Go Inside a Depressed Person’s Mind in “Depression Quest”
You are deeply depressed. Even activities you used to enjoy hold little or no interest for you, and you exist in a near-constant state of lethargy.
You are not currently seeing a therapist.
You are not currently taking medication for your depression.
So begins Depression Quest, an interactive (non)fiction game about someone living with depression. Throughout the game you monitor your job, your relationships, your illness, and consider possible treatment options. As the game progresses, these statuses might change, but they might not. For anyone who is suffering or has suffered from depression, the game is a gut-punch. For anyone who wants to get some insight, the game is a pretty invaluable resource. Its depiction of the struggle everyday actions become is represented not only by the choices you can make but the choices you can’t make:
Suggest a change of location and confide in her honestly.
Test the waters and open up a little, hoping she’ll understand.
- Insist that nothing is wrong and change the subject.
- Defensively ask what she means by that.
- Notice that your hands are shaking.
By eliminating certain choices as options, the game points out depression’s crippling effect. Sure, you might understand what you should do, but that doesn’t mean it’s an option for you. This can be impossible to articulate, and so the game reflects that by removing them from the table entirely.
Depression Quest is also noted for being the first Twine-based game to be released onto Steam.