Why Pokémon X/Y Desperately Needed Save Files

By Jared Scott on December 9, 2013, 5:50PM EDT

It's funny when you think about it, but for years the greatest complaint against the Pokémon franchise has generally focused on the designs of the newer Pokémon introduced in each installment. Yet it seems that an even greater problem with the franchise has been ignored since the series' debut on the GameBoy Color. What is this problem you ask? Why it's none other than the lack of multiple save files.

Save files. Those things we use when we want to start the game over without losing any progress. It's a simple concept, but Game Freak just doesn't seem to want to include it in their games. Granted, the upcoming Poké Bank makes the series much more flexible, but it only lessens the need ever so slightly

The Poke Bank means we no longer have to re-catch every Pokémon in each new Generation, with the ability to upload around 3,000 of our favorite little pocket monsters to the cloud for mere pocket change. However, it has one flaw: it only holds Pokémon. Do you know what it cannot hold? Your items. No Mega Stone storage for you. While it is likely that directly transferring Pokémon holding a Mega Stone to the next generation of Pokémon will work, the lack of this ability in the Poké Bank is still a drawback for those who want to safely tuck away their favorite Mega Pokémon for safe keeping.

Here is something else that the Bank will not hold: your records. The hours that you spent playing the game will not be remembered. While hours have little impact on your actual game, the time recorded in the save file is for some players a badge of honor. It shows dedication. It shows the blood, sweat, and tears that were invested to be the very best. Heck, it even shows us at our very worst before we became the best.

It's because of this very reason that we are always closely connected to our first file in every game. Whether it's Mario, Final Fantasy, Call of Duty, or Forza, it's the first file that matters most. Even if you did not 100 percent that file, you will return to it over and over again to close that gap of total completion. If Pokémon allowed multiple save files, players could start off on another adventure with a clean slate without actually cleaning a wonderfully dirty slate.

Let's discuss a more relatable issue for those who bought Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Mild spoiler alert, but once you beat the Elite Four you have a chance to catch one of the three Legendary Birds from Pokémon Red and Blue. Did you catch that? You can only catch one of the three. The bird you catch is determined by the starter you chose at the beginning of the game. Sadly, unless you have a gullible friend or another copy of the game, it is impossible to own all three birds within one save file. If extra save files were permitted, players could simply use the Poké Bank to transfer all three of the Legendary Birds to a single file.

Is Pokémon a bad series? No. Should you keep playing it? Yes. Does this excuse the lack of multiple save files? Never. It may not break the franchise, but it certainly holds itself back from becoming something greater than it already is. Besides, why can't we do in Pokémon what every other franchise has done since the 1990s?

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