A Lack of Femslash Fills You with Determination

Light spoilers for Undertale. Continue at your own risk.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Undertale was the unexpected hit of the year as far as video games are concerned. The Earthbound-esque indie game born from the mind of Toby “Radiation” Fox (Homestucks should recognize the name, as his hands are all over the various soundtracks for the webcomic) follows the story of a young child, Frisk, who has fallen unto the Underworld, a land beneath the human world that monsters call home. It’s up to Frisk to find a way back to the human world. However, to do so, they’re told they must break through a barrier separating the two worlds from each other, and to do that they need to combine the power of a human soul and a monster soul. One of the more interesting things about Undertale is how it attempts to break down the clichés of traditional RPGs. In doing this, the game is more of a morality tale on what you’re willing to do to reach your goal—are you going to kill the monsters to get stronger? Or will you find a more peaceful way to traverse the Underground—as well as an examination on a player’s own drive to be cruel for their own entertainment. Though, as with most pieces of media, the aspect that keeps people playing the game and in the fandom is the characters.

Undertale TitleUndertale offers its players a complete cast of interesting and quirky characters that also manage to scratch some diversity itches. The robot Mettaton is coded heavily as trans, delighting in his life now that he has a new body that he feels comfortable in and that expresses the real him. Frisk, the player character, is purposefully addressed using the pronouns “them” and “they”, giving players a young non-binary lead (and perhaps even a non-verbal lead, if fan theories prove to be true). The topic of depression is viewed through the eyes of the ghost Napstablook and the royal scientist Alphys. And ladies are given just as important roles as the men are; both are cast as knights, protectors, caretakers, and powerful, intelligent creatures; both have secondary and supporting roles. Each character is memorable and likable, yet, as usual, fandom love is not doled out as equally.

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