes cartridge?
Alushen 3 months ago#1
I’m curious as to why only one game could be saved at a time? I assume the natural answer would be space limitations on the cartridge, but Dragon Warrior, and even the Legend of Zelda and Zelda II both came out before this and 3 games could be saved. I’m not sure off the top of my head where the Dragon Warrior 2/3 timeline is in relation to Final Fantasy, but those were relatively larger games and also had 3 save slots available. Any theories?
Zhuge Liang or Sima Yi?
BareknuckleRoo 3 months ago#2
Laziness or outright design oversight, at least by today's standards. I bet they never assumed anyone would even want more than one save at a time. It wasn't unusual for RPG games of that era (like Ultima for instance) to use a single save slot, which meant if someone else wanted to play your file would be erased.

The same thing happened with the GB Final Fantasy Legend games. First one is strictly one save slot, the rest are 3.

It's not a space limitation for sure; Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, and Dragon Warrior III all use 8 KB space of SRAM. That should be more than enough to store stats/equipment for all 4 characters, and storyline flags for at least two save files if not three if it's stored intelligently.

If Micro Mages (http://morphcat.de/micromages/) can make an NES game fit into 40 KB, then something like FF1's relative lack of complexity has no excuse for not fitting 3 save files into 8 KB.
(edited 3 months ago)
shadow_master01 3 months ago#3
There is a 3rd alternative: Lack of time. If memory serves the original FF was a rush job that was a last ditch effort to keep Square's doors open.

It should also be noted that the first incarnation of Dragon Quest used passwords to 'save' not internal save data, that feature was added to the US Dragon Warrior release. That said FF came out between DQ2 and DQ3.
"If you were looking for the Staff of Thunder you're in the wrong town, planet, and game."
~Well Inscription - Star Ocean 4
Jay_Shaw 3 months ago#4
I never liked it when a game limited me to only a single save slot, myself, either (especially games like Dungeon Master for the SNES where I would typically invest a lot of time training my characters)....

It's kind of funny, but I've noticed that even some games on the SNES still use passwords instead of a save function. This is an inconvenience that is often enough to make me refuse to even consider playing an older game (although I played through 2-player password games like River City Ransom and Super Ninja Boy with my wife a few years ago anyway since they were some of the only older 2-player games with RPG elements that I was aware of)....

--Jay
(edited 3 months ago)
BareknuckleRoo 3 months ago#5
Passwords make the cartridge less expensive per unit to produce, which is the reason some used passwords where SRAM would have been nice. You can't store as much info in a password, but you don't have to put SRAM and a battery on the board either.

Passwords are cumbersome though, whereas saving is obviously very convenient.
Jay_Shaw 3 months ago#6
The Super Ninja Boy passwords were especially ridiculous - they were three full lines of alphanumeric characters (I believe including uppercase letter, lowercase letters, punctuation symbols, etc.). I've also encountered issues where two characters (e.g. 0 and O) look very similar in the font a game uses and have sometimes been unable to correctly record a password and/or correctly decipher a password I wrote down for that reason...

--Jay
(edited 3 months ago)
BareknuckleRoo 3 months ago#7
Jay_Shaw posted...
I've also encountered issues where two characters (e.g. 0 and O) look very similar in the font a game uses and have sometimes been unable to correctly record a password and/or correctly decipher a password I wrote down for that reason...

This is the biggest reason passwords are inconvenient. If you write down the password wrong, which can happen due to font ambiguities, your progress is lost. Obviously the risk of this is low for games with relatively simple password systems like Mega Man 2-6, but for games with much more complicated password systems or where the font can be ambiguous it can be dreadful. I remember losing a password for Gauntlet IV, which has passwords per character as well as up to 5 passwords for progress in each zone, oof.
mitsguy2001 3 months ago#8
The single save slot is a real problem if you played the game as a kid and had a sibling.
Jay_Shaw 3 months ago#9
Right - I should have mentioned that Super Ninja Boy also required a separate three-line password for each character, meaning my wife and I would have to key in and verify six lines of password text every time we wanted to start our game again. That Gauntlet IV system sounds like it takes the cake, though!

Luckily, there have been some situations where I have been able to salvage a password by randomly trying to swap similar-looking characters with one another after the password failed the first time. By the time my wife and I were finished with Super Ninja Boy, I was making sure to write the characters which looked similar to other characters in a special format which would leave no doubt as to which character I was referring to....

--Jay
(edited 3 months ago)
Jay_Shaw 3 months ago#10
Or maybe it was River City Ransom that required the password for both characters - that would make more sense given that the characters actually have different stats in that game. It was several years ago when my wife and I played through these games, so my memory is a bit fuzzy...

--Jay
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