Undertale - You're filled with determination


Last podcast made me realize we don’t have a undertale thread so here one. Name your favorite moment, character, and what you got from the game as a whole. Also how can we convice @danielle to play it?


Don’t ask me. I gave up on Undertale around the Temmie village. As much as the characters can be amusing, the gameplay got really tiring/infuriating.(The whole part where you have to run from Undyne’s spears can die in a fire.)

I do have a friend that adores Undertale, though, and if you were to ask her for her favorite character, she’d probably say Sans. Favorite part? I’m less clear on that, but she doesn’t want to touch the Genocide route with a ten-foot pole.


Honestly the best way to get Danielle or anyone else into playing it is to be hands off and just gesturing towards some stuff in the game she’d like (if she wasn’t already aware of it).

The podcast did remind me that I ought to re-play it soon, it’s been a while now.


my favourite bit is: mettaton
(I like robots)

Here’s a little story about Undyne from my first playthrough:

so okay I got and played undertale like the day it came out. I didn’t know there were multiple endings so I spent the ruins playing around with the combat system. killed some things, spared most. was still level one when I left and flowey called me out on being a murderer.
Then I reach Undyne, and I could not figure out how to get past her. So. I killed her. Levelled up seven times.
Have you killed Undyne on a neutral run? it’s intense. She falls apart, sorta melting, slowly. her attacks get slower and slower as she struggles to hold it together. I think she might be Determined.
I felt awful.
It’s a good game.

I do agree that the fighting can be pretty tricky. It would be nice, if it were a bit easier? It’s not very forgiving.


I thought Undertale was great, even as someone unfamiliar with Earthbound and the lineage of ‘weird RPGs’ that it taps into. My only substantive thought about it is that I was surprised to see that, when I was reading over fiction stories submitted by 10-11 year old kids for my old primary school’s Eisteddfod (a Welsh cultural celebration), that there was one that was very clearly based off Undertale.

Is Undertale another Minecraft where I don’t even realise that it’s popular with kids? Am I losing my touch with the youth? :open_mouth:


Honestly, the gameplay is the best part of it for me. Or rather, the best part is how it weaved together the gameplay and narrative. JRPGs are combat games, in that the protagonists solve their problems primarily with violence. But in the vast majority of these games, the combat and the written narrative are kept apart from one another. The main thing the characters spend their time doing literally has no effect on the story.

The result is a recurring situation where after a mechanical climax in the form of a boss fight, you’re immediately launched into a narrative climax in form of a cutscene. Undertale merges these things, bringing the critical story and character moments and the gameplay together, making both parts more powerful in the process.

Not only does it help the dramatic pacing of both story and combat to bring them together, but Undertale gives its mechanics a real narrative weight. In other RPGs, reducing an enemy’s hp bar to 0 doesn’t mean anything. They might die, or they might run away, or they might just beat you in cutscene immediately afterwards. Drama requires a clarity of stakes and in JRPG combat, the stakes tend to be incredibly unclear, at least as far as the scripted story is concerned. In Undertale, the mechanics have an overt fictional meaning. Bringing a monster’s HP to zero means that you’ve have killed them. That you’ve made the choice to kill them. There’s one exception to this, Undying Undyne, and the moment is powerful because it feels like the character has managed to break a fundamental rule of the world. If the rule hadn’t been enforced up until that point, however, it wouldn’t have meant anything.


When I was teaching HS math in Boston, the only two kinds of doodles I saw on homework were:

  • In-jokes between friends
  • Undertale characters (esp. Mettaton)

[Edit: Forgot about the DBZ, there were definitely some gokus in there.]


Yeah, I have really mixed feelings about Undertale as a game. I’ll probably never finish it. That being said, I think it humanizes its characters in a way that only a video game could. I wrote about how it’s actually a really touching description of the working-person here.


It’s got a large following of kids that have never played it, but are crazy for it through YouTube Let’s Plays.


I’d say that, of all the games I’ve played, Undertale is the strongest example of ludonarrative harmony I’ve ever experienced. The narrative couldn’t have been delivered effectively without the gameplay, and the gameplay couldn’t exist without the narrative.


I played through Undertale with @flowercuco, who encouraged me to play it via getting it for me and making it a sort of nice hangout experience for the both of us. I had a lot of fun screensharing with them via Skype (this was before I figured out how to use Xplit Broadcaster and Twitch). I managed to finish the game and get the True Pacifist ending, but I might not have if I hadn’t been guided along.

I think the only boss that really frustrated me was Mettaton. Muffet was difficult, but me wanting to beat that boss instead of just clearing with the spider bake sale items I bought was my own fault. In the case of Mettaton, I’m just not good at video games sometimes. He was the boss I came closest to killing, though not intentionally, because I kept shooting at projectiles and accidentally hitting his weak point.

All in all, I think that tying the combat system to the story was a great move on Toby’s part, and that the Pacifist ending is so hard to get is a good lesson: It is always going to be harder to try and understand people–especially when you’re the one coming into their sanctuary as part of the group that’s been historically oppressive–than it would be to just hurt them back. The monsters try to attack Frisk because they are, understandably, scared of them. It’s up to the player to find in themself the understanding and patience not to retaliate and to, instead, try and empathize.


Are there many other WRPGs?


Yeah, the best tactic is to just wait and see if she comes to it naturally. The last thing that people should try to do is to try to push this game on people at this point.


Tons! Check out Space Funeral if you haven’t, for one.


OFF is an amazing one made in RPG maker. The mechanics are a little flat and grindy, but the narrative payoff is extremely worth it.


(there’s english at the bottom)


Off, Lisa, Contact, Space Funeral, Yume Nikki, and Chulip come to mind.

Omori whenever it is released.


I’m someone who absolutely adores the game, bought copies for a few friends so they would play it, and had them all eventually drop off it various points. I remember being a little disappointed at this, because I hoped that they would be able to experience the pure joy I felt in playing the game all the way through the True Pacifist ending. But I realized that this was wrong, since I connected to the game on a deeply emotional level, and I shouldn’t expect what worked for me to also affect others in a similar way. It was also an important lesson in setting expectations, whereas I played it fairly early and knew very little, most of my friends started it much later when it had already blown up on the internet and had considerably higher expectations as a result. I don’t think I was particularly pushy, but I know that this is a general problem among the most die-hard fans of the game, and am now very sensitive to this when talking about games I like because of it.

I feel like one of the more unique aspects of Undertale that contributed to this problem is how it really doesn’t sell you on multiple playthroughs very well, and when trying to talk to friends about the game, it’s really hard to convey what made it great without also taking away from the experience. I did my neutral playthrough in a single evening (I only took a short break after getting mocked by Flowey which punched me right in the gut), and I remember feeling quite dissatisfied with the ending. The next morning I spent a lot of time considering whether I would go in for a second playthrough. At the time I felt like it was a pretty cool game, with some good music and wit, but not particularly noteworthy. I decided ultimately to give it another go on the basis that I already knew how to spare all of the monsters and it would be much easier and faster as a result, but hoo boy I was not prepared for the amount of tears that would flow during the ending. It immediately jumped from one of the better games of the year to one of my favorite games of all time, and it sucks so much that I’ll never be able to have that profound experience with the game again.

There’s a pixelated hole where my heart used to be and I feel like the only way I can fill it is through sharing in that experience with others, and yet so many of them have bounced off at a point that is completely understandable because I also hesitated at starting a 2nd playthrough. It’s so frustrating because all I can really say is “You’re right, but just trust me on this one”, and I think that’s just a shitty thing to say and contributes to the impression that so many of the fans are pushy.

Anyway, I’m not really sure where I was going with this but I just wanted to vent for a bit about a glaring flaw in a game that I love so much. As for how to convince Danielle to play, I think the right answer is “don’t”. She’s already well aware of the game and if she decides to pick it up, then great! But if not then that’s cool too.


The tricky thing about this game is that the biggest hook for me doesn’t necessarily happen at any specific time and can’t really be talked about without robbing it of impact. So if someone plays a while and isn’t feeling it you can’t even say “oh get to THAT part it’s cool.”

Kinda just have to leave it at “it’s well made and there’s fun stuff in there” and let it go.


Undertale is a great game, I love the RPG-bullet hell fusion combat system and the writing has some clever moments. I adore the variation, the little details. If you never flirt with Papyrus during his boss fight, your ‘date’ becomes a hangout sesh’ and lots of the dialogue changes to match. I like all of the different ways to end the fight with Muffet. In the second colour tile maze, you get some funny dialogue if you actually manage to solve it. Some characters will comment if you’ve reloaded a save after accidentally killing them. All of these moments are just excellent.

My favourite scene in the game is Papyrus defenestrating himself from the Undyne ‘date’. I like a lot of characters, but I think Alphys is the most relatable and her date dress is adorable.


My best attempt would be telling people to play until they date the skeleton. If that hooks them, the game should work for them.