[THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS SO READ A YOUR OWN RISK!!!]
Okay, I have a few things to get out of the way: No I haven't played all games involving time travel or watched all other pieces of media with time travel so feel free to pitch in in the comments with any evidence that supports a point but I just want to look a little bit at time travel in games and how it compares with time travel in other types of media such as films, tv etc etc. I, for one am all for time travel as long as it doesn't make my head spin.
Example 1 of 'good' time travel: Chrono trigger
This is 'good' because it isn't anything crazy, you're still in the same world, just a long time before and the reason you travelled in time is explained in due time.
Example 2 of 'good' time travel: Infamous
In this game the main character (from the future) goes back in time to prepare the player-controlled main character from the present for a danger that will come in the future. This is interesting because there are very small, subtle hints at it throughout the game.
Example 3 of 'good' time travel: Prince of persia Sands of time
Okay, this one may be a little debatable because at the end of the game you go back in time, rendering everything you did in the whole game pointless because it never happened. But it is very well thought out because from the start of the game, the prince has been using this power all along without considering that this was a solution to the mess he is in. It's not as though they ran out of ideas and just said "What we'll do is we'll throw in time travel, that explains anything" because it was there all along.
Okay, now on to 'bad' examples of time travel.
Example 1 of 'bad' time travel: Heroes
Anyone who watched this programme will know that the character, Hiro Nakamura was cool. He had the power to completely control time and space. But his future self chooses to use these powers to give everyone cryptic messages about how the world can be saved when he could just save it himself (Being theoretically the most powerful character in the show). It's frustrating and no wonder the show was cancelled because the time travel thing made it seem so surreal.
Example 2 of 'bad' time travel: Dragonball Z (anime)
Okay, you know Cell? The story they made up with him coming from the future either didn't fit or wasn't explained very well.
So, bulma builds trunks 1 time machine. 1. Emphasis on the 1.
Now, trunks goes back to warn the goku about androids. Cell also goes back in time (In another timeline, apparently) to kill trunks before he goes to the past and goes in his place.
Now, there's a bit of a problem with that. There existed only 1 time machine. So, if cell killed trunks then surely trunks would not have been able to go back in time and warn Goku. Trunks explained that that happened in another timeline, but for that timeline to exist, someone else from another timeline must have influenced cell to do that, otherwise either cell or trunks couldn't have gone back. Random anomalies don't happen across timelines. If time machines weren't invented, it's assumed that there is only one timeline. Therefore ther is a new timeline for every machine invented. But there is only one. So either trunks or Cell don't exist in the original timeline. Head-spinner, right?
Example 3 of 'bad' time travel: Star trek
Okay, so no need to go on about this one, vulcan gets destroyed in a new timeline and people are pissed because it sort of ruins everything that happens from then on and long term fans are like "Why did you make us watch it for all these years then if you're just going to do that?".
Okay so the good examples are all from games. The bad examples are from a tv show, an anime and a film (I made sure I did that) Now, my point is, has games got something right that other media seems to mess up on in multiple occasions? If so, game script writer should be looking for a raise and a pat in the back. So why can't everyone get it right? Well, I have an answer for that, too. They haven't the same imaginative mind that game developers have. Games are made to engage with the player on levels that non-gamers couldn't possibly understand.
When you finished dragon age you said "I defeated the arch demon!"
When you beat Call of Duty you say "I killed the terrorist!!"
When you beat final fantasy, it wasn't Cloud that owned Sephiroth, it was you.
So, in that sense time-travel is tailored in games to make you understand.
In films you don't get that feeling. "I destroyed the one ring"
"I beat the big bad". No one says that. (Big bang theory reference, anyone?)
So, it's not the point I meant to make when I sat down to write this blog, but it seems by and large, films and tv (there are exceptions) don't get time travel as right as games do.
So thanks if you read this all the way through. If you didn't like it, don't worry; you can always go back and un-read it!
[END OF SPOILER-RIDDEN RANT]