5 Time Travel Safety Tips We Learned from Video Games

After years of studying time travel for their book, So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel [Berkeley Books, $14.99], authors Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch have dedicated themselves to preparing the eventual time traveler for the dangers of temporal dislocation. Find more information at thetimetravelguide.com.

We’ve got a bombshell to drop on you, Earth — time travel. It’s a thing, it’s happening, and one day you might find yourself likely to participate in it. But guess what: Lots of people have tried time travel. Have you ever met one? No? There’s a reason for that, and that reason is, those people are probably dead.

You shouldn’t time travel. But if you do time travel, you should at least spend some time preparing and learning the ropes. But we have some good news, game-loving friends: Your video games can help you prepare for time travel, mostly by teaching you about the horrors of time travel. So you can, like, avoid them.

What follows are five important pieces of information gleaned from time travel video games that can help you save a limb, save a life, and generally avoid embarrassing situations like bleeding all over the new people you meet on your various time travel adventures.

5. Comas are Not a Great Way to Travel Through Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a well-loved time travel story, but it shouldn’t be used as a model if you really do want to travel through time, and here’s why: Link’s method of time travel kinda sucks.

Rather than zip through a wormhole or make use of a time machine, Link’s magical ocarina and Master Sword don’t whisk him forward in time, they actually put him in a strange suspended coma state for seven years. That’s how Link comes out of it all big and stuff. But if you try to send yourself into the future by suspending your mind now, you’re not going to end up a teenage killing machine — you’re going to end up an atrophied husk of your former self if you don’t starve to death in the meantime.

Further, you could try cryogenic freezing or suspended animation, but that just means you’ll be coming out of your seven-year sleep in the same state you went in. In Link’s case, he’d come out the same ineffectual, annoying child he was when he went in, and that means he’d probably get eaten by those creepy screaming zombies.

Moral of the story: In Science, there are no magic flutes and swords that turn children into adults. This is not some Tom Hanks fantasy.

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