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Followers of paralytic supergenius Steven Hawking (author of A Brief History of Time, pre-eminent physicist of our age, voice like an early 1980s arcade game) will know that the scientist recently published an article in Britain's Daily Mail entitled “How to build a time machine.” [SPOILER: it's hard.] Obviously, the first question this raises is, “what would I do with one of those?” But with the obvious answer being well-worn territory, what would you do? Meddle with gaming history, obviously.
The plan: In 1890, convince playing-card entrepreneur Fusajiro Yamauchi to let you invest in his company, Nintendo Koppai, which takes off exponentially. Due to the advice of a mysterious adviser, the company passes on ideas such as love hotels, instant-rice products, and a virtual-reality version of the Game Boy. You become very, very rich.
Above: 100% completion
Potential complications: Depriving Nintendo of their colorful history means when it comes time to start mining that history, there's little to work with. The trophy collection in Smash Bros. Brawl consists of several dozen figurines of a character called “Mystery Heavenly Stranger,” which is, of course, you. After a while, this becomes uncomfortable.
Potential complications: All FPSes, all the time! By giving a shot in the arm to blockbuster American gaming – a sector with a history of sticking a “German soldier in sniper's crosshairs” pic on the box and calling it a day – right when games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom are happening, you singlehandedly ensure that all games for the rest of the 20th Century can be described as “Like Doom, only worse.”
The plan: Gather up Final Fantasy I-IX, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, Final Fantasy Adventure, Final Fantasy Legend, Ehrgeiz. In 1987, tactfully suggest to Hironobu Sakaguchi that “Final Fantasy” is not the best name for his upcoming game.
Potential complications: Sakaguchi goes with his second choice. “Four of Pugilist Fisticuff Unctuous Scallywags of Garland The Malfeasant” fails to sell. Unoriginal people spend the next twenty years saying of the game, “he should have called it 'The Final Fantasy,' cause that's what it was!”