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The main menu for Chronotron.
Developer(s) Scarybug Games[1]
Publisher(s) Scarybug Games[1][2]
Designer(s) Joe Rheaume[1]
Artist(s) Bogdan Ene[1]
Composer(s) Helge Krabye[2]
Platform(s) Adobe Flash[3]
Release May 2008[4]
Genre(s) Puzzle, Platformer
Mode(s) Single-player

Chronotron is a Flash video game developed by Scarybug Games.[5] Chronotron launched on the Kongregate website in May 2008.[6] It is notable for having been selected as one of ten games in the PAX 10 2008 out of over eighty entries.[1] It has been described as innovative.[7] The protagonist is a robot named Chronotron who travels back in time to cooperate with himself.[3] The main character must fetch an item before moving to the next room.[1] Solving the puzzles requires sending the main character back in time to coordinate with previous selves.[1] The gameplay requires thinking ahead.[3] Chronotron records the control input, not the protagonist's position.[8] As a result, actions by later selves can interfere with earlier selves.[8] A number of web sites have licensed Chronotron, including Kongregate and MTV's AddictingGames.[8] It was featured on the front page of Kongregate.[4] The game appears on over 2,000 web sites[4] and has been played more than seven million times.[4] The developer splits advertising revenue evenly with Kongregate and has made more than $1,000.[6] The developer has made nearly $15,000 in profits from the game.[4]


Chronotron was developed by Madison, Wisconsin based[3] Scarybug Games, which consists of a single person: Joe Rheaume.[3][5] Rheaume was the sole developer of Chronotron.[8] Development for Chronotron took seven months.[1] Chronotron's sponsorship support was handled through[1] Interest in sponsoring Chronotron allowed Scarybug Games to hire Romanian artist Bogdan Ene to replace the graphics.[1][4] Royalty free music was purchased for the game.[5] The music's author is Helge Krabye.[2] Sound effects came from the Freesound Project.[2]

Chronotron's time travel elements was inspired by advertising for the Xbox game Blinx: The Time Sweeper[1] and an article on Braid.[1][8] Rheaume claims to not have played Blinx.[1] Chronotron was released before the release of Braid.[9] Rheaume claims to have "thought of the idea of recording input and going back looping on yourself."[8] Rheaume wanted there to be no limit on how many times you could travel back in time.[8] The game contains references to time travel stories including Back to the Future, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Doctor Who.[1] The puzzle platformer elements were inspired by The Lost Vikings.[1] Rheaume notes the similarity between cooperating with your self to the cooperation between the three Vikings in The Lost Vikings.[8] Puzzle pacing, with later puzzles building on what is learned earlier, was inspired by Portal.[1] Portal also inspired the use of humorous signs in game as hints.[1]

Rheaume is a Flash developer for his day job.[3] Chronotron was built as a hobby.[3] As a hobby, Rheaume can develop ideas which don't fit the ideas, time constraints, and budgets of his regular job's client projects.[3] Chronotron was developed because Rheaume thought it would be fun to play.[1] Rheaume developed it further because he "thought it really had legs."[8] Interest from other people kept Rheaume going.[8]

The name of the game and the protagonist comes from "chrono" for "time" and "tron" as a generic term for "robot."[3]


The game was selected as one of the ten games for the prestigious PAX 10 in 2008.[3] Joe Rheaume was an invited guest to show Chronotron to the Penny Arcade Expo in 2008 as part of the PAX 10.[1] Chronotron was selected as one of ten games from over eighty submitted.[1] Chronotron is the only browser-based Flash game in the PAX 10 2008.[3]

Chronotron has been described as "a very deep, complex game involving time travel and past selves."[5] Game designer Greg Costikyan described Chronotron as "a simple, satisfying, and enjoyable exploration of the effects of one novel mechanic on a well-established form."[10] A review on Jay Is Games described Chronotron as "a platform puzzler with a really innovative (and addictive) twist." [7] The same review said of the "rewind mechanic", "the concept is refined—and executed almost to perfection."[7] A reviewer on Rock, Paper, Shotgun said "Certainly I feel worn out after wrapping my head around a few levels, but also satisfied and pleased — you really should go play this."[9] Kotaku called it "a hell of a fun flash game."[11] rated Chronotron "Pretty pretty good" and said "If you loved Portal, you'll like this enough for two lunch breaks."[12] Jamie Fristrom of Torpex Games, a fellow honoree at the PAX 10, said, "Chronotron is actually my favorite of the PAX 10."[13] A GameCyte author "wholeheartedly recommend[ed] Chronotron to any and all puzzle fans." [14] Hecklerspray described Chronotron as "incredible" and "so impressively playable that it'll probably kill your productivity for the day stone dead."[15]

The developer believes the "biggest" and "fairest criticism" are problems with synchronizing robots' actions between time loops.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Shipley, Zac (2008-08-13). "Joe Rheaume's Excellent Adventure: Chronotron goes from Madison to Penny Arcade Expo". The Daily Page. Isthmus Publishing Company, Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d Chronotron credits screen. "Play Chronotron, a free online game on Kongregate". Kongregate. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The PAX 10: Chronotron (embedded Flash video) (Television production). G4 Media, Inc. 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31.  (Excerpted from the television program X-Play.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Alesia, Tom (2008-10-26). "Madison man has hit with Internet game". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin: Capital Newspapers. pp. A1. Archived from the original on 2008-10-26.  Archived from here on 2008-10-26.
  5. ^ a b c d e Willis, Danny (2008-07-12). "PAX 10: Five Questions With Scarybug Games' Joe Rheaume". Gamester / Contra Costa Times. MediaNews Group. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  6. ^ a b Lawton, Christopher (2008-10-02). "Notes From the Underground: Indie Videogames Come of Age". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  7. ^ a b c Josh (2008-05-08). "Chronotron". CasualGameplay/Jay Is Games. Jay Is Games. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Niese, Adam "pixelsocks" (2008-09-06). "Interview with Joe Rheaume of Chronotron". PixelSocks. Adam Niese. Archived from the original on 2008-09-08. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  9. ^ a b Meer, Alec (2008-05-08). "Chronotron". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Rock Paper Shotgun Ltd. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  10. ^ Costikyan, Greg; costik (2008-07-18). "Chronotron: Platform Puzzler with Time Travel". Play This Thing!. Manifesto Games, Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  11. ^ Good, Owen (2008-06-28). "Back to the Present with Chronotron". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  12. ^ Douglas, Nick (2008-05-12). "Lunchtime Flash Game: Chronotron". Gawker Media. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  13. ^ Fristrom, Jamie (2008-09-01). "Notes on PAX and the PAX 10". GameDevBlog. Jamie Fristrom. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  14. ^ Hollister, Sean (2008-05-08). "Chronotron's Time-Traveling Puzzles are Made Of Win". GameCyte. GameCyte / Panteon Labs, LLC. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  15. ^ Heritage, Stuart (2008-05-16). "SLACKERJACK - Chronotron". Hecklerspray. Hecklerspray. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 

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