“Chrono Trigger” and 4 more that changed the genre forever

multiverse It’s all the rage now, at least if Marvel has anything to say about it. It’s a way for storytellers to explore alternative outcomes and identities, all without the annoying causality of time travel.

But the potentially huge impact of small details — or missteps — on the timeline is exactly what makes the best time travel stories so rewarding. This is especially true in video games, where it is necessary to commit to little in order to achieve success. The super games of this subgenre of science fiction are those in which you constantly deal with the consequences of your actions. It’s the ultimate interactive fantasy – you can save lives, correct old mistakes, and maybe even prevent what seems to be an inevitable disaster.

These five titles had a major impact on the medium’s portrayal of the temporal bustle through their stories and gameplay mechanics. If you are looking for a crash course in time travel for video games, look no further.

Time travel rules he is inverse A special issue that explores the evolution of the most creative subgenre of science fiction. From Marty McFly to Avengers: Endgame.

5. life is strange

Chloe drives while having an intense conversation with Max in life is strange.Square Enix / Donutnode

In most video games, movies, and TV shows, time travel is a complex blessing that needs to be handled with care — but it’s always a tool of great power. However, in life is strangeMax’s ability to turn time quickly becomes a curse. After an aspiring photographer saves her ex-boyfriend Chloe from certain death, the fallout from those actions reverberates and reverberates in highly unpredictable ways.

Throughout all five episodes of the choice-driven narrative adventure at Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment, Max realizes that not only does her adorable little trick break her mind, but that she’s also the catalyst behind a storm from another world that will destroy her hometown and everyone else. in it.

life is strange It may have inspired far too many “Pacific Northwest” imitation games, but the way you use these familiar tropes to immerse players in the bond between Chloe and Max is truly memorable.

4. 13 Guardians: Aegis Rim

Three girls enjoy ice cream after school in 13 Guardians: Aegis Rim.Atlas / Vanillaware

This watercolor visual novel interspersed with real-time strategy breaks is an exercise in the ultimate in science fiction. It throws every metaphor and plot you could possibly imagine on the wall – angry teens driving the mechanisms! World War II! Magical girls! Cyborg out brand Terminator! Comfortable memory loss! However, everything works somehow miraculously.

With 13 heroes and all kinds of quick moves, there’s no way you’d be able to keep the story straight without some serious graphic. but it does not matter. For the most part, 13 guards It doesn’t tell a story in a linear fashion but instead invites you to explore its sprawling web of cause and effect however you choose. The result is three-dimensional, exhilarating and exhilarating.

Originally released on PS4 in 2020, 13 guards Now available on Nintendo Switch, the cool, dialogue-packed gameplay loop makes for the perfect handheld experience. This is the perfect game for staying up late – and inspiring some hilarious dreams once you’ve put them aside for the night.

3. 428 Shibuya scramble

428: Shibuya scramble It’s a ridiculous and overly complicated idea of ​​a time travel formula.Spike Chunsoft

The underappreciated gem of Spike Chunsoft first appeared on the Nintendo Wii in 2008. This hilarious, mixed-gender visual novel sees five protagonists — a scientist, a journalist, a gang member, a detective, and an amnesiac — caught up at the same time. An imminent terrorist event in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo.

428The story is told with a mixture of live videos and still images. The crew took more than 120,000 photos of the game, all while outsmarting or outpacing the local police, as they didn’t have permission to film.

While most games centered on time travel, they focus on great leaps between dramatically different eras, 428 Focuses only on the events of a single day, broken down into 10-hour segments. Often your goal is to get characters’ paths to cross in time – but with 87 potential endings, there are plenty of ways things can go wrong. You’ll spend a lot of time regressing – 10 minutes here, an hour there – but the scenarios unfold differently depending on your choices so that the base game is never repeated.

428 It was far enough from its time that it still feels fresh today, yet its influences can be seen in the unusual humor and rich sense of place found in the Yakuza games, as well as the character exchange mechanics in 13 guards.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Link awakens seven years old.nintendo

The first 3D entry in the Nintendo RPG series, 1998 ocarina of time Do you Paddington 2 of video games, with an amazing critic average score of 99 on the Metacritic comment aggregator.

Everything plays fair sword in stone-ish, as Zelda games do. After exploring a few dungeons and beating up a few bad guys, young Link pulls the Master Sword from his Temple of Time resting place in hopes of defeating the infamous Ganondorf. But he is blinded by the flash of light (and sinister chatter) and has fallen unconscious, awoke moments later accompanied by a sage who tells him he is seven years old.

In the end, you will be able to travel between both versions of the world at will, using the knowledge, skills, and items acquired in each era to prevent the fall of Hyrule.

ocarina It is one of those rare games that has made a home in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world. With clues flowing into that sequel to Breath of the wild It would include some sort of time-travel component, the effect clearly still being and in good health today, nearly a quarter century later.

1. Chrono player

Champions Chrono player.Square Enix / Akira Toriyama

No game deals with the concept of time travel in a more satisfying and meaningful way than Chrono player. And it’s one of the few games that adequately appreciates the allure of a badass time machine fully. The Epoch, which you gain during a short trip to the shattered future of AD 2300, is one of the coolest cars ever decorated with a game console.

time travel in Chrono player Much more than a gimmick or a one-off movie scene; It is deeply woven into the core elements of the experience. Even as you explore the boring homes of NPCs, we encourage you to tinker with the effects of your actions in the past on the future. (For example, you can Open those treasure chests in the village of Puri around 600 AD at the earliest opportunity. But you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck if you shake your magic necklace in front of them and come back after 400 years.)

In addition to unlocking more than a dozen different endings, Chrono player He uses his central gimmick to tell touching stories about each of the playable characters. The adventure begins with Marl stumbling face-first in a somewhat contradictory situation with Grandma, Luca being able to save her mother from a life-altering accident, and Robo being able to turn a wasteland into a lush forest – but only after she’s spent a few centuries cultivating the soil. Chrono playerThe game’s story and world are quite simple by modern standards, but the depth and timelessness of the game stem from the rich complexity with which time travel is incorporated into both.

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