Nu World Order

Image Source: Genesis44 on DeviantArt
In case you haven’t noticed by now, I have a soft spot for the weird, often cute creatures that turn up in video games. I’ve written before about Dragon Quest’s Slimes, the Mana series’ Rabites, the Mario games’ Goombas, and Final Fantasy’s Chocobos and Moogles. So far, though, I don’t think I’ve talked about the Nu from Chrono Trigger. These odd creatures are mostly head, with arms and legs attached.

They show up in every time period you visit, from the prehistoric era to the post-apocalyptic future. When you fight a Nu, they have a headbutt attack that can either take away one hit point or reduce your hit points to one; which one is due to the luck of the draw. Many Nu are friendly, however, and will help you out in various ways. In the Kingdom of Zeal, they interacted more frequently with the people, often serving as merchants and assistants. In the future, the Guru Belthasar has a Nu into which he programs his memories before he dies, suggesting that the Nu might be robotic.

Indeed, I’ve seen suggestions on the Internet that Belthasar might have created the Nu, with some of them being sent back in time. There’s a mysterious passage in one of Belthasar’s books that reads, “All life begins with Nu and ends with Nu. This is the truth! This is my belief!…At least for now.” So what does this mean? That Nu were the first living creatures and will be the last? That they’re sort of a missing link? Who knows? There’s been a lot of speculation on the creatures, largely involving their name, relating them to everything from the Greek letter to the Zen concept of Mu. Hey, it’s easy to link a short word like “Nu” to a lot of different things. In English, Belthasar’s passage could be seen as a play on words, if we substitute “new” for “Nu.”

They probably will remain an unsolved mystery unless the game designers deign to tell us more. While on the subject of the Nu, it’s interesting to note that they have a spot on their backs that’s particularly receptive to being scratched, and that they can apparently live for millions of years. In Chrono Cross, there aren’t any actual Nu, but the enemy known as a Beach Bum is very similar in design.

There’s also some code in the game suggesting that a Nu might have once been intended as a playable character.

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