Photos of the Chrono Trigger SNES Cartridge Box and Its Contents

[The following is a complete documentation of all ephemera encased within the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) release of Chrono Trigger. Discrepancies and similarities between physical materials such as guide books, manuals, posters, storage media, and media containers, along with trends especially between the various video game iterations will be discussed. Beside each description is a high-quality image of the document in question.]

General Comments about the Packaging for the SNES release of Chrono Trigger

At the time, SNES games were packaged in cardboard boxes, making them extremely fragile. These standardized encasements replicated the usage of large cardboard boxes for personal computer games, and allowed ample room for game cartridges, thick manuals, and extra content not to mention real-estate for colorful eye-catching displays.

About the Version Used in this Project

This SNES cartridge box and its contents were purchased from eBay on June 25, 2015, specifically for this project. It sold for $250 U.S. dollars, and was received from Greeley, Colorado on June 29. Noticeable wear and tear is present on the SNES cartridge box itself, but surprisingly all other artifacts are in very good condition. This complete artifact was important for the player for the purpose of reviewing game mechanics and controls, as well as gaining a more in-depth knowledge of this iteration as a whole. It was made known to the player which version this was, and the history and culture intrinsically attached to it.

SNES Cartridge Box Contents

▹ One SNES Game Pak (encased in a white container and fitted with a dust sleeve)

▹ One Instruction Booklet

▹ One Registration Card (not available)

▹ Two double-sided posters depicting eras and locales the video game explores, along with various illustrations by Akira Toriyama

SNES Cartridge Box, Front

Made out of black cardboard, the box measures 7" x 5" x 1.25" in size and features art by Akira Toriyama (that has been reproduced as a complimentary poster in the game box, but also as artwork for the Nintendo DS iteration). In this scene, Crono, Frog, and Marle are in the heat of a battle (with Crono and Marle demonstrating what appears to be the tech move "Ice Sword") (see SNES Anime Aesthetic). Below this image, is Squaresoft's logo and a red SNES logo. In the bottom left, an ESRB rating of "K-A", (Kids to Adults, Ages 6+), is displayed a rating that will later be changed in 1998 to "E" (Everyone).


SNES Cartridge Box, Back

The back of the cartridge box reads: "The 32-Meg quest begins. The millennium. A portal is opened. The chain of time is broken. A young man is transported into the past, altering the course of history and the outcome of the future. He has to find his way home, but first he must travel to the outer edges of time to repair the world's chronology. On the way, he encounters strange friends and foes, utilizes incredible devices and vehicles, and penetrates and neutralizes the fortresses of the past, present, and future. A paradox has been created. If he does not restore the order of time, nothing will ever be the same. He is the one who will become a hero. He is Crono." Two captions also read: "From the creators of the acclaimed Final Fantasy series" and "Character designs by Akira Toriyama." Screenshots from the video game are depicted as well, and from left to right, the scenes depicted are: a view of the Kingdom of Zeal; a depiction of the Dragon Tank battle on the Prison Towers; a shot of the Zenan Bridge fight against Zombor (with Crono, Marle, and Lucca); a scene of the Crono trial scene; an image of Magus' castle; an aerial shot of the "Black Omen"; and a scene of Marle, Crono, and Ayla flying the Epoch. In the center of this collage, is an image of Crono bearing his katana. Lastly, below this, is information reiterated from the front of the cartridge box.


SNES Instruction Booklet, Front

The front cover is a reiteration of the black cartridge box art featured in the packaging, with an image of Crono posing on the right with the main cover art in the background. This rendition of the cover art appears to be spreading out of its frame (since the white top border is removed and the title is reproduced at a larger scale and with a white stroke effect). This imagery continues to the reverse side of the instruction booklet.


SNES Instruction Booklet, Back

The back cover features the rest of the main cover art, along with Frog's standard pose tilted and appearing to enter in from the left. Below this is more detailed information concerning Squaresoft which reads: "SQUARESOFT ®, Westpark G-1, 8351 154th Ave. N.E. Redmond, WA 98052, For Square Soft Customer Service/Game Counseling, CALL (206) 861-0303, Automated: 24hrs., Live Service: Mon-Fri, 8am to 5pm PST."


SNES Instruction Booklet, Contents

When compared to later iterations of this instruction booklet, the following guide is far more explicit in its account of story, characters, game mechanics, and descriptions. A comprehensive walkthrough section towards the end of the booklet, along with imagery depicting particular endings is also present. The pre-web setting of the eighties and nineties meant that these booklets had to be designed as comprehensive. They were one of the only methods of receiving help for a specific game or level. Video game companies also took advantage of this reality, employing the use of hint-lines (telephone lines that offered advice to players at steep prices). This is why, in various locations of the original release, information pertaining to hint-lines are frequent and noticeable.


SNES Game Pak, Front

The following is a standard SNES game pak measuring in at 5.3' x 3.5' x 0.75' and weighing 3.2 ounces in total. Artwork and information from the cartridge box are reproduced along the upper portion of the gray game pak.


SNES Game Pak, Back

The back side contains safety information in English, and reads: "IMPORTANT, Power must be off before loading or removing the game pak. This game pak must be cleaned regularly use the Super NES Cleaning Kit only. Please refer to the consumer information booklet for additional precautions and maintenance details." Down below, in French and Spanish, it advises individuals to consult the manual under the "Information for the Consumer" section for more details. Underneath this text is an engraved Nintendo logo.


1st Poster, Side One

Depicted on this side of the poster are various eras and locales from the video game: the Kingdom of Zeal (12,000 B.C.); Earth Bound Village (12,000 B.C.); and Prehistoria (65,000,000 B.C.). On the left side, Ayla is featured, and towards the right, both Frog and Crono are shown.


1st Poster, Side Two

On the reverse side, artwork depicting a campfire scene with Ayla, Robo, and Crono is shown. Around them are numerous creatures and monsters watching them as they rest, and from the looks of it, these appear to signify the Prehistoric era.    


2nd Poster, Side One

Depicted on this side of the poster are various eras and locales from the video game: Post Apocalypse (2,300 A.D.); Crono's World (1,000 A.D.); Medieval Kingdom (600 A.D.); and The End of Time. On the left side, Marle is featured, and towards the right, both Lucca and Robo are shown. Towards the top, an image of Crono, Frog, and Lucca flying the Epoch is also displayed.


2nd Poster, Side Two

On the reverse side, the artwork from the cartridge box is replicated in a larger format (as opposed to the Nintendo DS poster  which replicates this art, but leaves the reverse side blank).


Additional SNES Release Artifacts

The following is a guide that was available to players at the time of Chrono Trigger's SNES release. It has been compiled in an Adobe PDF file down below. Please allow adequate time for the file to download.
Chrono Trigger Nintendo Players Guide (1995) (pdf, 58.9 MB)
These are scans of Nintendo Power magazine's coverage of Chrono Trigger (volumes 73 and 74) that was available to players at the time of Chrono Trigger's SNES release. In the RPG and Japanese games section, called Epic Center, Chrono Trigger was discussed and then reviewed by players. It has been compiled in an Adobe PDF file down below. Please allow adequate time for the file to download.
Nintendo Power Volume 73 (1995) (pdf, 715 KB)

Nintendo Power Volume 74 (1995) (pdf, 3.13 MB)

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