An incomplete history of time-travel games

31 games, 3 decades, and only a handful of cowboy levels

Did it do your head in? It was more concerned with doing the contents of your belly out.

Were there cowboys in it? One of the main characters is an American Indian shaman. While this would once have marked him as the antithesis of a cowboy, nowadays they’re pretty much two sides of the same coin. Post-racial!

Time Travel Satisfaction Rating:

This spinoff saw fit to include no end of time-freezing, fourth-dimensional sight, temporal collapse and other such high-falutin’ notions. This doesn’t actually manifest itself in as clever a fashion as manipulating time in Pokemon Diamond by changing the clock on your DS, but at least this one explained it in the manual.

Did it do your head in? If your main character is an existential anomaly who gradually fades out of his own timeline, and the only way you can resolve this is to break every rule of space-time in a massive deus ex machina just to avert a weepy ending, Your Game Might Be Complicated.

Were there cowboys in it? As the Pokemon world encompasses plenty of cowboy types anyway, there was no need to use time travel just to bring in more of them. Good call.

Time Travel Satisfaction Rating:

The reigning champion of headjob videogame adventures, Braid plays tighter and more challenging with time-travel than anything that’s come before. In fact, some might even say it’s too much of a total mental pooch-screw. Not us, though. We got through all the levels the first time, comprehended the game’s thematic subtext right off, and were all like, “okay, so is Braid 2 going to be intellectually challenging or anything?”

Did it do your head in? Of course it did. Your head? Didn’t stand a snowball’s! Oh, we were fine, though, thanks for asking.

Were there cowboys in it? Just look at the level names: Time and Forgiveness, Hesitance, Unnamed World 1 (the final world). The further you get through Braid, the less you come to expect a shootout in a honky-tonk cathouse.

Time Travel Satisfaction Rating:

Oct 21, 2009

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