Release Date: September 15, 2015
Platform Played On: PC
2018 Placement: #26 (+11)
What It Is:
If you’ve been on the internet yet under a rock for the past seven years, I guess I can explain Undertale to you. Created by Toby Fox, Undertale is an RPG that subverts and upends the genre completely. You play as a child that wakes up in a world of monsters, and how you choose to interact with the world plays a big part in how the game ends.
The mechanics of battle are straightforward: you can fight monsters and kill them, or you can use actions to find ways to show them mercy and befriend them/let them live. You’re placed in bullet hell-esque scenarios and each monster has a few unique ways of attacking you. Your job is to move your heart around and dodge the attacks.
But the heart of the game (heh) isn’t just in the mechanics: it’s in the characters, the music, the humor, the setting. It took the internet by storm upon release and is in the running for one of the most successful indie games of all time. Characters like Sans, Undyne, and more have entered the gaming world’s lexicon for better or for worse due to how popular the characters and game have become.
Why It’s Important To Me:
It’s rare that a game makes me cry. I’m not trying to be tough or anything, but as a whole the gaming medium doesn’t often hit my emotional center the way TV, movies, or books do.
That being said, Undertale can make me tear up just thinking about it, and I definitely teared up and full on cried at multiple points during the game.
Just listening to Battle Against A True Hero will make me tear up if it comes up on a playlist. I get shivers and full on emotional thinking about the context of the battle it plays during. Undertale (the song) is another tearjerker, as a very important (and sad) plot point is revealed while it plays and the music Toby Fox crafted to go along with the scene is note perfect. The melancholy I feel listening to it makes it so it can’t just be on a playlist. Asgore’s theme is another emotional one, again due to the circumstances of the battle. No other game manages to hit my emotions the way Undertale did: it combines the power of music with the power of story and characters in a way that few other games manage.
Also I’m not gonna forget Megalovania. Of course I have to mention it: it’s not as emotional to me, but it’s still a banger of a tune.
My Strongest Memory:
Can I say the whole game?
I’m trying to be as vague as possible in this write-up because I think Undertale is one of those games that you have to experience yourself. Knowing what’s going on before you go into it will probably lessen the emotional impact. But the entire game is just one big fond memory for me. Drifting off with Napstablook, the snail race (Thundersnail!!!), Lesser Dog (and Greater Dog!), every single piece of this game is worth remembering.
Why It’s #15:
Undertale is a triumphant achievement, not just because of its amazing story and music, but because it was done by basically one guy. He had a few people help with art and other things, but this is an indie-ass indie game. And it’s probably one of the most popular games of the last ten years. It goes to show that great games can come from anywhere and any person, as long as they have the heart.