How Undertale Ruined My Life (In A Good Way)

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The only game capable of making Overcooled cry

2015 is ending, and it’s time to look back at the golden moments before we enter the new year. We always try to put together a top 10 list or something at Metanorn, but my top moment of 2015 was more game-related than anime-related. Undertale affected me in a way few other games have and I felt that I absolutely had to find a way to talk about it (hence this post). Also….there’s no anime to blog about in this weird twilight zone between seasons and so our post count is kind of low…But, uh, mostly because of the whole being a dedicated writer thing!

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock (no offence, rock-dwellers), you’ve likely heard about Undertale. It’s a $10 “indie” Steam game that doesn’t look like much at first, but it’s become a huge phenomenon. It has won over nameless hearts with its lovable characters and unique, decision-based gameplay. Basically, every enemy can be killed or saved…it’s up to you. The choice is yours whether you go through the game sparing everyone, saving everyone, or a mix of the two.  It’s rare that you can finish a game without actually killing enemies or gaining EXP, which gives Undertale a very special feel from the usual level-grinder.  Every event is heavily affected by whether or not you choose to save or spare certain monsters. Even resetting your game will not free you from your mistakes, as the game will remember every single life you spared…or took. Given the importance of your decisions on the story, I wanted to see what kind of ending I would get just choosing options I would naturally pick in real life without looking up guides.

This was a horrible decision.

I cried.

I felt nothing but bitter hatred for the game.

But now, I love Undertale whole-heartedly.

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The journey begins…

Let me tell you about my rollercoaster Undertale experience (without ending spoilers, although I will tell you who I killed). Within minutes of playing, I had killed one of the most empathetic, sweet, and nurturing characters by complete accident. Not yet used to Undertale’s mercy system, I took my violent transgressions lightly and assumed I would not be punished for attacking someone. But I was. Toriel died at my hands because I had blindly followed the pattern that past RPGs taught me about acting violently towards monsters. I was distraught at her death, and toyed with the thought of restarting my game. In the end, I decided I was going to carry that burden, no matter what.

The game seemed to torment me relentlessly. Characters would mention her every now and then, saying she used to visit their snail farm, or tell me about how they loved her jokes, or ask me why they couldn’t find her anymore. At one point I even entered her house again and the music that played made me want to cry because I thought she would be there to punish me for what I had done. Each time the vaguest memory of her was brought up, I felt a dagger of guilt pierce through me. Upon my second playthrough, I found that few of these jabs at me were intentional. I had just become a paranoid murderer panicking at blood on their hands at every turn.

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I was so guilty for what I did that I proceeded to save every single character, boss and monster I could. I thought this would fix everything. But even then, I was not rewarded. The ending I got was bleak and abrupt. I felt unloved. Unwelcome. Lonely. I sadly stepped away from my laptop and lay down for a bit. Undertale wasn’t the game I thought it was where you felt like you were in a world full of people who loved you unconditionally. Feeling empty, I vowed to never touch it again.

Days later, I couldn’t take the gnawing torment that was constantly present. Over a pixel goat woman! I started again, determined to redeem myself. However, the game remembers every choice you’ve ever made and boy did it hit me hard when the person I brutally killed was sweet enough to remember I liked cinnamon more than butterscotch. Yes, even though I had killed her and she subconsciously recognized me, she still baked me a pie and called me her child. I almost stopped my second playthrough right there.

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After I was able to spare her – something I failed the first time – I felt much better. The game progressed quickly from there on, as I knew what I was doing. I saved everyone again, but it felt completely different. We were all in it together! I wasn’t a monster! Everyone talked about how kind and gentle I was, and everyone praised me constantly. I felt no guilt because I had killed nothing in my journey towards the end. When I got the True Pacifist Ending, I was finally at peace. This was what Undertale was all about and it was my desperate clawing towards the path of good from my desolate Neutral End that made it so deeply satisfying. Purifying, almost.

Undertale is a game that encourages you to think critically about how you treat other people. From a personal standpoint, it hit me hard because I feel like I’ve hurt a lot of people in the past. Undertale always remembers the horrible things you’ve done….but if you change, it will forgive you. Redemption is always possible if you’re willing to look within and make a change.

Thank you so much for forgiving me, Toriel. I baked you a butterscotch-cinnamon pie. 😀

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About

A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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12 Responses to “How Undertale Ruined My Life (In A Good Way)”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Kerbal
    Space
    Program!

    😛

  2. Foshizzel says:

    Although I haven’t beaten Undertale yet I loved what I played so far! I think I just fought Papyrus and it took forever to spare him! I didn’t want to kill such a fun character.

    Speaking of characters WOW this game has a lot of hilarious moments even though I’ve only interacted with Papyrus and Sans I can tell the creator wanted to make fun characters and given the choices that let you spare them was awesome! That is a very creative twist.

    Tumblr and the fanart community have increased the popularity of Undertale like CRAZY much like five nights at Freddys! I wonder if we will get a 2nd and 3rd game?

    ill have to finish the game one day xD

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, I remember you saying you were playing it too! I’m glad you like it. I only talked about the drama I had playing, but it really is a hilarious game.

      Tumblr going nuts about it really pushed me to play it because I wanted to know what all the fanart was about…I’m hoping Toby makes another game and I’d be ok if it’s not Undertale, as long as it’s something just as entertaining.

      Finish it! It’s a really short game so just go at it whenever you have some spare time and you’ll beat it soon 😀

  3. akagami says:

    *raises hand* I’m one of those aforementioned rock-dwellers. I’ve never heard of this before, but I haven’t been able to game much (and also having fun with FFVIII).

    I’m tempted to try this out now… hmmm…

    BTW OC, love your wall =) So cute!

    • akagami says:

      Picked up the candy
      Spilled the candy
      Can’t pick up the spilled candy
      …(•̩̩̩̩_•̩̩̩̩)

      • Overcooled says:

        It’s okay, it’s still technically indie so it’s possible to miss it! But really, if you have time, you should give it a try. It’s been reduced to about $8 (canadian) right now.

        Thank you!! I wanted a nice cozy wallpaper for the fall.

        May all your candy return to you unharmed…

        • akagami says:

          When I picked up the candy after Toriel left me and that sign that said “Take one”, I was expecting something bad to happen. A little disappointed no bogeyman showed up.

          With Toriel
          Show ▼

        • akagami says:

          The pointy brackets broke my message
          Show ▼

          • Overcooled says:

            Oh wow, you started playing! Thanks for taking my recommendation to heart and I really hope you like it.

            Show ▼

  4. […] and then restart the game, you will be reminded somehow of your sins. These heavy consequences left me wracked with guilt over accidentally killing Toriel in my first playthrough, and feeling like the game never forgave me no matter what I did. I got my happy ending and […]

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