Trigger warning: this post discusses depression in some detail. It is not written by a mental health professional. Sufferers of depression and similar conditions should think carefully about playing the game it discusses. It is intended to raise awareness and aid understanding for non-sufferers. If you think you may be negatively affected by the game, get a professional opinion or try asking the developer before playing it.
Recently, through the actions of some very thoughtless and blinkered people, I became aware of a person called Zoe Quinn and a game called Depression Quest.
I wonder how many other people have “found” this game through the reaction to the whole #gamergate thing. I hope it got a lot of traction from it. It might make up a tiny bit for the horrific abuse that the creator endured.
I’ve just finished a play-through of the game. Before I go back again, I thought I would share my first reactions.
It’s a deeply emotional game. I don’t have depression, but I know people who do. Before starting, I wondered how this might affect my choices in the game. As it turned out, I don’t think it did, much.
At almost every choice, I found myself thinking “Well, this is obviously the best way to go. This will obviously help.”. This says a lot about how difficult it is to put myself in the mindset of someone with depression. The obvious, rational choice can seem stupid, overwhelming and terribly scary. I know this, and yet still I found it hard to not pick the “obvious” (to me) choice.
Therefore, at the end of my first play through, my character got an “doing pretty well” ending. I’ll be playing through again (and again), in the hope of gaining a deeper understanding of how things can go. As the “ending” of the game says, there is no real end.