As someone who suffers from anxiety, I’ve never been exposed to a work of fiction that truly shows what living with the condition is like. Until I played Depression Quest, an interactive fiction game that puts you in the shoes of someone with depression. Before moving on though, there are a few things that you should take into account: Depression Quest isn’t a traditional game or a fun one, yet the game manages to confront the topic of depression in a surprisingly mature and profound way.
Depression Quest’s main aim is to make you feel what someone with depression goes through on a regular basis. In other words, its aim is related to empathy. Interestingly, not only does Depression Quest accomplishes that, it does so in a sincere and heartfelt manner. I absolutely adore the game’s personal writing style, the fact that it made me uncomfortable and how my mind was racing the whole time I was playing it. If you’re willing to play it with an open mind, Depression Quest can be a powerful experience.
So what do you do in Depression Quest? In the text adventure, you read blocks of text and after being exposed to a series of everyday life events, you need make some choices. There are no good or bad options and more importantly, you don’t win this game. There’s a conclusion, but no happy ending. In fact, there’s no closure at all. The character isn’t miraculously cured in the last paragraph or anything like that. Still, Depression Quest really succeeds in its execution. Personally, I think the game clearly illustrates the feelings of angst and anxiety so proper of people suffering from depression and the adventure has the ability to make you understand how they feel, even if you have no idea what depression is.
During the past few months, I’ve played what most people consider some of the best titles the video game industry has to offer, but none of them have had such a profound impact on me as this little text adventure. This shows that the future of our beloved industry not only is shaped by AAA titles and indie releases, but that there’s room for really small games that want to share a positive message or a message of awareness.
For some it may be a personal experience, for others it may be a voyeuristic one, but at the end of Depression Quest, you’ll understand a complex condition a bit better. And that’s an achievement in itself.
Playing Depression Quest is completely free on browsers, but you can also donate whatever you feel like. Donations go to iFred, a charity that fights against depression. For more information about Depression Quest follow some of the links below.