Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ramblings Concerning My Favorite Video Game

Most normal people won't care about this. I just wanted to ramble a bit. Consider yourself warned!

As some of you may know, my favorite video game ever is Chrono Cross, the sequel to my second-favorite, Chrono Trigger (originally for SNES). I got a little bored this weekend and decided I'd replay Chrono Cross and try to pick up some characters I hadn't gotten before, as well as explore story branchings and choices I'd avoided because they were out of character for me. All of this has brought home just how complicated the story for this game is.

Chrono Trigger was relatively simple. An evil space-demon has burrowed inside the earth and is going to blow it all to smithereens in 1999 AD. Crono & co. get caught in a time warp and discover this. They decide to stop it from happening, and much time-traveling hijinks ensue. Chrono Trigger treats time travel from a one-timeline perspective, such that any changes to the past are immediately manifested in the future.

The designers of Chrono Cross, which is 20 years later in the same "universe," decided that a one-worldline story was for pansies, and so there are two important timelines (one in which your character lives and one in which he dies at the age of 10), multiple entities capable of drawing people/things between both different times and different dimensions/timelines and trying to manipulate the future/past by doing so, and a dimension-eating monster formed in the abyssal junkyard of timelines that never had been and never will be from a merger of the defeated space-demon and a powerful sorceress from Chrono Trigger. Add in closed self-referential paradoxes like person B going back in time to save person A, who will grow up to save person B in turn. A cosmic battle between avatars of a natural planet and technology. The complete voiding of the Chrono Trigger timeline. A time-explosion that jumbles together futures that never were with a past that never was and freezes it into one giant disaster-moment occupying an entire sea. Clearly Chrono Cross has the most convoluted plot ever.

I tell you that to tell you this: I just spent an hour reading 15K words by people trying to untangle the time- and dimension-hopping knot, and I still don't understand half of it, despite having beaten the game multiple times. All I know is that I am still fascinated by it.

PS - Chrono Cross also has the best soundtrack for a video game ever. I own it (and yes, I had to pay through the nose to get it imported several years ago - I'm a geek).

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