Posted February 14, 2013 by Amy in News

Depression Quest Game Brings Awareness and Understanding


It’s not all hearts and flowers for everybody, today. Depression is real, and it can ultimately be deadly, so the thought of literally making a game out of it seems off at first glance. But Depression Quest is more of a simulator in a lot of ways, designed to help people who do not suffer from depression understand the depths of despair it can bring. In fact, a portion of any proceeds for the game will be donated to iFred (The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression).

You won’t need a console, or even money (although you can donate) to try out Depression Quest. You can play it (here) right in your browser. It’s mainly a text-based game, describing your situation and symptoms in a way you can understand, and then asking you to make choices as to how to proceed next. Each time you are given a choice, you can see the answer that most well people would choose, but it is crossed out, signifying that it wouldn’t really be an option for someone who is truly depressed. As you work your way into your story, various people and things (like your parents or your job) are clickable, if you want to learn more about your situation. Every page is a raw, pretty much unfiltered view of the hopelessness of depression. After all, if you don’t know *why* you feel the way you do, it isn’t so easily fixed.

Depression Quest is meant mainly for people who do not suffer from depression, to help them understand. Everything is very stark and gray, and (appropriately so) depressing. Because of this, the game’s home page does offer the suggestion that if you are depressed, it might trigger you, and even gives a link to help for those who are contemplating harming themselves. It is a powerful game, in that it offers up an illness that so many keep hidden, and shines a light on it. It was created by Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey, and Isaac Shankler, who describe their goals on the site. “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.”



U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)