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Chrono Trigger

(Boss Fight Books #2)

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Last summer, Boss Fight Books gave fans the chance to vote for the game they most want to read a book about, and they chose the epic time travel RPG Chrono Trigger.

Featuring new interviews with translator Ted Woolsey and DS retranslator Tom Slattery, Michael P. Williams's book delves deep into connections between Crono’s world and ours, including Chrono Trigger's take on
Paperback, 194 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Boss Fight Books (first published March 25th 2014)
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Average rating 3.37  · 
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G. Derek Adams
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Two stars for squandered potential - three for basic enjoyment and readability, and there were some little scraps of CT lore I didn't know previously.

Let me save you some time - here is every essay in this book in a nutshell:

1. Here's an arguably interesting observation about Chrono Trigger.
2. Here's some surface discussion of the topic and regurgitation of salient plot or game elements.
3. Here's a marginally connected anecdote from the author's life.
4. The observation is validated, but no grea
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Good morning, Chrono!"

Chrono Trigger (the game) is a seminal classic. Arguably, it set the bar higher than any game has been able to for any genre since it's release. Both cutesy yet epic, joyful yet morose, it has stood the test of time. Anyone who has played it understands why this wasn't just another game. It was the Citizen Kane of video games. And while the game was the same for everyone who played it, they all have a unique story behind the experience. What it meant to one player, what em
B.R. Yeager
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Michael P. Williams’ contribution to the Boss Fight Books series is a remarkably detailed exploration of the classic Squaresoft RPG Chrono Trigger. In analyzing the game’s themes of time, disaster and consequence, Williams successfully weaves together threads from the real world to illustrate how the game has retained its relevance for almost 20 years.

The chapter I found most affecting was “The Day of Lavos,” wherein Williams uses the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the 1995 Tokyo gas attack and the
Caleb Ross
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chrono Trigger book review
Click the image above to watch the video review.

I’ve never played Chrono Trigger. But I loved this book. What? How is that possible?

It’s true. I’ve never played Chrono Trigger outside a few short sessions during my youth (all play sessions that involve me are short), but those sessions were so short and so long ago that memories have congealed with every other 16-bit RPG of my youth. Chrono Trigger may as well be Secret of Mana may as well be Final Fantasy VI may as well be Illusion of Gaia.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
By this point, I have a much better idea of what the Boss Fight Books series is about. They're not in-depth critical analyses of the games they're covering, they're autobiographical accounts of the author's life and how they connect to the game they're writing about with some musings about and history of the game sprinkled in, so how much I like one of these books usually depends on how interest I am in the author's life and how much I like the game. And here, Chrono Trigger is my favorite JRPG ...more
Travis Riddle
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
An alright look at the game. My favorite chapter was the one on its translation, interviewing the two main English translators the game has had, and their process in doing so. Would have liked to see more critical analysis of the game's design and themes and information about its creation. ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book isn't just better than its intolerably terrible predecessor, EarthBound , but is a satisfying read in its own right. The author dissects the Super NES and DS classic Chrono Trigger: the ethnic and religious identities of the game's characters, the synergy of their magics, the logic of the game's time travel, and the challenges of translation (as represented by original interviews with Ted Woolsey and Tom Slattery). Williams relates the game to his own life, but only when necessary a ...more
Eric Mesa
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: video-games
This book is exactly what I hoped it would be. It is a deconstruction and reconstruction of the plot; it is an examination of what made the game so special. And it is a chunk of the author's autobiography.

Unlike the author, and perhaps unlike most Chrono Trigger players, this was my first Square RPG. My brothers and I saw it in a used game sale bin at our local game rental shop. Attracted by Toriyama's art more than anything else, we bought it for about $20 by combining all our allowances. It i
Dan Berends
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have to say I enjoyed this book more as it was more about about the topic of the book then the EarthBound book. I liked the information and the author's perspective on the many different parts of Chrono Trigger (especially his breakdown of the issues with time traveling.) All and all I would definitely recommend this book to those that even have the slightest interest in Chrono Trigger. ...more
Joshua Novalis
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
When my oldest brother left for college, he left at home his SNES and a small collection of games for it. Super Metroid. Donkey Kong Country. Mario Kart. Super Mario World. And, of course, Chrono Trigger. While all of these games certainly got their share of attention, nothing captured 6-year-old me so completely as the latter.

Looking at my life trajectory since then, I can honestly say Chrono Trigger played an irreplaceable role in making me the person I am today. It ignited and stoked the fire
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Call it 4.5 stars.

This is just the second Boss Fight Books entry that I've read (SMB2 was the first). It is hard to compare and contrast the books in this series, and I don't think one should even try. I think one should consider them independent stories, which might take any form at all.

This one is hard to characterize. The author sort of analyzes the game, perhaps how a literature scholar would analyze a classic novel (but not to so much depth). If that makes the book sound boring or academic,
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
After a mildly interesting synopsis of the game's story, the author launches headlong into a lengthy discussion of the ratio of genders, the gender inequality represented in the world (out of seven heroes, only three are female, gasp), and speculations on the sexual orientation of each hero and villain (and his own gay-ness). What?! And it's not just a few pages either, it's about a quarter of the book. Who wants to listen to a random person's irrelevant opinions and musings? They aren't even do ...more
Frank Kool
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Let's get the bad out of the way so we can end on a positive note, shall we? BFB#2: Chrono Trigger is rather short and contains its fair share of name-dropping and pretentious phrases (i.e.: needless jargon stacking such as "a Schrödinger Catch-22" to describe the time travel paradox). The author also takes the forefront a bit too much, with (often dull) autobiographical snippets thrown around in every chapter.

Still, the biggest hurdle in this book for me was the chapter titled "Straight? White?
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finally read a full book in 2018. Only 8 months in. Hokey smokes. But this was a good one to let me reacquaint myself with my inconsistent fondness for reading. I found myself wanting to read so much more about the monomyth in relation to these party members and how all of these characters intersect with different cultures (religion, LGBTQ, feminism, etc). My only gripe is that I wanted it to go deeper. Williams gets just deep enough to give me a taste for it but has to move on to keep the book' ...more
Chris Daviduik
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
I do not understand who the target audience of this book is. As a longtime fan of the game, this book provides little value or anything new. Out of a book of 173 pages there are about 20 that are interesting.

If you've played Chrono Trigger before, this book is unnecessary as it is primarily a summary of the entire game infused with unnecessary musings by the author. If you haven't played the game, just go play it and avoid this book.

The few pages that I found worth reading were just interviews w
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This book does a bit too much philosophically meandering about for my taste. It could be that I want something different from these books than what the author intended to give. I want more history of the game and the development process it went through, not quite so much of the inner monologue of the author's current life. That is interesting, and the final chapter is satisfyingly poignant, but I want it to be the set dressing on the main course of history, not the other way around.

The book is w
Max. Speicher
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
In contrast to other boss fight books I've read so far, Michael P. Williams approaches this story about (or rather, analysis of) Chrono Trigger—widely considered as one of the best RPGs and one of the best SNES games—from a language and translation perspective. Having lived as an English teacher in Japan, he explains the cultural differences that influenced the time-travel-based games translations. Parts of the last few chapters can even be considered philiosophical ("The fate of our world is al ...more
Tom Peeters
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall, I liked the book. It gave a decent in depth analysis of what is probably one of the greatest JRPGs of all time.

What I didn't like at all was the blatant SJW agenda pushing that went on at times. With using terms such as 'white privilege', and one chapter dedicated entirely to the race and gender ideology, the book suddenly went off track from discussing a video game and started being very cringey.

Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. Chrono Trigger is one of the "classic" games that I have a lot of respect for, but never had the chance to play when it came out. I'm currently in the middle of my forth play-through and was hoping that this book would add more depth and understanding to the game.

I did learn some from the book, but not as much as I'd hope. Most of the insight was observational and not, as I hoped, from in-depth research or interviews with the creators of the game.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Some good analysis of storytelling, gender roles, and other literary things in Chrono Trigger. My favorite part was the interviews with the SNES and Nintendo DS translators for the North American releases. I feel like most of this book could be distilled into one or two magazine feature articles though.
Wesley Rea
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
While this book contains some interesting tidbits about the various translations and some interesting parallels to natural/manmade disasters in our real world (Y2K, specifically), a lot of this book felt like it was just a long series of Kotaku articles strung together. Not really recommended unless you really enjoy Chrono Trigger and devour everything about it.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Made me think about CT in a new light in a variety of ways. Not what I expected but glad I read it! I appreciate the way the author tied his experiences, general world events, and the lore of CT together. Thought-provoking especially after some years since playing it. 4/5 mainly because some sections felt weaker than others, but I overall would recommend it!
Jesse L
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was better than my previous read of the WoW - a lot more actual discussion of the game, the way it was made, the translation and how it was brought to the US, cultural discussion about the characters and representation, etc. It was a fun read and felt more serious and informational than the other book but still basically just okay.
Michael Zupecki
Personal musings

The personal musings of Michael P. Williams experience with Chrono Trigger are mildly interesting and easy to read; similar in tone to the first Boss Fights book, and relaxingly trivial.
Allen Kwan
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A decent monograph on Chrono Trigger, covering the game from different angles. But the most interesting aspect for most people will be the interviews with Woosley and Slattery.
David Thomas Fort
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Too much of his life.
Mar 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Felt comprehensive...
Feb 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
I did not like this book, but I did like the book's cover. ...more
Peter Derk
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm going to let anyone interested in on a little secret. I just interviewed Gabe Durham, series editor for Boss Fight Books. The interview will be up at near the end of the month, but in terms of this book, I should be upfront and say this is the one he felt most assumed the reader had played the game. And I would agree. It's a super-popular game, and it's not unfair to assume that people have played it. I think that, doing it again, I would play the game first. Which is not a cr ...more
Sebastian H
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Good morning, Crono!"

More than a decade ago, after loading the corresponding rom file onto the SNES emulator on my dad's pc (being from a middle-to-poor home in Latin America meant a lot of my gaming memories had to be taken by force from the pirate waters of the early internet), I began my particular journey into one of the most beloved RPGs of all time. Armed with the previous knowledge of full-walkthroughs from GameFAQs, an above average english reading comprehension level and the technical
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Author of Chrono Trigger and research hobbyist. I like ephemera and cookies. ...more

Other books in the series

Boss Fight Books (1 - 10 of 28 books)
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  • ZZT (Boss Fight Books, #3)
  • Galaga (Boss Fight Books, #4)
  • Jagged Alliance 2 (Boss Fight Books, #5)
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