Symposium: Undertale, January 4, 2018

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For our January symposium, we will be discussing Undertale (2015). Available on Steam, GoG, and PSN, Undertale (2015) turns many conventions and assumptions about the RPG genre upside-down and inside-out. Offering the ability to end conflicts through “Mercy” options and negotiations, it builds on an often-forgotten history of non-combat solutions found in early Shin Megami Tensei and other games where defeating your opponent in a random encounter was not the sole or even optimal answer to continue.

For this symposium, let’s continue to build on the previous months and our thoughts on the “unexplored spaces” in games. Like with our previous talk on Tacoma (2017) and Her Story (2015), and use of different perspectives on conversation, let’s pair Undertale (2015) with other RPG and JPRG titles. How does the ability to negotiate change combat dynamics? Does the often silly presentation of the game distract from its more serious message of confronting and trying to overcome our assumptions of the world? Does Undertale (2015) point to an even greater possibilities where conflict need not always mean combat in random encounters?

As always, we’ll meet at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT on Skype.

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