Weekly Wringer #89: The Grand Unified Console

In the wake of CES, gaming was a big part of the conversation.  The concept of the unified console emerged in a few new ways. This is the simple idea that one appliance can handle home console, multiplayer, mobile, and social gaming all in one platform. But what do you think of the idea of the unified console? And what do we make of the trend away from gaming and toward entertainment boxes? The Commodore tackles all of this and more today before asking a question for next time about the awesomeness of one of gaming’s most beloved classics. It’s a Super NES masterpiece today on the Weekly Wringer!

Download the MP3 version here:Weekly Wringer 89

55 Comments

  • KuraraII KuraraII
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    Why Chrono Trigger is awesome:

    It’s difficult to pin it down to a single aspect. First, it has to be one of the most refined and forward-thinking RPGs that have ever come out.

    Storyline and characters: very distinct and memorable characters that play a role that is not just that of the archetypes we expect. The story itself was rather decent with multiple character driven threads (Lucca and her past, for example or Marle’s shenanigans) that fleshes out most of the characters.

    It also helps that this was probably the first RPG on a home console that played up the theme of time travel to great effect. You can clearly see what will happen and what had happened; you can, however, make a difference and it really shows. The changes in time are coherently written and different enough that it does not feel like you are trudging the same ground again and again with a change to the calendrical date.

    The combat system was a breath of fresh air from the extremely static face-to-face turn-based battles of RPGs of the time. You could have it timed and techniques relied on the position of your party members and your enemies making it feel like you were really ON a battlefield and not just teleported into another dimension to battle an encounter. That’s one more thing: the game had enemies in fixed locations that you could fight or avoid, mostly abandoning the god awful system of random battles (some you couldn’t avoid).

    The game had multiple endings, something that made it replayable immensely and for someone like me, I might not like the way this ending played out or how this or that character’s fate was unchanged. I will then attempt to play the game differently to a different result. Which is why games like Star Ocean 2 or Growlanser 4 really appeal to me in the same vein.

    These multiple endings are also helped by the New Game+ option which is something that every RPG should consider having. In my experience, this was the first game that had such an option.

    The music itself was sublime, composed by one of Square’s greats, Yasunori Mitsuda; the man who also composed the music for games such as Xenogears.

    All in all, the game is colourful, expansive, open-ended, memorable and just a damn fine fun game to play.

  • The Bowtie Guy The Bowtie Guy
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

    First of all:
    Shame on you for choosing such a biased question, Commodore. Your question implies that Chrono Trigger is awesome. While I do think that Chrono Trigger is awesome, some might very well not.

    Anyhow, Chrono Trigger was a big step forward for Squaresoft and its whole genre in terms of storytelling. Video game RPGs were, at the time, at least, very far removed from actual role-playing games, and they still very much are. The essence of a real role-playing game is not the combat system, but the ability to affect the dungeon master’s story, perhaps derail it if you’re feeling like a jerk, and simply play a role. Chrono Trigger gave the player the potential to affect the story through their actions, and thus was a true video game role-playing game, a huge achievement for Squaresoft at the time. If you got a bad ending, it was made worse by the fact that with just a little bit more effort, you could have prevented it.

    The combat system was the absolute pinnacle of the active-time battle system. JRPG combat is, by nature, an abstraction, an abbreviation of what is really going on (some might argue that the whole genre is centered around such abstractions), and thus throwing the ATB system into games such as Final Fantasy IV created a sort of awkwardness – the combat was still very clearly abstract, but all of a sudden, you had to hurry up and choose the right choice. As good and revolutionary as Final Fantasy IV was (and is), it’s a complete and utter mess in terms of game design. Chrono Trigger took a larger step than Final Fantasy IV and pulled out as much of the abstraction as it could. The combat was displayed as it happened, and all of a sudden, the ATB system actually made sense. The lack of random encounters further supported the fairly literalized combat. The game was still very much an abstract one (How long does it take for you to walk from Whiterun to the nearest mountain? You can take out a watch and measure it. How long does it take to walk from Chrono’s house to Leene Square? No idea, but obviously more than the six seconds it takes the player.), but it is still the least abstract JRPG ever made. The genre, being built on an abstraction, should probably strive for more stylization and abstraction, as Atlus’ games are currently doing, but Chrono Trigger is the game that most successfully removed the abstraction from the JRPG genre without creating the sort of awkwardness that Squaresoft’s other ATB-centered games did.

  • Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Dear Lord, this is the ONLY game I can think of in the SNES era that rivals Final Fantasy VI as my favorite RPG.

    As already mentioned, there are a plethora of great elements in this game – Yasunori Mitsuda’s masterful scoring with help from Nobuo Uematsu also makes it one of the finest video game Soundtracks of that era as well.

    The timetravel theme is handled masterfully, along with the multiple endings.

    It is also one of the best Game + features I have seen in a long time. I liked that you carried over level, equipment, etc.

    But after all that, if I had to pick one thing I really liked about Chrono Trigger, it’s the Dual and Triple Techs. I don’t think I have ever seen a game before or since that has utilized characters together like this in such a unique and fun way.

    Everyone could combo with the hero, many could combo with each other, and a few could do combos as a 3 person team. Not only that, but they were even integral to strategies in the games where monsters would be weak to a certain tech or a tech would be required to diffuse their strong attacks. It also played on how you assembled a team for going up against the end boss.

    That right there was my single biggest disappointment with Chrono Cross. Given that you had at least 30 playable characters, and the Dual/triple tech feature was sorely lacking. A few people had techs together, but rarely were they worth the effort and I can’t think of a single triple tech team.

    Thinking about it, the techs also gave personality and character to the player character. I mean, their individual attacks would show their personality as an individual, but combining attacks would even show you how they’d interact on a personal level, if that makes sense.You weren’t ordering three individuals in combat – you were directing a TEAM. You were leading a group that fit together and needed each other in order to be strong.

    Yeah, you could get through the game without dual techs, but where’s the fun in that? (Unless you’re on a replay and want more of a challenge)

  • Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

    Oh boy, where do I begin? It has arguably one of the best JRPG battle systems with its on-screen pre-battle enemies and Dual/ Triple techs which make trying out different parties even more rewarding. It has a gorgeous musical score that is still beloved even today. And it still has probably the best “Time Travel narrative” to date with its theme not only affecting the setting and plot, but also the gameplay as well, since certain objects could be obtained twice if picked up in the correct time period first, and you had to go through multiple time periods in order to advance the optional sub-plots. Its characters are memorable and lovable, with their own distinct personalities, and of course, it’s pioneering use of New Game+ and multiple endings to extend replay value faaaarrrr beyond most other JRPGs is still an impressive feat in gaming to behold, since it is rather easy to burn out on a JRPG after beating it once.

    But perhaps best of all about Chrono Trigger is that ANYONE can play it. It’s challenging enough to not be a pushover, but its mechanics are intricate and yet incredibly easy to pick up on. I like to think of this game as the perfect “gateway JRPG”, since it is one of the most new-comer friendly RPGs I have ever experienced (rivaled only by Super Mario RPG), in fact this is one of the games that I recommend whenever someone asks me what RPG would be a good starting point to see whether a gamer will like the genre or not.

    In short, its a very well-aged, well polished game that no fan of JRPGs (or video games in general) should miss out on…seriously, if you haven’t played it, its on the Wii Virtual Console for only 8 bucks!

  • Mog Mog
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    Chrono Trigger is awesome because it melded every element so perfectly.

    Time travel is always awesome, but what is so awesome about Chrono Trigger is the way every jump through time seems to have real meaning not only to the overarching story, but to each individual character.

    The music is awesome, but it’s the way its used to enhanced every situation that makes Chrono Trigger so awesome.

    The battle system is awesome, but it’s the way it fits so perfectly with the world you’re exploring (literally in this case. It’s awesome alone having battles take place on the same map), the characters being developed, and the story that make it so awesome.

    I’m a huge fan of FF6 obviously and there are individual moments/characters/elements in FF6 that are better than any in Chrono Trigger, but the planets all just aligned in a way with Chrono Trigger that I don’t know any game will ever again duplicate. There is a polish and consistancy to CT no other game I’ve played has had. They really dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” and it makes all the difference. Every last pixel feels like it’s there for a reason. Thought that little mini game was just to have something cool in your house? Not with Chrono Trigger.

    • Mog Mog
      Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

      This is the difference between Chrono Cross and Trigger btw. Chrono Cross feels rushed. I really liked the wide variety of characters offered, but few are fleshed out. Battle system is interesting, but lacks definition or context. Pretty sure it was rushed. Example would be the character clearly intended to be Magus having no story whatsoever.

  • Anatoray_Lizard Anatoray_Lizard
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    Had to comment on this one.
    In addition to everything above, I would add that I know so many people that hate JRPG or even RPG games that love Chrono Trigger. It does so many things right, that it is sad to see so many games afterwards almost regress the genre.

  • Red Mage Red Mage
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    I love Chrono Trigger but I’m going to play devil’s advocate and list reasons Chrono Trigger is not so awesome.

    1) Difficulty (or lack thereof). There’s one thing I do regularly criticize the game for and it’s difficulty There’s no question: Chrono Trigger is a total cake walk. Your characters are just insanely overpowered compared to the stats of enemies. Your characters deal too much damage and don’t take enough in return to amount to anything resembling a challenge. The dual and triple tech system was novel idea but it was simply not needed at all. It’s quite possible to breeze through the entire game only using the single techs. In fact, it’s arguable the multi-character techs are actually more of a handicap by endgame as it’s likely a party will do more cumulative damage using 3 individual single techs than a triple tech that hits once. Chrono Trigger does many of things right but difficulty/gameplay balance is not one of them.

    2) The artwork of Akira Toriyama. This is more of an opinion but I can’t stand Akira Toriyama’s art designs. Too many of his designs are similar to others he’s done in the past and I particularly don’t like the facial expressions in his designs. I like the cast of characters and don’t have a problem with the in game sprites but I don’t like the concept artwork associated with the game or the character portraits in the game’s menus.

    3)Dungeon Design. As a whole the dungeon design is way too straightforward. The varied backgrounds and settings look wonderful but the dungeons are generally small and lack complexity of some earlier 16 and 8-bit rpgs. It’s pretty much virtually impossible to get lost in any of the dungeons in this game. Some many say that is a positive but the straightforward nature of the dungeons hurts the exploration factor associated with RPGS.

    Don’t get me wrong I really really enjoy Chrono Trigger but I figured the game gets enough praise as it is and should list some negatives as a counterpoint in the argument.

    • Red Mage Red Mage
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

      I’ll nitpick a few more issues I have with the game. When it comes to a game as polished as this one is, most of the issues brought up tend to be trivial.

      4)Linear Character Progression. There’s very little in the way of character customization in this game. There’s only a single possible skill set available for each character ex Crono can’t learn anything other than his lightning techs. This may not bother some gamers that like specialization among the game’s cast of characters making each character unique. Others may prefer the flexibility to customize their characters that existed in a few earlier Square RPGS like in Final Fantasy V. Whether or not this is a flaw or an attraction depends on taste.

      5)Character Skill Imbalance. With a game with a specialized cast, some characters are certainly more powerful and useful and others. This flaw is not unique or uncommon but for a game that gets as much universal praise, there is noticeable disparity among the cast with Marle and Frog in particular being completely outclassed.

      Marle is an absolute oddity in game design. They tried to make her a healer but didn’t give her any multi-target heal spells making Robo and even Frog more competent in that role. She also doesn’t get a third tier Ice spell making her outclassed by Crono, Lucca, Magus and Robo in regards to attack magic and she is by far the weakest in terms of physical attacks. Life 2? I’ve played through the game many times I can only recall one time ever using the spell, a low level game and having to revive Crono after being his by Lavos’ Door of Doom Boob Lasers. Her only saving grace is Haste which is a good spell but doesn’t make up for her being otherwise completely outclassed in utility.

      Frog is the other character that isn’t particularly useful. He’s essentially the same as Robo but inferior in basically every way. His attack is below Crono and Ayla but doesn’t get a nifty weapon like the Crisis Arm to make up for it, he can heal but Robo’s Heal Beam has a higher multiplier making it stronger spell, Robo’s Shock is significantly better than Frog Squash.

      Don’t get me wrong, the game is fully playable with any party of characters. The game is so easy that using a party with both Marle and Frog isn’t going to handicap any real significant way. Again, this really nitpicking but for a game as lauded as Chrono Trigger, the character skill balance was clearly not as polished as the rest of the game.

  • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    The Bowtie Guy hits it on the head about not everyone thinking Chrono Trigger is awesome. No JRPG has ever really appealed to my gaming taste. It may be the character design, the turn based combat, or the storytelling. I wasn’t into any RPGs until Fable on the XBox. The Knights of the Old Republic titles further drew me into the RPG genre and current generation games like the Mass Effect Series and Skyrim continue to bring me hours of joy.

    Chrono Trigger is lost on me, but I don’t think it is my very clear preference for Western RPG over Japanese RPGs. The reason has more to do with Chrono Trigger being an old game and without a nostalgic connection to the game it just doesn’t hold up in modern times. I can still play older titles like Super Mario World or Donkey Kong Country because I experienced them when they were fresh.

    Games today have advanced technology to create more expansive worlds, fully voiced dialogue, more complex gameplay, and the ability for gorgeous visuals. Chrono Trigger was probably awesome in 1995, but it is incredibly dated now. A graphical update to Chrono Trigger or an overhaul of the interface wouldn’t make the game shine in my eyes because the gameplay itself is a product of the time it was created. That style of game is a relic and has relegated to smart phones or handhelds today. A game like Ocarina of Time is terrible on N64 now, but its updated form on the 3DS works because the core experience of the gameplay and its presentation are not confined to a past era. Any innovations Chrono Trigger brought to the gaming world have been incorporated into better more recent titles and it is a fact that modern games are better.

    It is not fair to compare things from the past to current day when technology is involved. The same argument exists in sports with an example of Babe Ruth being the greatest baseball player of all time. Ruth was great in his own time, but a player like Albert Pujols would have had over a 1000 homeruns if he played in the 1920’s. Could Babe Ruth thrive today? There is different equipment, training regimens, facilities, doctors, trainers, transportation, and the very strategy of playing the game has evolved. Who can say if Babe Ruth would be awesome today, but within his era he was a beast unmatched by any.

    What makes Chrono Trigger awesome? In today’s standard it may be somewhat amusing, but awesome would not be the first word to come to mind. Chrono Trigger may be awesome when viewed from behind nostalgic lenses by a person that has a connection to the game during that time. It may be the memory of when life’s biggest concern was finishing a diorama of the solar system (Pluto included) for science class. It could be that Chrono Trigger provided something more grand than other titles of the time. For me, Chrono Trigger is something I skipped and today is too late to find anything awesome about an old SNES title when a juggernaut like Skyrim still has new places to discover after 317 hours of playing. However, I will concede Chrono Trigger has a pretty sweet soundtrack.

    • The Bowtie Guy The Bowtie Guy
      Posted February 4, 2013 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

      With all due respect, TheBeerNinja, you’re being silly. Chrono Trigger may have been topped many, many times since its release, but that does not make it any less “awesome.” Chrono Trigger has lost much of its appeal due to age, but the sense of progression and the fluidity of the mechanics are still all there.
      How does age make a game “terrible”? The sense of fascination that came with the release may be gone, but the principles of its design will forever remain unchanged. Metal Gear Solid, for example, was designed to be a cinematic experience, and though it has certainly not aged well in terms of mechanics, the intentions of the designer are still there and still very, very visible.
      Also, why would you compare Chrono Trigger to Skyrim? I don’t play Chrono Trigger for the same reason that I play Skyrim, just like I don’t read Tolstoy for the same reason that I read Philip K. Dick. They’re two separate experiences for separate occasions.

      What I’m getting at is that even though an experience has been topped, it’s no less valid. Chrono Trigger isn’t the holy grail of video games or the top-10 winner people make it out to be, but it’s still very much worth playing, if only for the history alone. If you take the mentality that an experience is invalidated the second it has been topped, then you might as well only play what you consider the greatest games of all time.

      • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

        You have some connection to Chrono Trigger and can can recognize what it did to separate itself in terms of history. Metal Gear Solid is the same in that the intentions of the game designer are surrounded by the limitations of old technology, which significantly detracts from the experience. Metal Gear Solid 4 is much easier to digest because the rest of the presentation is on par with current games so the merit of the gameplay can be recognized. Metal Gear invented the concept of stealth, something still used today by the Metal Gear series as well as new franchises like Dishonored and Assassin’s Creed. The top down view, text dialogue, and turn based combat gameplay of Chrono Trigger are not prevalent today because those elements are from a different age.

        As for comparing Chrono Trigger to Skyrim, that is completely valid because I am comparing them in terms of what a new gaming experience can offer. Skyrim is a total monster of a game and one that most people will choose to play over Chrono Trigger. Skyrim has a huge budget, a massive development team, a more complex controller to use, downloadable content to extend the game, and over 15 years worth of time more than Chrono Trigger to see what works in a game. My customized hero in Skyrim has allowed me to explore its world for over 317 hours, something Chrono Trigger can never provide because at the end of the day it is jailed within the confines of an SNES cart. A model T car provides the same function and similar mechanics to a modern car, but driving one would be fun for no other reason than its place in history. If given a choice between a model T or a lesser car of the modern era like a 2010 Kia, you can bet I’ll be riding around listening to mp3s behind a complete windshield of a lame Kia.

        Moving on to your metaphor of different authors being for different occasions, a more appropriate analogy would be genres of games. At times I prefer a sports title over a shooter just as I would prefer some Dick sci-fi over War and Peace (blech, I’ll take the sci-fi every time.) Literature is consumed and processed in the same manner via the mode of reading. Sure we have things like e-readers today, but a work written in the 1860′s, 1960′s, or today is presented on a level playing field where the talent of the author determines quality not the technology used to record the work. Using a computer to type out a story does not improve a story, but using a high end computer to produce impressive visuals does improve the quality of a game.

        To further expand on how technology impacts the quality of the experience, we can remain on the subject of authors. Certainly, there were talented story tellers in ancient Egypt on the same level as Philip K. Dick, but their limited technology did not allow them to present their talent on the same level as more recent writers. A few lines of bird, squiggle line, sun etched on a wall does not provide the amount of information and detail that 400 pages filled with a more complex and varied language can communicate. Hell, even taking identical works and presenting one in printed book form versus a faded hand written copy will have noticeable impacts.

        Chrono Trigger is just old with relatively primitive graphics, a limited point of view for the camera, and a clunky outdated combat engine. Games like Chrono Trigger are rarely produced today and when they are it is an homage to what was once glorious. What is an homage without a connection to the reference? If Chrono Trigger was remade in a 3D environment, with fully voice acted characters, and a faster real time combat engine would it connect with a new audience where the original has not? Maybe, but it would also not be the game that so many at Clan of the Gray Wolf embrace.

        Chrono Trigger has been diminished with time and has been invalidated without a frame of reference to the game as it existed during its release. The concept of an all time list is pointless since not everyone has the same perspective or appreciation for a game’s place in history. Reviews are products of their time and objectively reviewed, older games are inferior based on the components of a typical review. Donkey Kong is the pinnacle of the arcade action platformer, perfecting that style of game and has provided countless hours of entertainment for millions of people, but it is a rare case that anyone that discovers Donkey Kong recently will get more than a few minutes of enjoyment before dismissing the game. Some of my favorite games are Monkey Island, TIE Fighter, and NHL 95, but I would not expect anyone today to find much enjoyment in them due to the wonky dated presentation or additionally in NHL 95’s case most of the players are retired now. The only game that defies time and continues to draw new people in the same way it did during its original release is Tetris because it perfect in the execution of the game’s objective. To look at Chrono Trigger, what does it offer that isn’t included in a game with a better surrounding package? All that is left is a story, one that is limited in scope and size by the SNES cartridge prison. Chrono Trigger is a few lines of bird, squiggle lines, sun, when compared to the dense multi volume narrative epic that is Mass Effect. The bar for awesome continues to rise in video games so the legendary titles of today will eventually fall to pretty good for their time.

        • The Bowtie Guy The Bowtie Guy
          Posted February 5, 2013 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

          I’ve actually got no connection to Chrono Trigger. I never saw it as the masterpiece everyone else does. In fact, I have a sort of bitterness towards it and the other popular RPGs of the day – far better RPGs were coming out at the time (Live-A-Live, Dragon Quest III Remake, Shin Megami Tensei II) and being ignored by NoA for rather superficial reasons. I also dislike how easy it is. I’m simply arguing with your completely contrived reasons. Anyhow…
          You don’t need to be able to explore for 317 hours or however long you like to enjoy something – enjoyment comes in many different forms, especially in the world of video games. The fact that you can explore Skyrim for 317 hours does not instantly invalidate Chrono Trigger, which is another separate experience.
          Games are not cars. Pardon me if I sound clichéd, but games are art, and in a good enough game, the cohesive experience can survive being weathered by new technology. It’s really only when a game completely relies on a sort of “technological shock value” that it becomes crap with age, which is why we’re not playing any FMV games today. Also, game technology may have a linear progression, but game design does not. Deus Ex is still much, much deeper and a much better game than any shooter released today. Why? Because the designers were bleeding brilliant. Strong design can easily trump new technology in the world of gaming. Now, it’s up to you to decide how strong Chrono Trigger’s design is, but it’s not been invalidated by newer games like Skyrim.

          And just to leave you on a bitter note, Morrowind was better.

          • Mog Mog
            Posted February 5, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

            Daggerfall personally, but what Bowtie Guy says. Rpgs aren’t for everyone, but shouldn’t try to use age as a reason to dislike Chrono Trigger. The gameplay of Pokemon Black is still pretty much the same as Dragon Warrior 2 and none I’ve played look better than Chrono Trigger. My kids would just die without every new pokemon game.

        • Maze Maze
          Posted February 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

          Chrono Trigger’s graphics are the height of 2D. Comparing them to a modern 3D game’s graphics is pretty specious. It’s apples and oranges. Different medium. It’s like saying Botticelli’s Venus is inferior to the Venus de Milo because it’s not a sculpture.

          This is why I don’t care for the whole jrpg, western rpg classifications. I much preferred the old turn based vs. action rpg designation. They are far more acccurate and encompassing and capture the major, single differentiating aspect of gameplay w/in their definition. Secret of Mana is an action rpg from Japan for example. Most people who don’t like turn based rpgs mostly don’t like them BECAUSE they are turn based. Storyline and tired old tropes and etc. could be ignored, if they found the gameplay appealing. I’m not much of a comic book fan, but I loved the hell out of Xmen Legends and its predecessor for example because the gameplay is so fun. (And much like an evolved Secret of Mana). The main reason for fans of action rpgs not liking turn based is purely and simply based on not liking the combat system. Therefore, I think it makes a lot moar sense to differentiate between the two types on that basis.

          And it’s okay. Not a whole helluva lot of people EVER liked turn based rpgs, that’s why rpgs were such a niche market back in the day when they were the vast majority of rpgs being made. Some people , like me, like both kinds of rpg’s. For different reasons. There are things you can do in turn based battle system, you just can’t do in real time combat. Like the orb triple attacks in Chrono Trigger for example. Conversely real time combat gives you moar of that immediate, blood thirsty, hack and slash feeling of gratification. One experience is not necessarily better than the other if you like both, just different. And if you DON’T like both? That’s fine. But it doesn’t mean that one is inherently superior to the other.

          • Maze Maze
            Posted February 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

            And please don’t try and make the whole Wrpg = “open world” vs. jrpg = “linear” claim. Wrpg Daggerfall is pretty damn linear once you decide to leave Daggerfall. Jrpg Chrono Trigger is pretty damn open world after the first part. So are Illusion of Gaia, Dragon Quest VIII, Final Fantasy VI, freaking POKEMON FFS, if you are a completionist and decide to do all the side quests and try to get all the items. Any game can be linear if it has any kindof an end to it at all. All depends on how you want to play it.

      • The Male White Mage The Male White Mage
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

        “How does age make a game “terrible”?”

        I was going to say graphics but TheBeerNinja responded back already mentioning them.

        Speaking of graphics being a reason not to like a video game I should go check to see if Mr. K has any new reviews.

        • Mr. K Mr. K
          Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

          I haven’t done one in a while, but I’m thinking of doing one on Dragon Warrior (the first one). Since I recently played through it for the first time a few weeks ago.

          • The Male White Mage The Male White Mage
            Posted February 5, 2013 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

            Yea its been awhile since all the videos were posted a year ago. So I am looking forward to that review or any review for the matter since you have a different take on reviewing.

  • Markies
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    Why Chrono Trigger is so awesome?

    To be honest, I think Chrono Trigger is a little over-rated. It is almost in the same vein that I think Chrono Cross is severely under-rated in the scope of video games. But, let us talk only about Chrono Trigger today.

    Don’t get me wrong, Chrono Trigger is a GREAT, GREAT game. But, I don’t happen to think it is one of the greatest games of all time. The SNES is known for its many RPG’s that are simply fantastic and Chrono Trigger deserves to be on there, but it’s not the best of its genre on the system as that title falls on Final Fantasy VI.

    Though, I think what separates Chrono Trigger from other games is the multiple endings. I cannot think of another mainstream game that had that many endings at the time. It was the first to have over 10 different endings which is an unbelievably feat that really hasn’t been duplicated in a long time. Imagine how the Mass Effect 3 controversy could have been avoided if it had so many multiple endings.

    Also, it does everything it needs to do exceptionally well. The graphics, music and control are absolutely superb. The battle system is really unique, but so easy to understand and jump right into at the beginning.

    Chrono Trigger is really one of those rare RPG’s that doesn’t suffer from the hindrance of being a RPG. You can give the game to somebody who doesn’t even like RPG’s and they would enjoy it. The game doesn’t have the confusing dialog, very intricate battle system and heavy emphasis on grinding that makes RPG’s famous.

    Chrono Trigger is really the perfect gateway RPG.

    • Red Mage Red Mage
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

      Chrono Trigger is a beginner’s RPG. Not to say RPG vets can’t also enjoy the game but to me it’s clear Chrono Trigger was design to be as accessible as possible while still appealing to the hardcore crowd. In my opinion, Chrono Trigger is Final Fantasy Mystic Quest but with much much great production values and a bit less hand holding. The difficulty is very mild and the battle system is deep but simple enough to understand quickly by even the newest RPG player. The plot while having occasional serious moments, the story is generally full of lighthearted and whimsical avoiding much of the melodrama that plagues Final Fantasy. These features make Chrono Trigger an RPG that is easy to digest and a solid choice for a first RPG for many. Of course the writing and production values are really good that RPG vets will also tend generally adore the game as well.

      Why is Chrono Trigger so awesome, it’s a game that can be easily enjoyed by gamers that are new to the genre and RPG enthusiasts alike.

  • Yoshi The Retro Gamer
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    Since I have not played through Chrono Trigger in quite a long time, and I do not want to have my answer based entirely on how I remember the game and my nostalgiac feelings for it. So instead of just listing off all the things I remember about the game, I have opted to replay the entire thing and give my thoughts on it as a whole afterwards, since the last time I played through it I was just rushing through the game and didn’t actually give it the time it deserved.

    I shall give my full answer, and thoughts on the game in a few days, after I have finished replaying this game. Although I do not own the Super Nintendo version of the game, I do have the Playstation version. So I shall be playing that, they should be essentially the same anyway.

    • Mr. K Mr. K
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

      Except for the load times.

      • Yoshi The Retro Gamer
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

        I’m quite aware of those, but I have been playing quite a bit of Sega CD, so it’s not all that bad compared to that…

  • Cobaltium
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    So…I had to create a new account to comment on this. Howdy, Its CommanderCobalt, and I haven’t commented on one of these since #54 to tell my Christmas Story (Jak 3 for those who remember). I’ve been watching on mobile for all these months, and I didn’t feel a need to get a new account and comment until now. So hey…how’s everyone doing?

    But Seriously, Chrono Trigger is to some degree a part of my life. I’m an Admin on the Chrono Wiki, I’m one of the speed run record holders for longplay (no TAS) and…yeah. Its one of the reasons why I love gaming so much, because games like Chrono Trigger exist.

    Chrono Trigger is probably the greatest JRPG of all time, in all aspects. I have heard FFVI argued successfully, Persona 4 to some degree, and Mother 3 rarely. So I’m just going to go down a list of why Chrono Trigger is so great, and hope that its not TOO long to read.

    Story: Its starts off simple doesn’t it? A boy goes to a fair to visit his friend? Chrono Trigger, in this regard does an excellent job story telling, as every event leads into the next one seamlessly. There is no real way to leave the storyline in what I call the First Arc of the game. Every event leads to the next, and events that happen in the past will effect the future and so on and so forth. We are treated to glimpses of Magus in the first excursion into 600AD (in the form of a statue) and our characters are as confused as we are when we learn that Lavos was NOT summoned by Magus. We are aware of the terrible fate that is going to befall Zeal before it happens because WE KNOW THE FUTURE. And that’s a powerful idea. The first Arc also has this beautiful feature I like to call, the “You’re making progress, but not enough”. Think about it, every time you accomplish something towards your goal of defeating Lavos, nothing REALLY changes. You’ve made insignificant progress that has no effect on anything besides opening up the next event. No changes in the face of the overworld, no changes in terms of Lavos’ extinction, no changes except for something new happening…which in itself will be insignificant. Which is important, but simply that the story handles that concept so well is baffling to me. I really quickly need to talk about the Bucket at the End of Time. The idea that you can at ANYTIME fight the final boss is crazy. And you are tempted to go to the bucket to see what happens, but you won’t because you’re not strong enough yet…because you haven’t accomplished something significant. And also because the Story seems to suggest there is more to this tale than has originally been let on. We don’t know the whole story until the very end of the First Arc. So Crono finally gets killed by Lavos and you’re left stunned. The protagonist has just been killed, and you are now left with nothing. That was groundbreaking at the time, killing the LEAD character right before the finale. You recover Epoch, and now you’ve entered the Second Arc. Now you have side-quests or the option to fight Lavos. This is what I find great about the Second Arc, because it is the opposite of the First Arc in every way. First Arc, no matter what you did, there were no substantial changes to the world map. Second Arc, basically every sidequest makes a change to the map (Fiona’s Forest screams to me everytime I make this point). First Arc, linear storytelling; Second Arc, do what you want, you decide when to continue and where. So you resurrect Crono, Fight Lavos and that’s it right? That’s the story. Well yes, but to really get a feel for it you have to play the game. I can’t explain all the little details that really put you in. Also, considering that in the Second Arc you really get CHOICES, the endings change. YES THIS GAME HAS DIFFERENT ENDINGS. Once the story has you…how do you stop playing? And if the story isn’t enough…maybe something else is…like the:

    Characters: All 7 Main Characters are amazing, so I’m going to break them down into their own sections and then talk about some of the minor ones.

    Crono – The silent protagonist. Is it any surprise that he’s world renown? The guy doesn’t talk except for ONE of the secret endings, and he’s basically the bad-ass Katana wielding hero. Silent Protags are great in my opinion because I really put my personality into the character, or at least have a personality that I can put into him. Because I’m not like Crono, he’s much cooler than me, but I can kind of decide how to play the game as him. Reluctant Hero who’s getting bossed around by Marle + Lucca? Or Valiant Warrior who’s saving humanity for an adventure? So many ways to play him…so little time (TIME PUNS AWAY – NO).

    Marle – The Love Interest / Secret Princess. Marle is a fascinating character, a princess who pretends to be a regular girl because of an overbearing father (who isn’t overbearing for no reason mind you and another one of the strengths of the game) who just wants to have an adventure. Compassionate enough to feel its HER responsibility to save the world from Lavos, and strong enough to take down skeletons in a fight. She probably grows the most as well, as her relationship with Crono grows, so does she. She begins as kind of…a princess, unable to do anything for herself and simply there for the adventure. However, as she winds up getting saved and discovering the world is ending, she goes from adventurer without purpose to World Saver who no longer sees this as a getaway.

    Lucca – Brilliant Scientist / Magic Wunderkind. Lucca begins the tale as a terrible inventor (as we discover an unfair title) since most of her machines break down or don’t function. She is the brains of the operation, but is extremely self-centered. She doesn’t go back in time, and forces Crono to save Marle. She never acts modest, sayin’ “Ain’t that the truth” in response to Marle telling her she’s a genius, and she seems to have this idea that she should be bossing everyone around (this plays great in contrast to Marle who simply follows). There are plenty of fan theories suggesting that this has to do with Lucca having a crush on Crono (supported by early game text such as the consistant need to call Marle his “girl-friend”). Either way, she grows out of this by meeting Robo…who we could argue becomes her next crush, but I’ll leave that to…literally anyone else. She becomes more modest, more open to ideas from the group, and becomes a team player. Something I find fascinating with Lucca is how interesting she is in machinery, and how we discover how her fascination began was a great anecdote in the story.

    Frog – Personal Favorite. Frog is perhaps one of the greatest heroes in all of videogamedom. Frog is the quintessential hero, and perhaps most complexing, the one who undergoes the MOST GROWTH in the entire story. Frog deals with the question of what does it TRULY mean to be a hero. He begins the story as an unsung warrior, a anthropomorphic frog who failed his friend Cyrus (killed by Magus) and has be-friended the Queen (in one of the endings they get married…ew). He feels extreme guilt about failing Cyrus, and has a severe complex where he feels that he doesn’t deserve anything. He gives away the Hero’s Medal to a kid! This is only changed after Crono & Co. convince him to wield the Masamune to defeat Magus. However, his guilt about Cyrus isn’t relieved, and won’t be until he talks with Cyrus’ ghost who tells him to forget about it and move on. Thus Frog becomes the hero we need him to be. He’s got great swordskills, and he talks with an awesome accent. How much better can it get?

    Robo – Domo Arigoto, Mr. Robo. Robo is a fascinating character who deals with questions of Humanity. He’s a robot, who has feelings. This makes him question everything, and when we discover his original programming was to DESTROY humans, he has serious issues with this. When he fights his love interest, that’s a powerful fight because its making us question whether Robo is crazy or she is? Robo allows himself to be trashed by his “brothers” because he is convinced he is defective, and he “can’t harm his brothers”. What a crazy notion for a ROBOT. Robo comes to the conclusion that he is as human as Lucca, and he is more than just his original objective. He chooses where he wants to go, and that choice…makes him human.

    Ayla – Cavewoman. Honestly, I’d talk a lot about how Ayla’s dynamic is really based on Marle’s, so I’ll go into it briefly, but Ayla is simply not as important as the others unfortunately. I’m sure someone will argue, but I haven’t spent enough time considering her importance. Ayla is the strongest person there, and she provides and interest outlook on society. She’s the alpha-male of her clan, and she wants to fight the Reptites. Marle (who is her descendant) is not physically strong. Ayla questions whether she is strong enough to have children, something important to that culture. Ayla provides a different viewpoint, and her interactions with the characters is the most interesting thing about that…like when she questioned if she could eat Frog. That was a great moment.

    Magus – The Most Important Character. Magus is the original antagonist, and becomes the anti-hero. That’s huge in and of itself, but I need to talk about how fascinating Magus is. Magus is from Zeal, and is ripped from that period to 600AD. Magus is OBSESSED with returning to Antiquity and saving his sister Schala. So he attempts to summon Lavos to bring him back / defeat Lavos, but fails. He tries to attack Lavos again at the Ocean Palace and fails. Then we are granted the option whether to fight and kill Magus, or to let him live. Frog is party leader at this point, so it really depends on how you’ve chosen to let Frog advance. People usually let him live, because they’ve seen Frog grow, and so Magus begrudgingly joins the team. Magus doesn’t lose sight of his goal, he wants to save Schala. You never LOVE Magus, because we know he killed Cyrus, and he’s the reason why the Mystic War happened. But you grow to care about him, and you respect his goal and ambition. He’s still a jerk, but he’s important because of what he represents. He represents an undying love of family, and a wish to never let that go. Childlike innocents also plays a role here. There’s so much more but I’ve already spent an hour…so I’m going to stop with Magus.

    Okay, I was going to continue to talk about minor characters, but I never planned on this being the comprehensive review of why Chrono Trigger is awesome, but I’m probably going to have to expand upon this somewhere else. I’ll talk about minor characters elsewhere some other time, but I need to get into the gameplay and thematic.

    Art Style & Music: What can I say, the art is beautiful. The sprites are so well detailed, and the animations are flawless. Everything about the scenery is unbelievable, and everything flows. Music…well…Yasunori Mitsuda is considered a god amongst men in my discussions of VGM. I don’t feel the need to say anything about the music, but maybe that if you don’t think that the Chrono Trigger soundtrack is one of the top 5 VGM soundtracks of all time, you don’t know good music. Green Memories, Chrono Trigger, Frog’s Theme, I mean this stuff stacks up there with FFVI and Secret of Mana. I’ve heard complaints about the concept art / the menu sprites, but I think they fit the characters well. I think it influences the style in a nice way.

    Gameplay: This…this will take awhile. The Menu system is fantastic, everything is simple, easy to find, and no ridiculous searching system. Items are easily sorted, and nothing gets in the way. The entire interface is built rather well, since when actions need to be done, they are obvious as to what you can and cannot do (and there’s not much you can’t do).

    Techs – Magic system. The tech system is perhaps the single reason why this game is unbelievable. The system is fluid in that you gain new magic skills every once in a while, and those are what feel like level ups, since grinding for levels in this game is a waste of time. Tech Grinding is a thing though, and it is so much more rewarding. As you gain techs, you can double and triple those techs with other characters creating huge explosions like Delta Strike, Antipode, and Megaton Bomb. These moves are rewarding to pull of because of the amazing animations, and deal massive damage. Every character gets techs and those can be teamed up with other characters. This is why Chrono Trigger succeeds, because the tech system is so much fun to use. There are so many combinations that you can experiment for hours trying to find the best ones for different situations.

    Battles – Techs have to be used somewhere. Welcome to the battles, where the enemies move around, and you can hit multiple enemies with different attacks based on how they line up or how close together they are. Yes, what I just described is a thing, and it makes them dynamic. Dynamic Battle System? During the 16 bit era? Surely you must be joking! Nope! The enemies move, making strategies change constantly. Different terrains will influence them, and what characters you selected as well. Its nuts to think about, but Square made a DBS in 16-bit. The enemies are varied and interesting, all with different strengths and weaknesses. The 3 party system works well, because it allows different characters to take on different job classes. Attacker, Mage, and Healer usually are how it breaks down, but the ability of the Healer to take a turn to double tech once the team is fully healed makes things interesting. The variety of options really opens up CHOICES, which I’ll scream to infinity are the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN GAME DESIGN. Every battle offers new choices and options, which makes things interesting even though your heading in a linear storyline for the first Arc.

    Overworld – One of the greatest overworlds ever. Music is definitely a factor, but no random battles, and quick movement definitely help. Hidden areas, places to explore, and the ability to look into future areas is great. Did I mention the amazing music?

    Onto the final area;

    If your not convinced yet: Play the game. There’s no reason not to, its 800 points on the Wii Virtual Console, and a DS and PS port exist. The game is something every gamer needs to experience, because of how well POLISHED the game is. No one can argue that this game doesn’t have polish and charm because that’s what makes the game so memorable. The game sticks with you, the characters stick to you, the unbelievably well crafted story sticks to you. Theories about Crono as a Jesus Allegory and Lavos as NOT Evil are ever present on forums. People are crazy about this game, and I’m one of them. Because Chrono Trigger is as imaginative as it gets. The story is convoluted in the best kind of way in that it takes you through it step by step and you don’t realize how crazy it is until you take a moment to piece together earlier stuff. The referential material is so Back to the Future 2 in that you keep being like “HEY! I REMEMBER THAT!” . I’ve never been so blown away by how perfect a game was…in every way. Chrono Trigger tells the player something, and for everyone its different. For some people its that “Nothing, not even time, is a barrier” for others its “Find your adventure and stick with it”. Now its up to you to figure out what yours is.

    (2,694 words…wow.)

    • Maze Maze
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

      Great post. Really nailed a lot of the qualities that set Chrono Trigger apart and miles ahead of other rpgs (of both types). I esp. liked how you pointed out huge difference in the TYPE of game Chrono Trigger is between Story Arcs 1 and 2. How it goes from a trad. linear storyline where you move between quests working toward a single goal, to being the pioneer of the open world concept where you advance at your own pace and every quest you CHOOSE to undergo haz an effect on the world around you and your place in it. That’s huge. I can’t think of another game before Chrono Trigger that HAD any game play elements that even APPROACHED this. And there are very few to this day that handle them w/ such skill.

      I only haz two caveats:

      As far as Ayla: I think her purpose is to show Marle that she is and can be a strong woman and that a princess has a responsibility to be a leader and to fight for her people. But also that risking herself just for thrills is irresponsible, while risking herself for her Kingdom is her duty. Something your Classic Disney style princess is never expected, or wanted to learn. Ayla is a primitive feminist role model. And really a VERY evolved and different character for an rpg from the mid 90′s, or even nowadays when female characters in rpgs are often flat, hyper sexualized eye candy.

      And Magus: I < 3 Magus. He so brooding and violent and tragic w/out being too emo about it. Like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. And he's a total bamf. Tough and rutless. He's just hawt. Maybe you hazto be a girl to totally forgive him for his past and to totally get the reason he is so fascinating. The innocent and idealistic hero who turns to evil to try and save someone he loves, the villain who reforms and casts out his demons in order to help save the world. It's just sexy. *has a total crush on Magus*

  • Mr. K Mr. K
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    OH MY GOD. Chrono Trigger?! I’ve been wanting to play through this game for weeks now, but not the super slow load time PSX version. I don’t have it on the SNES and I hate my XBOX controller I use for emulators.

    Not even ONE minute before you asked this week’s question, I had another tab open and was ordering the DS version from Amazon.

    I think the thing I like the most about Chrono Trigger is the MUSIC. It’s good in its own right, but dat Brink of Time album.

    It’s the CT album with the eggs and bacon on the cover. http://www.game-ost.com/static/covers_soundtracks/p/PSCN-5024-front.jpg

    I listen to Brink of Time every few days. It goes everywhere with me. It’s in the CD player in my car, it’s on my phone, it’s on my computer. A lot of critics panned the album because the jazz is too “acid,” but it fits the motif of the album, and really lends itself well to the original source material. I say again, BRINK OF TIME IS ONE OF THE GREATEST JAZZ ALBUMS OF ALL TIME. If you have not heard this album, make your way to YouTube and listen to it now.

    IT’S THE BEGINNING OF A NEW AND EXCITINGLY DIFFERENT STORY.

    Other than the music, the thing I like the most about it is the SIMPLICITY. It’s a very stripped down RPG. I’m not talking about it being easy, but it’s very modular in its design, scope and implementation. There aren’t overly convoluted systems to manage, the time travel system is straightforward and each character brings specific abilities to the table and the story.

    Late in the game, I always use the party setup of Crono, Glenn and Janus. I know I could use different set ups, and each combination plays completely different. I love how intuitive the game can be because of the ease of understanding party dynamics.

    I also think that a lot of us have a huge “je ne sais quois” quality about Chrono Trigger. It’s one of those games that embodies a moment in our lives, and subsequent replays of the game really define how we feel about it and what we were going through at that time in our lives. It takes us back to a happy place and centers us.

    Although it embarrasses me to say this, I’ve never actually beaten Chrono Trigger. I know how to kill Lavos’ second form, but I’ve never actually been able to do it. Yes, I am a noob. Lavos remains the only final boss of any game I’ve never been able to beat.

    • Mr. K Mr. K
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 1:17 AM | Permalink

      I also think Chrono Trigger has one of the best sequels of all time in Chrono Cross. CT laid the ground work for one of the largest scope RPGs I’ve ever played, and still love it to this day.

      Two fantastic RPGs, one incredible universe.

      • Mog Mog
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

        Parallel universes. I saved the hell out of that magic kingdom. (Possibly erased my very existance.) Also beat Radical Dreamers.

        • Mr. K Mr. K
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

          Another World is the same universe from Chrono Trigger. Home World is the parallel one. The whole occupation of the Fate Archipelago, which is where the game takes place, is set to the backdrop of a war between Porre and Maranda.

          • Mog Mog
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

            The universe of Chrono Cross requires a very specific ending to Chrono Trigger. There are many endings to Chrono Trigger so many universes. There is no “the” Chrono Trigger universe unless it’s the one where Lavos destroys everything.

          • Mr. K Mr. K
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

            Any universe that exists outside of the one we know as our existence is a “universe.” And within that universe– where ours does not exist– there can be many multiple event outcomes, yet remain within the same canonical universe.

            It’s like labeling the Star Trek universe a single, unified existence, with several commensurate timelines. Or Final Fantasy. Dissidia joins them together, making it the grand, unifying Final Fantasy universe, but they have concurrent realities.

          • Mog Mog
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

            I didn’t mean to imply you were using incorrect english. They aren’t really universes though. They’re multiverses. “Another World” is only one universe in the Chrono Trigger/Cross/Radical Dreamers multiverse. Since Spoiler spoilers Spoiler creating an alternate universe it would stand to reason that everything you did in Chrono Trigger created an alternate universe. Thus “Another World” is not the same universe as Chrono Trigger.

      • Maze Maze
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

        I think Chrono Cross is sadly underrated. =(

      • The Bowtie Guy The Bowtie Guy
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

        I actually think Chrono Cross has a better story than Chrono Trigger – I just hate the battle system. Chrono Cross would have been better as a point and click adventure or something.

  • Maze Maze
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Innovations and/or excellences of Chrono Trigger: Multiple endings, battle system w/ visible, avoidable enemies and same screen combat, side quests focused on individual character development, new game plus, gorgeous, beautiful, incredibly detailed 2D graphics, great plot, nice character development, broad, believable and likable characters, good dialogue, and both critical and popular success.

    • Maze Maze
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

      Oooh, and teh music. Usually I’m not a fan of most video game music. I mostly play w/ the sound turned on low, but even I like Chrono Trigger’s soundtrack.

  • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    Let me clarify something. I never said Chrono Trigger is terrible or even that I dislike the game. The terrible I was referring to was my recent experience playing The Ocarina of Time on N64, game I played when it was originally released and enjoyed very much. The muddy graphics of the N64 were extremely distracting and took a lot out of the game. Playing the updated version on the 3DS removed that mark against The Ocarina of Time. Since The Ocarina of Time, Zelda titles (on consoles) have had a similar general feel with some variation in game mechanics. Since that style of gameplay is conserved in recent additions to the series, The Ocarina of Time on the N64 only felt dated due to its graphics. A Link to the Past, however, is played in a 2D world, something that rarely if ever is used on a console today. Being a 2D game does not make it a poor game, but it does make it a more primitive title due to the limitations of the technology.

    Chrono Trigger is in the same boat as A Link to the Past. It pushed the limits of the SNES. There is very little Chrono Trigger can improve upon because it is so close to the maximum potential of SNES technology. Its gameplay was typical, even innovative, of that era. The story itself is highly engaging with multiple endings, something uncommon in 1995. While the story itself is strong, Chrono Trigger is not on the same level of presenting that story when compared to modern games. Modern games have the space of a dual layer dvd or a blueray disc to fill with voice acting, brilliant cut scenes, and colossal spaces.

    Chrono Trigger is old and its gameplay is nearly archaic. Games like Chrono Trigger aren’t made anymore (other than handhelds) because video games have evolved into a more complex experience with superior production value. If a new Chrono Trigger game were to be announced for a next gen console, would people insist it be in the same 2D style as the original or would they want the developers to push the limits of today’s experience the same way the first game did on the SNES?

    • Mog Mog
      Posted February 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

      You’re asking for every Van Gogh painting to be remade using Photoshop. It’s unnecessary and silly. You could probably do some nice cubism pretty easily with a computer. Doesn’t make you Picasso.

      • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

        A painting is not a media that can degenerate in time or at least in the time since Van Gogh produced his works. I can’t think of how to radically improve the act of painting even in a digital format. Better equipment or higher quality paints will make for a better piece of art, but the level of the work is essentially consistent.

        The look of a video game is a major component in putting out a quality product. Chrono Trigger looked great “for its time”, but the visuals are dramatically lacking today. It is a fact that modern games have the ability to do more than what can be fit onto an SNES cart.

        There is still plenty of enjoyment to be had in older games especially if there is an emotional connection to a particular game or type of game. The overall style of Chrono Trigger is not typically conserved in today’s game because there is an ability to allow gamers to experience things in a a 3D world.

        People still produce art by the same means as Picasso and Van Gogh because the physical elements of paintings have not evolved to a noticeable degree. One would need to travel back further to a time before the artist’s imagination was represented as vividly and when artists stained walls using berries on their fingers in order to see a comparable difference.

        • Mog Mog
          Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

          Gfxers do some pretty amazing things with Photoshop no one could hope to do on a canvas. Painting has advanced just like anything else.

          Vast majority of drawing is now done on computers and used for animation. Every Van Gogh doesn’t need to be remade into a Disney cartoon simply because it’s what’s mostly done now.

          I’ve already given you an example of a series of games that sells amazingly well and is in 2d. Has had 3d games and sold better in 2d. You prefer a certain medium or style of gameplay and that’s fine. It’s no reason to hate on another or expect every game/whatever to be in the medium you prefer. You don’t see me calling for Halo to be remade into a 2d, turn-based rpg. [This is all too ironic coming from someone with a creeper avi. Minecraft has a classic graphic design (read simplistic) you realize.]

          Chrono Trigger looks great for any time. You can’t appreciate something awesome simply because it’s done in a certain medium and I feel sorry for you, but don’t expect me to take your opinion of what “looks good” and what doesn’t very seriously.

          Get it out of your head that people liking Chrono Trigger has anything to do with nostalgia. I was there. No one knew what the hell a Chrono Trigger was. No one played rpgs. Look over this thread. The majority played it way later. It might be different if we were speaking Japanese, but we’re not.

    • Maze Maze
      Posted February 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

      I play txt based mmorpgs, graphics mean next to nothing to me.

      You know what Beethoven’s Fifth really needs? Moar cowbell.

      • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

        Do you mean text based as in no graphical representation or text based dialogue? Also are you referring to the Beethoven the composer’s Fifth Symphony or the film about a lovable Saint Bernard Beethoven’s Fifth? Adding cowbell works in either case.

        • Maze Maze
          Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

          The former.

          The composer. Aaaaand 0_o.

          • TheBeerNinja TheBeerNinja
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

            Wow, text based with zero graphics is insanely niche. Perhaps the next question should be, “Why is Zork awesome?”

  • Lord of Nothing
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    This comment will probably partially put in line for the cone of shame, but I have only just begun playing Chrono Trigger for the first time. Never had it as a child, had never even heard of it as a child. I played very, very few JRPGs as a kid, and I thought they were okay, but they didn’t compete hard enough to take time away from Link to the Past. However, pretty recently, I picked up Chrono Trigger and started playing it, because I had heard some really good things.
    Popped it in and was greeted with a story that I can only assume even gets bigger, that I found fascinating. It has the Studio Ghibli like quality to draw you in though you know very little about what is going on. It follows few conventions of the time and I just love it for that. The combat is engaging, unlike the other turn based RPGs with the timing mechanism, kind of like the initiative in d20 games like Dungeons and Dragons.
    I am hopping for sme good things from the rest of the game as I go through it.

  • DTX180
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    To mention something other than gameplay/story/etc, I will say what made me love Chrono Trigger (at least, what made me appreciate it even more over the years gone by) was how I felt it was the kick off of the SNES’s “last hurrah” CT came out early 1995, and 1995 as a whole was great for the SNES.

    I’m not a gaming history expert, but even I can tell you a stacked lineup for SNES games in 1995. Starting with Chrono Trigger around February/March (might be a tad off), and around that time we got Mega Man X2 as well.

    Then that summer I remember a ton of great North American SNES releases. Ogre Battle, Earthbound, Castlevania Dracula X (hey, i liked it!). I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more.

    Finally, the later part of 1995 saw DKC2, Super Mario World 2, Secret of Evermore, Killer Instinct. I don’t remember 1996 being as good for the SNES, and the N64 came out late 1996 as well.

    So ya, kinda a weird answer i guess. But I just remember that year about as well a then 9 year old can remember, and look back upon it very fondly. Chrono Trigger was kinda the game that started that great year imo. I probably don’t have as much nostalgia for CT specifically as I do for 1995′s best video games as a whole. If you want me to add something a bit more specific to the question at hand, I’ll just say CT’s soundtrack is quite possibly my favorite soundtrack in gaming. Magus’ theme all day everyday.

  • bononob
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    At the time of it’s release I was still a kid with no money except for my birthday or christmas. SquareSoft game was really expensive at that time like near 90$ here in Canada. I asked for it and received it for christmas. It’s was my first and only game that I had for the system. I must had played it like 10-15 times just to see all the ending and maybe a another 5 times later when I was older. At the time, I was not fluent in English yet but I played it over and over and I finally learn my english trought game.

    I never ever like to draw but after playing Chrono Trigger, I was drawing art from the game booklet. I was always talking with friends about it.

    Just the multiple ending was a treat enough to make multiple playtrougth. The caracters was just lovable. The story was not deep as other RPGS like final fantasy VI but it was good. No random encounter was a new thing for me. The combo/techs was splendid, a first to for me that playable caracters could intereact with each other in battle.

    In the end, it did take a long time before playing something that made a huge impact on me like this game.

  • Cit_Yo Cit_Yo
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Chrono Trigger didn’t do anything terribly different from any other JRPG of its time, but refined to perfection the good elements of the genre, while keeping the bad ones to a minimum. I am kinda ashamed to admit that the first time I played the game was about two years ago, when it was re-released on the Wii’s Virtual Console, but even though I would have loved to play this game as a kid, looking at it from a more mature standpoint gave me a better chance to understand it’s design. Basically, Chrono Trigger let’s you play however you wish, without punishing you for your play stile, like many JRPGs tend to do. Don’t like grinding? In Chrono Trigger, you can get trough the game with only the experience you get from boss battles and scripted encounters. Sure, it will be harder, but if you are like me, you’ll appreciate not having to grind, and at the same time, you’ll be rewarded with more intense battles which are actually beatable (Just try going through FFVI without stopping to grind at least once). Of course, you may be the type who likes to see you characters getting stronger, feel rewarded for hours of work. In this case, you can just as easily grind as much as you want to and fell like a badass while owning everything on your way. Like doing sidequests or prefer to simply play the main storyline? You can do both in any way you like. You play RPGs for the story? For the battle system? The story in Chrono Trigger is immensely likable, with memorable characters and great pacing, and the battle system is Square’s trademark active battle system used in FF IV, V and VI, only perfected.
    I love JRPGs, but they often feel like a time sink and sometimes they just get boring and I feel forced to play them. Chrono Trigger is so great because it was designed to be fun, and to have as little as possible separating the player from the fun. It relies on good gameplay and pace and on a interesting story to keep players hooked.

  • TreuloseTomate TreuloseTomate
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Out of the Top20 SNES games, Chrono Trigger may be the only one that I have not played. But you know what? I’m gonna do it. I wanted to play it for a long time anyway. But I’m not sure if I can finish it until the next Wringer.

  • Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    Why is it so awesome? Everyone is still talking about it. That has to mean something.

    I played it in the late 2000s for the first time ever and absolutely loved it. It is not my favourite game ever, not even the one of my top on the system. But it is an incredibly solid game. If you like RPGs, you have to like it.

    That is unless you are one of those people who just has to hate something just because everyone else loves it. People have already commented quite extensively on why, so I won’t be redundant. I will say this though: for those who think this game is too easy, every RPG is too easy, all you have to do is level up. Even if it were too easy, at least it is fun as everyone has eluded to (mostly).

    You could ask the same question 20 years from now and the answers will still be the same.

  • habitbmx
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    MP3 downloads!!!!! Finally!!! YEEESSS!!! Thank you so much!

  • Vulcan Assassin Vulcan Assassin
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    I am actually playing this for the first time right now. Here’s my take on the question (so far, I am only about 40% through the game)

    Chronotrigger is so awesome because:
    - It stands the test of time (no pun intended) – even today it is gripping and leaves you wanting more. The story is actually well thought out and has entertaining characters to fit it perfectly.

    - It was interactive in a way not many games were during it’s hayday – for example: the Trial in the beginning. The game actually accounts all your actions and tries to turn them against you in court. YOUR CHOICES can determine the outcome of the trial based on what you did or did not do early in the game. For an SNES game, this blew me away, and left me smiling, but before hanging on the edge of my seat cursing the TV which held the Jury making me out like a bad guy. I felt like the kid (Ralph M.) in the film “My cousin Vinny” sitting in a southern courtroom; being misunderstood. excellent touch.

    - Kefka, and Frog – enough said.

    - The music is flawless – once again, enough said.

  • TreuloseTomate TreuloseTomate
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Just finished the game today with all sidequests and what I think is supposed to be the “best” ending. Before I get to the question of this Biweekly Wringer (no hard feelings, I could not have finished this in one week), I have to do what everybody seems to be doing and compare this game to FF6. Chrono Trigger is a great RPG. It may land in my Top3 SNES games. But in my opinion FF6 is better. It’s close though. I can see why many people claim it’s the best SNES game. Maybe I would agree if I had played it back in the 90s, but I also did not play FF6 until 2 or 3 years ago. So I have no nostalgic connections to any of these games.

    What did I like the most?
    1) The soundtrack
    Yup! Another vg soundtrack into teh ipod. There are so many great tunes stuck in my head. The 600 AD overworld theme, Zeal, Tyran Castle, the Ozzie dungeons (I don’t know the name, but you get to fight Ozzie there…), the Ocean Palace. They are all great.

    2) Story
    Yet another tragic story with 16-Bit sprites. During the first couple of hours the different time periods were a bit confusing. Ironically that confusion went away as even more time periods were introduced. I really liked how each time period had a unique atmosphere and how the story plays with time travel paradoxes. You travel back in time and fight the Reptites who then summon Lavos in an act of desperation who then creates the time portals so you can travel back in time in the first place… Don’t even think about it.
    The only thing that was spoiled for me was that Crono dies. But that turned out to be false. He didn’t die, we just didn’t know it was his clone yet.
    And just like in FF6 the evil guy (or in this case evil alien) wins. The only difference is, here we can travel back in time and correct the mistake.

    3) Characters
    I like Frog, Lucca and Merle the most. There is some good character development throughout the game, except for Crono, who gets no development at all. This is one part where FF6 comes out on top, in my opinion. I don’t mind blank slate protagonists in general, it works fine in an FPS like Half-Life. But for a JRPG it’s … unusual. It doesn’t distract from the experience but it also doesn’t add anything. Yes, Crono is supposed to be the player. But I would have preferred him to be a real, fleshed out character like the others. Him being the silent protagonist also implies that he is the main character. If you look at the plot though, unbiased, he isn’t.

    4) Multiple endings and NewGame+
    I only read about them. Apparently you can fight Lavos after the first few minutes of the game and get a special ending. If you are strong enough…
    I know you can go to 1999 AD as soon as you visit the end of time, but there is probably no point, unless you are playing on NewGame+ and are well equipped. There are supposed to be like 10 different endings, depending on when you fight Lavos. I don’t know how much they differ from each other, but that’s how multiple endings should be done in a game. No “choose your favorite color, and it doesn’t matter anyway” Mass Effects. It’s like having multiple winstates. The NewGame+ option itself is also a good thing. I would like to see that in more games, not just RPGs.

    5) Bosses
    Most battles in this game aren’t really challenging except for a couple of bossfights. Especially those that happen right before key events like the ******* TWIN GOLEMS! HOLY SHIT! But again, that’s how it’s supposed to be, in my opinion. If you have all this buildup throughout the game, then finally face “that guy” and he dies in 3 turns… that’s just embarassing. Bosses should be difficult so you get a sense of accomplishment. It makes you feel like you overcame a huge obstacle, instead of the story just telling you that you did.

    There is sadly one little disappointment: The battle system.
    It’s not bad. It’s actually really good, except for two things. The first one is that it starts out with this interesting concept, that the position of your characters and enemies is important as you learn early techs that have an AOE or can attack multiple enemies in a line. I was hoping that this gets expanded on later, but instead the later and stronger techs are all either one-enemy- or all-enemies-attacks. Most of the time it was also simpler and just as effective to just attack. So I feel the game didn’t really use the system to its full potential.
    The second point is a technical issue. There is always this constant lag when moving the cursor. Like when I press down, it takes half a second for the game to move the cursor down. I don’t know if it’s just a problem with my game, but it makes the combat feel “heavy”, as if I have to drag the cursor around all the time, which in return makes the battles less smooth than they should be.

    But this and the issue with the silent protagonist are really the only complaints I have about this game. I’m glad that I finally played it (thanks to the Biweekly Wringer), and I may even play it again at some time in the future.

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