Depression Quest – Free Interactive Game on Living with Depression

Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and must attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment. This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people.



Depression Quest is a game that deals with living with depression in a very literal way. This game is not meant to be a fun or lighthearted experience. If you are currently suffering from the illness and are easily triggered, please be aware that this game uses stark depictions of people in very dark places. If you are suicidal, please stop playing this game and visit Suicide Hotline immediately.

The goal of this game is twofold: firstly, we want to illustrate as clearly as possible what depression is like, so that it may be better understood by people without depression. Hopefully this can be something to spread awareness and fight against the social stigma and misunderstandings that depression sufferers face. Secondly, our hope is that in presenting as real a simulation of depression as possible, other sufferers will come to know that they aren't alone, and hopefully derive some measure of comfort from that.

It goes without saying that because of the very nature of depression, it is experienced differently by every person who suffers from it. We aren't trying to say that this is the "best" or "most accurate" representation, merely that this is an amalgamation of the experiences of the developers and several people close to them. Many of the following encounters deal with issues such as therapy, medication, handling a love life, and reaching out to support networks. In reality, less than half of depression sufferers actually seek treatment, for reasons such as lack of money, perceived personal failing, or public stigma. These things were included in order to touch upon as broad a range as possible, since all these elements can be very important to sufferers of depression, though they will likely not be the experiences of most sufferers.

It's important to recognize that not everyone with depression is so lucky. Many people with the illness don't have a lot of the luxuries that we have in this game. We've written it this way so that we can focus specifically on the illness, which becomes more and more difficult to deal with as the person who has it is less and less well-off.

Features:

·         Over 40k words of interactive fiction. Playthroughs are short enough to be done in one day, but long enough for the game to have gotten it's point across.
·         About 150 unique encounters. Based on your depression levels, different choices open and close off to you.
·         Content generated based on your decisions. The choices you make have a real effect on how your playthrough turns out.
·         Five endings. See how your choices affected the game's world, and how well you've dealt with your depression.
·         Audio and visuals react to your depression. Listen as the music gets glitchier and see how much stronger the static gets. Watch the color get sucked out of how you see the world.

Screenshots





Reception

Not surprisingly, the game got mixed reviews from the media. At first, Depression Quest reviews from critics were mostly positive, highlighting that the game not to be considered as being intended for entertainment, but for education. Jessica Vasquez, writing for Game Revolution, praised the game's portrayal of how sufferers are affected by depression, and expressed optimism in its potential to educate people about depression. Writing for Gizmag, Adam Williams called the experience of Depression Quest "dark and compelling". He added that he did not find the game fun to play, and that "it's certainly no Super Mario Brothers, but that's probably the point". Tim Biggs, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, also stressed a lack of fun in the game, and went on to say that the game was "a testing and, at times, a boring experience to go through". However, he praised the game's execution, and acknowledged its importance as a tool for raising awareness of depression and for helping its sufferers.

However, Zoƫ Quinn, the game developer, has also faced numerous facts of personal harassment in response to Depression Quest since the game's initial release. Quinn was having a detailed rape threat mailed to her home address, and multiple threatening phone calls.





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