Using the interactive medium of adventure gaming as a means to educate rather than just entertain, independent Swedish developer Michael Levall is tackling the contemporary issue of depression in an upcoming game called Please Knock on My Door.
Featuring a gender-neutral character, the game will offer an idea of what it’s like living each day with this debilitating mental illness, and will be partly based on the developer’s own struggles with depression. One of the Levall’s main goals for the game is to convey a “feeling of pointlessness, and the inability to find joy in things such as previous hobbies and everyday situations.”
Rather than a traditional adventure game of exploration and puzzles, this game is a “social commentary” in which players find themselves stuck in the same room day after day, performing various actions (or choosing not to), struggling with despair, loneliness, and certain phobias like the paralyzing fear of spiders. As you perform certain actions while neglecting others, your choices will be tracked behind the scenes and have repercussions; skipping a meal one day, for example, may lead to a negative consequence somewhere down the line. The majority of the game will take place in the protagonist’s apartment, with dreams providing the only means of temporary escape.
Ultimately, the object of Please Knock on My Door is not for players to win at some arbitrary goal and somehow “beat” depression. Rather, the game is designed purely to enlighten players about these conditions. While no firm release date has been set yet, a PC version will be available via Steam before the end of this year. You can follow the game’s development on its Facebook page in the meantime.