Q&A Oldest time manipulation (rewind/fast-forward/pause) game?

Virtual Ruminant

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May 21, 2020
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I recently played Arise - A Simple Story, and its time-manipulation mechanic which lets you pause, rewind and fast-forward time passing in the environment to solve navigation puzzles made me wonder about the ancestry of this mechanic.



I immediately thought of The Gardens Between and Braid, but these are both relatively recent - the basic mechanic is something that could plausibly be implemented even on 8-bit systems with bitmap graphics and I'm wondering how far back the family tree of this particular kind of game goes.



Please share the oldest games with this kind of mechanic that you know of? 🙏
 

Durante

I <3 Pixels
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I can think of quite a few older games with a time slowdown mechanic, but none with a rewind. Good question.
 
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Virtual Ruminant

Virtual Ruminant

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May 21, 2020
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well there's the Prince of Persia trilogy ... Sands of Time was released in 2003 (vs 2008 for Braid)
Sands of Time is actually a shameful gap in my gaming history, at the time it was released I got completely distracted by Beyond Good & Evil and these days somehow Assassin's Creed keeps overwriting my memory of this game existing.
 
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lashman

Dead & Forgotten
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Sands of Time is actually a shameful gap in my gaming history, at the time it was released I got completely distracted by Beyond Good & Evil and these days somehow Assassin's Creed keeps overwriting my memory of this game existing.
well it's never too late to go back :p all 5 games are still available:

 

low-G

old school cool
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Blinx the Time Sweeper was the first game I recall (2002). I remember thinking it was an impressive accomplishment and I wondered if it would be possible on lesser hardware than the Xbox at the time of release.

Came out before Sands of Time.

According to Wikipedia it was advertised as the first 4D game.
 
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Virtual Ruminant

Virtual Ruminant

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Blinx the Time Sweeper was the first game I recall (2002).
Oh my god, an original Xbox exclusive (!) made by a Japanese studio (!!) featuring a cartoon Blynx (!!!) and contains not just rewinding, fast-forwarding and pausing time, but also lets the player record their own movements and then play the record back as a clone of themselves, a mechanic I only knew from The Talos Principle and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time previously ?!?!?

Think I might have to get this one. Never knew it existed. Apparently it was made backwards-compatible on Xbox One: BLiNX: The Time Sweeper
 
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Wibblewozzer

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Oh my god, an original Xbox exclusive (!) made by a Japanese studio (!!) featuring a cartoon Blynx (!!!) and contains not just rewinding, fast-forwarding and pausing time, but also lets the player record their own movements and then play the record back as a clone of themselves, a mechanic I only knew from The Talos Principle and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time previously ?!?!?

Think I might have to get this one. Never knew it existed. Apparently it was made backwards-compatible on Xbox One: BLiNX: The Time Sweeper
There's also a sequel.

Neither game was that great.
 
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Virtual Ruminant

Virtual Ruminant

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Found this while researching BLinX:

Catrap. Now this takes us back quite a bit, 8-bit 80s home-computer and OG Game Boy, but here it is, bona-fide rewind mechanic:



This might be the outright missing link, but on the other hand, if somehing was out on one home-computer system and even more so if something was on the Game Boy, there's a good chance there might be clones from the same time period around. Anyone ever came across one?
 
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low-G

old school cool
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Found this while researching BLinX:

Catrap. Now this takes us back quite a bit, 8-bit 80s home-computer and OG Game Boy, but here it is, bona-fide rewind mechanic:



This might be the outright missing link, but on the other hand, if somehing was out on one home-computer system and even more so if something was on the Game Boy, there's a good chance there might be clones from the same time period around. Anyone ever came across one?
Do turn based games that let you undo an action/move/turn count :d
Yeah I wouldn't count those. Undo buttons in games have been around a lot longer.
 
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kio

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Apr 19, 2019
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Regarding turn based games, undo buttons don't count but turn manipulation is a sort of time manipulation. Mechanics that allow you to take two turns in a row or delay an oponents turn kinda fit.
 
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Pogi

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Jun 25, 2019
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TimeShift has a rewind mechanic! I loved this game in spite of all its numerous flaws.


 
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EdwardTivrusky

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Giant Bomb wiki lists Cat Trap as the first but i'm sure it was done earlier. I think memory limitations would have made it difficult to implement on very early machines.
 
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low-G

old school cool
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Giant Bomb wiki lists Cat Trap as the first but i'm sure it was done earlier. I think memory limitations would have made it difficult to implement on very early machines.
Depending on the implementation and assuming a deterministic gameplay (like a puzzle game), a simple undo system needs only store a two bits per undo state (precisely the input of the user only, like the dpad input for a move), you don’t even need to store a partial state of the game or anything. So even an Atari 2600 could have a pretty long undo queue.

But the funny thing is this way of coding really only became widely known mid 90s. So while it might have been technically possible, people didn’t necessarily think this way.

So it makes me wonder how many one off games might have undo logic that don’t even record the state of the game (which itself is small in the case of something like Cattrap).
 
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