October 20, 2015 | by Michael
Undertale, Fandom, and Expectations

It’s hard to contain yourself when you really, truly, enjoy something. I’ve always had the habit of absolutely gushing when I’m excited about something. I’m lucky enough to be on a website where I’m “forced” to talk and write about games so much and it gets it all out of my system. But for a lot of us, we don’t have outlets for the passion and enthusiasm. And for a lot of us, our enthusiasm goes beyond simple enjoyment of a game. We want, or need, more. In our earnest desire to spread our joy, to share our experiences, and to express that feeling, we are actively spoiling our own fun.

Undertale was a surprise for a lot of us. It just appeared suddenly in our lives and word spread quickly that it was something that needed to be played. How quickly that quiet murmur became a loud fervor was incredible. Clearly, this wasn’t a flash in the pan but a game that should be experienced. I waited however. Metal Gear needed to be scaled and Undertale looked more like a pit stop among the many behemoth releases. And then that loud fervor became a deafening din. Like any room filled with too many people all talking at once, there is no single off-putting source. Everyone is mostly positive and excited. Yet you stand in the middle of a cacophony of noise and none of it is pleasant.

And it certainly isn’t new either. Metal Gear is a great example of overly excited fans who turn up the signal to noise ratio whenever those games are discussed. Mention Metal Gear and you’ll be bombarded with fan theories and claims of Kojima’s auteurship. Mention Undertale and you’ll find someone willing to divulge their feelings on every character, every song, every scene, every moment. They don’t want to discuss, they want to gush. They may want you to play Undertale but what they really want is for you to love Undertale. Anything less and you simply don’t get it.

I finished Undertale and really enjoyed myself. I found myself liking the characters, nodding along with songs, and feeling…with specific scenes and moments. I can’t help but feel unattached to this game however. I don’t love it like the first wave of players do. Their fandom has crashed into this game and washed away the shiny new coat of paint. This game has a layer of rust and wear to it now. Evidence of fans who were too unconcerned about Undertale’s shelf life and worried themselves only with their own enjoyment.

I’d hate to imply that someone’s, anyone’s, love and passion for a game isn’t right. Rather what I’m saying is that it all seems misfocused, or perhaps unfocused. We live in an age where we can shout into the ether of cyberspace our love and find those who agree reply back. We signal boost our affection and deafen the undecided or uninitiated. Our devotions need focus, need funneling in the right direction. They need an outlet that clearly isn’t provided and until then they need tempering.

Michael

Managing Editor around here, moderator over at Giant Bomb, writer at prowrestling.cool

Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *

Theme by Theme Flames, powered by Wordpress.