It's difficult to grasp just how hard day-to-day life for those who suffer from severe clinical depression can be. An old-school style text adventure game dubbed Depression Quest offers some insight into this, and also aims to raise awareness of depression in general.
Depression Quest is available on the Steam platform and also runs in a standard modern web browser. The game opens with some words of introduction, before jumping into the storyline, which features stark text like the following:
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"You are also dealing with motivation issues that sometimes makes dealing with these things difficult. You feel like this is probably your fault, and on bad days can feel inwardly angry and down on yourself for being 'lazy,' but you're not quite sure how you can break out of it, or how other people deal with these feelings and seem so very functional. "
The player is given a series of general life events like visits from a parent and relationship issues, which must be navigated by choosing one of several options offered. Depending on the choices made, the despair of the character can either be exacerbated, or the overall situation possibly improved. There's over 40,000 words in Depression Quest, and five possible endings, but I finished the game in a few hours.
The experience is dark and compelling, but not really fun – it's certainly no Super Mario Brothers, but that's probably the point.
Depression Quest works on a pay-what-you-want revenue model, with no minimum, so it can be played for free. A portion of the game's profits is donated to the US-based National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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