I woke up this morning and started a game I have recently been playing only to find the Continue Game option was not available. My only choice was Start New Game. Launching another led me to the same result. Title after title saw all of my saved games no longer existed. My level 67 Redguard Warrior, Geralt with all sword styles maxed out, Duke Nukem just outside the alien queens chamber and a hundred more hours of gameplay across a dozen other games – all gone. It was perfect. This was not my worst nightmare come true, this was an experiment. I was about to find out if Game Save Manager is really as good as it claims.
Game Save Manager is a tool that archives your saved games files. Contained within the program is an impressive list of titles and the default data paths each of those games uses for saving data. It then scans your hard drive and brings back a list of all games found. From this, you simply choose the game saves you want backed up and the archive files are created. These new files contain not only your progress in the game but also any settings or configuration changes you have made. Should something happen to your machine that causes the loss of this data, then these files can restore all the necessary information back to its proper location. At least this is the theory behind Game Save Manager, but in practice it isn’t always that simple.
First there is the internal database of games. While quite extensive, there are many games not found. If you play a lot of obscure indie or classic games you may find the list lacking. For example, Game Save Manager found my saves for Myst and Duke Nukem but not for The 7th Guest or Doom II. This does not mean, however, that you should ignore this program. There is an option to add custom data paths. Once you have located the saves for an unsupported title, the program will remember it for you. This also applies if you have renamed any of the important folders for your games. On the initial scan of my hard drive, Game Save Manager picked up Fallout 1 and 3 only. I have two folders for Fallout 2, called “Fallout 2 Original” and Fallout 2 MegaMod.” As neither of these are the default names the software was unable to identify them.
Fortunately, the list of supported games is being updated fairly often. The archived saves can be used on other machines. However, they will contain the settings used on the original machine, including graphics and control configurations. This becomes an issue when transferring saves from a gaming rig to, say a non gaming laptop. Or if you use a gamepad on one PC but not on another. This makes Game Save Manager a good fit for simply restoring lost saves, but not for transferring saves on the fly.
If you like to use multiple drives there is a minor issue with the automatic scan. Game Save Manager, by default, starts its scans in C:\My Documents. If you have moved My Documents or installed games on other drives the scan may not detect them. When I ran the initial scan on my machine I was a bit disappointed with the short list of games it brought back. I had to run the scan several times, while selecting different drives, to get the full list of games. While not a major issue, this is something to be aware of.
I feel Game Save Manager may not be the best tool for everyone. Depending on your individual needs and personal preferences, you may not see as much in the way of benefits. You may already have a system for manually backing up your saves, or perhaps use services like Dropbox. However, Game Save Manager is a great tool that does exactly what it claims. You can download Game Saves Manager free of charge from the official site. If you find it as useful as I did, please consider making a donation as well.