Bite Sized RPG Chunks: Mmm... Delicious
One of the advantages of playing Final Fantasy I on the ipod touch is that I can get in quick play sessions. I'm not slaving over the game for hours the way I sometimes do in modern RPGs and MMOs. The ipod lets me pick up and play for 5 minutes, make some progress, save and quit. It works well and I don't feel any RPG burn out at all.
Compare that to Dragon Age II where I only play once every few days and but devote a large block of time to my play sessions. By the end of a session I'm often burned out on DAII.
It actually makes me kind of concerned for my Final Fantasy Project because the thought of going back to old school save points sounds like a pain in the ass. The games aren't that old but not being able to save on the fly is going to be inconvenient.
Part of the reason the modern, save anywhere, approach exists is the increase in technology but I think that demographics play a part as well. A whole generation of gamers has grown up and now they have responsibilities like jobs and families to attend to. It's a lot easier to game and still be responsible when you can save and quit at the drop of a hat. Gaming becomes less of a time constraint on adult life.
I like the modern approach and really hope we don't regress. I can look back on save points nostalgically as long as I don't have to actually deal with them. Save points are not the way of the future and I don't think they'll be missed.