Chrono Trigger, exercise, and me


As I wait out the cold (but so far, not particularly snowy) Michigan winter and look forward to the days when I can take my bike out on the road again, I’m keeping my exercise routine going with a half-hour of indoor biking a day. It’s not as hard or thrilling as regular biking, that’s for sure, but at least it’s something.

I have a friend who has been on a program that involves going to a gym for an hour, hour-and-a-half every day and my mind boggles at being able to do such a thing. With four kids, I’m more or less tethered to the house or to at least a couple of them at all times. I haven’t been alone in my house for probably three years now — not even for an hour. So taking that much time to do a gym run is impossible at this stage in my life, and even going out biking for 40 minutes requires making sure my wife is in a position where she can handle the kids.

Anyway, I’m just glad I have the exercise bike at all. My wife bought it several years ago and then abandoned it, so I took it over and made it my own. Right now it sits in the corner of our living room, tucked in a small nook between a bookshelf and our couch. It’s far easier to step into a different room of the house to work out, let me tell you, than having to leave the house altogether. The kids can — and do — come into the room to read or talk, and I can squeeze in that 30 minutes wherever there’s time that day.

While I don’t get the freedom and sense of speed that real biking entails, there is one major plus about exercise biking: I can use my iPad. There’s a nifty little ledge on the bike panel that holds it perfectly, and as the timer tracks the half-hour, I try to lose myself in the tablet so that it all goes by quickly.

Reading, checking email, and following up on Twitter are all preliminary activities, but what I’ve been doing the most as of late is playing through Chrono Trigger.


As much as I’ve always loved Chrono Trigger and picked it up over the years, I’ve only completed it once — as a teenager. I guess the other times were aborted starts and issues with platforms. But now, doing it in 20-30 minute chunks as I cycle, I have a feeling I could get through the entirety of it for a second time in my life. This is helped by its length; Chrono Trigger is actually a fairly short (~15 hours) RPG, which was offset by the game’s “new game+” mode with alternate endings.

And the iPad version is definitely not perfect. It’s a huuuuuuge download (have to have all of that music!), the graphics look too muddy and there’s no retina support, and the controls are sometimes too wonky (especially in switching between combat targets). But it’s Chrono Trigger, it works, and it’s still a whole bundle of fun.

I’m still quite charmed by the game’s expressive sprite and pixel art style. And while the music continues to get a lot of love and praise today, the tight plot pacing, the distinctive characters, and the way that it deftly handles the complexity of time travel deserves acknowledgement as well.

When I wrap it up, I’m planning on continuing with some other older titles. I have FFVI (purchased when it was on sale — I know the mobile version isn’t well-liked, but hey, it’s either this or I’ll probably never play it ever), Grim Fandango, Tales from the Borderlands, and Game of Thrones to go through. After that, maybe FFIX when it comes to mobile, which should be soon.

Got to say that I’m impressed that this iPad Mini 1 is still chugging along. I thought I would’ve replaced it by now, but since it still works and can play these games, why should I drop a few hundred for a new one? It’s hard to justify that.


2 thoughts on “Chrono Trigger, exercise, and me

  1. Hugo February 11, 2016 / 2:58 am

    Funny to see you playing Chrono Trigger since i recently mentioned the game in one of my blogposts in which i talk a bit about Hero’s Song, a game that by the sounds of it triggers my fancy. Have fun with CT (very cool classic!) and maybe one day i read a post of you about Hero’s Song as well 😉

  2. Hugo February 18, 2016 / 3:45 am

    If you manage to finish the game the following “easter egg” might be nice to try:

    Chrono Trigger – Secret developer room

    Ever wish you could meet the developers of Chrono Trigger in person? Well, you sort of can. After beating the game and starting a New Game Plus, a new Gate appears in the right-hand telepod in Leene Square. Take this at the beginning of your new game to fight a double-powered Lavos. If you manage to beat him, you’ll find virtual representations of the dev team at the End of Time.

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