This is a free text based experience that just has you clicking hyperlinks as you would a webpage. I can’t really call it a game since I don’t think the point is to entertain you. It was originally a website and this is just the web-kit version of the site put on Steam. I’m not sure it will help anyone with depression, so much as it lets people with depression think, no you are not alone (the player, not the character ‘You’). Other people feel the way you do.
The basic gameplay in Depression Quest is that you will read through things (You is the player character that you will play) and then make a choice of what to do (click a hyperlink).
It sets a story and gives you background information on things. You have everything going for you, a significant other, a circle of friends, a day job. Your girlfriend, Alex is supportive of who you are and understands you. That’s more than some people have in real life, but it illustrates you can have everything and yet depression still affects you. At least the characters in the game are supportive of you and not questioning why you have depression or does depression exist or are you just lazy? Its almost like everyone accepts you, but you are the one with a problem that doesn’t accept yourself. Its all inward in this experience. You make enough money to support yourself, so money isn’t the issue, but money is never a discussion or a reason to the depression, its just all you.
Below each life choice, Depression Quest bluntly tells you that you are not in therapy, nor taking medication for depression, you are just dealing with it. The ‘happy’ or ‘logical’ choices are always crossed out forcing you to select the sad choices such as, ‘watch TV, work on a project (Depression Quest) or crawl into bed.’
The big thing that I take away from this is everyone around you (the player character) really cares about you. It also seems like there’s no way out. Maybe there would be a way out to happiness with diet, less beer, soaking up some sun so your body can make vitamin D or a life change, but that’s never explored, you are just suffering from depression and forced to live that way. Depression Quest brings up minor what ifs, such as going back to school or finding a better job might help… but well there’s risk. Those statements are never followed up. You have no choice to change things in your life (the character’s).
You see the character get worse and worse with no help in sight. Almost as if the entire point of this is to make you the player depressed (which is different than depression). Crossing out logical happy choices for depressing ones. This is a quick experience that finishes after maybe 2 dozen pages of text. I quickly played through it three times and it felt like while there are multiple endings, it didn’t feel like I wanted to take the time to see them all. Like reading and carefully selecting my choices leads to more reading to endings that I didn’t feel were satisfying. It was too quick of an experience to feel nothing more than a brief diversion. Someone did write me on how to get to the ‘good ending’ where you are allowed to get help, but with so many choices and endings, I found it difficult to even get the good ending with someone telling me how to achieve it. Again, the happy ending just didn’t feel good or satisfying. Maybe that’s depression in a nutshell or maybe that’s poor writing.
To anyone suffering from depression, there is always help. There are always people willing to help and you are never alone. *hug*