Text-Mining in Games: Looking at the Script of Undertale

Visual of ending characters in  Undertale  (2015).

Visual of ending characters in Undertale (2015).


Textual Analysis

Understanding the context of Undertale (2015) through text-mining and textual analysis can help us see how certain concepts, themes, and ideas are displayed in correlation with each other and in relation to the story itself. With an understanding of the story, and the interrelation of characters, you can begin to mine for specific words that have deep connotations between one another. 

Below are different data views of the complete dialogue of Undertale and how text-mining can give us insight to analytical application for connoting how certain themes are regarded in relation to other themes, ideas, and concepts.

The Cirrus of the complete script of the game is arranged to display the words most used as larger in text than those used less. Here, it is important to note that while words like it's, like, I'm, just, and you're are prominently displayed, these words are typical in dialogue as conjunctions and prefaces to speaking, while words such as human, time, and love are still prominently displayed but have context within the story as symbolic and important to mention. This is also apparent in relation to specific characters mentioned more than others in dialogue such as Undyne, Alphys, and Papyrus. The prevalence of certain characters over others can be related to what characters are speaking, such as characters other than Undyne, Alphys, and Papyrus are speaking more frequently and story-specific by focusing on other characters in their dialogue than the ones mentioned most often.

Cirrus of complete dialogue script from the indie game  Undertale  (2015).

Cirrus of complete dialogue script from the indie game Undertale (2015).

Looking at Trends

Above is a trend that displays the word human* in relation to friend* that is significant to what human designates in the game. To give context, seven human children souls were killed and kept to provide power to break the barrier between the Underground and the surface. The player character falls into the Underground, and must navigate to reach the surface once more in a world full of non-human characters. The term human gives context to the player character and the history of human children who have also fallen and died in the Underground. Humans are characterized via their usefulness in death; however, the player character persists and cannot die. By showcasing a different human than those that have come before, the player character becomes symbolic of friendship and hope. Therefore, and as shown above, the correlation between human* and friend* have similar slopes to showcase similar instances of their relation within one another. 

Contextualizing Text

Word Trees and Interconnections

The aspect of human* as a term used, as explained in relation to the trend graph to the left, is shown in depth here as in connection to other terms throughout the script. This word tree connects to specific terms and the sentence to which it is connected, but allows the user to see what themes are associated with human* such as surface, souls, and determination, while also becoming associated with other characters and in sentences referring to me as in the character speaking. Through analyzing the connection of human* to other terms, the player can perceive how that term is used, the purpose of it, how the characters reply or act towards the term, and the context behind the connotations implied. Such as, the purpose of referring to oneself when talking about human* would be a relation-based conversation, where character A is talking about character B in relation to character A. 

Furthermore, as I mention in relation to the above textual mining tools, the context of human* would be best conveyed in terms of the sentence it falls within. Below is a compilation of the term human* within the context of the sentence it is used. The tool below provides what falls to the left of the term and what falls to the left, to see what precedes and proceeds the use of human*. 


By understanding how words play as a part of a narrative story within the context of a game leads to further comprehension of the impact it has on both the player and the insinuations of the game. Undertale specifically has a story that involves the player by becoming influenced through the choices made, and becomes specific to the actions on behalf of player interaction. In this way, the player becomes an integral aspect of the game. Script of the game narrative and analyzing the terms within the game can give another element to the core understanding of what the game is trying to tell us about the world it portrays.