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Aurvant avatar 9:04 PM on 07.29.2008  (server time)
A Cast of Thousands - Crono

No, he isn't made of thousands of polygons, but in the realm of gaming he is far more unique to me than most of the high-res avatars I control upon my television screen. As I told all of you last month the "Start of my Affair" with serious gaming began with a 16-bit RPG game, so it should come to no surprise when I say that one of my favorite (if not my most favorite) characters also comes from the 16-bit era.

He was the first character to appear as the "Silent Protagonist" in any RPG game that I had played at the time and at first I found the idea apalling. Most of the RPG's I had purchased and rented all featured characters who spilled out their lives in wall o' text after wall o' text, but this new character never uttered a word. No, aside from the random response choices and silent emotes he never spoke a word, so his inner most thoughts were never displayed until I realized that his inner most thoughts were left up to me, the player, to experience.

I am, of course, referring to Crono from Chrono Trigger

Because I had been so accustomed to lead characters prattling off about how their lives I was seriously agitated at first by the fact that Crono was appearing as if he would never speak a single word. However, it was because of his silence and the games complete dependance upon me, the player, to decide each and every choice for him I became far more attached to his story more than any other character in an RPG. Not to mention his humble start that led to a series of unfortunate events that dragged him from one end of the time stream to the other.

He didn't have dreams of becoming a [insert generic fantastic profession that all children idolize] and the story didn't involve him having to abandon his family to leave and go through some rite of passage to become a man either. He was just some normal teen (supposedly) who was just heading off to the fair to see one of his friends and everything else just fell upon him like a perpetual stream that consisted of one ton of bricks after another, and the fact that he continuously rolled with the punches (no matter how hard they were) was what made him so likeable to me.

But how, you ask, does a character who basically never utters a single piece of dialouge manage to gain so much love? Well, that's easy. It's the fact that the game does so well of putting the player in Crono's shoes that it almost forces a bond with the story. For example, Crono's Trial after the fair, while obviously only going to end in one certain way, can in fact play out in many different fashions if Crono (you) chose wrong during your stay at the fair.

IS he guilty? IS he Not guilty? Well, that's all up to YOU now isn't it? Your choices determine Crono's fate in many instances in the game and unlike any other game I have ever played your choices can actually take Crono away from you, forever. Yes, thats right, you can lose Crono for good unless you have taken care of him and made sure of his survival. It's that type of bond with the protagonist that made me think of Crono when I first sat down to write this monthly musings.

Yes, I know it's pretty late in the month, but I had to think pretty hard about who I wanted to write about. Then it came to me while I was sitting here writing one of my own stories (personal project) and I was thinking about how, sometimes, characters can display more emotion and more of a connection with readers without ever saying word one. Then it hit me and I knew who I was going to be writing about.

So, that's pretty much it. Crono became one of my most loved characters in gaming because he was the first character I had the opportunity to make an impact on his story. His silence meant that "I" was his ego and his conscience, and through his shoes gamers were able to travel through time, save the world, and have a heck of a time along the way.

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