When I first latched onto RPGs, I quickly learned to hate tables, counters, trees, and other fancy-looking obstructions.
These resolute sprites typically serve as barriers and gateways. Though you can logically vault over a counter or walk around a tree, that doo-doo don't fly in a sprite-based RPG. If a shopkeeper has their counter in front of a mysterious-looking door that the developers don't want you to access, you can't simply lift one leg over the other and proceed. Keep both your feet on the ground, Mr Hero.
It was therefore easy for me to fall in love with "Off Camera," a YouTube series that breaks games' boundaries and shows you what's behind the curtain. Off Camera's dissections let viewers get a taste of what it'd be like to enter that mysterious Inn door you've wondered about all your life, or to grab the treasure chests merchants invariably store behind their counters. It also provides an idea of how a game's graphics are assembled.
The videos basically exist to quell my childhood belief that RPGs have hidden content tucked away in the cartridge, and I'd be able to see it all if only I could "push past this stupid cluster of bushes, COME ON ASH, they're as tall as your hips!"
Some of Crono's wall-breaking shenanigans include:
- Walking from Janus's bedroom in Zeal directly into one of the game's endings.
- Glitching out Lavos's "Red Star" graphic in the prehistoric era. You are not supposed to touch him, Crono. He is in space.
- Robbing a shopkeeper for a heckuvalotta gold.
- Walking on the 1999 AD map. If you break Chrono Trigger, you're legally required to take a stroll on the 1999 AD map. Dem's da rules.
The Off Camera segment also gives you insight as to how Chrono Trigger's developers made the game's gorgeous graphical effects. You'd be surprised how much work went into animating the outer rim of the time-travelling portal. Yes, that sliver-thin border that you probably gave zero thought to.
So. Now I know all of Chrono Trigger's secrets. However, despite my earlier statement, I will continue to believe there is a way to rescue Schala from the Ocean Palace, and that it somehow involves Magus' kitten, Alfador.
("Nadia, there's this whole game called Chrono Cross, and it—")