Chrono Trigger is not Primer, and the world is better for it. The game plays so fast and loose with the rules of time travel, it’s bound to make paradox theorists’ heads explode faster than if they met alternate-timeline versions of themselves. But Crono and his friends exist in a universe where soaring through the millennia is a dreamlike and inviting proposition. A greater attempt by the game’s designers to rectify the logical issues inextricably linked to the narrative’s central conceit – problems that make or break many other time travel stories – would almost certainly be at odds with their creation’s other bountiful charms. Besides, it’s not so much that Chrono Trigger‘s creators ignore the issue of causality; they simply employ it only when they feel it would most emotionally resonate.
The game begins in its parallel world’s version of our present. (However, its technology spans anywhere from turn-of-the-century steampunk gadgets to contemporary kitchen appliances to vaguely futuristic doo-dads.) Spiky haired silent protagonist Crono begins his grand adventure as many RPG characters before him: being woken up by his mother on the eve of a life-changing event. When his friend Lucca unveils her teleportation machine at a local festival, things – as they are wont to do at teleportation machine unveilings – go horribly wrong. Crono is soon hurtling through the ages, traversing and re-travesring a relatively small world map that only reveals its hidden depths in new time periods.
It wouldn’t be a party-based roleplaying game without a menagerie of superpowered oddballs aiding the hero on his journey, and Chrono Trigger’s suitably ragtag collection does not skimp on the eccentricity. Continue reading