Does Time Travel give you a headache?

“I don’t understand”, my daughter just said. “How is it that he knows about Boris buying the time travel device from him when it hasn’t happened yet because Boris changed everything by going back?” She is talking about a scene in MiB 3, where agent J travels back to the past to save his partner K from death in a fight with Boris the Animal (just Boris) The ‘he’ in her question is the son of Obadiah Price who had found a way to time travel. Because of that Boris was able to travel back in time and change the course of history. I totally understand why she doesn’t understand, time travel fascinates me and gives me a headache at the same time!

It’s used a lot, in books, movies and in games, but it’s not always used in the perfect way. Often your train of thoughts gets caught in the Grandfather Paradox, the most famous example of a temporal paradox. It means that if you had a time machine and went back into the past where you meet and accidentally kill your grandfather before he got married and had kids, you automatically wipe out your own existence. But if you have never existed, then how do you go back in time and kill Grandpa?

Star Trek, TOS, city on the edge of foreverBeing a fan of Star Trek I’ve seen a lot of time travel. One of my favorite episodes of the Original Series, City in the Edge of Forever, is about time travel. In it the crew of the Enterprise investigates “disturbances in time” coming from an unknown planet. “Bones” McCoy, sick and paranoid from an accidental overdose of cordrazine, transports down to the planet, and a landing party follows him, led by Kirk and Spock. The team discovers the Guardian of Forever, a self-aware portal into the time stream. Still delusional, Bones jumps into the portal. Uhura tells Kirk that she was talking to the Enterprise, and now, suddenly, there is nothing, not even static. The Guardian tells them that the past has changed and the Enterprise, indeed the entire Federation, no longer exists. The landing party is stranded and alone in the universe. Spock and Kirk follow him though, in an attempt to correct the time. Kirk falls in love with Edith Keeler (played by Joan Collins) in Earth’s past, but is forced to stand by and stop Bones from saving her when she dies in a accident, and so restoring the flow of time.

Do you know a lot of games with Time Travel? Mario & Luigi Partners in Time comes to mind, and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. And what about Chrono Trigger? That one did it amazingly well! Does Time Travel give you a headache? And what Time Travel games do you like best?

6 comments

  1. I’d have to agree with your choice of Chrono Trigger for one of the better games to implement time travel. One of the most recent games to utilize it that I really enjoyed was Fire Emblem Awakening! Though it was a pretty shallow focus, using it to justify raising children warriors made from your team of fighters was a really rad concept and nearly doubled the amount of time I spent playing the game!

    I really did enjoy Rian Johnson’s recent film “Looper”, even though that too kinda stepped on its own toes when it comes to the theoretical possibilities of time travel. But that sorta stuff doesn’t bother me too much so long as the story is intact or interesting!

    1. True, as long as the story is good, I can totally understand why getting Time Travel just right. I think Star Trek has several excellent examples, and the Back to the Future games gave it a nice twist too. Well, they were obliged to, with a movie title like that of course!

  2. I love The Unwound Future. Layton games have some pretty great plot twists, but Unwound Future takes the whole thing to a new level of awesomeness.

    1. You know what’s strange? I’m not always in the mood for Layton’s puzzles, have to use my brain enough already at work. But I love the games for their story and the visuals!

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