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Checkpoints are specific (non random and predetermined) places or moments in a game wherein a player is not forced to start completely over if he or she were to lose a chance. This, of course, only applies to those games where the loss of a chance implies having to begin anew (instead of continuing at the place and moment in which the chance was lost). The use of a checkpoint enables the player to start automatically at the checkpoint that is closest to the ending and has been activated or visited. Different games have different mechanisms for the "activation" of checkpoints. Checkpoints are usually activated simply by reaching them or by explicitly interacting with an object that represents the checkpoint within the level. Each level can have multiple checkpoints.

Strong Examples

Super Mario RPG

In Super Mario RPG, Mario can jump on save boxes to save his progress and be able to start over from that point. They are found in all the towns and near the entrances to most areas.

Sonic the Hedgehog

In Sonic the Hedgehog there are objects that look like lamps (or lollipops). When Sonic touches the lamppost the bulb performs a circular motion and changes color (from red to green). The change in color indicates that it has been activated. If Sonic loses a chance later on in the level, he restarts at the active lamp that is closest to the end of the level.

Crash Bandicoot

In Crash Bandicoot (PSX), there are special crates marked with a "C". When Crash Bandicoot destroys them, they flatten out and the words "Checkpoint" appear momentarily on the screen. This indicates that the checkpoint has been activated.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

GTA:SA is a strong example of a checkpoint game. There are various floppy disks that you can find that act as checkpoints and allow you to save your progress at that moment. If you die before you complete your new task, you are able to pick up from the point at which you received the checkpoint instead of the previous task.

Gears of War

GoW is a strong example of a checkpoint game. Throughout the 5 chapters, players are able to play the basic campaign mode but also not worrying about saving the progress. During gameplay, a player is able to complete a variety of different tasks, once completed, the game will automatically save itself by showing the little box in the bottom that reads checkpoint. This is very convenient because a player who is far in a chapter will come up to a difficult challenge and die knowning that they are able to play that same challenge right after the player dead! Another convenient feature in this game that relates to checkpoints, is in the title menu where a player is given the option to pick a certain checkpoint in the completed progress and enter gameplay at that certain point.

Yoshi's Island

Super Mario World 2 : Yoshi's Island is a strong example of the checkpoint system. During the levels players encounter "star hoops", which once jumped through, save the players position in the level at that point. If you die, you are brought back to this point, and there are mutiple star hoops throughout each level which save you place as long as you jump through them. These hoops also increase you star number, or the amount of time you have to retrive the crying baby mario (a clock counts down when you are injured and mario has been displaced, indicacting how many seconds you have to retrive him or essentialy lose a life and start over) - Once you jump through the hoop you are give 5 extra seconds to this time, but only once. So if you die, or lose baby Mario, you are still brought back this spot in the level. It is possible to play past levels, but previous completions of a level do not affect where you star out in the level.

Resistance: Fall of Man

Resistance: Fall of Man is a great example of the a game with checkpoints. A player must battle his way through each level which may consist of a varying amount of checkpoints. When a player dies they are transpoted back to savepoints so it give the feeling that some progress has been lost. Often one of the greatest goals in a first person shooter is to accomplish a checkpoint so that progress in a game can be accomplished.

Crash Bandicoot

Crash bandicoot allows the player to easily bypass tedious or difficult tasks in a level through its many checkpoints. There are several checkpoints throughout each level, which allows the player to have more control over how much progress the player can gain.

Pac-Man World 2

Pac-Man World 2 is a very strong example of a checkpoint game. Every level throughout the world is filled with many challenges and enemies so it is very easy to die. Luckily there are at least 3 checkpoints in every level so when you do die, you don't have to start the level over again, you get to start from the last checkpoint you made it to. In the more difficult levels, such as the one where you are being chased by a giant avalanche and if you make one wrong move you're toast, there are more checkpoints. Even the boss levels have checkpoints at numerous intervals throughout the battle. Passing through the general area of a checkpoint turns it on, which is a plus because the player does not have to go out of their way to activate a checkpoint after having worked so hard to get there. Finishing a level gives the player a great sense of accomplishment, but as a player progresses through the levels and the levels get more and more difficult, just getting to the next checkpoint becomes a major accomplishment.

Weak Examples

The Castlevania Adventure

As you progress through a level in The Castlevania Adventure, the game automatically adds one of two checkpoints for you to respawn at after you die. However, the user isn't informed when this occurs therefore making this game a weak example of "checkpoints."

World Of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is a MMORPG. In World of Warcraft there does not exist a specific save point (since there is no saving), however the game does feature many towns in which the player can access their banks, buy supplies and receive mail. Within these towns are innn in which the player can receive 'rested' experience while not playing, if their character was there when they logged out. Finally one town may be picked to be the players home which they can 'hearth' (instantly teleport to) when they decide to. For these reasons World of Warcraft is a weak example of Checkpoints.


As the player progresses through the level, their progress is tracked by the computer. If they are destroyed they are respawned in a location around the place of their death, normally at the beginning of a wave of opponents or an obsticle. This is a weak example because there is no indication by the game that a checkpoint has been reached or that there even are checkpoints, as the respawn locations seem to change from game to game.

Mega Man

In the Mega Man series, a player is respawned at certain checkpoints when he/she dies after he/she passes the checkpoint spot in a given level. However, this is a weak example of a checkpoint as the game itself does not tell a player if he/she has come to a checkpoint, and he/she will only know where a checkpoint is in a given level if he/she has been respawned at the checkpoint before.

Mario Party

Mario Party is a weak example incorporating checkpoints into a gameplay as there are no checkpoints reached or utilized, the game is simply played on a game board and progresses with each players turn and subsequent play in mini games until the eventual "superstar" is determined.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

FF:CC shows poor a poor example of a checkpoint. When players enter a level, they either die and are returned to the beginning of that level or they pass the boss and move on to the world map. You always start from the beginning of the level if you die, no matter where you are in the level. However, when you reach the boss, you are able to refight the boss if you keep dying.

Super Mario Bros

As you move along in the certain levels, there are no significant signals of checkpoints. As you are about half way through the level, you are automatically given a checkpoint. If you die before completing the level, you are then able to resume halfway through instead of at the beginning.

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus

The player can at any time to use the "Quicksave" option from the menu that essentially creates a checkpoint wherever they are in the game at the time--if the player loses a chance, they will then restart at the point where they last used Quicksave rather than all the way back at the beginning of the level. This is a weak example because the checkpoints are determined on the spot by the player rather than having been predetermined by the game designer, but the option still operates on the same idea as predetermined checkpoints.

Tekken 5

There are no real checkpoints in the main game because when a character dies during the arcade mode, they are just prompted to press start before the timer runs out and that person has another go at the stage where they died on. These "Continue?" screens are not a checkpoint because they can appear anywhere along the way in arcade mode and not in specific locations as there are no real locations in the game.

NHL 2003

There are no real checkpoints in this game. There is nothing you pick up that saves your spot or anything like that. The only supposed checkpoints is when you finish a game it is saved onto your season, but I don't think this is considered a real checkpoint. Other than finishing a game and saving it, there are no checkpoints in the video game NHL 2003.

Counter Strike

There are no checkpoints in this game. It is either you get killed by the other team or you defeat the other team. Then the same level starts over and you do the same thing. There is no game progression in this game so there is no checkpoints because there is nothing to save or move onto in this game. There is no ultimate goal except to defeat the other team in the five or so minutes you play the game. Then the game starts over so there are no checkpoints.


In the first-person shooter Halo, there is a mechanism wherein the game automatically saves at certain points. This auto-save feature is used as the default re-starting point if the player where to lose. This is considered a weak example because the player has the choice of restarting at the last auto-save or at some other previously saved game. It is a form of checkpoint that can be used across different gameplay sessions as opposed to within a single session.

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