In response to "The Slow Death of Game Over" from The Escapist Forum: I'd just like to say that the save anywhere idea is a great thing, but at the same time it should be accompanied with harder battles, more challenging games, and so on. If anything save anywhere is only accompanied with easier games. I have yet to beat Super Mario 1 yet I've beat a couple recent games with out ever saving once except when it's mandated.
Save anywhere is a wonderful functions as people here mentioned but the very simple fact is that games as a whole have been made easier as well as giving save anywhere, what should have been done is increasing the difficulty of the game as you give more saves, not making it easier.
In response to "The Slow Death of Game Over" from The Escapist Forum: Some games have done away with saves completely, and become wildly successful based off of a good gameplay mechanic.
For example, the arcade game Geometry Wars on the Xbox360. This is a game that can be played in short doses, 10-30 minutes at a time, and depending on your skill level, a game can last between 5 minutes to some of the best reaching multiple hours. The game has zero story, only a few extra lives to start-more can be earned, and doesn't feature any levels at all. The only mark of you making progress is noticing how many more enemies are coming on the screen at once.
This was also one of the top games played in the early life cycle of the 360. It still has a loyal and active community.
Regarding saving as a whole, I think it comes back to not only telling a narrative, but what the mass consumers want as a whole. As the gaming population ages and expands, there are many fewer "hardcore" gamers left. We are a dying breed, being replaced by casual games and people who don't want the mostly impossible challenge of a Ninja Gaiden. They want a quick escape, and be able to return to life anytime. As much as the narrative has driven the save system, the change in the majority of consumers purchasing games has put pressure on the industry for this change as well.