A time loop or temporal loop is a plot device in which periods of time are repeated and re-experienced by the characters, and there is often some hope of breaking out of the cycle of repetition. Time loop is sometimes used to refer to a causal loop. Stories with time loops commonly center on the character learning from each successive loop through time.
The short story "Doubled and Redoubled" by Malcolm Jameson that appeared in the February, 1941 issue of Unknown tells of a person accidentally cursed to repeat a "perfect" day, including a lucky bet, a promotion, a heroically foiled bank robbery, and a successful wedding proposal. This story was a precedent to the films Groundhog Day and 12:01 PM. Jeremy Douglass, Janet Murray, Noah Falstein and others compare time loops with video games and other interactive media, where a character in a loop learns about their environment more and more with each passing loop, and the loop ends with complete mastery of the character's environment. Shaila Garcia-Catalán et al provide a similar analysis, saying that the usual way for the protagonist out of a time loop is acquiring knowledge, using retained memories to progress and eventually exit the loop. The time loop is then a problem-solving process, and the narrative becomes akin to an interactive puzzle.
^García-Catalán, Shaila; Navarro-Remesal, Victor (2015), Matthew Jones, ed., "Try Again: The Time Loop as a Problem-Solving Process in Save the Date and Source Code", Time Travel in Popular Media (McFarland Publication), pp. 206–209, ISBN9781476620084