On Sayori and a secret ending.

Content notification on depression, suicide

I look back on the closing months of 2017 with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy. At the time, I was in a particularly lonely place, hungry for affection or companionship but starved of both. While playing Doki Doki Literature Club!, I found myself caring for the main character’s childhood friend, Sayori. She was so endearing and likable that, for a moment, made me forget that I was playing a psychological horror game that was close to approach its turning point. This has Sayori losing her battle with depression and taking her own life. Witnessing it hit me harder than I expected it to, but I had already taken one step into the abyss and felt committed to push through.

The entire experience had such an effect on me that I spent hours on the hunt for an alleged secret ending. Upon reaching it, a letter from Dan Salvator, founder and developer of Team Salvato greeted me, expressing thanks for taking the time to play the game. This letter also hypothesized that some people who play dating simulators may be experiencing feelings that real life has not been kind enough to offer them. For those few days I spent with DDLC!, I feel like maybe my fondness for Sayori was merely a substitute for real life companionship that I was absent of, but I genuinely cared for her.

DDLC! confronted me with my own insecurities, simultaneously extending its hands and offering me some comfort in my time of need. I’ll always be grateful for that.

By Richard Kelly

Richard is a freelance video game journalist based in Ireland. When not drinking whiskey and making a fool of himself, he can be found replaying Mass Effect 2. You can follow him on Twitter @_Ricknarok_

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