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I avoided the bandwagon, and it changed my life.

Some stories are best experienced for one's self, and not through the eyes of a friend.

One of my all time favorite games is Chrono Cross. It was my first RPG, so, naturally, it holds a special place in my heart. But here's the kicker - most of my friends hate it.

Elementary school me, looking for a way to challenge my creative energy, sought inspiration in all worlds beyond our own. The very first time I set foot into a GameStop, I locked eyes with Chrono Cross, completely taken with its blue-eyed cover characters. My mother saw my excitement and agreed to purchase the game for me. I couldn't have been happier.

Serge and Kid, my first RPG travel pals.

I spent countless hours with my blue-eyed companions. They kept me entertained and I kept them alive. We were pseudo-symbiotic for years. Still, despite our fabricated interdependence, my deepest connection to Chrono Cross was not with its story, but with its music.

One of the game's world map songs is called "Dream of the Shore Near Another World." This instrumental track single-handedly prevented me from ever completing the game in my younger years, as it could easily lull me to sleep. There was something so comforting about the strings, I was unable to willingly part with them. They kept me safe, somehow, from my most childish fears.

Wanting to express my gratitude for the track's impact on my life, I wrote an email to the soundtrack's composer, Yasunori Mitsuda. I told him how much I loved the game and his music, completely unaware of the fact that he'd require a translator just to read what I'd written. I just about died when I saw that he emailed me back.

Mr. Mitsuda thanked me for my support and expressed his hopes that it would continue on in the future. I was starstruck. That simple interaction spurred me into pursuing the arts, hoping to be as big an inspiration to another as Mr. Mitsuda was to me.

Here I am today, a person who found my start in a game that many people hate, simply because it wasn't the sequel they'd imagined. Even now, at 21 years old, I often revisit this soundtrack when I'm having trouble sleeping. The nostalgia is one of my most prized possessions and the gentle push that spurs me on.

Do you have any games that you love, but everyone else seems to hate? Any similar experiences you'd like to share? Tell me about it in the comments!

Published Jun. 28th 2015
  • Stephen Johnston
    Founder
    It never comes up in conversations about "great games", though it was generally well received, but I absolutely loved Parasite Eve. I had a lot of fun playing it with a friend when it first came out and it just holds a special place.
  • George S.
    I was given a Playstation 1 by my uncle around age 6, and this is around 2003-4. I've always been more than a little behind the times, constantly getting systems and playing games on a couple year lag. But one of the games he gave me along with the system was Chrono Cross, and the Brady Games strategy guide. I'd never bothered to play the game, as I was always occupied with the other games he gave me. But one day, about 3 years later, I looked through the strategy guide just to see what was in it. What I found was amazing; rich colors, beautiful landscapes, drawings of characters I'd never known, mysterious monsters and objects that I had no idea what to make of, and a story that I couldn't quite make sense of having never played the game. Drawn by this, I decided I would start playing (at my mother's permittance, of course.) And that started me off on a journey spanning years. The world and its story enveloped me, become a fascination I hold to this day. The story was a little over my head, but upon subsequent play-throughs, I began to understand more of it (it's still by far one of my favorites.) I'd spend hours just wandering around, exploring the world, seeing what trouble I could get into. This of course made the game last much longer than it should have, and for one reason or another, I could never bring myself to beat the final boss. I just didn't want the game to end. This world that I fell in love with, with it's beautiful music, intricate story, spectacular artistry, and many other facets, was a world I just couldn't bring to an end. And so the final boss and the plot's conclusion sat in wait until I believe 2012. I did finally beat the game late that year (New Year's Eve, to be exact; I'm a bit of an appreciator of poetic timing), and the game drew to a close. And while the save data still sits on a memory card in my room, it brought about so much more than a "New Game+". Its influence on myself and my interests was unprecedented and still unrivaled. Chrono Cross brought me to love and value a good story, which has since developed into a passionate love of science fiction and fantasy, as well as role playing games. It gave me an escape from a world that was a little stressful; I had started playing the game and growing to the world as my grandmother was dying of cancer. It taught me some valuable lessons about having a good team and fighting the good fight, even when you are trapped it a cat man's body. It was also one of my first experiences with a truly beautiful score, as the author of this article wrote about, and granted me an appreciation of music in videogames, television, and film. It is sadly a portion of the story that often goes unappreciated, but truly changes the tone of the game and its moments. In fact I don't think I've ever heard someone talk about Chrono Cross without at least mentioning the soundtrack.
    To conclude my nostalgic ramblings, Chrono Cross played a role in my life a way few other things have. It gave me so many things that are a part of my world today, and it's not something I'll ever be able to thank the development and production teams enough for. But it makes me glad to see that other people online and around the world share my appreciation for this little bit of gaming history.
    Thank you all for reading, and may you all have good travels in El Nido.
  • Ashley SSS
    Associate Editor
    CC gets way too much hate from CT fanboys. I loved CT and I love CC, but CC stands out more for me. It's absolutely gorgeous in both visuals and sound, and while there are a ton of forgettable characters, there are a lot I remember as well.

    I feel like the amount of hate CC gets is because people were expecting a direct sequel to CT, but instead got this. To me, that's fine. To some, obviously, it's not.

    Mitsuda's composing is definitely one of my faves, especially of the old Squaresoft composers. I'd take Mitsuda over Nobuo any day. The Xenogears and Chrono Cross OSTs were (IMO) not only two of the best during that generation, but perhaps in gaming as a whole. Just my opinion, though!
  • KungFro
    Correspondent
    You and I are on the exact same page and I love it. Chrono Cross was indeed a gorgeous game in multiple aspects, and I agree that the hate comes across mostly as just misguided disappointment.

    For me, Mitsuda's music has always had a more palatable flavor than Nobuo's; maybe he put both his feet in it or something. The Chrono Cross OST will always be one of the best in my opinion as well. I've never regretted the purchase!

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