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SAVE yourself

October 13, 2016

Caleb Daniel
Managing Editor | csd020@latech.edu

DANIEL

 

I love a good story. Whether in books, movies, video games or comics, a well-told story can draw me into it until I almost believe it’s real.

 

Part of my passion for stories comes from the idea that the good ones, no matter how fantastical, convey messages of real-world significance inside their fictional packaging.

 

These insightful glimpses of reality inside imaginary worlds are the focus of my Fact In Fiction columns, and this week the story that has captured my attention is one a little less widely known than usual.

 

I’m talking about “Undertale,” the indie roleplaying game that had quickly become one of my favorite video games of all time. Its witty and emotionally poignant story not only left me deeply moved, but it also reminded me of an important life truth.

 

In “Undertale,” the player controls a child who falls into a kingdom of monsters living under the earth. As the player travels through the Underworld to return to the surface, he encounters numerous monster characters, and his treatment of these monsters affects the progression of the story.

 

“Undertale” is an extremely self-aware and satirical game. It holds an open conversation with the player about his motives for playing; one of the ways it does this is through its mockery of the “SAVE” system.

 

Like most roleplaying games, “Undertale” gives the player the ability to save the game and return to previous save points. Usually, this system absolves the player from any permanent consequences to his choices.

 

Not so with “Undertale’s” “SAVE” system.

 

Even after the player returns to an old save file, characters will sometimes remember how the player treated them. Players will find dialogue and events have changed even after attempting to reset the game.

 

Game developer Toby Fox created this pseudo-save system as a satire on the trial-and-error nature of most roleplaying games. In his game, the player’s choices mean something, and the story increasingly reflects the player’s motives as it progresses.

 

“Undertale” teaches us that our treatment of others has lasting consequences. Even more so than in the game, there is no reset button in life.

 

Hurtful words can never truly be taken back. Impulsive actions can’t always be repaired with an apology. Sometimes you don’t get a do-over.

 

Learn a lesson from “Undertale: treat everyone you encounter with kindness and respect. Try to be aware of how others may feel about what you have to say. Otherwise, your interactions may not lead to the ending you wanted.

 

And while you’re at it, give “Undertale’ a try. That will be one decision you won’t want to reset.

 

Caleb Daniel is a junior journalism major from Lake Charles who serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk.

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