A collaborative feature with Atsinganoi.
Sometimes, I like to begin a games feature/review/sandwich by mentioning the title of the game, along with the year in which it released originally, and what system(s) it was available for. In this case, however, such exercise seems futile, and perhaps intentionally so.
What is time? More importantly, maybe: Who cares what time is? Immanuel Kant did. He wanted to know what things we could be 100% sure existed. Since our senses may be lying to us, we can be certain of almost nothing, but in Critique of Pure Reason, Kant argues that if Descartes is right, that we can be certain of our own existence (“cogito ergo sum”), two other things need to exist and can be proven to exist a priori: space and time. For me to exist, for me as a being to think of my own existence, thus proving my existence, there needs to be a space and a time for me to do the thinking in. Chrono Trigger, if it exists, must doubt its own existence to prove, though only to itself, that it exists. Once it does, I guess, the particular cartridge of Chrono Trigger that has become sentient can rest assured that time and space also exist, though it cannot be certain that it is indeed a cartridge. Its senses that tell it that it is a cartridge might be unreliable.
Martin Heidegger also cared a lot about time. What is it about German philosophers and time? (Now THERE’S a video game I would play: German Philosophers and Time, by Peter Molyneux and David Cage.) Heidegger cared so much about time he wrote a book about it called Being and Time. Here’s a bit of what he had to say about time:
“By keeping an eye on this connection [between Dasein and temporality] it should be shown that time is that on the basis of which Dasein understands and interprets something like being. Time must be brought to light and genuinely conceived as the horizon of all understanding of being and every interpretation of being. In order to make this transparent [einsichtig], we require an originary explication of time as the horizon of the understanding of being in terms of temporality as the being of Dasein who understands being.”
A fundamental aspect of Dasein, or “being-there” or “being-that-is-there,” is that Dasein implies the enacting of a life: in other words, choosing a hero. In fact:
“Dasein’s fateful destiny in and with its ‘generation’ goes to make up the full authentic historizing [eigentliche Geschehen] of Dasein.”
What does this have to do with Chrono Trigger? I’m not sure. I’ve never played the game. Plus, isn’t the “Hero of Time” Link? It doesn’t matter. I would argue that according to Heidegger, we are all heroes of time. In that case, Crono (whose parents misspelled his name for some reason), Lucca, Marle, and many other characters listed as being in the game according to Wikipedia are all potentially heroes of time. As humans, as Dasein, we are all beings-towards-time.
Sadly, Chrono Trigger, even with its multiple endings, only gives the player a semblance of WahlI, or choice. In reality, this game has nothing to do with time. The player thinks he chooses, but chooses nothing. The gamer is being gamed. You are not a Knight of Faith or Übermensch. You are a fool. Even Ayla’s toss or throw abilities, does not do justice to Dasein’s “being-thrown” or “thrown-ness” (Geworfenheit in the original German). The game is built upon a temple of lies. What I’m saying is Chrono Trigger is the worst analogy of complex philosophical concepts established or expanded by anyone, whether Kant, Kierkegaard, Husserl, Hiedegger, or Nietzsche. You’d be better off playing The Talos Principle, Dark Souls, Planescape Torment, or Crossy Road instead this garbage.
Presumably, Chrono Trigger is a roleplaying game. I am not sure what kind of roleplay you are into, but I would prefer we keep such tidbits to ourselves. Now is just not the appropriate TIME, y’know.
I have heard this video game described as, and I quote (you will be able to tell that I am quoting because I will be using quote marks here shortly, watch), a “classic.” I think it might be just considered a classic because it is old. Old stuff = classic. Like that crappy, overrated junk music on your parents’ favorite radio station. There is a reason we move on from the past, folks.
Then again, some never do. Take my cousin Shane, for example. My cousin Shane once won $12,500 on a scratch-off ticket. This was five years ago. He spent it all in a matter of months, mostly on a “sick sound system” for his rust-accented ‘99 Chevy Cavalier, a full set of Sports Illustrated magazines from 1973-1981, and an addle-brained amount of cigarettes for the theoretical bunker he was going to build in case Obama installed a New World Order or something.
My cousin Shane still talks about this event like it happened last week. To his credit, it still brings a smile to his face, even between his usual rants about how the government is lacing all the new dollar bills with chemtrails and “Hillary’s a lizard alien, I seent it myself” or whatever. You could be complaining about your health, your job, it doesn’t matter, here’s Shane quick to point out “it aint’ worth worryin’ about man, you just gotta get yourself some lotto tickets and it’s all good, I won twelve thousand dollars.”
And, see, that’s the problem, people ascribe concrete values to what is purely the result of random luck, then use this illusory correlation in order to validate their problematic views. Shane, buddy, you’re not some kind of financial wiz. You’re the same guy who refuses to get a checking account because “then they’ve got you.” You’re the same guy who bought nineteen cases of Mountain Dew because they were on sale $2 for a 12-pack and “you’d have to be some kind of dummy to pass that up man, that’s a steal.” You’re the same guy who had the cops called on you when you tried to set up a card table of DVD copies in a Walgreen’s parking lot. You’re the same guy who dine-and-dashed an Applebee’s.
Move on, Chrono Trigger fans. There are other games. You’ll be okay, I promise.
I get it: It has pixels. Pixels are pretty. Games from the 16-bit era have pretty pixels. Ooooooooh, look at those pixels, gosh, don’t we all love pixels, yes. This is hardly unique to this title, though. C’mon.
What is so notable about Chrono Trigger? What, it has multiple endings?
Why would that appeal to me?
Like, when I eat a cheeseburger, I don’t think to myself, “gosh, I hope there are multiple possibilities for how this experience will end, and that I get the chance to indulge in each of them.” I want to eat my cheeseburger and depart with satisfaction. I don’t want to eat it again so I can get the Vomit ending. And then eat it again so I can get the Food Poisoning ending. That doesn’t make any sense. Why the hell would you want that? If a game has a Good Ending, why would you want Other Endings too?
You want multiple endings? Huh? Is that what you want?!