Have you ever dealt with depression, or know someone who has? For people who don’t directly deal with it, depression can be a difficult concept to grasp and empathize with. To help those who suffer with depression and to combat misunderstanding, a group of people developed Depression Quest, which is “an interactive (non)fiction about living with depression.”
Depression Quest comes from Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey, and Isaac Schankler. It’s a free or a Pay-What-You-Want game, where the proceeds go to iFred.org, a charity that helps battle the stigma of depression and aids those with depression. Their goals in constructing this interactive story are to increase understanding in people without depression by depicting what it can be like, as well as showing sufferers that they are not alone in their illness.
Not for mindless fun
It’s a very straightforward game, with minimalistic and ambient music by Schankler throughout. There are photos showing the general setting while the text pushes the story forward. Occasionally you have the option to choose how you react to certain situations, and sometimes options are blocked off, limiting what you’re able to do because of the effects of depression. For example, your personal relationships may suffer and your social or work life may take a turn for the worse.
The stark descriptions of how depression affects your character in this may touch home if you have experience with depression. Even if you’ve never had depression, it’s hard not to relate with the pain of everything falling apart with a lack of control. If you are “easily triggered” or have suicidal tendencies, they provide a link to talk to someone at the start of the story.
“Game” seems to be a strange term to apply to this. It’s more of an experience. It reminds me of the days when Quizilla was new and people wrote stories and provided answers to each passage to direct you to particular outcomes, but this is definitely more polished and with purpose.
I recommend checking out Depression Quest if you have or have not had experience with depression. I found myself relating with the utter confusion of the feelings or lack thereof and the embarrassment of reaching out. It’s a very solemn and serious experience, so please take a moment to expand your understanding–or to see you’re not alone.