nightmare life, go away! nightmare life, go away!
Feb 7, 2023
Recently I've played a video game by the name of Everhood. It was introduced to me by someone on this forum a while back, and I finally got around to playing it. I need somewhere to talk about this because it's doing something I haven't ever seen before and I can't get it out of my head. I feel like those in this forum will probably understand why and might have similar reactions to me.
As a quick overview, Everhood is a game undoubtedly inspired by Undertale that is, in my mind, almost unquestionably promortalist. It has other themes and ideas too, but after finishing it I can't help but feel both heard and uncomfortable by its rhetoric.
For most of you who haven't played it, I've written up a summary of the game here. I don't think this summary will ruin a playthrough if you want to play it yourself, despite having spoilers. After the summary I'll be talking about my thoughts and questions, which will also have spoilers.
Everhood begins by asking the player to leave their humanity at the door, before you open on a wooden doll in red clothing. A little blue thief steals it's arm, and you take control of the red doll to chase after the blue thief. You run into a frog that teaches you how to dodge attacks, and you follow the blue thief into a club. There you meet a bunch of silly, loveable characters. You end up in the den of a mafia boss who hired the thief, and he throws you into an incinerator. There, you die, and a voice revives you because you haven't fulfilled your purpose. You find the blue thief with his legs missing, and he begs you to take him with you because the boss took his legs. You bring Blue with you, and follow after the boss.

You then go through many different areas with more charming characters, playing games with them and forming relationships before finding your way to the boss's castle. you notice that Blue, whom you've been carrying around with you has forgotten what you're doing and why. Once at the castle, you fight the boss, take back your arm and Blue's legs, and when you do there's a fake roll credits when it's interrupted by the frog that taught you to dodge. He now teaches you how to fight using your arm, and then tells you this: All of the characters in this world are immortal. They're in a perpetual state of forgetting all the suffering that's happened to them. He then tasks you with killing every being in this world "for their own good." You leave the frog are now alone in castle.

You then set out, killing all the charming, loveable characters you've spent the last couple hours having fun with. Many don't know what's about to happen before you end them, some welcome it, and many fight back; some unsure of why you're being so aggressive, some fully aware of your intent. Word starts to spread that you're on a killing spree, and travel between certain places is locked to try to stop you. A couple characters begin to hint that this isn't the first time something like this has happened, and that the last time you had your arm you killed hundreds.

Eventually you've killed everyone. Then the spirits that have guided you through this task tell you to kill the doors to the different areas of this world, then the Sun, and launch you up to kill it. Once you kill the Sun, you're sent into the afterlife, and all of the souls of the beings who didn't want to die begin to attack you as reconciliation. Notably, they start off convinced that they were happy in their lives, but get less and less sure as they fight you. They end on saying that they don't know if they were happy, but that you never told them you were going to kill them.

Finally, it's revealed that when the Red doll you were controlling was thrown into the incinerator, the doll was replaced by a character named Pink, the voice that supposedly revived you. They had changed themselves to look like the doll to carry out the doll's purpose, and compartmentalized the memory, claiming that Red did it, not themselves.
Pink tries to tell the cast that Red only wanted to help, and that there's no reason to fear death, because it has "come to free us." The spirits confirm it was always Pink pretending to be Red despite Pink adamantly denying it. The spirits scatter, and Pink is left alone.
After that you take control of Pink after they decide to 'let Red control their actions' again. You find the main cast again, and they talk about how horrible and painful their lives were.

Then, you fall into a fight against the Universe itself, where the Universe says that everyone is dead, except 'the most important one.' It tells you how well you've done, how brave you've been, and asks you if you have 'the courage to end it,' and then enthusiastically encourages you to end the Universe itself too. After that, you're sent to 'the waiting room,' the place between worlds. There, every character in the game is waiting, and you can talk to them. They all thank you for killing them, for saving them from their painful lives, and are excited to move on past their lives before fading away. There's a final fight against buddha(?) where everyone says goodbye, then roll credits, for real this time.
I suppose my biggest question is; do you feel this story is promortalist too? Why/why not?

Personally, the final fight against the Universe is incredibly disconcerting for me, because it's almost unambiguously saying the final person to kill the finish the job... Is you, the player, and following that up with every character in the game saying they're happy they died and that life is always suffering is just... Well, it mirrors my own feelings a lot of the time, but it also just seems really reckless, it feels like the game is saying "Death is always good. Life is always bad. Killing yourself and others is courageous and always the right thing to do, even if they think they're happy."

There's also the fact that all of the characters were immortal otherwise, perpetually forgetting their lives. That feels like it could be really hellish, but personally I don't know if I believe that's even thematically relevant. It feels like something that was tacked on at the last moment to try to make the fact you're killing dozens "for their own good" feel less awful. There's maybe four characters that mention anything about memory or immortality, and they're all in ways that if you removed them the story would be pretty much exactly the same. They're not integral to the characters, the story, or the theme in my opinion, and that's why it feels so icky and scary of a story to me.
I'd like to close this post by saying that I love this game. It's very fun to play. It's mechanically and emotionally challenging. I just feel I need to discuss it's themes because I can't seem to stop thinking about how uncomfortable it makes me feel. I want to dismiss it entirely but I feel some sort of vague connection to some of the feelings it seems to be expressing.
  • Love
Reactions: cgrtt.brns


Jun 13, 2021
Killing yourself and others is courageous and always the right thing to do, even if they think they're happy."
I haven't played the game, but this quote is not untrue.
It feels wrong when one life is taken and the rest of the world continues, but what if someone could choose to end all lives in one go? Still without consent, but a mercy killing imo, helping the fools (and nonhumans) to exit the cycle of life and death.


Feb 18, 2022
lol i totally got that impression as well, even if it wasn’t the intended point. i was kind of expecting something more profound considering how much the internet hyped it up. fun game, though