How “Life is Strange” devastated me
“Post-Game Depression” is what I heard it referred to on the “Life is Strange” subreddit where people shared their feelings of hopelessness and despair following the Dontrod hit game series.
I’ve experienced this before. It happened when I finished the “Mass Effect” franchise as well as when one of my favorite shows “Community” concluded. There have been games and shows that I’ve loved more, and I could definitely rank several games over “Life is Strange,” but even with those I haven’t felt this kind of post-depression.
For those who’ve played, “Life is Strange” lets you pick between two tragic endings. And the endings aren’t bad like it was for “Mass Effect 3,” or even the saddest outcome I’ve seen in a video game. No, it wasn’t the ending, it was the world. I was brought into Arcadia Bay, I was nosy and explored everything and everywhere, read every journal entry, conversed with all the characters. The characters were diverse, unique, and I got to know them.
Then it was over.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, when post-depression happens, it’s not a result of the destination, but of the journey. Back when I was crippled by not being able to visit the “Mass Effect” characters anymore, I learned that to cure this depression you have to keep playing. You have to keep watching.
And though I could replay “Life is Strange,” I will never experience it for the first time again, but that’s okay. It’s rare, but there will be other games, and other shows, that will have a world worth the depression. I am continually astounded at how art can change and evolve us at an emotional level.
It wasn’t perfect, but I loved “Life is Strange.” I will recommend it with caution to my friends and family. I will likely never play it again, but I will find that same kind of rare investment in the future. And I can’t wait for that to happen.