To Play or Not to Play: Depression Quest


As I have been participating in the class discussions about games and video games, I really begin to think about the difference between the two. Before taking this class, I really did not think much about what a video game or even a game was. They were both just something I occasionally participated in or “played.” I put the word “played” in quotations because after some of the recent discussions we have been having in class, I have questioned whether some of the games I am playing, deserve the term “play” although they are not fun. For example, I just recently “played” Depression Quest.” Prior to this assignment, I had never even heard of this game, so I was very optimistic beginning to play. From the title, I had assumed I was playing a game much like That Dragon, Cancer game. I did not think it would be very exciting, nor did I think it would make me very happy. Although I was not happy about playing it, I was still looking forward to seeing what it was about.


Depression Quest is a game where the player, me in this case, reads an expert about what I am doing that day. This can include everything from the weather, who I’m seeing that day and what I’m feeling. As you can tell from the game, I’m not feeling very well. During the experts, certain things would make believe that my character was depressed and even so then I had to choose what I wanted to do next. Most of the time the option—s were those that someone who is struggling from depression would choose. I could see why the game was called “Depression Quest.” After the first few scenarios, I began to question what I was doing. Was I really playing a game?


During our class discussion, many students talked about what a game was and if That Dragon, Cancer was really a game, although you were not doing much. This is the same, yet even worse. I felt like I was not doing anything. The ‘game’ was just be clicking a different scenario and then from there seeing what else I was doing. This is a game where it made me think about what I was doing, was I really even playing this game? Was this even a video game? In my mind, a video game is a game where you’re electronically interacting with things on screen, where there is a character that is moving, or anything like that. For example, I think Mario Kart is a video game, but I think Solitaire is just a game. Solitaire there is no action no movement within the game besides the card moving from position to position. On the other hand, in Mario Kart, there is a character moving, there is ample amount of interaction when playing this game.


This leads me to discuss if Depression Quest is really a video game or not. In my opinion it does not fit my definition of a video game. In fact, I don’t even consider this to be a game at all. In my eyes, I do not see any difference between this ‘game” and the interaction I have with any other website. For example, all I am doing is clicking an option that brings me to a new page to click a new option. There are no mechanics involved with this game, which makes me believe that is not even considered a game. There are a few arguments that could be made like that I am interacting and that there are consequences of each of my actions. But in my eyes, there is no competition, or play when doing this quest. When we were playing That Dragon, Cancer or the Flower game, or Dear Esther, I did not consider those to be video games either. But, I do think they were more of a game than the Depression Quest that I chose to ‘play.’ For example, the Dragon, Cancer game was depressing and there was no real play, but there was still a lot of interaction and there were even graphics that go along with it. In the Depression Cancer game, there were no graphics, just words on a screen.

Although I do not see how this is a game, I do see how someone could find this game to be interesting. For those who have suffered with depression, I can see how they can relate to the game. Even though there are multiple options, you are always choosing an option that isn’t the happiest. That is what depression is. No matter what you’re doing, you’re still not happy and the world is just working against you. So although, I have clearly stated that I did not enjoy playing this game. I do think that it could be beneficial to those who are suffering from this disease. It was very detailed and it could be very relatable to someone who is dealing with this.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience to a new game and to see what else is out there. I am also looking forward to playing many more games.


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