A while back, I bookmarked Depression Quest, the game at the center of the whole gamergate kerfuffle. I was determined to buy the game, if only to show my support for Zoe Quinn over the hoards of assholes questioning her "ethics". Because as we all know:

Anyway, because I'm awesome at procrastinating even things that I want to do, I put off playing the game. I finally played it for a while last night, and... it's really accurate. At least, for me.

The "game" would be better described as a choose-your-own-adventure story, or "interactive fiction", as the kids seem to call it these days. You read a story, and are provided with options on how to proceed. However, due to the nature of depression, you are also provided with options that you are unable to choose. For example, while you are lying around watching TV with your girlfriend, you begin fearing that you are only a burden on her:

It can also be pretty triggering, and there's a warning to that effect in the opener.

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 this link to talk to someone.


They're not joking. It made me cry. Once it was getting to me, the constant reminder at the bottom of the screen of your current status...

...started feeling like a personal criticism. No, game, I am not currently seeing a therapist or taking meds I'M SORRY OK SHUT UP. (This is a good point to explain that I recently weaned off my antidepressants under the supervision of a psychiatrist, and I've been doing reasonably well lately. That said, my general motivation levels are still pretty low, and damn did I identify with so much of this game.)


Anyway, in the same way that I went around recommending those Hyperbole and a Half depression comics (Part 1 and Part 2) to anyone and everyone as a good representation of what depression can feel like, I also recommend this game. It's a pay-what-you-want model, so you can play for free if you so choose. If you do choose to pay, a portion of the proceeds are donated to National Suicide Prevention Hotline.