Undertale Needs More Gay

Undertale’s use of LGBT characters is actually the least interesting thing about it… and that, in itself, is interesting.

About rantasmo

Needs More Gay dissects the highs and lows of gay pop culture with the precision of a dull machete.

26 comments

  1. Nice video. If you need ideas for another game, I highly recommend the metal gear series. It may take a while to play through all of the games though.

  2. Sold on the game. Great recommendation.

  3. I see that title and all I can think of is this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyV2cPLuFuA

  4. I’m not expecting a reply here, but…well/so I’ll keep it simple….

    I’ve never heard of this game. Never. I stopped this video, like *checks* 1:19 in, after your/Rantasmo’s warning, where he strongly implied that one should have played and completed the game before watching this video. Even if the title seemed (to me) to imply that he is trying to raise awareness of it.

    So…Rantasmo, or anyone…after doing a little research, is this a must-buy $10 purchase? Is there an alternative? Is it a long game, like 30-40 hours, like of yesteryear? So many AAA games today give maybe 4 hours of gameplay for $20-30 and expect you to eff off if you felt you deserved more. I grew up in the age of Morrowind and stuff. 100+ hours EASILY. Non-capped easily twice that, quite likely. Is this a genre-throwback B-title quirky nostalgia bomb…good for 4-5 hours, or is it something with replayability? Exploration? Customizable?

    I stopped this vid, just in case. But, though this seems like a novelty, other recent games (Crypt of the Necrodancer, for instance) is just as fun despite being spoiled. But with Rantasmo’s warning….is this game actually worth it? Will it go for more than a few hours? Is there replayability, or is it just a quick one-off run-through based on a lil’ bit of 90s nostalgia. Without actually BEING Earthbound (which I can’t help but think of), with the huge, sprawling world and all?

    • I would guess around 8 hours to complete everything if you are brisk and very skilled. Also, that time is spent with a minimum of tedium.

      • Hmmm….thank you for the reply, first off.

        But…only 8 hours of gameplay? That’s inSANEly low by my day (which is prolly before yours). Maybe if I was supporting an indie developer (Seriously, is this by a small-time indie developer, I stopped the vid, I don’t know), but as a pure 90s genre throwback……..I dunno. $10 isn’t a lot, but it adds up if one constantly indulges in these little things.

        How do perspective gamers choose games these days? I assume $10 ain’t nothing, but you can’t spend $10 on everything that wants to sell you on something.

        What’s the non-spoiler pitch?

        • I'mVeryAngryIt'sNotButter

          I’ve played the game all the way through, so I can give a good summary. I will have to spoil a little bit, because it’s impossible to pitch it without revealing SOME of the plot points, but not enough to ruin your experience.

          Long ago, there were monsters who had the power to steal human souls. The humans were victorious, and locked the monsters away underground.

          You are a child who has fallen into the monsters’ prison, and you must escape. But you also discover that the monsters are on the verge of escaping once more.

          Thus, you have a weighty choice to make; do you kill the vicious monsters, or do you try to stay on their good side long enough to escape? Or do you do both on a case-by-case basis?

          Whatever you decide, there will be HUGE consequences. It’s not like a Bethesda game, where you can just donate to the poor to raise your karma at will, and kill something to lower it again. Your choices are not quantifiable or interchangeable, and what you decide to do will change the world in profound ways.

          Don’t make any of your decisions lightly. Because you can’t escape your mistakes.

          The game knows what you did.

        • Yes, this is very much an indie title. In fact, it was literally made by just one person. (Although a few others pitched in to supply some of the sprites and assets.)

          I wouldn’t say it has much replayability, exactly. It’s just . . . very good. At least, it’s very good for an 8 hour game made by one person. If you go in expecting something with a lot of heavy adult themes or anything, though, it won’t hold up. It’s a funny, emotional little ride, and very family friendly.

          I bought it twice, and the soundtrack (which is also $10), so I could show my support for the creator. He also composed every song in the game, and if nothing else, it’s some of the best videogame music of 2015 hands down.

          • I would say that is has replayability. You should play it once as a pacifist and once on the genocide so that you can see the different endings and see why the pacifist route is so much better. I think playing it in the neutral mode gives you different boss fights and ending as well.

        • Yes, it is an indie developer, and no, it is not a complete 90s throwback. It is innovative and fresh in the current game environment, and it makes every one of those eight hours matter.

        • Consider the fact that at $10 it’s a budget title, so–at least, IMO, it’s not a big deal that it’s short.

          But if the shortness bothers you, also consider that there are three different “routes” you can take, so it has a lot of replay value. Pacifist Route and Genocide Route feel like very different games, all things considered.

    • I think you’ve got the wrong impression. This game is insanely popular. I don’t even like it much myself but whether you’ve heard of it or not is kind of irrelevant.

      • Well…yeah, of course it’s irrelevant if I haven’t heard of it. I don’t keep up with these things. “Shut Up and Dance With Me” is my favorite new song, and I never heard it (once) until Todd listed it in his Top 10 of 2015. Like, two days ago.

        I’m just one little person. Who doesn’t keep up with these things. Treat my comments accordingly.

        All the same. I’ve never heard of “Undertale”. Until I first glanced at this video review. And now Rantasmo is saying “shut this video off now if you haven’t played this game to completion”. So, since I MAY end up playing this (it’s all so new to me), I’m deferring to him, and so I shut off the review until I learn a little more about it (unspoilerishly). Maybe I’ll play it, maybe not. But I need some time to at least think it over. I don’t want to spoil myself early. If I do, I won’t ever play it. Why bother, right?

        • There’s a demo, if that helps?

          • That’s right! The demo sat around for a good two years before the full game’s release and managed to form a sizable fanbase on its own, so if you’re unsure, just run through the demo. If it intrigues you, I’d say the full game is basically ten times better. And if it turns you off completely, the rest of the game is unlikely to change your first impression.

  5. Only thing I disagree with is the idea that Frisk is meant as a cipher. The game makes it very clear, especially in the true ending, that Frisk and hkjhkjh are both their own people. Their lack of gender expression and neutral coded pronouns lend you to projecting onto them, but don’t imply them to be a stand in for the player, especially in the bad end where the game directly talks to the player separate from their character. Projecting onto Frisk is no different from projecting onto Chell or Gordon Freeman; it doesn’t change the fact they’re their own character, even if we do have some say in how they act.

    • But Gordon Freeman and Chell ARE ciphers. It’s impossible to have a protagonist in a video game who is LITERALLY the player, because parameters have to be set and only so much of the player’s behavior can be accounted for. But a character can be written in a way that their traits and characteristics are vague enough so that a player can imprint themselves upon the character.

      The character exists, but their traits are not important. A “cipher” is a nonentity – who they are is unimportant. What is important is what they DO, i.e. what YOU do.

      In games like Half-Life or Portal, you have very little choice in what you do. Shoot the thing, solve the puzzle, etc. There are some minor detours here and there, but the game typically only reacts to a success/failure binary. Any sort of characterization of the main characters in the game is either an informed attribute- meaning that it’s something you’re told by another character- or it’s a conclusion that the player comes to, based on their personal experience of playing the game.

      In Undertale, you’re pushed through a linear path, but the game world reacts to how you navigate that path. because it changes so much depending on how you get past the obstacles in the game, your actions- the player’s actions- do far more to inform WHO the protagonist is than in most games of a similar nature.

      In both cases, the game benefits from the fact that the exact details of the characters you are playing don’t really matter all that much. And that’s what it typically means when someone refers to a character as a “cipher”.

      • no…. your perception of the game changes. The majority of the supposed choices you get only impact dialogue which colors your perception of what’s going on. One example of this is your interaction with Papyrus before meeting Undyne and deciding whether or not to tell him the truth about what you’re wearing.

        A conversation with Sans late in the game is exactly the same whether or not you kill a certain character too, but MAN does it have a totally different impact on you.

        I don’t know how different a Genocide run is as I just started one, but the dialog and mechannical differences between Pacifist and Neutral were minimal aside from the different meanings attached to them.

        oh and the dates, if you choose to do them.

        • I’m pretty sure that killing people counts as a choice.

          And that someone being dead isn’t just a matter of your perception.

          That the same dialog can mean something different depending on what you did kind of shows just how the protagonist is operating as a cipher. Their characterization is being informed by player agency.

      • In-universe there is a distinction between the player and the character Frisk. Also, there are multiple points at which your inability to break character is emphasized. In a game like Portal or Half Life, the developers go to great lengths to avoid obvious limitations to facilitate Chell or Gordon as a cipher.

        • Yes, Undertale has a meta-narrative. Yes, the player and character are distinct entities.

          However, that doesn’t mean they are not a cipher. The fact that they are a cipher is simply utilized differently.

          I feel like a better comparison would be Mass Effect. Shepard is another character written as a cipher. But unlike Half-Life or Portal, Mass Effect has branching paths. Even Shepard’s backstory can be chosen by the player. And yet, all of the choices you make have to be filtered through this character. Thus, the character is written in such a way that all of these different choices make sense. The exact characterization of Shepard is left vague, and it is the player’s choices that informs them just WHO Shepard is.

          It’s the same with Undertale. The exact nature of the unfolding narrative is different, as is the nature of the choices. But ultimately, the character you are playing is determined in large part by what you do.

  6. Since you’ve reviewed some video games and I’ve just finished playing through a couple with wonderful LGBTQ stories, I thought I might make some review suggestions.

    First, the Choice of Games catalog. I am really fond of the Heroes Rise trilogy of superhero games, but I would say their entire catalog appears LGBTQ -friendly. The second Heroes Rise game in particular has a complicated argument break out between three different LGBTQ characters. It’s not the nicest way to see people arguing, but it provides different viewpoints rather than having a token gay character. Also Jenny, your lesbian BFF, is simply awesome.

    My other thoughts are two entries by Hanako Games: Magical Diary and The Royal Trap. There are no gay romances available because the protagonist’s gender is female, but there are lesbian/bi options. Magical Diary’s is basically like your adventures at Hogwarts and, in my opinion, all the romances are well-written, but the lesbian romance is the most touching. The plot of Royal Trap, meanwhile, revolves entirely around the question of the gender identity of the heir to the throne

    • I second the recommendation for Hero’s Rising, it does a great job with it’s representation.

      I also recommend the October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire as while it doesn’t completely focus on LGBTQ themes The author has done a pretty interesting job with her characters.

  7. Undertale is my favorite kind of LGBT work. One that treats it as so normal that if you didn’t know the real life issues affecting such characters and relationships, you wouldn’t even notice anything unusual about them. Normalizing it rather than demonizing or putting it on a pedestal.

  8. you actually missed a big thing but it’s one of the optional side things you might not have done. If you get the key from the girls at the resort, it opens the house next to napstablook’s, which happens to be mettatons and it’s full of journals which basically detail him going from a genderless ghost to a male robot, described in a way that sounds like gender reassignment surgery. In other words, he’s basically trans.

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