What does it mean to feel depressed? Is it an inexplicable force that controls you? Or a constant anxiety towards an unclear future?
This game is a little experiment on how emotions can be translated to game mechanics and design. Across 11 short levels players are invited to engage with different interpretations of what depression means, using a minimalist design, simple controls, a “soft” artistic style, and a dismembered musical accompaniment.
The idea for this experiment came from several conversation with friends and colleagues about feelings of depression. Through opening to each other’s experiences and normalising the topic, a lot of different ideas came up, revealing a wide range of feelings, contexts, and situations associated with depression.
While there are games out there that explicitly deal with depression, most of them rely heavily on narrative to specify concrete situations and emotions. The challenge set for this experiment was to present the topic from multiple perspectives but in a minimalist way, focusing on simple game mechanics and design and avoiding narrative as much as possible.
The final touch for the game is a personal arrange of Erik Satie’s Gnossienne 1 as musical accompaniment. The piece is gradually introduced in the game by adding new notes each level, reinforcing an uncomfortable feeling that connects with the theme.
You can play the game on your browser following this link: https://manuacruz.itch.io/depression