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Relative Time in Video Games Houston Simpson Time We all have heard the phrase “Time flies when we’re having fun,” but what does time really mean?

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Time

  • We all have heard the phrase “Time flies when we’re having fun,” but what does time really mean?

  • “A non-spatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.” as defined by dictionary.com.

  • In 5th century BC Greece, Antiphon the Sophist wrote, in his chief work Truth, "Time is a thought or a measure, not a substance."

  • In physics time is thought of as a fundamental quantity, or a quantity that cannot be defined by other quantities because there is nothing more fundamental at present.


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Literature

  • Time can be defined as a concept that is the measurement of the succession of life by forces we cannot comprehend.

  • Through literature we can transport ourselves back in time to epic battles and great wars, The Iliad and The Odyssey, or romantic love stories, Romeo and Juliet.

  • Also in literature we can, through the use of imagination, take a concept like time and turn it into a malleable object that can be used and transformed, to take us to different times and different places in the story, The Time Machine and Timeline.


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Video Games

  • In video games we see a similar ability as in literature to be able to transport us to different times and places that are unattainable to us. Medal of Honor and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

  • Other games in and of themselves revolve around the ability to manipulate and travel through time, two famous games that exemplify this concept are Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross.


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Chronos

  • “Chrono” which is an English prefix meaning “time,” came from the Greek mythology of Khronos (Chronos) depicted as an old man with a grey beard whose name actually means time who was the father of time.

  • The Britannica 11th Edition notes that Khronos means "time", and is oft confused with Cronos, but never says that Khronos was a deity. Cronos being the youngest titan of Greek mythology, who was a deity of agriculture.

  • Part of the confusion between Khronos and Cronos could be the transition from Greek gods to the Roman ones, where deities could have been broken down into several entities or several deities made into one entity.


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Chrono Trigger

  • Chrono Trigger is a Role Playing Game (RPG) created by Square, currently Square Enix, in 1995 for the Super NES.

  • As stated by the title the game obviously revolves around time. The start of the game you play a young guy named Crono in a small town. Chrono Trigger's epic adventure put you in the middle of a valiant effort to save the world. Sounds like the RPG, norm. Yet the game's sublimely rendered storyline spanned not just continents but epochs, as you visited and revisited the same locations in time periods hundreds, thousands, even millions of years apart.

  • Events were woven into the storyline such that your actions in one time period had a direct effect on circumstances in a later period. You didn't start out with power over time itself at your command; in fact, you didn't even start out planning to save the world. Rather, you were yanked into the game's larger-than-life events just by being an innocent bystander. You got the feeling you and your friends were being dragged along by the storyline's sparatic plot.


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Trigger Cont.

  • Over the course of your adventure, you collected a diverse cast of characters from every time period, including Crono's present-day friends, princess Marle and Lucca the inventor; the futuristic tin-can Robo; Frog, the valorous, amphibious knight; and even the dark wizard Magus, who started out as the bad guy but turned out to be simply misunderstood.

  • All the time you are running back and forth through time trying to make sense of what is happening trying to understand who, what, where, when and why.

  • Ultimately you were fighting against Lavos, a malevolent alien parasite that had perverted the future and begun to suck the life from the planet, dooming the world to a horrible dystopian fate.


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  • Chrono Cross was also created by Square for the Playstation system in 1999, and from the title you can see that it is the sequel to Chrono Trigger and again deal with the manipulation of time.

  • The story opens with a dream sequence that hints, through a combination of game play and Full Motion Videos (FMV), of events to come in the future. Awakened, the main character Serge goes about his normal life in a small seaside village until he mysteriously blacks out and awakens in a world almost identical to his own, except that in this world he was killed at the age of seven.

  • Immediately the target of mysterious adversaries, Serge sets out on a voyage of self-discovery across two worlds, his own and the alternate world in which he has died, and across time itself. The game's storyline unfolds slowly, often requiring travel across the two parallel worlds in order to complete key objectives.


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Cross Cont.

  • As the plot continues you begin to realize the bad guy is a human-like-cat named Lynx who weaves himself into the lives of each character that you can posses, up to 40 characters at your disposal in the plot, and each one touched by the power of Lynx.

  • You progress through the game trying to make sense of your role and Lynx’s role in the story. Until the through the use of a powerful artifact you as Serge are switched with Lynx and each takes on the others bodies without the personality, and the good guys, Serge’s friends become the people you are fighting, as you try to regain your body.

  • This sequel focuses more on dimensional travel into alternate time periods. Where decisions in the past have made present and your goal, unlike in Chrono Trigger, is to change the future through the present, not the past. However, your decisions in each dimension has the same weight as they did traveling through time in Trigger.


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Bibliography

  • http://guidesarchive.ign.com/guides/12503/characters/3/

  • http://www.avault.com/consoles/reviews/psx/review_temp.asp?game=ccross

  • http://www.rpgplanet.com/chrono/cc_index.shtml

  • http://www.gamespot.com/features/6147770/index.html

  • http://www.angelfire.com/nf/chronotriggeronline/walkthrough.html

  • http://www.rpgdreamer.com/cc/ccmusic.html

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronos