In video games: Manually saving your game over and over again (usually before important decisions/boss battles, etc.) to make sure that if you screw up later on, you can always just return to your most recent saved game.

Used in games that allow players to save whenever they want, thus making the game substantially easier because there's no real penalty for messing up, and it lets the player know what to expect ahead.
If I wasn't save scumming so much, I would've had to restart this mission a shitton of times.
by TorpedoMoo September 2, 2013
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A video-game relevant term - used by morons and pedants - to describe the "overuse" of the saving and loading mechanic in a video game, in order to beat a particularly difficult enemy, boss, trap, puzzle, etc.

In almost all games with the function available, quick-save/load mechanics are intentionally built into the game, by the creators, to allow people this very function- but unfortunately, morons claim this is "cheating" or simply "cheap" They're the same people who complain about tactics on Super Smash Brothers instead of actually winning.
"I cant believe Steve stooped to Save Scumming in order to beat Margit in Elden Ring...that doesn't count because he's basically cheating by using an intentionally designed strategy option. Its about ethics in video-game playing."
by Yak-Shavings March 31, 2022
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When a player constantly reloads saves for a desired outcome.
Oof, I accidentally killed Lae'zel, I should probably save scum back to when she was alive!
by Caleb Wolf September 6, 2023
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A term used to describe the act of saving your game repeatedly, typically before a tough mission, or before performing some action with a low success rate. Analogous to throwing as many darts as necessary until you hit the target, it allows the player to achieve a "perfect run", using as few resources as possible, with no repercussions for failure, since you can simply reload the save if you aren't satisfied with the outcome.

Tends to be associated with Bethesda games in particular, as they allow saving whenever the player chooses, though examples can be found in many other titles, especially the Dark Souls franchise on PC, where many players make saves through 3rd party applications or by hand, right before a major boss fight, in order to waste as little time returning to the boss gate and to conserve items such as one time heals or one use damage and defense buffs.
"Did you beat that super tough mission yesterday?"

"Yeah, but I had to Scum Save my way through every fight. I was just too under-leveled to go through it for real."
by TetsuchiYamashiro March 9, 2020
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