Depression Quest: Understand Mental Illness Through Interactive Fiction

As someone with a mental illness of my own (ADHD), I can really sympathize when people say “People don’t know what its like to have depression.” If your brain is healthy and working the way nature intended, it can be difficult to relate with a loved one who is acting irrationally. The stigma surrounding mental illness is pretty hard to deal with. We can’t see how the brain is wired differently, even though it is fairly similar to being born with webbed toes.

Enter Depression Quest: a new free-to-play interactive fiction that allows you to live the life of someone with depression. In the game, you essentially read a choose-your-own-adventure story, but depending on the severity of your depression, certain choices will be blocked off. Through the course of the game, you are given the opportunity to seek therapy and medication. There is no winning moment, but it will leave you with a greater understanding of depression. While its technically a game, don’t go in expecting to have fun. However, I really enjoyed it on a deep emotional level. Admittedly, I choked up during some of the few moments in the game the character was being loved and supported by his family.

I sincerely hope that everybody goes out and plays Depression Quest, because the world needs more understanding and compassion towards people suffering from mental illness. I am lucky enough to have an awesome support system to help me with my ADHD, but not everyone does.

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