While many individuals are planning a romantic getaway, picking out roses, or ordering fancy chocolates, there are some who are simply unable to do so. Lindsay Holmes (2015) of the Huffington Post estimates that there are 350,000,000 people worldwide with depression. This is where Happymart: A Game about Depression and Relationships, comes in.
Happymart is an interactive point and click game that teaches individuals about the warning signs and coping mechanisms involved with depression. You start out as a female character lying in bed. She arises, and her coping meter falls from full and blue, to red and empty. A creature follows her around, sucking the coping meter down until she ultimately needs to return to bed.
With each decision, the player makes her meter will either fill up or deplete. The ultimate goal is to get through a shopping list three times. However, causing it to the grocery store is nearly impossible for the first few days. As the player starts to understand what helps depression, then they can venture down the long path towards the market.
Once the player gets to the store, they must collect three items, such as peanut butter, bread, or carrots, all the while her angry creature is feeding her depressing thoughts. The first three shopping trips were futile. The items were hard to find, and it made me realize that daily tasks seeded with depression are nearly impossible.
This is where the coping mechanisms come into play. They aren’t merely there to help “win” the game, they teach players how to improve the ones they love to fight this horrible illness. It teaches one how to be compassionate and not overbearing. Happymart also explains those with depression that it’s okay to ask for help. Overall, Happymart did a fantastic job of teaching individuals about depression.
It also should be noted that the creators of this game have also battled with depression. These individuals understand what it feels like to be alone, and they aren’t afraid to show it. This Valentine’s Day, people shouldn’t push their depressed loved ones to just “get out of bed and do something” but rather attempt to understand their struggles. Happymart is the game to play when one needs to understand depression.
All media are screenshots from Happymart: A Game about Depression and Relationships. Here is also a link if you or anyone you know needs someone to talk to.