What Was The First Console Video Game To Save A Player’s Progress?
Answer: The Legend of Zelda
Early arcade games were intended to be played in a single sitting, often as a sort of skill test where the player attempted to get as far as possible and/or acquire the most points. When video game consoles arrived, they emulated the same kind of play experience one would find in an arcade—you played for as long as you could to get as high of a score as you could.
The introduction of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda in 1987 (North America and Europe) was a radical shift in console gaming. The gold Legend of Zelda cartridge featured an internal battery that powered a small RAM chip which stored a player’s progress. For the first time ever, console gamers could save the game at any point and return to it later. Games were no longer limited to a race-to-the-finish style delivery. Because of this, the size of the in-game universe and the complexity of the game could be greatly expanded since the designers knew players would be able to complete the game over multiple sessions at their leisure.
The extended play and rich environment was a hit with gamers. The Legend of Zelda was the first Nintendo game to break the one million sales mark, ultimately sold 6.5 million copies, and is one of the highest praised video games in history.
Image courtesy of Nintendo.