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Undertale: Metamodernism and Player Agency Fill You With Determination By Kevin Swijghuizen

Disclaimer: this article features some spoilers.

Undertale is a kickstarted, turn-based, story-driven RPG developed for PC by Toby Fox, which was released last September.[1] The game was received with great critical acclaim and has made an impact on the RPG landscape. It made such a large splash because it is a fairly unique game in a genre that has stagnated over the course of the years. The RPG genre consists of a multitude of different types of RPGs and for the sake of making relevant comparisons, this article will only look at turn-based RPGs, like the famous Final Fantasy games.  RPGs tend to revolve around a hero, mostly male but sometimes female, who is usually destined to save the world. There tends to be a damsel in distress plot woven in the narrative and the combat usually revolves around people taking turns in hitting each other with the occasional spell being used. The protagonist will then travel the world, or corridor in some of the more modern games, to either chase the villain or to figure out how to save the world. In a world in which games seem to become more and more twitchy and focused on mobility, some RPGs followed suit and added more real time combat as an “innovative” feature. Whether or not that actually improves the genre I’ll leave for other people to decide. Finally, some RPGs have taken a page out of the old MMO book and started using the same kind of quest system that you encounter in MMOs, i.e. kill ten rabbits and gather twenty carrots,  to try and innovate the single player RPG genre. Whilst this ‘grinding’ adds to the -potential- longevity of a game, it doesn’t necessarily make it more fun nor does it add anything to the narrative.

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