Classic JRPG Worlds Are Actually Doughnuts

Classic JRPG Worlds Are Actually Doughnuts

Reaching the end of a world map in a classic JRPG game sends you to the opposite end of the map. This is how most world maps worked back in the 2D days, and this is why these worlds are actually doughnut-shaped (or more precisely, toroidal), as WolfieMario's GIFs of Chrono Trigger show.

We might think it's a sphere or a globe, but that's not correct.

If you guessed "sphere" or "cube", nope, it's a torus. There's no way to wrap a map like this onto a sphere and still retain the type of motion shown in the game. Actually, it can be any shape homeomorphic to a torus. I won't get in-depth on what that means, as I'm not a topologist or anything, but to give an idea: a coffee mug with a handle can also have this map projected onto it.

Classic JRPG Worlds Are Actually Doughnuts
Classic JRPG Worlds Are Actually Doughnuts

The only question is: What's in the middle?

Chrono Trigger's world map [WolfieMario, imgur via Reddit]


    I don't really get why it can't be a sphere. I mean we have plenty of rectangular maps of the world where things have been distorted to match their spherical brethren.

      It can, the guy that made this is nuts

      Keep in mind those are distorted maps of spherical worlds. This is an accurate map of a rectangular world, so it cant map to a sphere given that from how the maps loop ingame we know they're donut shaped.

      Try to think of it this way, If you were to head directly north from say New York on a rectangular map of Earth you would re-appear somewhere over Russia (probably) heading south. In old RPGs however you appeared at the bottom of the map (where the south pole would be) and it made no damn sense to me. Until today. Tonight I will sleep soundly.

    To be fair, it only applies to JRPG worlds, not RPG or MMO worlds :)

    The east-west makes sense but the north-south is nuts, if I cross the north pole I don't suddenlly end up in Antartica.

    I don't think that's actually right. If the world were a torus, traversing the world on the outside would take you far longer than looping around the middle. Unless of course, you start getting into quantum mechanics, 4th dimensions or other ways of explaining how the stretched side can be traversed in the same amount of time and also not show any spacial warping from the stretch. You also need to take into account the fact that no one actually sees the other side of the inner loop and the snowy areas don't show that the world has both an inner and outer side that does not face the sun depending on how the torus is oriented towards the sun.

    The other thing to consider as well is that the world is 2D. They didn't know what spheres were back then!

      That is why it said "any shape homeomorphic to a torus".

    Wait, so if I stand on the inner side of the torus and launch a rocket up will it crash onto the other side? Or will it just look like a giant arc and crash land?

    Or is this gonna turn into one of those it's everything yet nothing, everywhere but nowhere, sorta things. Like one point on the torus can be thought of being able to exist at any other given point on the torus.

    My brain hurts...

      That is assuming that the "world" is the outside lining of the torus, what if it's actually on the inside lining?

    Don't worry about what is up (sky) or down(ground). This is a way to explain a 2 dimensional idea using a 3d shape, Like trying to draw time using a 3d model. The 3d torus exists in a complete vacuum with nothing around it and no universe per se. If you try to extend any metaphor too far it breaks, like trying to ask what the map looks like when your aren't playing the game.

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