EarthBound-Inspired Indie Game About Depression (2024)

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About

Earthbound-Inspired Indie Game About Depression refers to a viral debate surrounding the assumed overabundance of RPG and platformer indie video games that contain metaphors for depression. Jokes commenting on seemingly too many indie games being themed around depression have appeared at least since 2018, with the debate gaining significant attention first in mid-2021 and then again in early 2022, with memes often attacking memes about "indie games about depression" rather then the games.

Origin

On August 27th, 1994, RPG video game EarthBound (known in Japan as Mother 2: Gīgu no Gyakushū) was released.[1] The gameplay of the game involves traveling through a two-dimensional world as a party of characters, interacting with NPCs and engaging in turn-based battles (gameplay video shown below).


List of popular indie games released after 2010 which are generally considered to touch upon the topic of depression or abuse includes LIMBO (2011), Lisa: The Painful (2014) Night in the Woods (2017), Celeste (2018), Florence (2020) and OMORI (2020). List of popular indie games with similar gameplay to EarthBound includes LISA: The Painful (2014), Undertale (2015), Deltarune (2018), OMORI (2020) and the Paper Mario series.

Jokes about indie games that explore the topic of depression through metaphors have been made at least since 2018. On March 21st, 2018, Twitter[2] user @TylerGlaiel made one of the earliest discovered posts on this topic (shown below).


In 2019 and 2020, more jokes about many indie games exploring the subject of depression were posted online. For example, on July 12th, 2019, Twitter[3] user @docsquiddy made a post that gained over 110 retweets and 870 likes in three years (shown below, left). On December 14th, 2019, Twitter[4] user @headfallsoff made a post that gained over 90 retweets and 680 likes (shown below, center).


On January 29th, 2021, YouTuber[5] Nitro Rad addressed the complains about indie games about depression in his review of the 2020 indie video game OMORI.


Which is why I always get a little dissapointed when I see these geniuses rolling into my comment section with their 900 IQ rolling their eyes, going like, "oh, great, another indie game about depression!" It's like, come on, man! It's a broader topic than you realize. I think like in the same way you can make a thousand games about shooting dudes or a thousand games about platforming, I think you can make a thousand games about troubles up here [points at his head] too.

On July 8th, 2021, Twitter[6] user @Skapakon tweeted, "Every time I see memes about "THE QUIRKY EARTHBOUND-INSPIRED RPG ABOUT DEPRESSION HAHA" I just think back to this," attaching the clip from the video. The post gained over 109,200 views, 2,400 retweets and 9,200 likes in seven months (shown below).

Every time I see memes about "THE QUIRKY EARTHBOUND-INSPIRED RPG ABOUT DEPRESSION HAHA" I just think back to this: pic.twitter.com/HYoJexxQer

— Skapokon 🏳️‍⚧️🐝 (@Skapokon) July 8, 2021

Spread

Following @Skapakon's post, more viral tweets and memes adding to the discussion were posted in the second half of 2021. For example, on July 17th, 2021, Twitter[7] user @brycecarringto5 made a sh*tpost that gained over 42,200 views, 1,100 retweets and 4,700 likes in eight months (shown below).

this is the only quirky earthbound inspired rpg i'll ever play pic.twitter.com/PacOva4quT

— Bryce (Comms Open) (@brycecarringto5) July 17, 2021

The discussion got reignited on Twitter in early 2022 after two memes bashing on indie games about depression went viral. The first, a Drake Helps Lil Yachty GIF caption, reposted by Twitter[8] user @CaptionsEv on December 28th, gained over 6,800 retweets and 47,000 likes in one month (shown below, left). The other, a Buzz Lightyear Clones meme tweeted[9] by @mask_bastard on January 7th, 2022, gained over 840 retweets, 1,100 quote tweets and 7,500 likes prior to being deleted (shown below, right).


@mask_bastard's post was followed by users on Twitter posting multiple memes defending indie games exploring the topic of depression, as well as posts which argued that there are not that many indie games that fit the description, that people have been incorrectly mentioning games such as Undertale as fitting the trope, and that the issue is generally overblown (examples shown below).


Multiple viral memes about memes about "EarthBound-inspired games about depression" were posted in January and February 2022.

Various Examples



Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – EarthBound

[2] Twitter – @TylerGlaiel

[3] Twitter – @docsquiddy

[4] Twitter – @headfallsoff

[5] YouTube – OMORI – Nitro Rad

[6] Twitter – @Skapokon

[7] Twitter – @brycecarringto5

[8] Twitter – @CaptionsEv

[9] Internet Archive – @mask_bastard

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