August 22, 1995 was a banner day in the history of RPGs, Nintendo, and the Universe itself. On that day, the company known as Squaresoft (now Square Enix) released a little title on Super Nintendo in North America called Chrono Trigger. The now-legendary story revolved around a silent protagonist and his adventures in friendship, time-travel, and the quest to save the world from a world-destroying alien named Lavos. It represented some of the best practices of its time, including a complex and engaging active time combat system, a varied cast of playable characters, the elimination of random battles, and more than one astonishing plot twist.
The game, almost from the start, was a critical and commercial success. Chrono Trigger had released in Japan back in March of that year, moving some two million copies in the first two months of sales. Its sales figures were comparatively modest in North America, amounting to less than 300,000 copies, but positive press and word of mouth have helped the title continue to sell well in its subsequent re-releases on PlayStation, DS, Wii’s Virtual Console, and, most recently, iOS and Android.
Critically, Chrono Trigger retains an aggregate ranking of 90-95-plus percent across virtually every aggregate site and is inevitably mentioned in any best game of all time discussion. Its musical score, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, is one of the most popular and recognizable soundtracks in video game history. Chrono Trigger also spawned a PlayStation semi-sequel, Chrono Cross, which earned as much critical and commercial success as its predecessor.