DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message
DiGRA, July, 2018
This paper focuses on the effect of ethical – and unethical – actions of the player on their perception of the self towards game characters within Toby Fox’s (2015) independent Role Playing Game (RPG) Undertale, a game often perceived as a pacifist text. With a focus on the notions of guilt and responsibility in mind, a survey with 560 participants from the Undertale fandom was conducted, and thousands of YouTube comments were scraped to better understand how the audience who watched or played the different routes of the game, refer to its characters. Through the joint analysis of the game’s semiotics, survey data, and data scraping, this paper argues that, beyond the rhetorical nature of its story, Undertale is operating a deconstruction of the RPG genre and is harnessing the emotional power of gameplay to evoke thoughts about responsibility and raise the player’s awareness about violence and its consequences.