To some people, Undertale is just a video game, but others may have a more literary take away from it. This game was designed in a way so that every decision a player makes, it will affect them in the end. Undertale can be played in different ways, specifically, peacefully or violently. Each way can resemble life situations, other social interactions, or can be related to other video games, such as Mario Bros or games like Call of Duty. Although Undertale is a relatively new game which has progressed more over the past years, it also resembles older Nintendo games, which are exciting and pixelated, like Mario Bros, and are made for any type of audience for fun and enjoyment.
On the other hand, it can also resemble Call of Duty because of the violent features it enhances, like being able to do a complete genocide run. When looking at Undertale from a literary view, you can analyze it from any aspect.
Undertale can be compared to other video games and life situations, along with being able to evaluate each character and the game mechanics.
Undertale was created by Toby Fox, and was first released in September of 2015 for Microsoft Windows and OS X.(Muller). Following that, in 2016 the game was released for Linux in July of 2016, for PlayStation in August of 2017, and Nintendo Switch in September of 2018 (“Undertale”). The players of Undertale control a child who fell into the underground world which is filled with monsters. The objective of the game is to get past each character, whether it be by sparing or killing them, and returning to the surface.
Throughout the game, the player is challenged with many puzzles, minigames and a series of choices upon how to act, in attempt of earning LV. In the beginning, what each player does not know is that the monsters are also attempting to do the same thing. The monsters see the player as their way out as well, meaning the monsters try to capture the child’s soul so that they can escape. As the player progresses through the game, the challenges begin to get more difficult, and the player is introduced to more characters, some nicer than others. Many characters in the game reveal to the player that they want to help, like Flowey for example, but the player later finds that is not what the character wanted. Some of the characters really do have kind intentions, while others appear to be more violent and evil.
Three rhetorical devices used in Fox’s Undertale, are theme, tone, and mood. Fox introduces the theme “Don’t let society define who you are,” throughout the game. This theme is to show us that in our society, we are expected to live the way everyone else wants us too. In the game, you get to make your own choices. The result in each choice is dependent on how you react to each situation and how you feel when making each choice. The tone of Undertale is bold and courageous. This shows that in order to succeed in an environment that’s always changing, we need to have courage and be bold in both the game and in our everyday lives. Fox uses ambition and fateful as the moods in the game, Undertale. In the game, you make each choice depending on the way you feel. This relates to everyday society because we let the way we feel control our decisions in life. The point is, if we are ambitious, we are more likely to succeed. If we are fateful, we are more likely to run into consequences.
A recent cultural event, the “Me Too” movement, relates to the game in different ways. The theme of Undertale relates to this movement, because when a victim of sexual abuse comes forward to share their story, often times society doesn’t believe them and judges them. Over half of the abused, do not come forward because of how our society treats them. Coming forward and telling your story is the victim’s own choice and should not make the victim feel worthless because someone doesn’t believe them. Having ambition in sharing your story will most likely help you in the end. But if you’re fateful and afraid to stand out, it could cause consequences for not only you, but others. Your abuser has more chances of attacking others. This is an example of the mood. In order to feel confident when reaching out, you have to have courage and be bold. This relates to the tone of the game. Overall, this movement and the game has many things in common. It’s up to us to succeed in our everyday lives.
As stated earlier, Undertale can be approached in different ways, including peacefully or violently. The first character encountered by each player in the game is, Flowey. He is a sunflower that begins to give you guidance and tips to get through the game. He then begins to show his true colors when he shares what he calls, “friendliness pellets,” which are actually bullets intended to harm the player. Flowey has a philosophy which is “Kill or be killed.” This philosophy can create an impression of the game for the player, and may determine how they choose to play. One single character can change how one looks at the game and may change their interpretation. Characters like Flowey are the ones that create the violent setting of the game, as well as Sans, who is a skeleton that is quite skeptical. Sans gives off a vibe of being sort of laid back, but he is very easily triggered. Once he is triggered, he goes into battle mode and is one of the hardest characters to defeat. Another character that creates a violent image of the game in Undyne. She reacts quickly to every choice the player makes, and although she may try to trick the player in ways to get what she wants, but her main goal is to take the player’s soul. One of the most hard to understand characters is Chara. She was the first fallen human in undertale. During a peaceful playthrough, at the end it is revealed to the player that Chara “hated humanity” and that she was not very kind. After the completion of a genocide run, Chara awakens and thanks the player for killing everyone and freeing her. If the player does not respond how Chara wanted them to, she becomes frustrated and shuts the game down. This shows her true intentions which is that she wanted everyone dead. Lastly, one of the final characters encountered, there is the boss, Asgore. His plan is to take seven souls to break the barrier that traps the monsters underground to free them. Violent characters can somehow encourage the player to make harsh decisions, which can trigger the game, making it not so peaceful, and more relatable to other violent video games such as Call of Duty.
On the other hand, there are also characters that can create a peaceful feel to Undertale, for example, Toriel. Toriel is the second character that the player meets in the beginning of the game. She is sort of a motherly figure that saves the player Flowey, guides them through the ruins, and explains how to get through the game. Along the way, the player will encounter many other not so important characters, such as Froggit, but they all are genuinely kind and let the player pass through with ease. Another character that showed passion was Alphys. She is very sweet, but has a hard time expressing her emotions sometimes. She explains to each player that she wants to help them through their journey. She also helps the player get past Mettaton. The characters that bring peace to the game also create hope and excitement for the player, which can be compared to another video game such as Mario Bros.
As many know, Call of Duty has a series of games, all in which the object of the game is to kill other players, which is much like a genocide run in Undertale. As many studies have shown, violence in video games can lead the player to physical aggression over time, such as fighting and hitting (Snider). Call of Duty is a first person shooting game that came out in 2003, but has been progressing and becoming more popular since (“Call of Duty”). Contrasting this, there are video games like Mario Bros, in which the player has a completely opposite experience. Mario Bros was created by Nintendo in July of 1983, which has also been progressing ever since. This game was created for any type of audience in hopes to create a thrill of excitement (“Mario Bros”). Mario Bros can be compared to undertale through multiple aspects, first off, the reading prompts. Throughout Undertale, the player is always being prompted with texts, much like in Mario Bros. Along with this, the two games also resemble each other because of the adventure of the game, solving of puzzles, the peacefulness, and entertainment. Unlike violent games like Call of Duty, Mario Bros has a opposite effects. Instead of creating violence, it creates safer feeling environments, and also has lead to increased brain activity, memory functions, and motor skills in its’ players (York).