Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Item Acquired: Chrono Trigger

My previous blog post described a few games that I managed to snag, with a bit of a small cliffhanger at the end. I’m sure all ten of you are just teetering on the edge of your fuckin’ seats in anticipation to find out what the heck it was that I also found during my NES game hunt. Well, I’ll show you:

Not bad!

That’s right, Chrono Trigger. This bad boy cost me 35 bucks, which is ridiculously cheap for a physical copy of Chrono Trigger, even one that’s not in the best of shape! Let me put it this way: I was always under the impression that in order to get my greasy nerd hands on a SNES cartridge of Chrono Trigger again, I would have to pay $120 to someone on eBay.

“Wait a second,” I’m sure you’re thinking. “What did he mean by ‘again’?”

Or maybe you’re not thinking that at all, but read ahead anyway!

I’ll tell you another story of one of my dumbass moments growing up. When I was in high school, my friends and I worked at a few different places around town. One of my friends happened to work at a Tim Horton’s, where he worked alongside a dude looking for a copy of Chrono Trigger.

At the time, I had a copy…the local video game rental store had decided to purge a bunch of their old SNES games, and C-Trigger was among them. I knew how good it was, and so buying it for $5 at the time was a no-brainer. I busted that game apart, viewed every ending and found every secret multiple times, and never got tired of it.

Then, my friend told me about his co-worker who was looking for Chrono Trigger…and was willing to pay $100 for it. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! That was a $95 gain for me, and a terribly appealing offer at the time…but I had to think it over. Did I really want to sell my copy of Chrono Trigger? Sure, I loved the game and thought it was phenomenal, but I didn’t have much emotional attachment to that specific cartridge or anything. It wasn’t as if it was given to me as a gift by my family, or a friend…I’d picked it up for 5 bucks at a video store. Besides, I was under the impression that I could get it back on eBay for $20 and not only get a copy of the game back again, but make a profit as well. Don’t make me start quoting the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, you damn nerds!

I agreed to sell the game, got my cash, and was happy as a clam. My plan was to immediately turn this around, look on eBay, and snag a copy for much cheaper than I had sold it. This was harder than I originally thought. I’d known that Chrono Trigger was a sweet game with high demand, but I didn’t realize it was so hard to find that, even on eBay, the game would skyrocket to some ridiculous prices. Even out-of-box copies that were in so-so shape went up in price in the last couple of hours of bidding, sometimes exceeding $150.

Paying more than I sold it for wasn’t a part of my fuckin’ plan…so I bit the bullet and went without Chrono Trigger for a long time, occasionally searching for it online or at game stores for a good price.

As I mentioned, I went game searching the other week and found a small trove of nifty NES games. I also managed to find one SNES game that I really wantd…Chrono Trigger. It was just fuckin’ SITTING there, out in the open! I couldn’t ignore it, but geez, I really didn’t want to spend money because I hadn’t gotten paid from my job yet (complications which have now been rectified). I debated about it, taking forever to decide while my friend was waiting for me to make up my damn mind (Sorry, E - you know how I am about these things!) but I finally decided that this was a good idea. There was a copy of Chrono Trigger sitting in front of me, on sale for 35 dollars. If I didn’t get it then, I’d likely never see it again until way down the road when it was even rarer and more expensive. I chose to buy the game…but I half expected it to not work or something dumb.

My face when I saw Chrono Trigger on the shelf.

I gave it a quick clean with the old rubbing alcohol and Q-tip method, let it dry, and fired it up. Sure enough, that familiar title screen with the swinging pendulum appeared...the game worked! I turned it off and decided to save it for later, content that I hadn’t wasted $35 on a faulty copy.

Then, a few days later on…I thought of something. “Oh shit! Maybe the save battery’s run out and THAT’S why it was so cheap!” It’s well-known that NES, SNES, and some N64 cartridge games that utilize a save system have a big, flat battery inside of them that is strictly for maintaining save files. Once these things run out of juice or bugger up, your game won’t save anymore. That HAD to be the case! Why else would it be so damn cheap?! It also came without any saved games on it whatsoever, a sure sign of back-up battery failure…and I strongly doubted that the store employees or the previous owner of the game would have gone through and cleared all 3 of the save slots.

I fired up the game again, this time getting a small amount farther and saving the game. Save complete…

I turned the game off and on, expecting the saves to be erased…but nope, they were all still intact. I couldn’t believe it.

So now, after all of these years, I finally fulfilled my initial plan when I sold Chrono Trigger to begin with. I’d gotten a hard copy back for cheaper than on the net, and technically made a $60 profit in the process. It was a real stroke of luck being in that store at that time…SNES or RPG aficionados would easily have looked through, seen that cartridge and thought “WHAAAAAT!” just like I did, snatching it up shortly thereafter. On the other hand, if I had come in a day earlier, they might not have had the game out on the shelf yet and I’d never have known it was coming in.

I’ll likely never sell a game like that again. I regretted not having Chrono Trigger for all those years…and yeah, you can emulate games (and it WAS legal for me to emulate Chrono Trigger since I had technically paid for a copy), but it’s just never the same for me. Playing an NES or SNES game on the computer doesn’t evoke the same feelings as enjoying it on your TV with that familiar console controller in your hand. I even purchased Chrono Trigger for the Wii’s virtual console a while ago, but I find that’s not the same for me either because it exists only as data on my console and not as a physical cartridge that I can hold in my hand and slam into my Super Nintendo. For these reasons, I’m immensely glad that I was able to find a copy of the game again, even after all these years.

It’s very rare that I’m in the right place at the right time, but I sure as hell lucked out this time around!

Keep gaming! Next up in the blogging queue:

1) Another Item Acquired entry!

2) Discussion of a remake done so, so right!

3) Probably a review of Spelunky for the XBox Live Arcade!


  1. You are a true gamer, sir. Epic tale that I was proud to hear behind the scenes... hehe Gratz on the acquisition once again of a classic awesome game (soooo long since I played it... should do so again, but for sure won't be like you have it now =/)

    1. lol thanks man. I was so paranoid there was something busted with the cartridge and I got ripped off, so I'm glad it's actually functional. You should rip through it again and refresh your memory!

  2. CHRONO TRIGGER!!!!!!!

    Any time you need a friend to help you play it, I'm there!

    I have a similar story regarding my copy of Zombies Ate my Neighbors, except replace "sold for $100" with left at my brother's friend's house then moved away", and replace "found a cheap copy at a store" with "cry myself to sleep every night."

    Sweet find, by the way.

    1. Oh man, that sucks! Do you still not have a copy? I'm pretty sure I saw one in a nearby video game store a week ago for like 12 bucks. I imagine it'd be gone now, but I could check...and even if it's vanished, another cheap copy might come in!

  3. I still can't believe he paid 100 bucks for it, I hope he never ends up at an auction... "Bidding starts at 100 dollars" "I BID 1000!!!!!!"

    1. Yeah man...you'd think he'd begin by saying "I'll give you 20 bucks for that game" and then increase it to a point where I'd be willing to part with it. I'm certainly not complaining that he started with 100 clams, though!