Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Six days into 2022 and we’ve already had one of the strangest clashes between gaming culture and the world. Yesterday, during Pope Francis’ weekly general audience where he offered a few prayers, delivered a few speeches and casually shamed childless people for choosing the company of their pets over small, screaming people most of us can’t afford it, a group of jugglers/acrobats/general circus people performed a jazzy ska-esque rendition of Toby Fox’s “Megalovania” undertale.

Everything about this performance inspires a manic laugh as I try to understand what the scene is unfolding before my very eyes. The performance begins with an acrobat spinning a foam cylinder with his feet. Then, for some reason, the jugglers start, and then someone drives by on a unicycle making every element of this performance look like disorganized, mismatched chaos. Something that strangely fits when you think of the chaotic terror of the Sans fight. In the Sans battle, just like in this performance, nonsensical shit comes at you from all sides while a man in a funny outfit smiles serenely at you while “Megalovania” plays.

As incredulous as it may sound, this isn’t actually the first time there’s been a Pope / undertale crossing. In 2016, YouTube Gamer MattPat famously gave the Pope a Steam code for: undertale because he thought the game represented the same themes of forgiveness and compassion that the Pope alluded to in a speech he delivered earlier in the year. Maybe Big Catholic Boss Guy finally got around to playing it and liked the song so much that he asked for it for his next general audience. Of course, that would mean that the Pope would have chosen the “genocide” option which may or may not match your view of organized religion.

Wow, that got dark.

Apart from the history of atrocities committed in the name of religion, everything is torn in this performance. I especially like the wide shot of the stage with the Pope in his funny outfit, the performers in their funny outfits and members of the Swiss Guard with their completely normal Technicolor trousers and traditional halberd give that extra touch of “is this real or am I tripping right now?” all while Fazzini’s the resurrection looms in the background, looking ready to consume everyone whole.

It’s exactly the kind of surrealism that Toby Fox would appreciate, I think.

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