Chrono Trigger (SNES) came out in 1995.
I didn't really play it until 2005 because, you know, I don't know. I even forget how I came across it, I just knew I had it on my computer. And naturally, since at that point I was able to alter save states and fudge stats, I played it like I would have played a game with Game Genie codes.
Now, I'm not ashamed I did that because I was playing the game for the story, and that's always been my thing. When I played Tibia, the MMORPG I've waxed poetic about in other posts, I wasn't playing to level. I was playing for the lore, I was playing for the story I was creating. Chrono Trigger was just like that.
The story sucked me in, as did the graphics. Clean, simple, like Zelda: A link to the past.
One thing I found really cool, though, was learning who designed the art.
Those eyes, that hair, looks familiar, doesn't it?
That's because it's Akira Toriyama's work, and he collaborated with Yuuji Horii and Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creators of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy respectively, to create this "fuck it, let's see what we can come up with" game.
(Also, read that article, it's a much better look at the gameplay mechanics and all that that I'm not going to get too much into because that person did a better job )
My enjoyment was just as someone who didn't have much of experience playing RPGs. I think the only ones up until that point that I had played were FFI and Super Mario RPG and....that's pretty much it. So I was learning as I went. And this game was amazing. Here is the TVTropes Recap:
The game tells the story of Crono, a Heroic Mime who meets a young girl named Marle at his hometown's Millennial Fair, a festival thrown to celebrate the dawn of the year 1000 AD. When a teleportation device made by Crono's best friend, Lucca, goes out of control and sends Marle four hundred years into the past, Crono jumps in after her—and kicks off an adventure throughout time that will span millions of years. After some jumping between the past, present, and future, Crono and his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits gain foreknowledge of the destruction of the world: A giant interstellar termite known as Lavos burrowed beneath the earth in the prehistoric era, and if time goes as it normally would, Lavos will rise in 1999 AD and cause a global apocalypse. To save the world, Crono and his crew travel between eras as they try to find a way of eradicating the Lavos threat for good. The group of heroes will visit the Middle Ages of 600 AD, where an evil sorcerer threatens the land that will become Crono's home; the of 2300 AD, where the survivors of Lavos' destruction eke out a precarious existence against genetic mutants and genocidal robots; the prehistoric era of 65000000 BC, where the ancestors of humanity fight against evil sentient lizards (and their dinosaurs); and the mysterious Age of Magic in 12000 BC, where the inhabitants of the Floating Continent of Zeal attempt to harness the dormant power of Lavos for their own ends; and uses the literal End of Time as... a hover-car garage.
How do you not want to play that?
One of the draws of the game for me is the introduction of one of my favorite anti-heroes: Magus/Janus. Sure, bla bla, misunderstood evil king, but eventually you go back and realize why he started out that way. And the coolest thing for me at that point was realizing you could recruit him into your party. Sure, I had gotten a glimpse of that in Mario RPG when Bowser could join your party and you had no choice. Here, the dynamic was different. You had a choice, and both choices had some degree of good and bad in them.
Then, I didn't quite internalize it. Now, I realize that one of the biggest appeals games have for me is when my actions have consequences. I played Fallout: New Vegas and realized that the hard way. Yeah, I beat the game (literally talked the final boss into going away) and then turned on my presumptive allies and told them to not fuck with me. As the credits rolled, I saw that because I didn't help these guys or these other guys, I kind of ruined their shit.
I'm more careful with that stuff nowadays (I just beat Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 recently) but I still like to roleplay how I would react in the situation.
Back to Chrono Trigger, the other thing is the music. I mean, by itself, it's fantastic. Case in point:
But it was the first game where I first discovered Overclocked Remixes (OCRemixes) and the OCRemixes for this game are nothing short of fantastic. This is one of my favorite ones, but look for more, like Blue-minded god; Ruined world (The eternal derelict); and Requiem for a Green Revolution. These figured prominently in my youtube/itunes playlists once upon a time, and I've been meaning to reconstruct those writing playlists since Spotify doesn't always have the best songs out here.
One thing that I remember about the game is that it became the bonding element between a friend I had met online and myself. We randomly found each other through Xanga because we knew someone who knew the other, and just started talking about videogames. Chrono Trigger was his favorite, and at one point he had written out his own novelization of the game by hand in a notebook, which I found and still find amazing and admitable. This guy was also one of the guys that helped get me into videogame music and it's stuck with me since.
To recap this shorter GIRE, I highly recommend that you guys play. There's a DS version!