((This is a post I did a while ago that circulated on tumblr when Undertale is relevant. I feel the ideology is still relevant nowadays so I’ll leave it here if you are interested, also obvious spoilers to Undertale inside))
Yes. Its absolutely horrible. It spins the worst story imaginable and can only be attained at the cost of everyone’s happiness. Yes it corrupts your save file to the point that going back and getting the good ending is invalidated.
No one is above consequences.
Peeling away from the narrative of the story and looking past the idea that all RPGs have you grind monsters in a similar brutal manner, this route speaks more to the hearts of gamers in the deepest sense. We’ve all been guilty of trying to get every line of dialogue no matter the outcome, to get the 100% completion bonus. It goes without saying that it comes from our deepest determination to get those kinds of results. Chara said it themselves at the end of the genocide run.
Chara is the embodiment of those things. This is why they are able to take over your user controlled avatar. Its YOUR destructive nature that allowed chara to grow. You know what I think? I think Chara has been active for a long time and this is just the first you’re hearing of them. I think every time you played an RPG and ground your way up the ladder or any game for that matter, you fed that destructive intention. You sucked the life out of the world. That by trying to be the very best as soon as possible, you destroyed the heart warming experience you could have had by playing the game the right way. To the point that there is no reason to go back and play it again.
Developers constantly have to make fail-safes for these kinds of players. The ones that enter a dungeon and then just sit at the entrance constantly grinding to one shot the boss at the end. Its ruins the experience, but the chara in each player doesn’t see that. They just see points, score, their destructive determination creates a void in the experience of the game. And for what? To post to your friends on facebook how easy it was for you? To get that platinum trophy that equates little more then to a pat on the head? I think its good that you can’t get the good ending after completing the genocide ending first. Its to scare players. Haunt them to their core. To remind them that videogames…these outlets, are people expressions, dreams, creativity, and by simply grinding your way through it, you’re missing the whole point. For someone to open their heart enough to let you see their game and to just trample all over it. A person like that doesn’t deserve the real ending.
In other words, when you sell your soul at the end of the genocide run, you’re not letting chara take over frisk. YOU the player are accepting that chara is a part of you. That you, by nature, harbor that destructive determination And then when you do the pacifist run to let Chara free…They are just heading to another game…And that you don’t care about it.
But you should.
Kickstarter can be a real great thing. We’re getting Ukulele, Mighty No 9, that new Castlevania game and of course Undertale. This game never would have made it to us without backers help, but why? This game is such a masterpiece right? If a triple a company had gotten their hands on it think of how much crazier it could have been!?
That’s the problem though.
We’re not getting a mainstream mega man again because developers don’t believe that genre sells anymore. We’re not getting a mainstream castlevania because marketing believes the genre is dead. Games have been trampled on, disregarded and flat out abused. This is why the video game medium isn’t being taken as seriously! Gamers need to shift away from the idea that games are just obstacles to be beaten, but experiences to be had. We all complain that new games don’t feel like old games anymore. That the wonder has been sucked out of them. That’s not the developers fault. (In many cases) Its YOURS. If you can’t put yourself in a place where you can see the wonder around you from a place far more spectacular than reality, then you’re looking at games the wrong way. Of course I don’t mean this about every game, I’m not going to ask you to role-play the quarterback in Madden 20XX but I mean…you bought the game for a reason right? Is your $60 really so invaluable that you’d throw it away by walking back and forth in front of an entrance for 4 hours just to make things easier? Do you see movies having the same problem?
My mantra in life has always been Adversity creates a story worth hearing.
The challenge in games creates tones, atmosphere, it pulls you in and before long, you find that you are playing the game the way it was meant to be played, the way the developer wanted you to experience it. When the boss screams “NOOOO I CAN’T BE DEFEATED THIS IS IMPOSSIBLEEEEEEEE” there is supposed to be a sense of satisfaction that becomes little more than a joke if you just one hit everything in your wake.
Playing through the genocide route made me feel hollow. Alt tabbing until a monster encounter happened and then mashing the z key until they were dead. The music was muffled and I barely remember it (wasn’t it just a slowed down version of the normal song?) I didn’t read what the monsters were saying or the quirky little message box at the bottom. Nothing mattered but EXP and LV. If you’re tired of the same games happening over and over then you need to adjust your way of thinking and adapt.
Of course some of us grow up, the splendor of video games are lost and seem completely ridiculous. I get that–Tales of Zestria looks completely silly to me, but I see a lot of people pre-ordering it on steam to get the unlock bonuses so there must be SOMETHING to it. All I really aim to say here is that if you fall into this category, don’t drag things down for everyone else. In your DETERMINATION to create the wonder you had as a child, don’t berate games for not having the same wonder as Mario did when you first played it. This endless cycle of catering to nostalgia is what is killing the industry. Its much easier for developers to pump games of dead timeliness then ones that are live. Games that Chara can easily devour in their blind and endless quest for power. Games are about experiencing something larger than life. To gain perspective that would otherwise be unavailable to someone watching a movie. Its SUCH a powerful medium if used properly!!
I hope a lot of people play this game and get the pacifist ending. I hope a lot of people talk to asriel at the very end and take the advice he gives home with them. I truly think that a lot of what the pacifist ending had to offer could help a lot of people without making them feel horrible, or ashamed of themselves.
I’m living proof of my own words in any case. I can’t remember the last time a game has inspired me enough to write an essay about how great and important it is. To thoroughly analyze each component and apply it to real life. There may be games solely made to cater to a “chara” playstyle and others that cater to more of what I’m talking about but its up to YOU to determine that. YOU need to open you’re mind as you’re playing each game and recognize when you are playing a game, or when your trampling all over one. Kids who play games for sheer completionism…without even taking the tiniest bit of perspective or intuition…
Well. You know the jist.