Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Gaster (Undertale)

Just who the heck is Gaster? And how does he connect to the mythos of Undertale?

EDIT: So, I started this back before Thanksgiving Break had even started, but I've been busy with school, so I apologize.  ANOTHER EDIT: My computer crashed and does not want to restart, so I am typing most of this up on my cell phone. EDIT NUMBER THREE: I forgot to upload it this time. This entire post is just a huge fail isn't it? Oh and warning for SPOILERS!!!
     Hey everyone! So, yes, I have become absolutely obsessed with the indie game, Undertale. My best friend had been telling me about it, and I finally watched Game Grumps' playthrough on Halloween and fell in love. Since then, my wonderful boyfriend actually bought me the game and I have played it at least half a dozen times.  I have also read tons of blog posts about the game and have seen almost every playthrough on YouTube. Needless to say, I've been doing my research. But one thing still stumps me.
Who the heck is this Gaster fellow?!!
     I have in fact, discovered Gaster in my game by changing the Fun settings, and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters (along with Sans and Papyrus) despite knowing so little about him. 
     Now, be warned, there is probably nothing in here that you haven't heard before. This is my take on the various theories I have heard and a re-telling of the information we already have been given about him. This will likely be a series of posts, as this one is mostly just recounting what we already know and suspect with in-game evidence.
     You didn't think I was just going to state some groundless theories, now did you? Come now, I'm a scientist. 

     Alright, then, just what do we know about this mysterious man? For starters, presuming the River Person was speaking about him when s/he said to "beware the man who speaks in hands", he seems to be worth being cautious around. This could be for several reasons. Though he is often characterized by the fandom to be "good", there is no evidence of this. Sure, when we first meet him he is smiling brightly and he does not attack us, unlike most of the creatures in this game, but that does not mean he is a good dude, and this is presuming that the guy we see behind the door in waterfall is actually Doctor Gaster himself. Don't get me wrong, I want to think of Gaster as being our friend just as much as the rest of the fandom, but I'm just not so sure that's the case here. When you tell someone to beware, or be cautious of something, is it usually friendly? Probably not. That being said, this is presuming the "man who speaks in hands" or, as the river person first told me when I was playing, the "man from the other world" is in fact Gaster. There is no true way of knowing, and honestly, even the evidence for this thought is pretty weak. I know a lot of people think this is speaking of Gaster because Wing Dings, which is believed to be what the W.D. stands for, has hand symbols in the font, but still, people will portray Gaster as communicating through sign language because of this quote. Which tells me that "the man who speaks in hands" could be anybody that knows sign language. 
     Anyway, speaking of W.D. What exactly do these initials stand for? It is pretty much accepted that Gaster's first name (or...first and middle name?) is Wing Ding, or Wing Din. This is something I definitely agree with as it is almost confirmed when you look at the game. If you read Gaster's Entry 17, it is written in Wing Dings and since he does appear to be a skeleton, it would make sense that he may be named after a font, due to the evidence we receive with Sans and Papyrus. Aster itself it also a font, but when I first heard people say his name was probably a combination of Wing Dings and Aster, I was thinking of the flora genus. Anyway, it seems likely that the W.D in his name actually does stand for this. 
     Normally, I would go onto talking about if Gaster is in anyway related to the Skele-Bros, but I will save that for another post. Let's talk about who Gaster was before he was torn from existence. If you tweak the FUN values, you can meet different creepy, gray NPCs that will haunt your dreams (okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic here) called Gaster Followers. 

As you can see, the first follower is a gray version of the dude in the hotel's restaurant that says he forgot to make reservations, but rather than showing that he screwed up, decided to keep walking in and was just consuming dew off of a ficus. The second, is a gray version of the man who spent all of his money on a spider doughnut, though this time, he is holding what appears to be a head. This head in his hand, is the one who talks to you. The third is a...um, it's a...does anyone know what the heck this creature is?! It's a...blob. So, the third one is a blob with a face, and this NPC is one seen no where else in the game, or at least, not that I'm aware of. These NPCs are the keys to piecing together Gaster's life. Based on what the followers said, provided they were telling the truth, which I presume they are, Gaster was once the Royal Scientist to King Asgore Dreemur before Alphys was, and a brilliant and highly regarded one at that. He was also the inventor of the Core. However, he fell into his creation, which may or may not be the core or something else entirely, and was essentially torn out of existence. Because of this, he seems to be omnipresent, at least to an extent, hence "It's rude to talk about people who are listening". This line in particular not only strikes me as being rather odd and spooky, but also being a key detail in figuring out exactly what happened to Gaster. But I will go into further detail on that in a later post. Like I said, this one isn't really for speculating. 
     I have actually never encountered the last Gray NPC myself, but have seen footage, and essentially, it is a gray version of Monster Kid with a vacant, seemingly-dead stare. He mentions how he has always been scared of a world where he doesn't exist but everything functions perfectly, then saying that the player should "forget about" him and asks that the player not "think about this anymore". Now, some people speculate that this is a glimpse into an alternate dimension where Monster Kid was killed (perhaps in a genocide run?), and others say that it is Gaster talking through an image of Monster Kid. Honestly, I don't know which I believe, but I'm leaning more toward the second idea. Anyway, let's cover that, like everything else in here, in a later blog post. At least you guys know that I have material for future posts, not that I ever really run out. What the gray Monster Kid says is very interesting though. First off, I think it is a fear that many of us share. As humans, we are scared of our own mortality and even more so, about being minuscule to the world and unimportant. Many humans are scared that after they die, they will soon be forgotten. That is why so many people are so bent on leaving their mark, and the internet is helping us out in that endeavor. But this isn't about human mortality and fears. However, it can be about Gaster's fears. I think there is sufficient evidence to talk about this here. Due to what Monster Kid said, and the fact that, even if Gaster is not speaking directly through the child, he likely is the reason we are able to see him, it seems like these fears are mimicked by the great scientist. People think that Gaster was forgotten by essentially everyone, and though I'm not sure that is actually true, it is clear that nobody (came, sorry, I had to) speaks of him, or at least not to the human. Maybe they just didn't think to tell the human child about him, since he is unimportant to Frisk's adventure, or maybe, there is a reason no one speaks of him, either because they cannot remember, or maybe, they are trying to forget. Still, it doesn't entirely seem like these fears coming from Gaster are justified. I mean, he left his mark on society. He created the core. He was a famous scientist to the King of All Monsters. We don't even know how many other amazing things in the Underground he may have invented or contributed to. That's where the forgetting, or trying to forget comes in. Have you really left your mark if nobody remembers or knows that you're the one who has done something?
     Some people think the phone call where you hear the "Wrong Number Song" is a person looking for Gaster, but I'm going to leave that be for now. The only thing I will say in this post is, I don't really buy it, to be honest. 
     I know this is common knowledge, but if you try to name your character "Gaster", the game goes back to the introduction (I've confirmed this). This could simply be a reference to the fact that Gaster isn't supposed to exist, but I like to take it a step further in my imagination. You know how if you try to name your character after characters in the game (Sans, Toriel, Flowey, Alphys, etc) they tell you in various ways not to? I kind of like to think this is Gaster's way of saying he doesn't want us to do that, but since he is unable to directly communicate with us, the closest he can do is force us to choose a new name by resetting the intro. 
     So what's his relation to Sans and Papyrus, or at least Sans? The two likely have some sort of relationship, and this may extend to Papyrus as well. As many already know, the (SPOILERS! SPOILERS!) skulls that shoot at you in a genocide run when you fight against Sans are called Gaster Blasters. It is also clear that Sans probably worked with scientists, and is likely one himself (was?) due to his Quantum Physics Joke Book Quantum Physics Joke Book Quantum Physics Joke Book (I decided to stop) and the (SPOILERS!) door to the back of his house with a strange machine (did I mention that the blueprints for said machine are written in strange symbols?...or maybe it was just the handwriting) which we know nothing about. You get the key in a pacifist run if you reset a few times after talking to Sans before you go to Asgore. I will go more in depth in the theories for this relation in a future (probably my next Undertale related) post. 
     Finally, is the mystery man behind the gray door in Waterfall Gaster? I think so. However, there is little evidence either way. The best I can really say to argue my opinion is the fact that, if he is not a follower, there is no real reason for him to be there, but technically, gray Monster Kid isn't a followe either, or at least, not that we know of. 
     Anyway, he sure is mysterious, isn't he? I will definitely cover some of the theories I have found and even some I, myself have come up with, so maybe we can figure this out together...or at least, come up with a coherent theory that makes sense. I just hope Toby gives us more information soon, but I have a feeling there is much more we have missed in this game.