Author Topic: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!  (Read 968 times)

ZeaLitY

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French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« on: May 07, 2018, 02:38:55 am »
A French fan has reached out to be about a book their writing, and is going to be collecting experiences to portray how deeply the series has impacted the fans. Feel free to share what the Chrono series means to you, such as:

1. How did you get hooked on the games?

2. What do the games mean to you?

3. What feelings have they left you with?

For me, these are:

1. How I got hooked

Back in 2002, Ramsus, the site administrator for the Chrono Compendium (which didn't exist yet), suggested that I play a few J-RPGs. I had just finished Breath of Fire II, and was ready to play the next one on the list, Chrono Trigger. I was having a blast until I reached the 12,000 B.C. Exiting that cave, finding an icy world of snow, and then riding that gate up to the Kingdom of Zeal...I would forever be enthralled by the Chrono series after that experience. Zeal was an incredible place to visit, and the scenarios of the game were completely gripping. I couldn't rest until I'd progressed through the Ocean Palace and said goodbye to the Enlightened Ones. It was an exciting time to be a Chrono fan, as Radical Dreamers was translated in 2003, so I was able to play both it and Chrono Cross very soon after.

2. My feelings on the games

Everything began with Zeal for me, but Zeal is just another part of the games' main lesson to be a "Chrono Trigger", or rather, be an agent of change for the better in your own life and the timeline at large. Go for it! Give it your best! The future will refuse to change unless you make it change. The philosophy of the games taught me the value of trying and maintaining one's idealism. Dreams are also an iconic part of the games, which encourage you to go out and pursue your own wild ambitions. "The Dream of the planet is not yet over!" became "The Dream of Zeal is alive!" for us. Take action and realize your dreams.

3. What the games mean to me

My favorite poet is John Keats, because of his imagery. If you've ever read "The Eve of St. Agnes", the way he can describe the world is overwhelmingly, almost painfully beautiful. To me, the Chrono series has a similar effect. Akira Toriyama, Tetsuya Nomura, and others made Chrono Trigger one of the most beautiful 16-bit games ever released, with colorful, distinct worlds and memorable character design. Who can forget the architecture of Enhasa, or the almost-autumnal environment of 600 A.D.? Likewise, Chrono Cross maintained an almost-dreamlike quality through the art of Yasuyuki Honne. How incredible was the scene on the balcony of Viper Manor at night, or the haunting Dead Sea? How burned into our minds is that defeated, frozen sun behind Miguel at Leene Square? The music also conjures supreme feelings in each game, and the writing—look no further than Radical Dreamers for the true definition of "atmosphere". These games are truly like visiting another world.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 02:43:00 am by ZeaLitY »

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2018, 09:49:13 am »
1. How I got hooked

Chrono Trigger was my first jRPG way back in 1996. I had a friend who was playing it and who described the story from when Crono first wakes to Leene's Bell all the way to the 2300AD factory event when Robo gets attacked by the other R-series in 2300AD. Although in my head I pictured a side-scrolling beat-em-up (my frame of context had mostly been side-scrolling platformers like Mario and Mega Man), the idea of a destroyed future with cities in giant, cracked domes stood out to me.

So I picked it up and was hooked immediately! I remember literally spending hours just playing games at the Millennial Fair (I ate a lot of that one guy's lunches!) before I made it to Lucca's telepod sideshow. I think I was level 7 or 8 before I even got there, I was so busy exploring.

I was hooked almost immediately, and even 22 years ago this game holds a special place in my heart. I had no idea about the Dream Tearm or Dragonball Z or Dragon Quest (and how the creators were already respected in their fields); all I knew was that it was a fun game with vivid visuals, stellar music, and engaging gameplay (gotta love those dual and triple techs!).

2. My feelings on the games

Chrono Trigger is definitely a huge part of my childhood. I still think very fondly of it and feel quite nostalgic. I spent entire summers drawing hypothetical sequels to Chrono Trigger, going so far to include level diagrams, tech descriptions, and other supporting documentation. While other kids obsessed over Star Wars, I was obsessed with the time traveling capers of Crono and company.

Even now the game stands out as a pinnacle of the genre. It is one of the best - if the not the best - jRPGs of the 16-bit era and it's clear the influence it had on all the games that came after.

Chrono Trigger clearly does a lot of thing right to still have such relevance so long after it's release. Even if Square Enix has not continued the IP, the fact that it so frequently comes up on the top of lists (or near the top) exemplifies it's greatness and relevant longevity.

3. What the games mean to me

Hmm. This is a hard question to answer. I think the game is definitely a focal point of childhood, and the fact that I'm still in love with the game as an adult (and passing on that "obsession" to my two young kids) shows the respect I have for it and the relevance it's played on my life.

Ultimately, however, I feel that the game can best be described as showcasing the best of humanity: the sense of exploration and natural curiosity, of taking a stand and having a willingness to defy challenges, and even a sense of sacrifice for those we love. Chrono Trigger shows the best of us, the willingness to accept beyond artificial intelligence or previous mistakes.

Crono is ultimately a silent protagonist because he is the avatar of us, the player. When he first meets Marle and, mere moments after meeting her, decides to leap into the telepod gate to rescue her... that shows that each of us has that same sense of adventure and goodwill within each of us.

PrincessNadia78

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2018, 08:31:29 pm »
1. How did you get hooked on the games?
My brother had borrowed it from a friend and let me and one of my best friends play it. We were instantly hooked! The weird thing is, neither of us ever bought it and I can't recall why... but we rented it like crazy! We always dreaded returning it and whenever we did I would have "Yearnings of the Wind" stuck in my head for days and I would yearn to play Chrono Trigger again! This is probably one of the reasons I play it constantly as an adult.

2. What do the games mean to you?
Chrono Trigger was one of the few positive things about my childhood and I'm sure that's part of why I'm still so obsessed. To this day, I'm still so happy when I'm either playing Chrono Trigger or doing something Chrono Trigger related (like writing a fanfic or creating fanart.) To this day, I've never found another game make me feel the way Chrono Trigger makes me feel.

3. What feelings have they left you with?
Honestly, happiness. The story, characters and music... all of it makes me feel a way nothing else does. I really don't know how to describe it. There's just something about this game that is absolute perfection, before games started relying on graphics to be good. I've searched for a game as good as Chrono Trigger and I've come close a few times but it's just not the same.

Mauron

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2018, 08:52:53 pm »
1. How did you get hooked on the games?

Chrono Trigger was my second RPG ever, after Super Mario RPG. I had tried it out and played through it quickly. I never quite mastered timing hits in Chrono Trigger...

2. What do the games mean to you?

Chrono Trigger is a large part of the standard I base other RPGs on to this day.

3. What feelings have they left you with?

Overall, happiness. It was quite a game, and I still go back to it every now and then.

tushantin

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 04:54:44 pm »
1. How did you get hooked on the games?

A couple of friends and I used to play Ragnarok Online at a gaming cafe and bonded over mutual interests, like anime and games. One of them was a big fan of RPGs, and he told me about Final Fantasy, which I had the chance to play at his home. I instantly became a fan of the series, especially the 6th FF game, but eventually I saw in his collection a game called "Chrono Trigger", by the same company that produced FF.

Curiously, I decided to sit down and play it, without knowing or expecting anything about it. Immediately what hooked me in was the art-work -- it looked like Dragonball! Being a Toriyama fan, always trying to imitate his art-style, I was already sold.

And because I was playing blind, without knowing anything about it beforehand, pretty much everything about it surprised me and hooked me in slowly, deeper and even deeper. The battle system was refreshing. Time Travel was interesting. The Trial shook me, and ultimately the trip to the future. Magus scared me. The mythology captivated me. It was love at first sight.

It cut deep, like a cinematic event before me (except with pixels). When Frog began to recollect why he became what he is, and why he lost his will to wield the Masamune. When Lucca saw why her mother lost her legs. When they plunged the Ruby Knife into the Mammon Machine, and when Janus revealed that one of characters could die soon. When Robo decided to stay back to rejuvenate the forest.

With characters as vibrant as the ones in Chrono, obviously any fan would become so attached to them that they feel almost like old friends. And you want to know what they're up to, how they've been. This was why I started Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross too, and while they did not entirely deliver what I wanted, they did give me something what I didn't know was missing.

2. What do the games mean to you?

To me, they are modern fairytales (or, at the very least, Chrono Trigger itself is a modern Epic).

With ideas like,
- A group of heroes from across time band together to battle against a representation of their own fate,
- or A band of thieves burgle into a magically secured and haunted manor in order to reclaim the most precious jewel in the world, and along with it, one's own memories,
- or even, A boy finds himself into a world very much like his own, but where he supposedly died, taking its world's hope with him,
...just how many video games today do it, or do it as well as, Chrono series did it? Just how many such stories exist in video games alone, and not mediums outside it, such as in books?

I'm glad I played it in my teens instead, because it really vivified my imagination. It made me want to be a better storyteller. It made me want to be a better artist. It introduced me to a very passionate community with whom I grew. It introduced me to scientific and mythological and metaphysical concepts that I may not have otherwise known, with every aspect of the game bustling with meaning.

For something that deals with Time Travel, this game feels so timeless.

3. What feelings have they left you with?

My feelings are a wibbly wobbly... timey wimey... stuff.

At its core, the Chrono series almost seemed to be centered around a fight against one's own fate, under different circumstances and by different means, with various characters dealing with it their own way (or our way, since we're the ones making the decisions). And I don't mean that generally: After all, the whole point of Crono and gang's struggle was rooted in destruction and extinction caused by an alien lifeform, which is complicated by the fact that this lifeform was also the reason why they existed. So taking arms against Lavos also, in some subtle way, meant the need to conquer one's own self, and therefore, also destiny. And if nothing else, Janus' own prophecy of a character's death is pretty much on-the-nose.

For instance, Frog's story may be about honor and vengeance, but it was also about resentment -- which, he must decide whether to avenge his friend or let go of his resentment after witnessing why the murderer of his friend did what he believed he had to. It's the same with Magus, who knew his past deeds would inevitably come haunting back to him.

This is even truer for the Reptites when you confront them in the Prehistoric time. You difficult as their fight may be, and as ruthless and superior they might hold themselves to be, at the back of your mind you know that they are fated to be extinct -- it's only a matter of finding out how or why.

Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross, however, expand on this in their own ways. In Chrono Cross, despite what may seem as inevitable at first, it also shows you a world or life that could have been. Likewise, in Radical Dreamers, given how it holds you at the edge, expecting you to die in every corner you turn your eyes to, because you're always expecting the unknown, a part of you begins to wonder just what the fate of our characters would even be by the time they reach for the Frozen Flame, or if things would even work out the way we expect them to -- a constant sense of foreboding that you can't really shake away.

But whatever it is, I'm glad it happened to me. And it personally gave me a whole lot to think about the way I see my own life, and the ordeals that I have to face. It's when I look back to Chrono Trigger and explain to somebody, articulating exactly why I love this game so much, is where I find my strength to either embrace my destiny or fight against my fate.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 05:05:38 pm by tushantin »

Lord J Esq

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 11:37:24 pm »
Hey Z! Long time no see.

1. How did you get hooked on the games?

I owe it all to The Secret of Mana. I played it as a kid, and then in college I found a website dedicated to preserving The Secret of Mana, The Secret of Mana 2 (College J: Holy moly! There's a sequel?!!), and something called Chrono Trigger (College J: Never heard of it, but if it's connected to the greatest RPG of all time it must be decent!).

I didn't actually get into Chrono Trigger at first, because menu-based, non-realtime battle was never really my thing. But then I came back to it a few months later and ended up binging the whole thing over three days, stopping only really to eat and sleep.

Then I joined the Compendium and learned about its two sequels.

2. What do the games mean to you?

Okay, so this is easily a novel-length prompt, which means I can only really give a synopsis of my true answer:

Chrono Trigger is arguably the perfect distillation of what a story-based adventure game aspires to be. The way the story unfolds, its incredibly tight pacing (up till the death of Crono), its sweeping epic grandeur, and its ultimate stakes, make for one of the most explosive interactive stories I've ever experienced. Everything in this game is secondary to the story and its feeling of adventure. That's why we don't mind the one-dimensional characters, the lack of "grit" or realism, and so on: Those elements don't matter. What matters is feeling like you're on the ultimate adventure ride.

Radical Dreamers to me was always the missing character depth and dark tonal mood that seemed like it belonged in Chrono Trigger but which, for the aforementioned reasons, didn't fit. RD showed us the tentativeness, fear, caution, and meandering inner monologue of one character, and by extension it made the whole world feel a lot more real. The new lore added to the Chronoverse in this game, while very small in quantity, was quite vivid for me, because it opened up the world that Chrono Trigger was set in into something that I felt like I could personally expand upon as a storyteller. I've never desired to write Chrono Trigger fanfiction (other than Ayla's continuing misadventures as a college professor), but I definitely got inspired to do fanfics in the Radical Dreamers mold.

Chrono Cross honestly does not mean a ton to me, but the one thing about it that I well and truly love is the feeling of peacefulness that it evokes, because that peacefulness isn't self-contained and cloyingly sweet. It feels like the peace of a ruined world, long after the embers of apocalypse have cooled down. Thus it has a strong melancholy, bittersweet quality, with connotations of loss and ruin. The soundtrack of this game is what carries this feeling for me, which is why I rate it as one of the most underappreciated OSTs ever.

Outside the games, the Chrono series as a whole will always remind me of the Chrono Compendium, who, for a few wonderful years, showed the rest of the Internet the potential of what an online community of people can become when they get together and really want to live up to those ideals of curiosity, greatness, and civility.

3. What feelings have they left you with?

ALL THE FEELS

kolt54321

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2018, 08:34:52 pm »
Many thanks to the fan who's bringing this together. This series is slipping away from the internet, since it's quite aged and Square Enix hasn't worked on it since the last installment 20 years ago.

I think first question we should answer is "how is this different than any other game?" The beauty in gaming is that many have a particular series they love and swear by, that has brought them much joy. And I've always thought of them as inflating the worth of something by what they personally want (pardon my expression). Any experience can be meaningful if it comes at the right time and is simple enough to ring true to the audience, right?

This series did something a bit different for me. I've played a few games as a kid, and they were nice - like a good book, enough to pass the time, and give me a little journey until I was ready to go back to doing homework and going to school. There were some really good ones too - the Final Fantasy series, Phoenix Wright, Diablo 2... there wasn't a shortage of story-driven games to entertain me. I've heard of Chrono Trigger, and played most of it. It was fun, really enjoyable. Characters were good, story was great, and it was so cohesive - you never really appreciate how good something is until you've gone through ones that suffer from characters or a weak plot point.

One day, I decided to start up Chrono Cross. What frustrates me is that I can't explain this, but I was floored. I wasn't "hooked" or "addicted" or anything like that - I just stayed on each screen for half an hour, soaking up the maps, soundtrack, and NPC (Non-playable character) stories.

We've all heard this story before - the one story or gameplay or character that just must be the best, and grips this one person who can't stop telling others about it. Usually some fantasy setting that is the "dream" plot or setting this person wants to explore.

I cannot stress enough how unprepared I was for Chrono Cross. I never liked islands, I liked RPG's, but wasn't looking at them for happiness, and I sure as heck was not going to romanticize dragons or fantasy to be "the ultimate best place."

I still don't. Yet, this game floored me, again and again. The in-game characters' stories were not just interesting , they had depth . People wondering about where they came from, what meaning can they bring to the world. "How would things be different if I chose a different career path?", "What if I weren't here right now?" It was anything but direct - just like thoughts are. Cross didn't point character conversations in a direction, to give you clues about how to solve the game or whatever. It's not some cheap confined device that's supposed to make sense.

There is no "hero" in this game. The main character cannot, and will not, be the important person making everything happen. You are not able to save the world - or anyone, for that matter - without something else going wrong. This is life - and this is what happens in Chrono Cross. People take inspiration from games. Chrono Cross is my inspiration - there is no application from concept A to concept B, no identifying with the characters, and no setting that fits my comfort zone.

I love this game with every fiber within me. I don't remember half the plot, nor have some "epic" plot point I like rewatching. From beginning to end, this game makes me happy. Unconditionally, unequivocally, happy.

It's not something I can explain. It's easy to point to the stellar soundtrack, vibrant hand-drawn maps, character dialogue that goes deeper than any conversation we had in real life. But can I point to a specific item and understand why I can die for this game? No.

I work in a Fortune 50 company, making a good salary, having great friends and hobbies. I am successful. Yet I have never been happier than when I played Chrono Cross. If I love my wife half as much as I love this game, I will be a lucky person.

To me, this game has a soul. I could have been distracted that first day, and went on to play something else. And I wouldn't be unhappy. It would be... normal, the way it was before I discovered Cross. It's different now - it gave me something I didn't know I missed.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 08:42:48 pm by kolt54321 »

Redline57

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Re: French book incoming -- share your Chrono recollections!
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2018, 11:48:34 pm »
1. How I got hooked

A friend of mine played this game on an emulator in high school. I later first played it on an emulator later on at college. I liked the game, and one evening played way into the night. Around 5:30 am is when I got sent into the snow storm and took the teleporter upto the main continent. The music of Zeal came on and I walked into Enhasa. I will never forget that.

2. My feelings on the games

The music was great, and you could feel people actually did things the longhand method and 'tried' to make a great game, rather than quickly processed. The music for me in a game is the strongest impact, that's what can really leave a memory. The fact that you can actively go back and alter time is something a lot of people probably wanted to see more of since we all watched Back to the Future 2, and Chrono Trigger was just fun. It was an experience really, as there were parts you didn't care for, like the Black Omen and Ocean Palace, but the game changes, it draws you in, no matter what you wanted to do you have to go through it and its all the better because of it. Comparing to modern games, it lacks a lot but when you really get into it, its all worth it and nothing short of almost perfect.

3. What the games mean to me

This is one of those memories that left such an impact that you walk around with this music running in your head during challenges in life, like your first engine swap on your own car or making a brutal deadline or having to drive all night with no stereo. When I first went into Enhasa at 5am sitting by myself in my dorm, I was drawn in, wide eyed, had to explore absolutely everything as I knew my mind was going to record this permanently. This actually wrote as a memory in my mind at age 8, forget it was 15 years later I played the game, this is part of my childhood and I didn't play it as a child. THAT'S how much it impacted me. I will defend it to the death, I can use this as a yardstick against other games, but that's not fair, and really the lasting gauge I use is the music. So many games that are good are made great with an awesome soundtrack that's written as the game was designed, but this was an amazing game made absolutly stellar with its music, meant to leave a mark on you. Its like this somehow became a badge, a right of passage, a club of all those who know how hard it was to fight Lavos that first time, did you take Lucca's red gate. And of course if anyone is looking for a great memory and never heard of Chrono Trigger, you have to jump up and go "you've never played Chrono Trigger?" and HAVE to show them right away. I even made a friend at work when I overheard those 3 horrible notes from the organ in the cathedral as his text message sound, and now we're friends, and I got to show him Crimson Echoes. This game is a part of me, the same as a classic book or poem or story you read as a child that defines a small part of who you are and how you think, it may be more subtle, but you'd never trade that memory for anything.