In the earlier Resident Evil games, a limited supply of Ink Ribbons were required to save the game. This is similar to other survival-horror games like Alone in the Dark (which utilized one-use "Save Amulets"). Capcom designers quickly found that Ink Ribbons were too few and far between for some players who didn't have enough time to devote hours per sitting to the game. The Ink Ribbons also occupied inventory spaces, so players who were expecting to save had to sacrifice ammunition or weapon space to carry Ink Ribbons. The Ink Ribbon system was used in Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and the remake of Resident Evil, as well as Resident Evil Zero and Resident Evil Code: Veronica.
Newer games in the franchise still use typewriters, but the Ink Ribbon system has since been abandoned. Resident Evil: Dead Aim, Resident Evil 4 and both Resident Evil Outbreak games feature typewriters, but the player can save at any time. (for file 2 of Outbreak, only Easy mode allows infinite saves. On Normal and higher, the player is limited to how many times they can save using a specific typewriter.) Resident Evil Zero is the latest game to feature Ink Ribbons.
For Resident Evil 5, the Typewriters were removed due to the inclusion of co-op and because of the autosave feature employed on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Resident Evil 6 is another game where Typewriters were removed due to the same reasons as Resident Evil 5. However, as an homage to previous games, the save icon that appears when the game auto-saves is a small, white typewriter.
- In Resident Evil 3, a camera angle in a save room in the hospital allows players to see the back of a typewriter, showing that the piece of paper inserted has print on it.
- In Resident Evil 4, the typewriters have the word "Amenhotep" engraved in gold letters. Amenhotep is the name of many significant figures in Egyptian history.
- In Operaton Raccoon City, players will have to spot several typewriters during the campaign in order to get extra experience points. Their locations are the City Hall main entrance, the RPD main hall, and the Final Battle room with Leon.