Over the holiday season of 2015, I went back home to Virginia to visit my family. It was great to see everyone, but in many respects, it was a pretty miserable trip. For one thing, there are no lattes in my hometown, but the larger issue was that I didn’t really get any sleep for the entirety of my stay. The three hour time difference between Virginia and the West Coast, the fact that my parents’ house was so full of relatives that I had to sleep on a mattress in the living room, and the fact that I was feeling awful because I had been forced by necessity to travel without my medication conspired in a perfect storm of insomnia that prevented me from getting more than two or three hours of sleep a night. This meant that I had a lot of wee-morning hours to kill, and while I spent a lot of them taking long, solitary walks on the nearby golf course while talking to then-brand-new Boyfriend on the phone, I needed something to do in the rest of my downtime.
One of my recently-graduated students sent me a Steam Key for the game during Steam’s Winter Sale. It wasn’t uncommon for me to receive Steam games from some of my ex-students; as soon as the small cadre of nerds in my college writing class discovered that I was a gamer, they clamored to add me to their friends list, something I had only allowed once they graduated and which I celebrated by sending them graduation gifts of weird Steam games (including Hatoful Boyfriend and Secret of the Magic Crystals). They responded by sending me some weird games in return (notably Shower With Your Dad Simulator and There’s Poop in My Soup), but one student thoughtfully sent me a key for Undertale, a game with which I had only a passing familiarity.
I knew it had been getting nothing but glowing press, though, so I installed it, began it, and it enthralled me all through the long dark of my sleepless nights. I loved the idea of an RPG in which you didn’t have to kill anyone or anything, and I thouroughly enjoyed the quirky characters, the font-based humor, and the gorgeous music. (I would in fact occasionally take the raft to the waterfall level and let the music just play while I caught a few elusive hours of fitful sleep.)
Really, everything about the game was charming, but after I beat it, I never really went back to it to get any of the other endings.
I think it’s pretty great that Fangamer exists to bring physical editions of popular digital games to the masses, as well as posters, t-shirts, and other assorted collectables. It’s a pretty great time to be a gamer, and the fact that companies like Fangamer can thrive is really indicative of that. They certainly know how to make this girl part with her money.
It was the offer of a music box that sealed the deal for me.
I’ve always enjoyed the tinkling, nostalgic, slightly creepy tone of music boxes. And this one definitely sounds a little creepy.
I don’t know whether the dissonant tone is by design or whether I just got one that is slightly off kilter, but I kind of like it. Certainly I appreciate the level of detail. It’s hard to see on the video, but BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is etched into the inside of the locket.
The locket is definitely the coolest thing in the package.
The Annoying Dog is one of my particular favorites from the game, and I was consequently thrilled to find my very own Annoying Dog vinyl decal in the package.
I stuck it on my bike at once.
The game disc came packaged with a small storybook modeled after the beloved Little Golden Books of my childhood.
I had been under the impression that the book was going to be telling me something new about the story of the game, but, alas, it is simply the opening cutscene of the game in a shiny new storybook format. Still cute.
The real pièce de résistance turns out to have been the two-disc collector’s edition soundtrack.
Which comes packaged with a fold-out booklet of sheet music that is sprinkled with comments from developer and composer Toby Fox.
Anyway, the soundtrack is deeply excellent. I’ve been listening to it in exclusive rotation with my Hamilton original cast recording for the past few weeks. Not only is the music a veritable feast for the ears, it’s a 107-course feast because that’s how many damn tracks are on those discs. Granted, a few of those tracks are 10-20 seconds long, but most of them are substantial, amazing compositions that have seen me through several long nights of both cleaning my apartment and copyediting. So far, I’d say the purchase was worth it if only just for the soundtrack.
I’ve spent almost a thousand words on all of the stuff that came with the game without saying much about the game itself, but you can click on the first link in the post if you’d like to read my original 2015 impressions of my first playthrough. I am replaying the game on my PS4, and the port is perfectly serviceable with no issues. It’s got PSN trophies, if you’re into that (which I am). It also deals with the aspect ratio difference by providing the option to use surprisingly attractive frames around the gameplay screen, giving you the choice of a dynamic frame that changes as your location changes…
…or an objectively beautiful sepia-toned floral frame.
I’m playing with the dynamic border because I’m curious to see how it changes as the game progresses, but I was sorely tempted by the sepia border because it’s so nice to look at. I seriously sat thinking about the decision for about five minutes and had to ask Boyfriend’s input on this crucial choice.
By far my favorite thing about playing Undertale on my PS4 is the fact that I can painlessly use my arcade stick to control it. The game practically seems designed for the stick. It only requires two input buttons in addition to the joystick, and using the stick to dodge incoming bullet attacks makes me marginally better at the battle system.
This new control scheme makes the gameplay feel more novel, and I’m consequently enjoying my second playthrough very much. I’m starting out pacifist again. We’ll see if my deep-seated sense of virtual guilt allows me to make it through a genocide run.
Anyway, TL;DR: The Undertale Collector’s Edition is absolutely worth picking up if you’re a fan of the game and you happen to have an extra 64 bux lying around. Especially for the soundtrack. Which I am going to go listen to right now. For the tenth or twelfth time.