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Time Travel / Video Games

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  • Throughout the Assassin's Creed games, many people use the Aminus, a machine that allows one to unlock genetic memories of the past inherited by their ancestors and enter a 3 dimensional interactive version of these memories.
  • The Clumsies and The Clumsies 2: Butterfly Effect involve going back and fixing the effects of accidental time travel.
  • In the Flux Family Secrets series the titular family is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the past.
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  • Time travel as well as going back in time to fix any mistakes in history caused by the antagonists (and sometimes the protagonists) is the premise of the online hidden objects game Gardens of Time.
  • In the "Timeline" mod series for the original Half-Life, rogue scientists from Black Mesa have figured out how to use the dimensional portals to travel through time. Gordon Freeman is enlisted to...
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  • In Life Is Strange, the main character acquires the ability to time-travel, although the power only extends to a few minutes in the past, and is typically used to change some of the recent choices you make. In Episode 3, she travels really far back into the past and ends up creating an alternate timeline.
  • Millennia Altered Destinies is all about jumping back and forth through the history of four alien races.
  • Super Time Force has this as the story's premise, going through history to correct mistakes, and as a gameplay mechanic, allowing you to rewind to any previous moment in a level.
  • In Tesla's Tower: The Wardenclyffe Mystery Nikola Tesla sends time travel device plans to the present so that the main character, a distant descendant of his, can go back and correct or prevent the sabotaged experiment which resulted in everyone in the world losing the ability to see color.
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  • The main character in Time Hollow does quite a bit of time-traveling (via a pen that "draws" windows in the time stream) in order to fix the effects of temporal meddling and get his parents and old life back.
  • Achron takes the prime mention here - a Real-Time Strategy game whose plot and gameplay are both mostly about time travel.
  • Braid, a Platform Game, has a full time-reversing mechanic as well as different worlds, each where time flows differently depending on certain conditions.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In Oblivion, an in-game book tells the story of a famous battle in which magical time-altering storms were coming on an area and a local nation which knew their workings used them to deploy troops favorably. So they got hours of killing in where their soldiers outnumbered the enemy, had men in place to sack castles when hours turned to days, etc.
    • In the series' backstory, it is implied that Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker, may have actually been a Cyborg the Divines plucked from the future to serve as St. Alessia's divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Per Word of God, Pelinal is heavily inspired by The Terminator. He wore full plate mail, blessed by the Divines no less, at a time when only the Dwemer could craft it and, in one of his psychotic episodes, he mentioned Reman, an emperor who wouldn't exist until thousands of years later. To quote The Song of Pelinal:
    "... [And then] Kyne granted Perrif another symbol, a diamond soaked red with the blood of elves, [whose] facets could [un-sector and form] into a man whose every angle could cut her jailers and a name: PELIN-EL [which is] "The Star-Made Knight" [and he] was arrayed in armor [from the future time]."
  • Final Fantasy XI uses this in Wings of The Goddess to travel 20 years ago to the Crystal War, one of the largest wars in Vana'diel's history.
  • All three Chrono games feature time travel as a plot point:
    • Chrono Trigger focuses its entire plot on that. The plot is kickstarted when Marle is accidentally sent through time to the Middle Ages, and rapidly evolves into the party travelling all throughout history to prevent The End of the World as We Know It. As for its sequels...
    • Radical Dreamers doesn't feature time travelling anymore, being focused on a different plot with mostly different characters, but it does have one spoilery instance: Following the Ocean Palace incident, Schala from the first game was unaged into a baby by the Frozen Flame and sent to the present where Lucca found and raised her, in a form of Reincarnation.
    • Chrono Cross, the canon sequel, doesn't deal with direct time travel anymore either, but it remains a major theme, which also dives into some of the unintended side effects of the heroes from Chrono Trigger preventing the apocalypse.
  • Tales of Phantasia.
  • The central plot of The Journeyman Project trilogy hinges on time travel, due to the existence of a government agency specifically created to prevent the alteration of history.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped has this as the main gimmick of the game.
  • Dark Cloud 2 (a.k.a. Dark Chronicle), both with objects the main characters carried and a flying, time travelling Cool Train that seems awfully familiar.
  • Super Robot Wars Reversal has this as the main plot, the main characters got sent off to the past due to the encounter with the Big Bad and had to decide whether to let the future stay stable, or change it by modifying the past (they picked the second).
  • The Ecco the Dolphin series is all about time travel. The second game's plot even centres around the time travelling in the first game screwing up the time stream.
  • Legacy of Kain: big part of the plot. Especially in Defiance where point of view jumps between two protagonists in different eras, culminating in them both travelling to the same era to finally meet.
  • The driving force behind the plot of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers is that the god of time is slowly losing his marbles, and time is screwing up royally as a result.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant. Kato's entire plan hinges on going back in time 100 years to eliminate certain individuals. When the plan is ultimately foiled, everyone gets to pick a time to travel to to live happily ever after. Karin ends up going back in time, meeting Yuri's dad and becoming his mum.
  • Prince of Persia. The Sands of Time trilogy features 6-10 seconds of time travel as the primary gameplay gimmick. The entire point of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is to Set Right What Once Went Wrong thus pushing your character's Reset Button. There's even a moment in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones wherein the prince decides not to use the reset button again and man up to his mistakes.
  • Day of the Tentacle
  • Warriors Orochi 3. A monstrous eight-headed beast called the Hydra kills most of the heroes. The few remaining survivors are aided by Kaguya, the moon princess from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, who uses her ability to travel through time to rescue the heroes who died in the battle with the Hydra.
  • The central theme of Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, and particularly "Chariots of the Dogs", which involves a mariachi gathering his past and future selves to play at everyone's birthdays through a time machine.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The main mechanic in Sonic CD. By travelling past a post labeled "PAST" or "FUTURE" and maintaining high speed long enough, Sonic can warp between Past, Present, and Future versions of the Zone, each with layout and enemy changes. The main goal of the game is to avert a Bad Future in which Dr. Eggman has conquered Little Planet, either by destroying his robot teleporters in the past, or by collecting all Time Stones.
    • Sonic Adventure plays with the trope; it doesn't technically have time travel, but it has the player characters being sent into interactive flashbacks, which is close enough.
    • Time travel seems to be a mainstay plot device in the Sonic series. Sonic 06, Sonic Rivals, Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces employ this trope for story purposes, rather than as a gameplay mechanic. Even Sonic 2 was going to use it!
  • In Darkfall 2: Lights Out, the protagonist stumbles into one of several time portals, and must move repeatedly back and forth in time to figure out what's happening and return to his own era.
  • The changing-the-past equivalent was used thrice in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, the first time to save Orvus from Dr. Nefarious, the second to defend Zanifar from the Agorians, and the third to prevent Azimuth from killing Ratchet. The main plot also centers around using the Great Clock to travel back to prevent larger incidents. In Nefarious' case, he wants to wrong all the rights in the universe. For Ratchet and Azimuth, it's going back to prevent the Lombaxes' banishment. Either use would screw over the universe and all of reality, though.
  • Radiant Historia not only deals with time travel, but parallel universes caused by making different choices at certain points in time.
  • Time Travel is used several times in the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series by various factions, trying to improve their fortunes (generally by removing key enemy figures, such as Hitler or Einstein). It never goes well; the first game kicks off when Hitler gets cut from history, leading to a WWII between the Allies and Stalin, while in the third, the various time-travel shenanigans throughout the series have accidentally turned tiny backwater Japan into the Empire of the Rising Sun, a(nother) superpower bent on world domination. Hilariously, the Emperor believes in the "inevitability of destiny", and has a serious Villainous Breakdown when he discovers the truth behind the Empire's existence.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny features a Time Machine Lost Logia discovered by a brilliant scientist who is trying to restore a dying world. The scientist, being the well-meaning and sane kind, decides not to use it since it for his purposes since that would cause too many complications to the timestream. Unfortunately, his daughter Kyrie, who doesn't want her aging father to die without succeeding in his life's project, decides to use it to retrieve an Applied Phlebotinum that only existed at one point of a specific timeline, kicking off the plot of the game.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Merlin was able to create a door that led into a world based on Classic Disney Shorts such as Steamboat Willie. This is very strange considering that it breaks nearly every rule of time travel established in the later Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, leading fans to wonder whether that door was actually time travel or something else entirely.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep implies that the Unknown is a time traveler. It has a strange entrance where it just fades into existence instead of appearing using a Corridor of Darkness, utilizes a technique that rewinds time to undo a powerful attack inflicted onto it, and the prize for beating it being a Keyblade with a clock motif. 3D: Dream Drop Distance confirms that this is true, as it's Xehanort from the past.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance establishes that time travel is possible, but rather difficult. There needs to be a version of yourself present at the time and place you wish to travel to, and you must give up your body in order to actually make the journey. Furthermore, it's a case of You Already Changed the Past: anything you do in the past has already happened and cannot happen a different way. And if you're brought forward in time to the future, you will forget everything you did while time travelling when you return to the past. Xehanort is revealed to be using time travel, facilitated by his younger self, to bring various versions of himself together to fulfill the "13 seekers of darkness" requirement he needs to achieve his goals. As a result, we have Master Xehanort, Young Xehanort, the false Ansem (aka Xehanort's Heartless), Xemnas, and Terra-Xehanort all working together, having been pulled from their respective times to do so.
    • Kingdom Hearts III has Master Xehanort use this to fill out the ranks of a new Organization XIII. Aside from himself and five returning members from the previous iteration of the Organization, who are all people who exist in the present, four of the members are versions of himself from the past, which means that they can come forward into the future from before they were defeated since he's there, while the last three members, Dark Riku (the Riku Replica from Chain of Memories), Vanitas and Xion get around the the first rule by using clone bodies, which essentially allows them to come Back from the Dead.
    • A cutscene near the end of Kingdom Hearts Union X explains that while the previously-established rules of time travel hold true, the actual process of time travel only requires two things: someone with memories of you at your destination, and a medium that their heart can reside in. Normally the medium would be a body or Replica body, but the Master of Masters, who set up Luxu with the No Name to allow himself to time travel into the future, intends to use his own eye embedded into the No Name as a medium.
  • The basis of BlazBlue involves a Stable Time Loop that plays over and over, prompting certain organisations to destroy a god in such a way that breaks said loop, but only so much that it keeps the world mostly intact. By the end of the second game, time has (supposedly) returned to progressing in a linear fashion. However those now in control seek to destroy the world entirely.
  • By making use of the time differentials between dimensions in Duel Savior Destiny it's possible to make large jumps forward in time and, it is implied, backwards as well. It's treated as something you have to work around rather than make use of, however. Near the very end it is confirmed that yes, you can travel backwards. This is how Taiga saved Crea from a monster that was going to kill her.
  • no-one has to die. is a web-based Puzzle Game that is all about this.
  • In Robopon, the sequel has time travel as a major part of the plot. Most of the time, your trips to the 20-years-ago Majiko have something to do with getting those X-Stones.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Patrick travels back to the monastery of the past for a Fetch Quest.
  • In Fallout 2 there is a random encounter, which sends you back to the prequels vault 13, where you break the water chip. Thus making you responsible for the events at the beginning of Fallout.
  • One of the missions in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan involves being called by Cleopatra in Ancient Egypt to cheer on her helping her workers to build a Pyramid in 10 days so she can use its magic to get more beautiful and greet her lover Marc Antony properly.
    • Likewise, in Elite Beat Agents, one of the missions involve travelling back in time (by purpose) to Florence in the 15th Century, to help Leonardo Da Vinci win the heart of Mona Lisa and eventually create his masterpiece of painting.
  • Three The Legend of Zelda games use it as a core game mechanic: Ocarina of Time has Link travel back and forth seven years, Majora's Mask has him travel through a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and Oracle Of Ages has him use a harp to travel 400 years to the past and back. The mechanics aren't exactly consistent; time travel in Ocarina of Time causes a timeline split, but seems to operate on a Stable Time Loop system in the Oracle of Ages. And let's not get started on the various ways the time travel mechanics of Majora's Mask might work.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword heavily features this mechanic in the Lanayru area: By hitting Timeshift Stones, Link can return an area in a certain radius from the stone to how it was in the past, also reviving any creatures whose remains lie in the area. So basically you can travel through time by walking into or out of the area of effect. Time travel also plays a substantial role in the main story; among other things, the finale take place ages before most of the characters were even born, and Impa is escorting Zelda around the surface at the exact same time her older self is continuing to monitor the Imprisoned.
  • Ultima II: The main part of the game involves travelling between five time periods, Legends (no time), Pangea (9,000,000 BC), 1423 BC, 1990 AD, the Aftermath (2112 AD)
  • World of Warcraft features the Reset Button version of this in its Caverns of Time dungeons.
    • The final raid of the Cataclysm expansion, Dragon Soul, involves the heroes going back in time to steal an ancient artifact that was lost millenia ago, as it is the only thing that can defeat the dragon Deathwing.
    • The Warlords of Draenor expansion features time travel in a major way, as Garrosh Hellscream is released from prison and sent back in time by Kairoz, where he stops his father Grommash from drinking the blood of Mannoroth as well as bringing back future technology, uniting the orcs as the Iron Horde. Here they follow the multiple timelines rule- Garrosh goes to an alternate Draenor, therefore the current times are not affected. Until he brings them back to our Azeroth in the present day via an altered Dark Portal.
  • The Ōkami series has used 4 different methods of time travel over 2 games. The Spirit Gate, a time machine, demon magic, and literally cutting space and time.
    • Ōkami has you travel 100 years into the past, and relive the legend of how Nagi slew Orochi. The way it's set up makes it seem like "The Legend of Nagi and Shiranui: The Abridged Series".
    • Ōkamiden forces you to travel through time to prevent Akuro from becoming perfect by bathing the vessel he wishes to possess in Orochi's blood. Orochi is a bloody corpse in 2 time periods. Later, you need to summon your partners for the Boss Rush, and the way it's done is rather absurd even for a fantastic series like this.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Pete's sheer nostalgia for the good old days when he was just a boat captain somehow opens a portal into Disney Castle's past. Unfortunately, his actions weaken the Castle's protection in the present, allowing Maleficent and The Heartless to invade. Merlin conjures the protagonists a magic door that lets them follow Pete and enter "Timeless River", a level-wide homage to early Disney. Everything is Deliberately Monochrome, and the present-day characters (except present Pete, who actually interacts with his past self) find themselves in their old outfits. Time travel isn't brought up again until 3D, where it's crucial to the plot of the entire game.
  • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, the tower allows the cast of Persona 3 from 2010 and the cast of Persona 4 from 2 years later to meet and team up.
  • If you recruit the mages in Dragon Age: Inquisition, your main enemy for the mission is a Tevinter magister who's discovered rudimentary time travel. Your companions point out that this breaks the known rules of magic; it only works thanks to the enormous Fade rift that kicked off the game's plot, which is why he can't travel back to before said rift's creation.
  • Empire Earth: The final mission of the Russian campaign features a disillusioned Molotov going back in time to prevent Novaya Russia's rise to power, unfortunately future Novaya Russia troops got there before he did. The level is a Perspective Flip of the first one, now playing as the enemy and facing advanced future troops.
  • A minor sidequest in The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 involves going back into the past several times in order to save several books from being destroyed by a leaky roof. You use a time travel book for that purpose. Every time you go back, the game's graphics and music get more and more retro. The first time, the graphics are similar to Simon the Sorcerer. The second time, they're more like the original The Secret of Monkey Island (your current PC is disconcerted about not being able to speak audibly). The last trip takes you to a text-based adventure, and Wilbur decides not to try going even further back in time. On the way back to the future, Wilbur tells the books that, in his time, there's this thing called "the third dimension".
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
  • Time travel is a central theme in a number of Interactive Fiction games. Notable examples include Jigsaw, Trinity and Time: All Things Come to an End.
  • The Turnabout Time Traveler case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice discusses if time travel is actually possible. The defendant claims she traveled back in time to avoid being killed by her assailant. She uses the wedding reception as proof because she went through one already and was going through it again while everyone acted like things were going on as normal. She didn't time travel. She simply passed out after her attacker was killed by a third person. All of her in-laws covered up the murder and held a second identical reception to make it look like she went back in time once she woke up in order to prevent the murder from becoming public.
  • Eike Kusch, the protagonist of Shadow of Destiny, needs to travel through time to figure out how he can prevent his own murder. During his travels, he unwittingly brings a waitress named Dana backwards in time with him, which might complicate things depending on how the player reacts to this.
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX uses this explanation to Hand Wave how Yun (who would have been in his early teens at best during the events of Alpha) is playable.
  • The experimental FMV arcade game Time Traveler is about a cowboy from the 1870's who's sent through time across multiple eras to save the universe from an Evil Overlord and Rescue The Princess
  • The Quake-inspired first-person shooter Chasm: The Rift uses this as a central theme, thus the player would be going from blasting away Gas Mask Mooks in one epoch to blowing up Lion-men and Vikings the next.
  • The TimeSplitters series is another first person shooter example.
  • This is the main theme for the sixth season of Criminal Case, appropriately named Travel in Time. Here, the player and the team travel across six different time periods across the globe: Ancient Times, the United States during The '60s, The Renaissance, a dystopian version of New York in 2029, the Age of Sail, and Medieval Asia.


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