Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!
To be honest with you, I’m struggling to even come up with an introduction for today’s game. It’s a game that’s widely revered by fans around the world but it’s also a deeply personal game to me, being perhaps the first JRPG I ever played at a time. It sparked my love of the genre that lasted decades. I know that I’m not along either because whenever you look at lists of best JRPGs, today’s game is almost always near the top with new fans still discovering the game for the first time today. Today’s game is the Super Nintendo classic, Chrono Trigger, developed by Square and released in 1995.
In 1992, a dream team was formed with three big name creators at the head: the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, the writer and creator of Dragon Quest, Yuji Horii, and likely the biggest name manga artist of the time and creator of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama. The star power of these three were more than enough to attract several other talented folks to the development team and despite taking three years to complete, a long development cycle in those times, they were able to finally release Chrono Trigger near the end of the SNES life cycle.
Chrono Trigger has players play as Crono, a teenager living in the Kingdom of Guardia at the turn of the new millenia. At the Millennial fair being thrown for the Kingdom, Crono’s tinkerer friend Lucca is demonstrating a new teleportation device that she and her father have created but something goes wrong when a girl named Marle volunteers and her necklace interferes with the device, opening a portal to another time. Crono and Lucca take the fallen necklace and travel back in time to rescue her.
Chrono Trigger is, in many ways, the culmination of Super Nintendo JRPGs. Coming at the tail end of the console’s lifecycle, the graphics and sound pushed the console to its limit. Where most SNES RPGs used grid-based movement and featured small chibi sprites for their maps, Chrono Trigger featured large, vibrant sprites and a focus on lush environments. The battle system also eschewed the standard random battles of the day and featured set-piece battles that used the environment map itself rather than transporting players to a separate battle screen.
Combat used the Active Time Battle system from the recent Final Fantasy games but incorporated unique aspects such as combination attacks where multiple party members could work together to pull off powerful special moves. While Chrono Trigger’s story is linear, the ending can be manipulated by fighting the final boss under certain specific circumstances, resulting in 12 different endings for the game.
There are many, nuanced reasons why Chrono Trigger was so well received and to go into each of them would take a significantly longer amount of time than we have for this show so I’ll just say that Chrono Trigger has been very well received both at the time and in modern retrospectives. From its clever use of time travel mechanics to its enjoyable characters to its fun and perfected battle system, Chrono Trigger finds many reasons to stay at the top of many people’s best games list to this day.
Thank you so much for listening! If you liked today’s episode, please leave me a review on Amazon. That really helps spread the word and bring in more listeners. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @vg_oftheday where I post screenshots of the games we talk about and up to date schedules for what I’m working on. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!
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