I never thought I would find a game as unique as this,a game about fighting depression. How is that even a game? To me this “game” was more of a public service announcement. I felt as though this game was built to make others understand the struggle and signs of depression within those fighting the battle day in and day out. Throughout this post I will express my feelings toward the game and help you to understand why I feel that it is not a game at all. I believe this game most definitely pushes the limits of what a video game is.
When I think of playing a video game I think of different levels, cool animated characters, and a controller with different mechanics in order to make my character beat the level and move on happily. The first difference I noticed in “Depression Quest” was that it had none of these factors. I did not see my actually character throughout the whole game and the “levels” I was completing throughout the game would not be considered levels when compared to any other game. For example, in Mario Kart there is a beginning and an end of the race and these two stages are made very clear to the players but; “Depression Quest”in contrast is a cliffhanger you never really know what happens to your character and if he ever gets better or where his life goes from there.
The mystery of not knowing was one of the main concepts that had my brain boggled over this game from start to finish. The fact that there were not any real mechanics to the game other than choosing what your character did next really bothered me. The most you had were six different paths you could take in order to change the outcome of your character’s life. To me, it seemed as though the paths were split up between positive and negative actions. Also, let me clarify when I say paths I simply mean choosing things your character said and actions he would or would not complete. I played the game with the purpose of making my character have a fulfilling life and beat his depression so I chose actions that would help him in the long run, such as seeing a therapist and taking medication. The part that made me feel that this game was so very different from others was that you did not know what was the wrong path. For example, if you are playing Mario and you get touched by a mushroom you die and you know this action will kill you from the beginning, but in “Depression Quest” it is a life situation so you do not know how this action will play out in the long run.
The choices you see above are the only methods of “winning” in the game. But are you ever actually winning? As the story line continues you have a box at the bottom of the screen that would be considered your progress meter, it lets you know how well you are doing with coping with your depression. This meter changes throughout the story line and that is how I knew I was “winning” in a sense. I chose actions that would get my character to socialize and speak to people about his feelings and toward the end of the game his progress meter read the statements below…
The progress meter, which I am naming that because it is the only way of seeing my progress throughout the game, is one of the few concepts that make this story line more game like. The game was very simple. Like I stated previously the game only had one mechanic and it was to click on the action which you wanted your character to fulfill. When he accomplished this task you were then on the road to reading through another narrative of how that action changed his life for the better or worse.There were no sound effects, no awesome level changes, no physically view able characters, and no action. To me video games are supposed to be enjoyable and fun and this game was more like reading a book. It simply consisted of reading and thinking about what the best option would be for your fiction character to live a better life, and as hard as you tried the depression would never leave him.
The game starts out by pretty much explaining to the player that it is not a game that would be found as enjoyable or a game people play for fun. It even warns people who may be living with depression or suicidal thoughts not to play the game and seek help. What other game do you know that has that as its opening tag line? I found many critics of this so-called game that find it to be a wrongful depiction of what depression is as well as a sad excuse for a video game. So, in conclusion I feel that “Depression Quest” most definitely pushes the limits of what a video game is. This game has no mechanics, no levels, no physically eye-catching characters, no rules, no guidelines, and no winning or losing aspects. What game do you know that has none of these concepts? There is no mission to the game what so ever and I found it to be more of a book than a video game. If you would like to here more reasons why this video game is so far off visit the link below.