Depression Quest

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Depression Quest

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:37 am

[center]THIS ISN'T FOR DISCUSSING THE SCANDAL AROUND THE GAME. IT IS TO DISCUSS THE GAME ITSELF.[/center]

So after all the brouhaha surrounding Depression Quest, I went and downloaded it. It's set up like a visual novel-- very text-heavy-- and you get to make choices about what your character does. Overall, the game certainly wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either.

Mechanics

You play as this character who's been nailed with chronic depression. As of such, the choices that you can make are fairly limited. An interesting mechanic is that a choice for something a "healthy" person would do exists, but it has a strikethrough through it to highlight the fact that no, this isn't something that your character can do, given the circumstances. In terms of mechanics, it plays fine. No real flaws.

Really no complaints about it, but mechanics don't really get a /10 score when it comes to VNs. It's more of a pass/fail thing.

Mechanics: Pass

Graphics

This is where I started to have some issues with the game. It looks pretty boring, to tell the truth. While I didn't expect that there would be more pictures or video, seeing just black text block after black text block started to become an irritation. Added to that was the fact that, while there were some pictures, they weren't displayed in any way that caught my eye. It was easy to forget that they were there.

Functional, but uninteresting. 3/10.

Story

As earlier mentioned, you play as someone with depression. The game is essentially a catalog of this person's life. While occasionally interesting, it feels forced at times. Rarely are there interesting or thought-provoking choices to be made. One can easily tell the "good" choices from the "bad" choices, removing any element of interesting CYOA material. I easily found myself becoming bored reading through this faceless character's account of how mopey they were. Imagine Hisao from the beginning of Katawa Shoujo, but more grinding. It wasn't that I was bored because I was reading about depression; I was bored because I wasn't engaged in this person's life. It was hard to care. In addition to this, there's a lot of showing and not a lot of telling. Most of DQ is told in, "You wake up and feel X. You do Y. You feel Z." I was not compelled to empathize with this character, mostly because it felt like the game was trying to turn me into the character, and I wasn't feeling it. A few moments were tender, yes, but the vast majority of my time playing this game was spent being mostly uninterested and a touch irritated.

A good story and interesting storytelling are crucial to the success of a VN. Depression Quest lacks both. 2/10.

Final thoughts

If this game was supposed to help me understand depression or empathize with people who suffer from it, it didn't do a very good job. I was not compelled to keep playing the game; I only did so so that I could finally see what was in the center of all this controversy. To the game's credit, it is not an awful VN. There is a semblance of a story, and it has one or two memorable moments to take away from it. However, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody looking for a good VN to play. Depression Quest isn't terrible, but it is a bad example of a VN.

Ending Score: 2.5/10 (A little more than a one-star review.)

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Postby Shinoyami65 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:24 am

^I can't believe you paid cash to suffer through that.

Although I guess a VN about depression was never going to be amazing, and it doesn't sound like much effort went into it. I'd have thought that they would at least try and tug at your heartstrings a little but if you're finding it difficult to care about the character then I guess any emotional impact from trying to detail a character suffering from depression is lost.
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Postby Stillborn » Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:08 am

And herein lies another reason for depression. Their life is not interesting show for you, so you don't care about them. :P
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Postby Monk Ed » Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:34 am

View Original PostStillborn wrote:And herein lies another reason for depression. Their life is not interesting show for you, so you don't care about them. :P

The fact that it's not real adds an extra layer. Much of the difficulty in creating fiction is the struggle to overcome people's indifference towards things that don't actually matter.

Case in point: Your life is not an interesting show to me, and yet I care what happens to you because you're a real person I've interacted with and I'd be very happy to one day see you turn things around.
Last edited by Monk Ed on Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MJL » Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:47 am

You can play this boring waste of time for free on the game's website (I assume that it's the full version, if it can be called that). I played it pay-what-you-want style when it first was released and sure felt no obligation to support the developer. It's just a simple, uninteresting text adventure with very little content and an annoying amount of typing mistakes.

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Postby Shinoyami65 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:07 am

^Hmm, I'm surprised that they couldn't at least get an editor to fix any text errors, since most of the game is text-based.

Frankly I think reading The Bell Jar would be a much more interesting and moving glimpse into depression than playing this game.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:43 am

Well, it sounds like it's as bad as I thought it would be. No surprise there.

LISA (RPG maker based game) is a good example of a "real life issue game" done right, although my love of RPG maker surreal horror games sort of influences that.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:24 pm

View Original PostShinoyami65 wrote:^I can't believe you paid cash to suffer through that.

It was free on Steam, which was nice. I wouldn't have paid money for it in the first place, given that most reviews coming out for it made it sound crappy.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:49 pm

View Original PostShinoyami65 wrote:Frankly I think reading The Bell Jar would be a much more interesting and moving glimpse into depression than playing this game.
Or maybe watching that obscure anime series from almost twenty years ago by some guy who was using it as therapy for his own depression -- New Era Gospel, or something like that.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:50 pm

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:Or maybe watching that obscure anime series from almost twenty years ago by some guy who was using it as therapy for his own depression -- New Era Gospel, or something like that.

nyuk nyuk

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Postby Stillborn » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:58 pm

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:Or maybe watching that obscure anime series from almost twenty years ago by some guy who was using it as therapy for his own depression -- New Era Gospel, or something like that.


Nah. That's more of an animated "frustration game".
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Postby TehDonutKing » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:10 pm

Well, it was free, so i installed it and played it. This is disgusting and offensive and betrays a lack of understanding by the developers. It's not Depression Quest, it's Sloth Quest. As someone who has actually grappled with depression and more or less won (bitch keeps wanting a rematch, but i beat that African-American brother DOWN), this is nothing like depression. It's about a human who is extremely lazy and refuses to fix it. The ending has
Is this spoiler even necessary?  SPOILER: Show
the viewpoint character get medication.


Medication helps with depression, but will never fix it itself. It takes willpower and self-reevaluation to overcome depression. I should have taken heed that it would be inaccurate from the trigger warning at the beginning, but i suffered through it, and i honestly believe this game will do more harm than good if it actually becomes popular. Also, stolen stock images ftw
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Postby Rosenakahara » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:41 am

Oh gods i was scared about this getting bumped but then i realized it was just because it was showing how bad this game really is, controversy aside it it one of the worst pieces of trash i have ever played.
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Postby airman4 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:05 pm

TehDonutKing

depression quest really , really , really use stolen stock images ?????? O_O
Jesus christ
we will go for another shitstorm xd

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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:20 pm

View Original PostTehDonutKing wrote:Well, it was free, so i installed it and played it. This is disgusting and offensive and betrays a lack of understanding by the developers. It's not Depression Quest, it's Sloth Quest. As someone who has actually grappled with depression and more or less won (bitch keeps wanting a rematch, but i beat that African-American brother DOWN), this is nothing like depression. It's about a human who is extremely lazy and refuses to fix it. The ending has
Is this spoiler even necessary?  SPOILER: Show
the viewpoint character get medication.


Medication helps with depression, but will never fix it itself. It takes willpower and self-reevaluation to overcome depression. I should have taken heed that it would be inaccurate from the trigger warning at the beginning, but i suffered through it, and i honestly believe this game will do more harm than good if it actually becomes popular. Also, stolen stock images ftw


Depression affects different people differently. For some, the sloth you speak of is spot-on, while for others things are very different. The same goes for medication -- for some it's a godsend, for others it doesn't even help much. Again, different people, different experiences. ISTR the writer/developer suffers from depression herself, so calling her experiences inaccurate is kinda off-base. Doesn't change the fact that the game is boring as hell, though. :shrug:
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Postby Shamsiel-kun » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:47 pm

^ So, in a nutshell, in a meta way, the game in itself can be seen as a symptom that its creator suffers from depression, because it is lackluster and, well, bad, which perfectly showcases the tendency of some depressed persons to start something awesome and not be able to finish it in a good way?

Brilliant (in an absolutely unintentional manner -o-; ).

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Postby Squigsquasher » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:30 pm

Amusingly enough, this game got featured in an issue of PC Gamer Magazine, which proceeded to rant about how good it was.

Yeah, about that...
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Postby NemZ » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:46 pm

Of course they did. Fun? Challenge? Innovation? Controls? Asthetics? What do any of these things matter as long as it helps push the right socio-political agenda?

:rolleyes:
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:52 pm

View Original PostShamsiel-kun wrote:^ So, in a nutshell, in a meta way, the game in itself can be seen as a symptom that its creator suffers from depression, because it is lackluster and, well, bad, which perfectly showcases the tendency of some depressed persons to start something awesome and not be able to finish it in a good way?


I don't know about that. The game was supposed to be educational, not fun. I don't know how good it was at the former, but critics seemed to think it was effective at doing what it set out to do. Me, I already know what depression's like, so I don't need a game to teach me. :tongue:

As to the review, I'm reminded of Shinji in EoE: we have people who absolutely hate his portrayal there, and others who look at what he's been through and say "yep, I buy it. Totally believable." So, to some the game will be utterly worthless, while to others it might be a useful way of communicating their perspective or understanding that of others. The fact it's so controversial, and opinions about it seem to be all over the map, suggests that a person's experiences going in might have a lot to do with how the game is perceived.

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Of course they did. Fun? Challenge? Innovation? Controls? Asthetics? What do any of these things matter as long as it helps push the right socio-political agenda?


:irked: Come on dude, really? Ever think it was maybe supposed to be an educational game and you maybe missed the point? If it was really that bad why not just ignore it and let it languish in obscurity? For such a shitty game people sure do seem to be awfully invested in hating it rather than going "meh," tossing it aside, and moving on to something that's worth their time.
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I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Postby Dream » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:57 pm

It is a shame, then, that said strong opinions are more often than not due to meta characteristics of the game rather than any merits of the game itself.
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