I am no stranger to games that encourage, or actively require grinding. I played Everquest for several years, and I can vividly remember spending hours at a time starting at an empty spot on my screen that would, every six minutes, be populated with a single monster, which I would then kill.
The six minutes between spawns were largely spent with my character sitting down to maximize health regeneration so that I’d be ready for the next one.
I did this for HOURS. Mostly while eating unhealthy snacks.
So in comparison, grinding my way through the first Chrono Circle season pass wasn’t THAT bad. I only needed to, basically, play the game 19 times before I unlocked all of the cosmetics.
This is also my first time completing a “season pass” in any game. They are silly things, and I didn’t understand the mechanic behind them for quite a long time. “DLC, but you don’t get everything you paid for unless you log in every day for a month” was such a foreign concept that my mind dismissed it out of hand as being ridiculous.
Nonetheless, that’s apparently how they work and they’re a Thing that we are unlikely to see the end of any time soon.
Chrono Circle’s Season Pass was, at least, less ridiculous. You didn’t have to pay for it separately – you make progress on it simply by signing in to your AM Pass account and then playing the game. The only manual step needed is to sign on to the Chrono Circle web site and click the claim buttons for every reward you unlock.
So while I did play a LITTLE more Chrono Circle than I might have otherwise in order to unlock the final item in the Season Pass, it was just playing more of a game I already enjoyed. I also had, like, two months to play the 19 games needed to max it out.
But, looking back, it was a little dumb. Chrono Circle is a rhythm arcade game in an environment littered with the burned-out husks of rhythm games that failed to catch on. The nearest Round One has like, FOUR Wacca cabinets – that’s a game that released in 2019 and has already had its online service element canceled. There is a SUPER high chance that the cosmetics I unlocked will have a shelf life roughly equivalent to the sour cream you opened two weeks ago when you were making tacos and then put back in the fridge planning to make more later and then just never got around to.
Man, I have made some pretty tortured analogies in the last 15 years of occasionally updating this blog, but that may rank in my top 10. Moving on.
I think what I’m getting at is this. I’m enjoying this game, with its mix of high-voltage music and seizure-inducing flashing lights and haptic feedback, and it’s kind of cool that I have some limited-edition virtual items to customize the game presentation for me… but there’s definitely a realization of how ephemeral they all are and how grinding specifically to fill a bar to get them would be a particularly silly thing to do.
Good thing I didn’t do that! Right?