First Draft: Second-Hand Depression Game

This game should familiarize its players with what it’s like to be in a relationship with a person struggling with depression. It helps players understand how to deal in certain situations, making them better equipped to cope with difficult situations that might arise. Additionally, the players should be able to understand what to expect from the relationship and how to protect their own mental health. It’s important to understand how people put in this position of being in a relationship with a person struggling with depression could achieve the balance of caring for both parties’ mental health and emotional wellbeing equally.

Do not play this game if you are in a bad place mentally.
Do not look for specific answers for specific problems you’re dealing with through this game.
This game merely serves as a broad explanation of what it might be like to be in a relationship with a person struggling with depression. The game is based on primary and secondary experience, and thus it includes facts about the subject matter.
This game does not intend to make any claims regarding whether or not to be a part of this type of relationship. It’s objective is not to portray such relationships to be good or bad, but merely to help you form a realistic expectation and raise awareness to the struggle, emotionally and mentally, endured by the relatively mentally healthier partner. While explaining how ideally the non-depressed partner should support the depressed partner effectively.

I’d appreciate it if you’d provide me with feedback on how the game made you feel afterwards to determine whether the desired reaction was achieved or not. If not, I’d ask you what gave you this feeling as opposed to the one on my mind in order to adjust the game accordingly.

7 thoughts on “First Draft: Second-Hand Depression Game

  1. Well done Zeina. This game was really insightful and builds on your already good prototype.

    I would say it is a good length and believable. Most of your scenarios give 3 or 4 options which is realistic.

    I do think it’s almost always obvious what answer you want the player to do… because it is the longer one with lots of nuance…. so here is an idea.

    You give 4 v short options without detailed explanation. When player chooses one of the GOOD choices, you continue as is now, explaining details of how to do it well. If player chooses a bad option… you can give them one thing before they move on you can tell them “your decision might backfire because… do you want another chance to think of another action?” And if they say no, you move forward and they find out what happens.. if they say no, they go back and choose something else.

    This might make your life harder because it’s more sections… but it will probably make the game less obvious because you hide the “correct” a little bit and also allow a player to rethink before acting.

    You don’t need to do that for EVERY action, but some of them


  2. I think this is a really valuable game. The introductory guidance and trigger warning is helpful, and the scenarios are all very relatable to anyone who has been in this situation. The advice for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers is also sensible and constructive. Main improvement you could perhaps consider is to try to make it a bit less wordy, or add some pictures to break up the text. (If you Search for ‘Graphic Medicine’ you will find a range of visual resources including ones on depression some of which should be available on Creative Commons license) Also let the player know at the start how many scenarios there are – I started to wonder part way through how long it would take to complete! But overall really worthwhile


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