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sorry to double post, but after reading the topic immediately below this one, they do give away that exact answer. regardless, I will post my own question: What are all the different things that can change about your individual save on the file select screen?
Since this has GOT to be a tougher than it seems, might as well get the obviously wrong answer out of the way.
The color of your garb, the sword that represents that you're playing the second quest, the three-digit number, your amount of LIFE, and the fairy that appears next to your save file when you have it selected.