5 Time Travel Safety Tips We Learned from Video Games

4. Killing Great Evil Throughout Time Can Lead to Even Eviler Evil

The ability to travel through time is a bit like having a super power. And as Colonel Sanders once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The tendency, as long as you’re not a selfish, Biff-like prick, is to go back and “fix” history, usually starting with some of the worst atrocities ever committed by man. A German a–hole with a stupid mustache comes to mind.

But as the Mother series teaches us, your efforts, noble though they may be, are misguided and foolhardy. In EarthBound (Mother 2), the only US port of the series, Ness and his friends travel back in time to defeat ultra-baddie Giyagas when he is at his weakest. Hey, when you’re fighting with a yo-yo and a baseball bat, you need any advantage you can get. Ness and his friends are of course victorious…however: in Mother 3, Giyagas henchman Porky Minch fills the void left by his evil master. He even tries to use time travel to his evil advantage, which of course you will never do.

The lesson here is obviously that you should not try to kill Hitler, or any historical asshole of note. It may feel like a victory, but you could just be paving the way for another, worse evil to take his place. You could also end up changing the course of history so radically that time travel is never invented, or you’re never born, thereby paradoxing the whole world out of existence, which is about the worst kind of genocide you can commit.

3. Don’t Underestimate The Dangers of Time; Be Prepared

Like most time travel parables, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time offers more questions than it does answers: How is it that Krang and Shredder invented time travel? I eat pizza all the time: why don’t my abs look like that? I can time travel but only move from left to right? Seriously? How many god damn quarters is this going to take?

But the most important thing to take away from the Turtles’ time traveling adventure is that, had Krang and Shredder been better at using time travel, it would have been a much shorter game. Time travel is dangerous enough without it being controlled by someone inherently evil and hell-bent on killing you. You could alter history, implode the Universe, get trapped in time, be eaten by a dinosaur you tried to ride, encounter a hostile version of yourself from the future, or even create an alternate reality where turtles walk upright and can kick your face in.

Krang and Shredder could have easily begun their dominion of Earth far in the past, well before anyone was around to stop them. Or, they could have, ya know, squashed the Turtles before they were either teenage or mutant or ninjas. Instead they stick to their old tricks: tossing henchmen, genetically modified dim-wits and irritating robots at you in waves. The turtles got lucky: you won’t. So the next time someone steals a national monument just to piss you off, try not to be goaded into time traveling against your will. Time travel takes preparation. Not to mention that if pizza is the only thing that restores your health, you’re only safe in about a hundred year window.

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