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Depression is my entry for RMN's RMVXAce Lite Cookoff event. It's created within RPGMaker VX Ace Lite's restrictions.

It is a short story-oriented RPG that tells the story of a young hero fated to achieve greatness in life. In order to do so, he must understand what it means.

What you will see in this game:
- Custom black-and-white graphics;
- Custom minimalistic music;
- Default RMVXAce battle with custom sprites;
- A good deal of grinding.
- Job System
- Unusual nonlinear story sequence;
- Open-ended;
- Depression.

SPOILER: You die in the end.

This is, in a way, a experimental game... which means I'm not sure if it's enjoyable, I'm not sure if it's meant to be, and I'm not sure what kind of reactions it could provoke.

Latest Blog

Depression changes

So I watched Liberty's Let's Judge Depression, and... well, let's just say her reaction wasn't very satisfactory. "I hate this game", "I hate you Calunio", and "Whyyyyyyyyyyyy" were some of her comments, and that's because she was clearly trying to be nice.

Depression was supposed to be frustrating and repetitive to an extent. But having players hate it because it's extremely boring, repetitive and enraging was never my intention. So I took some of Liberty's suggestions and things I noticed about the game myself and made a few changes to it. Hopefully it will make the game more bearable, and in being bearable, players will actually try to take something (good?) out of the experience.

Among the changes:

  • Every monster gives twice as much XP.

  • Monsters drop more different items, and drop items more often.

  • You start the game with a limited use item that teleports you home.

  • Healing items heal more.

  • Healing magic power is proportional to the user's magic attack, and it has a higher priority in battle.

  • The dog had no MP before, even though he had skills that used MP. Yeah, I'm dumb.

  • The Very Tall Tower is taller, and the final bosses are stronger.

  • NPCs that tell you what to do are less obscure.

  • Minor bugs and spelling mistakes corrected.

I don't plan on changing the game much, but I'm still open to feedback. There's a meaning behind the game and its mechanics, and I don't it lost in the middle of horrendous gameplay.

The modified download is set as the main download. You can also find the previous version for download in the Downloads section.
  • Completed
  • calunio
  • RPG Maker VX Ace
  • RPG
  • 02/10/2013 12:33 AM
  • 11/12/2016 04:15 PM
  • 02/17/2013
  • 101254
  • 29
  • 1721



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A new game by calunio! What a nice surprise!
I am always attracted to your games, mostly for the psychological content, and never regretted playing any of them :)
Best of luck!
Is there any game by you wich isn't experimental by nature? >_>
Well, in this case, by experimental I mean "a big chance of ending up with a really bad game".
But I'm not very worried, I'm having fun making it. :)
-especially the soundtrack-
Is there any game by you wich isn't experimental by nature? >_>

Experimental is good <:3c
That's why I absolutely adore Calunio's games =D
First thoughts:
I played for about 40 minutes and reached the wizard but still can't beat him.
Grinding indeed seems mandatory but I fear it might become tedious. But maybe tediousness is intended, considering the game's theme...
So far I enjoy the enemies' design, the forest's music and to customize my character through jobs (an idea I also implemented in my late entry).
Yeah, the tediousness is something I expected, and to an extent it was intended. I actually did some things to make it last less, like doubling the monsters XP gain, adding the job system, etc. But the whole thing will make more sense (and end) once you get past the Wizard.

Glad you like the design!
This "game" should be called 'Frustration' instead of 'Depression'. ...Welp! I wasted a good chunk of my time. Nice job! =/

Edit: Alright... So, after getting over my initial let down with this game, I gave it another try and I did the donut thing... Heh;

Obviously you deserve big kudos on this game just for the custom art and music alone. Because while they're note the greatest, they are very consistent between each other and with the themes touched on the game. Now, the intent was nice too, but quite frankly, you can draw parallels between life and pretty much anything else- any other game, if you really want to. So it was nothing new, or even worth exploring, imo... Besides, when talking about videogames, a subject matter will always fall flat on its face if there are no solid gameplay mechanics behind it to make the experience truly memorable.

As for the gameplay. As you know it was downright horrible. When I first played this, I found it very hard to believe that you didn't had the time to playtest this for at least 10 minutes and notice its glaring mistakes, but apparently this was a genuine oversight and you fixed it later. Ok... But the fact still remains that gameplay in this game is in very misleading. You don't need jobs, you don't need to climb the tower. All you need is to do is engage in a mini fetch quest, but the game's own mechanics are against you. Most people will miss the content you want them to see, because you failed to deliver it in an intuitive manner.

It would be nice if for your future games you focused more on actual gameplay and less in trying to be "experimental". =/
alterego it seems like you missed the point of the game, and I know that because you said some things don't need to be there, but yes they do need to be there. But that's ok, if you don't get what I meant, it's not necessarily your fault, it could be that I was just not effective in conveying it. I see no point in explaining the game, and I don't like that, but I can tell you it's much more than a mini fetch-quest.

Regarding the gameplay, I don't see how it's horrible. Well... it's just too traditional, and I don't even think it's hard. If an area of battles is too hard at a point, just grind a little and move further. You can say that it's boring, I would agree, and it's not something I failed to notice. But I did play it for hours before releasing even the first version, and I'm not sure what kind of glaring mistakes you're talking about.

Anyways, thanks for putting so much time and thought into a game you hated!
I don't know man... I mean, for example, you don't -NEED- jobs. (If anything, 'Fighter' is the only helpful job) You could beat all the game's obstacles without them just by grinding more, but that's bad design. Now, were you making a point about how we -HAVE- to get jobs in real life or whatever? Ok, fine, but I can make that connection in my mind in the split of a second. The rest of the time it takes to beat this game, the player will spend wondering: What real depth Jobs added to the game?

Also, there's only one satisfactory way to beat the game, and to achieve it, you have to do a mini fetch quest (Because no matter what higher meaning you think your game has. A player will always deconstruct it to its most basic elements). That is, going to from point A to B a few times, and procure some items: A FETCH QUEST. And losing experience with each change of screen no less! ...So, unless players KNOW what to do beforehand, they'll probably die before accomplishing their goal.

As for the "glaring mistakes". I think Liberty covered that fairly well in her playthrough: No initial equipment. Low enemy drop rate. Deficient healing items. Insufficient MP to do anything. Mobs that can stun you for several turns in a row. The fact that any monster troop (Except ducks, maybe) can kill you in just a couple of turns. Etc... Say all you want about "Traditional" games. But not even in all the traditional games I've played I had seen the game over screen as many times as with this one.

Lastly... I don't "hate" things, man! I have strong opinions, yes. But life is too short to hate. ;P
If the game featured 'fully-loaded' gameplay, it would completely undermine the observation presented on the cyclical nature of many RPG gameplay elements. As it stands, there's just enough of things like jobs, skills, equipment, uber-dungeons etc. to lend context to the commentary.

Basically, the job system is futile and grinding for hours sucks because that's a big part of what the game is trying to base its discussion on. Yes, it is completely valid to say something ironically boring is still boring, but thinking improvements to the systems will elevate the game is like saying you can fix a disturbingly human-looking robot by making it look more like a human.

The point of the game is to sincerely ask you, 'What is the point of this? What is the endgame we're searching for? How is this benefiting us?' and each aspect of the gameplay is tuned towards that purpose. That doesn't mean you should partake in distasteful experiences for the sake of art or make excuses for inaccessible or obtuse work, but if you don't like it, that doesn't mean it has no merit.
Thanks monkeynohito :)

Yes, the job system (and everything else) has a purpose, but either way, I feel like saying "the job system is useless" is kinda unfair, since you could say the same about any job system. No game actually NEEDS a job system, but it tends to make grinding more fun, and that's the first reason I decided to put it there. It serves another purpose too, and I wouldn't call it so much "representing" something as I would say it's there based on the reactions it could provoke.

It's also unfair to say the game "it's just a fetch quest" when you could say the same thing about any game, they're just "grind and defeat final boss".

Now, I know I've taken a big risk in trying to work with elements that were supposed to evoke negative reactions, because it's so very easy for the player to understand this as just a bad game design's fault. It is bad game design, actually, if it fails to have the player notice, at some point, it's intentional... and WHAT's the intent. But games are relationships, they need effort from both the developer and the player. My message may have been ineffective to an extent, but I'll always feel somewhat offended, and I'll always disagree when someone says Depression is just a regular fetch-quest rpg with useless frustrating gameplay elements.
@Monkeynohito: I never suggested that the game needs "fully-loaded" gameplay. and I think you're essentially wrong when you imply that improving its mechanics would have only made it worse... I believe there must be a nice middle ground somewhere, between tedium and 'fun'. And "Improvement" in this case would mean finding it. And that's why we fancy ourselves game DESIGNERS. To procure the players stay in that ground and experience the game trough our eyes from start to end.

Perhaps a nice example of this are those fake mario games. Because you know that playing them won't leave you much satisfaction. They're certainly not intended to be beaten easily. But every time you die is unexpected and creative, so you don't resent it as much. You instead hone your skills and keep pushing forward because you're curious of what lies ahead.

@Calunio: You're right. No game NEEDS a job system. But if a game includes one it has to procure that there's some kind of synergy between all the available jobs, not so much to make grinding "more fun" but for there to be less grinding. Grinding is one thing that "traditional" games do wrong and we're all tired of it. We don't need ironic bad game design to pour salt on the wound. xD ...And well, there's no synergy between the Jobs in your game. Hell, there's not even time to unlock the secondary jobs.

Also, the game is too short to really say is more than grind and a fetch quest. It would be too cynical to say the same of a 30+ hours long game. But even in those games, players would notice the filler content. For example, I love Chrono Trigger, but I 'hate' the part where you have to reforge the Masamune. That's one big-ass fetch quest the game could do without.
Ultimately, I reiterate that the highlights of the game were delivered trough its message, graphics, and music. So maybe another solution would have been to make the "robot" less "human-looking" and dumb down the rpg mechanics until they became an outline of themselves. Because the problem is not that the player fail to notice they're intentionally bad. Like I said, that takes a split of a second. But it takes 1-2 hours to actually overcome the challenge they represent, and that's just not worth it.
Hmm, I'm thinking nothing in here was intentionally bad per se. Unlike straight parody, Depression presents the common RPG gameplay elements fairly objectively. He doesn't outright condemn jobs or grind or equipment/level arms races either, he says, 'hey, if you want to climb the tower, go for it.'

On the other hand, I have gotten into some fairly deep ruts before in my personal life and had that depression compounded to severe levels while playing mmorpgs during those times. Seeking escape in a fantasy world where my hard work and goodness are supposedly rewarded and appreciated, but finding nothing but an endless cycle of dissatisfaction is something I can better empathise with than some people.
There is some depressive black metal music that would go perfectly with this game.
Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
This game has a depressing amount of grinding, lol. Despite that, I respect it.
I don't mind the "downsides" of the game, though it would be nice if I had a way to spend the large amount of gold that I have racked up from fighting enemies. *cough*ambiguian.
I don't mind the "downsides" of the game, though it would be nice if I had a way to spend the large amount of gold that I have racked up from fighting enemies. *cough*ambiguian.

There is a store just ahead. :D
I grade 15 fighter 12 sorcerer 12 healer and I can't beat the demon wizard any tips?
C'mon dude, you could easily warn(more) about that spoiler!Oh Well, looks fun thought!(I think that's not the intention)
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