Temporal Loops In Video Games: The Art Of Repeating Without Getting Heavy

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Video Games: Living things are born and die. However, there are games in which the end is nothing more than an exciting beginning. We review the most interesting. Time is an element that accompanies us throughout life. We know, or rather, we think we know how it works, but the chances of altering its rules are nil. At best, we have the means to manage with a little margin what we do while the hands of the clock turn tirelessly. The importance we give to the next destination to which it takes us depends on us: do we think about the hours that remain to wake up one more day? Or in a distant future in which a terrible fate awaits us all?

Luckily, in video games we can say that everything —or almost— goes, and manipulating the flow of time is something we can do in many titles. We are not referring to slowing down your progress or making a jump that allows us to skip a certain moment, something we can do in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, but in knowing what is going to happen next and enjoy the gift of changing things as we please. Today we focus on time loops, and we review the most interesting games that are based on them.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Link’s Terrible Fate

We can not talk about the rules of time in video games without appearing one of the most popular of all time. “You have met a terrible fate, right?” is the phrase that the mysterious mask seller spits out inside the Clock Tower as soon as the trip begins. A journey marked by the imminent fall of the moon over Clock City. 72 are the hours we have to complete a gigantic puzzle and avoid the sad end that fate has wanted to impose on the inhabitants of Termina.

Majora’s Mask is one of the most beloved installments of the franchise, a distinction that it has achieved thanks to the fact that it is different from the others. The hands of the clock are constantly flowing, although thanks to musical instruments we can slow down — or speed up — the rate at which they do so. One of the keys lies in combining the mechanics of time with the traditional design of the saga, using events that take place at different times to bring freshness to the development of the adventure. Since we met the second installment of the franchise for Nintendo 64, we have not looked at the moon in the same way. Anyway, if it finally hits the ground, there will always be another 72 hours ahead … and another terrible fate for us.