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One of the primary focuses of the Saw franchise are the traps set up by John Kramer, also known as "the Jigsaw Killer" or simply "Jigsaw", and his accomplices. Jigsaw places individuals into traps for having wasted or misused their lives; each trap serving the purpose of testing the victim's will to live. As such, these devices force subjects into near-death situations where they are typically given the opportunity to either save themselves or die. In accordance with Jigsaw's ideology, the traps are meant to act as a form of immediate rehabilitation for the subject upon completion, rewarding the survivors with a new lease on life and ridding them of their vices.

These traps, also called "games" come in 7 varieties, though some can fall into more than one of these categories:

  • Standard Traps - Devices or scenarios applied to a victim, usually with the effect of killing the test subject if not removed by completing a given task within a specified time period. There are some traps, however, that are rigged to be impossible to escape.
  • Competition Traps - Traps involving two or more victims who can pass their tests individually, but only at the expense of other victims in the trap. Only one or two people are able to survive these tests, depending on how many people are involved in a trap of this type.
  • Tests - Games that involve a victim being given "rules", or more accurately, instructions for a specific task. The outcome of the test is affected by whether or not the victim follows the "rules" and wins or breaks the "rules" and loses. Losing usually results in the death of the character or some other sort of loss, such as suffering serious injuries or causing the deaths of loved ones and friends.
  • Trials - A series of tests or traps that the victims must face with the intent of gauging the characters' psychological progress from their first game to their final test.
  • Security Traps - Traps designed to halt the progress of their victims or prevent them from escaping. These types of traps are also used to protect Jigsaw and his followers from the intervention of the police or other intruders.
  • Execution Traps - Traps that weren't designed as games on their own, but were instead used to kill certain victims that failed to accomplish their tasks.
  • Inescapable Traps - Similar to Execution Traps, but aren't preceded by games and were just used to kill people. These traps were not designed by John Kramer, as it goes against his ideology of giving every person a chance to win his or her game.

Many of the games, especially the Trials, involve a rigged area from which the victim must escape, which are often based on their interactions with other people. In most cases, the traps are created for people Jigsaw deems unappreciative of their lives and are designed to ironically reflect the characters' flaws, with a few exceptions, such as the Security Traps. In all these situations, the victim must perform dangerous tasks, mutilate themselves, or harm others to escape.

The victims are usually informed about their traps by use of a recorded video or cassette tape, which either plays automatically once a victim awakens, or is played by the victim manually. The video recordings tend to feature Billy the Puppet giving the instructions to the victims. On other occasions, however, Jigsaw gives the directions to the trap in person, while in Security Traps, little or no warning is given. Clocks and time are common themes in the games, as almost all of Jigsaw's traps require the victim to complete a task within a certain time period. While the majority of traps have solutions to them, with the exception of the inescapable traps, few characters have survived them.

Traps in the Saw movies

Traps in the Saw video games

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