Depression Quest Becomes First Twine Game On Steam

Zoe Quinn's Twine game "Depression Quest" the first of its kind to be offered on Steam.

Depression Quest, a game by designer Zoe Quinn, has become the first Twine game ever released on Steam. The game is an interactive experience about the effects of dealing with depression, where the player experiences the world through the lens of someone suffering through the disorder. 

What is Twine? Twine is a game development software that allows users to create text based games, including some great Twine games like Crystal Warrior Ke$ha and queers in love at the end of the world. The medium is innovative and diverse, and it's ease of use lends itself to experimentation. (Full disclosure: I'm an amateur Twine developer). A common issue for Twine developers in the past has been monetization, with few developers being able to charge money for their work. Depression Quest will be offered on Steam for the same price it is offered elsewhere: free.

Depression Quest was one of 50 games Greenlight this week, including former iOS app Breach and Clear as well as zombie apocalypse farming game Farm Your Life

Unfortunately, a lot of people became aware of Depression Quest after its developer Zoe Quinn was targeted for harassment because she is a woman. In response to comments about how the harassment and the surrounding media attention ultimately landed her on Steam, Quinn tweeted

Either way, Depression Quest making it through the Steam Greenlight process successfully is a major milestone for Twine and it's developers. 

Former Staff Editor

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.

Published Jan. 9th 2014
  • Jon Stone
    "Zoe Quinn was targeted for harassment because she is a woman."

    This will upset a lot of people, who will tell you that she definitely isn't being harrassed because she's a woman; she's simply being legitimately criticised because she acted unethically.

    That's why all these wonderfully conscientious critics are also stepping up to vigorously 'criticise' the men she slept with and uncover nude photos of them they can share online.

    What? You mean they aren't? Oh.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    It's interesting how that works.
  • Kate Svensson
    Hi. I'm just here to say that you are COMPLETELY wrong when you said that Zoe "Quinn" is being harassed simply because she is a woman. That is entirely false. There are many female gamers, game developers and honest, hard working females in the gaming industry, but none of them ever come under fire simply for being a woman. Do you want to know why? That's because none of them are sleeping with their married bosses and other multiple coworkers for positive reviews on a very badly made game. This DOES set women in the industry back because this only enforces the idea that women have to "sleep their way up" in the industry to make it big. She is a manipulative, abusive and a pathological liar. The boyfriend did not set out for revenge. He had every reason to as she was abusing him and has humiliated him in front of her coworkers and the men she cheated on him with. Eron Gjoni has very little fault in all of this. I have played Depression Quest and I used to be a serious sufferer of clinical depression for 2 years after the death of my son, and this only brought back horrific memories. What angers me is that she also made the game FREE using Robin William's suicide to promote her game. Zoe Quinn is also guilty of purposely destructing a game jam that was organised to help raise money for female game developers trying to make it in the industry. Why? Because she wasn't being paid for it. She also tried to set up donations under the guise of another game jam and wired it directly to her personal Paypal, which was prohibited by the organizers of the game jam. Please stop victimizing women as this is not helping any of us and is only hurting females trying to blend in and work normally in the industry. None of the accusations are "baseless" as she has admitted it all to her ex boyfriend Eron Gjoni which he has released screenshots of on his Tumblr. Also keep in mind that she has slept with her MARRIED boss. Where is the justice for his wife? Also one of the men she slept with for positive reviews had a girlfriend too. Where is the justice for these two women?! Where is the outcry from the feminists defending these innocent women who have been cheated on, dragged into all of this and publicly humiliated? There are also various screenshots of Zoe Quinn conversating with moderators from public forums on Twitter, and funnily enough many comments that are against the horrid, unjust and selfish actions of Zoe Quinn are being deleted. Please do your research next time before writing another article. I am not here to berate you, but please do not support censorship, nepotism and corruption in the industry. Sorry if my english is not very good. Thanks a lot x
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    This is not an article about the current controversy surrounding Zoe Quinn and Depression Quest, but rather about her initial struggles getting onto Greenlight due to harassment from men because she was, in fact, a woman. There are also several women who get harassed in the industry for their gender, you can check out the reasoning behind projects like #1reasonwhy if you'd like to read more. I've covered a bunch of cases of women being harassed or bullied out of the industry. It's not an isolated incident.

    A few quick points:.

    1) Depression Quest has always been free, or pay what you want. It was always going to be free on Steam (you can actually read that above in the article from January this year). The release date unfortunately coincided with Robin Wililams death.

    2)I 'm sorry you had a negative experience with Depression Quest. As someone who has suffered from depression myself, I have chosen not to play the game because it can be triggering for people who have had depression. I understand there is actually a disclaimer to that effect.

    3)Rebel Jam is not a jam for women, but was made in the wake of a controversy surrounding a completely different jam (GAME_JAM) that went awry. She didn't set it up to spite the guys from the Fine Young Capitalists. Her issues with the FYC were well published on Twitter and had to do with their policies regarding trans participants.

    4)I don't know what you're talking about in regards to the married boss and his wife. I'd say that if anyone is responsible for the breaking up of his home, it would be the boss who engaged in an affair but it comes down to a moral issue and is frankly neither your or my business. It's a personal matter and should never have been aired.

    This article is well researched, I am not supporting nepotism, corruption or censorship.

    Your English is fine, and if you hadn't pointed it out I would not have noticed that you were not a native speaker. Try writing in the future without a disclaimer -- people on the Internet can be mean about grammar, but your grasp of the English language is solid.
  • Devon Constant
    You do realize that Zoe isn't being targeted because she is a woman, but because she slept with numerous reporters to have her game reviewed while she was in a relationship. Also, go on metacritic and see the reviews for this "Innovative" game for yourself.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    Hey, so I think you've confused this for a piece about the current controversy surrounding Zoe Quinn, one of the three developers responsible for Depression Quest.

    This is not that piece. I think if you also look up more recent information about this situation, for example a brief piece by Staff Editor Jay Ricciardi you'll see that the accusations appear to be mostly baseless or misconstrued.

    Frankly though, I can't argue the quality of Depression Quest, as I have not played it. But I know a lot of people that have. And the moniker of Innovative is deserved for the first game like itself to make it through Steam Greenlight, no matter your opinions on it's quality.
  • Devon Constant
    That article has no proof whatsoever debunking this "controversy." The reason this doesn't have media coverage is because there are bigger problems right now. Ferguson, Ukraine, Iraq, all of these international political problems are what most people want coverage of, not a developer giving sexual favors for game reviews. Not to mention how she claimed that she was being scammed, oppressed, and went as far as claiming the organization she was working with was sexist. Even though this group was run by mostly women. Now, why does this matter to me? Because it isn't fair to myself or many like myself. The consumer. If we can just be pushed around while these developers and publishers are being completely unprofessional, writing reviews for sexual favors, this reflects poorly on the gaming industry. Here we have articles and reviews on games. Yeah that's fine, that's what the industry is about! But the thing is, these developers didn't do anything to get the game recognized. They just cheated. This is not a matter of sexism. There are other female game developers, such as Carol Shaw, Anna Anthropy, Siobhan Reddy. None of these developers or directors were at all harassed for being female. Just scratching the surface here, so claims of sexism are misplaced.

    It is true this game is the first of it's kind to pass the Steam Greenlight, but that doesn't change the mass populace's distaste for said game. The idea just seems bland. You play the role of a depressed person. You have to deal with scenarios while under the affects of depression. It sounds like throwing a rock against a wall. It's boring, dull, and, dare I say it? pointless. What goal would I be accomplishing? Dealing with depression? I already live in reality, that's enough for me. Either way, quality is everything in a game. And I mean this as a whole.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    Dude, the reason this doesn't have big media coverage is that it's about games. This would never have mass media coverage -- did you hear about Irrational closing on CNN, Phil Fish canceling Fez II? No, because they're game specific. While a huge chunk of the populace has been identified as a gamer (by the folks at the ESA) gamers are not worth reporting on unless we're killing other people.

    Two, there is an ex-boyfriends blog post saying that she slept with a game writer (which is your evidence). Since he didn't write a review of her game, I'm seriously curious how you think she got a review for sex? (This was in the article I sent you) I'm also really curious to how a single partner has turned into the entire gaming industry, but that's a different thing entirely. On a related note, there are several pieces on this site about Depression Quest, including one you just read and none of us have slept with Zoe Quinn. Do you know why she gained popularity? Because of guys calling her at home and jacking off into her phone. If she had these affairs, that doesn't invalidate the fact that she was assaulted. If you'd like, I have a run down on the entire assault on this site that you can read. That still happened, whether she had an affair or not.

    Also, Anna Anthropy is not trying to get a game through Greenlight, but I find it incredibly unlikely that she has never been harassed. I can't remember any specific instances, but she's not as well known as Zoe Quinn/Greenlight.

    Your final point is the quintessential argument in games. Are games meant to be fun? Are they meant to serve a point? It's a literal point of debate in some realms. So you don't get it. So it's not for mass market appeal. To claim that literally no one wants to play games like that is frankly farcical in its premise. It's not for you. I don't see the point of big budget shooters, but they still exist -- because for other people they are king. I do like introspective games, I do like games about emotional states, I do like games with no-win end states. So Depression Quest was a game designed for people like me.
  • Devon Constant
    Congratulations! You literally just confirmed what I said about why this is not getting media coverage. More important stuff people care about.

    Again, that article provided absolutely no evidence whatsoever that she did not sleep with those individuals. It only stated that the people who believe so are wrong and that she's a good person and that she's being oppressed and is in no way scamming anyone. Well, regardless of what the article may say, it goes deeper than that. Zoe gained popularity from being the poor oppressed woman who just wanted to make games. Yeah, totally. She gained popularity because of how bad she cheated her way to the top. Yeah, all of that harassment did happen. Welcome to the /b raids. Still doesn't change the fact that she has scammed, slept, and cheated tot he top.

    What does her having to get a Greenlight have to do with anything? She develops games, as the other two women I have brought up. Zoe could have made this game following the same order she has done and not put it on Steam and this all would be happening. And of course Zoe didn't sleep with anyone here. She's already got the role of a victim down.

    Again, Metacritic. "I don't get it." I'd like to safely assume video games are a huge part of my life. Of course I get it. I just don't understand how garbage is available on Steam. Literally every review I see deems it a failure, and I doubt this is because Zoe is some poor, oppressed woman. What if a male made this game? Same order and everything. Now, we're talking about the game itself, not the order of how it was made. People would generally still dislike it for what it is.

    30 minutes of facts if you can withstand it.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Great story and good for her!
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Well that's fantastic! Despite the dribble the internet may spew at her, she's absolutely correct when speaking of the process to get on Steam.

    I hope the game sells well for a few reasons, but I can't fight back the urge of desperately wanted to see those folks eat their words.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    I have an internal list of things people say that make you aware of how little they know about game development. Like "Why don't you put your game on Steam."

    Like it's just a matter of putting the game on Steam, no process, etc.

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