Welcome to what I hope will be a fun look through what many consider a seminal classic in videogames, Chrono Trigger. The purpose of this blog series will be for me to play through the game once again, record what happens, recount my thoughts, and share some memories while doing so. Similar in a lot of ways to a “let’s play” but in a written format since I tend to think that I’m better at writing down my thoughts as opposed to speaking off the cuff like I would have to do if I was doing an actual let’s play or streaming it live. Before we get into it however, some history:
Chrono Trigger was developed and published by Square Enix (then SquareSoft) lead by a “Dream Team” of Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of the Final Fantasy series), Yuji Horii (creator of the Dragon Quest series), and famed manga artist Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball and artist for the Dragon Quest series). Chrono Trigger was originally released for the Super Famicom on March 11th, 1995 in Japan and received its North American release on August 22nd 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Upon its release, Chrono Trigger was both a commercial and critical success and is widely considered to be on the of the best JRPGs (Japanese made role-playing game) if not one of the best games of all time. Personally, I think it’s a masterpiece and it’s my all-time favorite videogame.
My history with Chrono Trigger began on March 21, 1996 when I received it as my present for my 14th birthday. At that time, my experience with RPGs was pretty limited. The first RPG that I ever played was Final Fantasy II (or IV depending on which numbering convention you prefer) for the SNES a couple of years prior. One of our neighbors at the time was into videogames as well and highly recommended that I give it a try. Naturally I did and I was completely dumbfounded.
Unfortunately, I don’t mean that as praise.
Don’t get me wrong, Final Fantasy II is and was a very worthwhile game, but 12-year-old me found it to be completely impenetrable. All of the games I had played were platformers, adventure games, fighting, and other arcade-style action games. Up to that point, the closest thing to an RPG that I had played was Star Tropics, and I never got anywhere close to finishing it. Sure, Star Tropics had dialogue, equipment, dungeons, an overworld, and something resembling a leveling system but nothing near the scope and depth of even the original Final Fantasy. I didn’t know anything about stats, different types of equipment, levels, classes, random battles, elemental weaknesses, etc. And don’t even get me started on controlling a five character party in a turn-based battle system. Obviously, I never got to the point where I had a full party, but needless to say, it was utterly overwhelming to me at the time.
It wasn’t until about a year later when one of my friends got their hands on Final Fantasy III (VI) that I finally started to learn the mysterious ways of the JRPG. After many hours over a few weekends watching him go through another masterpiece of the genre, I finally started to wrap my head around how all the various systems worked. I became so enamored with it, that I asked for it and got it for Christmas that year.
I don’t actually have any memories regarding Chrono Trigger before I got it, so I couldn’t tell you how I originally heard about it or what about it prompted me to ask for it for my birthday. Keep in mind, this was during the Dark Ages before the internet. It’s a pretty safe assumption that I read about it in Nintendo Power and was attracted to the art style and the fact that it was a SquareSoft game since I was still riding high playing Final Fantasy III. However it happened, I got the game and haven’t looked back since.
So hopefully you’ll join me and we can experience Chrono Trigger together.